Dec 09

World Bank urges Arab action on climate change

The impact of climate change will be especially acute in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to a new World Bank Group report.

It said immediate action will be needed to avoid the projected consequences of worsening water shortages and rising food insecurity.

The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the threat to the region posed by increasingly severe weather, and offers a set of policy options for the urgent task of managing current effects and building resilience against those yet to come.

“Reducing vulnerability to climate change will require concerted action on multiple levels,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice president for sustainable development.

“Political leadership now, will be critical in establishing climate change as a national and regional priority.”

The Arab world has been adapting to climate change for centuries. There is a long history and tradition of coping with the associated challenges, such as changes in temperature and rainfall.

The World Bank said new climate change risks are emerging at a much faster rate, including the prospect of a world that is four degrees hotter, and resilience built up over years is being severely tested.

Over the past 30 years, climate disasters have affected 50 million people in the Arab world, costing about $12bn directly.

Recent trends suggest that dry regions are becoming drier and flash floods have become more frequent. The 2006 flooding of the Nile River Basin led to 600 deaths, with a further 118,000 people affected, while in 2008 a record five-year drought finally ended in the Jordan River Basin.

Globally, 2010 was the warmest year since records began in the 1800s, and of the 19 countries that set new record temperatures, five were in MENA.

Regional temperatures are projected to reach new record highs, coupled with less rainfall which, in a region with the world’s lowest endowment of freshwater, could make this precious natural resource even scarcer.

“Climate Read more »

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Dec 09

UK’s Petrofac wins $1.4bn Saudi contracts

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

UK-based Petrofac has announced that it has been awarded two engineering, procurement and construction contracts for Saudi Aramco’s Jizan refinery and terminal project.

When complete, the refinery will produce around 400,000 barrels of oil per day and have associated terminal facilities on the Red Sea near Jizan in the south west of Saudi Arabia.

The combined value of the contracts is around $1.4bn, Petrofac said in a statement.

Petrofac’s Saudi Arabia office will lead the project management delivery of the work scope which covers tank farms in the north and south areas of the development.

Both contracts are scheduled to be completed within three years, the statement added.

Marwan Chedid, chief executive of Petrofac’s Engineering, Construction, Operations & Maintenance (ECOM) division, said: “We are delighted to have secured these significant packages for Saudi Aramco on their Jizan Refinery and Terminal project.

“This will serve to reinforce the relationships and experience we have developed through our recent involvement on the Karan project as well as our ongoing Petro Rabigh projects for Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd.

“As this project progresses, we look forward to working closely with Saudi Aramco and our contractors to further deepen our engineering and project management capability in the kingdom.”



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Dec 07

Earth at night images released

Almost 40 years to the day after the Apollo 17 crew snapped the famed “blue marble” image of Earth floating in space on Dec. 7, 1972, NASA has unveiled “black marble” video views of the planet by night.

The cloud-free pictures, taken with a high-resolution visible and infrared imager aboard a NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, capture the night lights of Earth in unprecedented detail.

The sensor can capture the equivalent of three low-light images simultaneously, giving researchers the opportunity to study Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans at night.

“It’s very high-quality data,” NOAA scientist Christopher Elvidge told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

“I rateit six times better spatial resolution.”

The so-called day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS, can distinguish the night-time glow of Earth’s atmosphere as well as a light from a single ship at sea. The resolution is far sharper than what has been available previously.

VIIRS is aboard the Suomi NPP satellite, which orbits about 500 miles (800 km) above Earth’s poles.


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Sep 08

Structural Concrete: Theory & Design-Free Download

Structural Concrete: Theory and Design

New edition helps students make the bridge from concepts to problem-solving.


The Fourth Edition of Structural Concrete: Theory and Design brings this text fully up to date while maintaining its acclaimed easy-to-follow, logical approach. Working with the text’s numerous step-by-step examples, students quickly grasp the principles and techniques of analyzing and designing reinforced and prestressed concrete elements. Moreover, the authors’ emphasis on a top quality, economical approach helps students design concrete structures and members with confidence.

Fully updated and revised, the Fourth Edition features:

* Latest coverage reflecting the ACI 318-08 code
* Seismic design chapter incorporates the latest of the International Building Code (IBC 2006)
* AASHTO method for predicting concrete creep and shrinkage
* New chapter dedicated to the design of curved beams
* SI unit examples, equivalent conversion factors from customary units to SI units, and SI unit design tables

Practical problems in each chapter enable students to apply and assess their knowledge as they advance through the text. The text’s companion Web site gives students more opportunities to apply their knowledge, with such features as MS Excel spreadsheets that offer an interactive environment for evaluating different design aspects of concrete members.

This text is an outgrowth of the two authors’ lecture notes, reflecting more than twenty-five years of both classroom teaching and industrial experience. It is structured to cover a two-course sequence on the design of reinforced concrete structures as well as provide a comprehensive up-to-date reference for practicing engineers.


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Sep 08

Association optimistic about engineering, construction sectors despite challenges

Anumber of key issues are inhibiting the South African infrastructure sector’s development and, consequently, creation of jobs, industry body Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) president Naren Bhojaram tells Engineering News.

He highlights that one such issue is the absence of acknowledgement of the involvement and value-add of professional service providers, as well as the misunderstanding of what a professional does and can contribute to the project delivery cycle.

“The value-add of a professional has been reduced to a commodity and, as such, we have problems where solutions are provided but projects are not delivered,” says Bhojaram.

He notes that, although Cesa is supportive of the amended preferential procurement regu- lations, which, among other things, link the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) scorecard to the National Treasury’s Preferen- tial Procurement Policy Framework Act, it is further seeking to engage the DTI to include consulting engineers as designated for local production and content in terms of the Local Procurement Accord signed by labour, business, civil society and government.

“More importantly, the preferential procurement regulations compel public-sector entities to use the construction sector Codes of Good Practice in the assessment of preference in the procurement process. The use of such a uniform approach will lower the cost of doing business, as it provides for reasonable certainty through a uniform approach.

“A big disappointment, however, was the exemption granted by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to certain State-owned entities to com- ply with the latest preferential procurement regulations,” Cesa points out.

“These processes that are pushed onto the private sector by government should be seen as best practice, yet there are organisations that have government as a single shareholder, and which are exempted from those best practice models for procurement,” adds Bhojaram.

Further, Read more »

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