22 December 2007

Plastic Pipe Opportunities in the Middle East

The Middle East is experiencing rapid growth and there are excellent opportunities for suppliers to the construction industry in the region. There are major applications of pipe in the development of new housing, business areas and industry. Water is a critical resource for the region and plastics are being applied both in new projects and renewal of existing pipelines and sewers. Polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC are the predominant thermoplastic pipe materials in use, and there is extensive application of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) pipe in industrial and large pipes.

AMI has organised a conference in Dubai from 2-4 June 2008 on Middle East Plastic Pipes. There will be extensive opportunities to look at the markets with papers from regional producers on polyolefin, PVC and GRP pipes. The pipe industry in Libya will be covered by local researchers.

The specific conditions of higher temperatures, wind and sand erosion put pressure on pipes – this has been studied by King Saud University, among others. Material suppliers will be talking about the developments in plastics to meet the demands for performance and ease of processing, including SABIC, Dow, Basell and Total.

Pipe producers with expertise in durability and applications in the Middle East are giving a range of papers on the latest pipe design and key application areas, including Amiantit, Misr El Hegaz, Georg Fischer, Agru Kunststoffttechnik, Subor Boru, Uponor, Farassan, Krah and ZamZam Plastic Industries. The latest in quality control and production will be described by KraussMaffei, Cincinnati Extrusion and SKZ.

Standards vary across the globe despite attempts at harmonisation. There will be an overview of the regional testing procedures as compared to international standards, and applied research in the region.

Middle East Plastic Pipes 2008 provides a unique forum for pipe producers and industry suppliers to network and examine the possibilities for the application of polymer piping solutions in the MENA region.

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.