Arabtec Moving Ahead With Okhta

Arabtec Holding expects to finalize a deal this month to build a project in Russia with partners including the oil arm of Gazprom, its chief financial officer said in remarks published on Sunday.

Arabtec in April won a $2.72 billion contract to build the first stage of Okhta Center, jointly owned by Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of gas company Gazprom, and the City of St. Petersburg.

"The project is going ahead and we are still aiming to start work on mobilization in the first quarter of 2009 and major works in the second quarter," Ziad Makhzoumi said, according to daily Emirates Business. "Our team is in the final stages of negotiations and we are aiming for Christmas to finalize the details with the client."

The project's future was called into question last month when St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko introduced an amendment to the city's budget that postponed investment in the Okhta Center for the first half of 2009.