Here is this week's round up of capital projects and contracts.

Over the course of the past seven days we have seen a number of new capital project and contract awards. Saipem secured USD850 million of drilling contracts; Alstom inked a USD540 million deal for a power station in Mexico; while China is set to develop nuclear power stations in Argentina and Romania.

UK ministers have given the go-ahead for the expansion of fracking operations in the country - which will allow drilling in protected areas and national parks in "exceptional circumstances".

The British government will invite firms to bid for onshore exploration licences for the first time in six years. Competition to explore the country's newfound shale reserves is likely to be high, despite fierce protests from environmental campaigners.

Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem has been awarded new drilling contracts in Indonesia, Nigeria, the Arabian Gulf and Latin America worth approximately USD850 million - USD540 million of which relate to offshore works.

Statoil awarded the Technip-DeepOcean PRS joint venture a new five-year frame agreement for pipeline repair system (PRS) pool services.

Technip also secured a two subsea construction projects from Maersk Oil for the Valdemar & Roar Gas Lift project as well as the Rolf Replacement Pipeline project, located on the Danish Continental Shelf, approximately 250 km offshore Esbjerg.

Technip's operating centre in Oslo will execute the project and vessels from the group's fleet will perform the offshore installation in summer 2015.

Leighton Contractors, as part of the Wellington Gateway Partnership (WGP), has closed a public private partnership agreement with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for delivery of the USD850 million Transmission Gully Motorway.

WGP will finance, design and construct the project, and then operate and maintain the 27 km motorway from 2020 for a period of 25 years.

Nordex has received a contract for the construction of a wind farm in Uruguay. Once fully operational, 20 turbines will generate 200,000 MWh of clean electricity a year in the north east of the country, around 60 km from the Brazilian border. The customer is a subsidiary of one of Italy's largest utilities.

Skanska has secured a two-year contract from integrated support services company, Carillion, to deliver the mechanical and electrical shell, core and fit-out works for 866 prime residential apartments, as part of Phase 1 of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment in London, UK. The contract is worth about USD151 million.,c9621410

A consortium of STRABAG and Heilit+Woerner has signed a EUR130 million contract for the construction of a stretch of the S7 Trasa Nwohucka expressway in eastern Kraków. Construction is scheduled to start in August/September 2014.

Keadby Wind Farm Limited has notified the UK's Planning Inspectorate to extend its existing wind farm by 10 turbines.

Alstom has been awarded contracts worth approximately USD450 million to supply a power island for Iberdrola's Monterrey III combined-cycle power plant in Pesqueria, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

The new unit will consist of one GT24 gas turbine, a steam turbine and a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG).

A proposed uranium mine in the East Pilbara, Australia, has been given conditional approval by Western Australia's environmental watchdog.

World Nuclear News reports that an agreement has been signed by the governments of Argentina and China to build a third pressurized heavy water reactor at the Atucha nuclear power plant in Argentina.

China Nuclear Power Engineering Co (CNPEC) has also signed a binding agreement with Candu Energy for the construction of two more reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania.

Costain has been appointed by oil and gas contractor Perenco for EPC services for the environmental upgrade of the Dimlington gas terminal on Humberside.

DC Hidro Enerji Üretim has awarded Pöyry with the feasibility studies and final design services assignments for Doganli 1, Doganli 2, Doganli 3 and Çukurca dams and hydroelectric power plants in Turkey.

The hydro projects located on the Zap River in the eastern part of Turkey, and developed by private investors in Turkey. The combined installed capacity of all four projects is around 735 MW with an annual generation of 2.246 GWH.

KBR has received a letter of award from Hyundai Heavy Industries to perform engineering design services for the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company Al-Nasr Full Field Development project, located offshore Abu Dhabi.

The Al-Nasr Package 2 facilities consist of a multi-platform super complex that includes central processing facilities, accommodation, utilities, flares, bridges and power distribution. The Al-Nasr offshore oil field is located approximately 80 miles northwest of Abu Dhabi in the Arabian Gulf.

AME Info reports that major global energy players have placed bids for stakes in Abu Dhabi's onshore oil fields, capable of producing 1.6 million barrels per day.

OAO Gazprom reported that Turkey has approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the South Stream gas pipeline in the Black Sea. The first pipe-laying vessel is slated to enter the Turkish exclusive economic zone in first-quarter 2015. The pipeline's offshore section will have four strings, each more than 930 km long.

Maritime Executive reports that Northern Petroleum has been awarded two permits in Italy. One permit, Cascina Alberto, is onshore in the Po Valley and the other, C.R149.NP, is offshore in the Sicily Channel adjacent to the Northern Petroleum operated permit C.R146.NP.

Engineering design firm AECOM Technology Corporation has acquired Hunt Construction Group, significantly adding to AECOM's construction services business.

Rio Tinto will divest Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, which comprises the Benga coal mine and other projects in the Tete province of Mozambique, to International Coal Ventures Private Limited (ICVL) for USD50 million.

ConocoPhillips has completed the sale of its Nigerian upstream business to Oando Energy Resources for a price of USD1.5 billion.