Here is a round up of this week's developments in the engineering, procurement and construction sector.

Over the last seven days we have seen the Government of Guinea and a consortium led by Rio Tinto team-up to develop Africa's largest-ever combined iron ore and infrastructure project, a venture that has the potential to double the country's GDP.

Elsewhere, General Electric has extend the closing of its proposed USD17 billion takeover of Alstom until the end of June, BP and Rosneft have joined forces to develop energy resources in the Domaik region of Russia, and Alstom has been tasked with the modernisation of two hydropower plants in Switzerland.

The Government of Guinea and its partners, Rio Tinto, Chinalco and the IFC, signed an investment framework for blocks 3 and 4 of the Simandou project, which will be the largest combined iron ore and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa.

The signing marks a significant milestone and provides the legal and commercial foundation for the project, said project leader Rio Tinto.

The parties are working together to assemble a consortium of investors who will finance, build and own the multi-user 650km railway and deep-water port infrastructure.

When fully operational, the project has the potential to double the country's current GDP, said Rio Tinto. The project will create significant employment and, at full capacity, will stimulate an estimated 45,000 jobs throughout the economy. New and upgraded roads and the development of fibre and wireless communications will underpin indirect economic development for communities along the infrastructure route, explained Rio Tinto.

In West Africa, nuclear energy provider Areva has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the state of Niger to extend the uranium mining contracts held by the companies SOMAÏR and COMINAK.

Under the agreement AREVA will provide its financial support for local development and infrastructure projects including: funding for the Tahoua-Arlit route amounting to EUR90 million (USD122.5 million); the construction of a EUR10 million (USD13.62 million) building house the mining companies, and implement measures to accelerate the development of the Irhazer valley worth EUR17 million (USD23.15 million).

Alstom has been awarded two contracts worth a total of over EUR9 million (USD12.26 million) for the modernisation of two hydropower plants in the Canton Glarus and the Canton Valais. The upgrades will take place in 2015 and 2016.

A consortium led by has won a EUR255 million (USD306.3 million) contract to build a new 4.2 k m section of the D3 motorway in Slovakia.

Nordex will install 19 of its new N100/3300 Generation Delta turbines at the Delfzijl-Noord wind farm in the Netherlands. With a total output of 62.7 MW, the wind farm will be built 1.5 km from the town Delfzijl in the northeast of the Netherlands. It is scheduled to come online in the first quarter of 2015.[tt_news]=2510&tx_ttnews[backPid]=45&cHash=b802fabde2

In the UK, National Grid Gas has notified the Planning Inspectorate of an intended application for the River Humber Pipeline Replacement Project.

If approved, the project will see the replacement of a 42 ft (12.8 m) natural gas transmission pipeline, housed within a tunnel beneath the Humber Estuary commencing approximately 3.2 km north east of Goxhill, North Lincolnshire, terminating approximately 1.6 km south east of Paull, East Riding of Yorkshire.

Balfour Beatty has been contracted to deliver up to GBP180 million (USD301 million) of infrastructure works for Heathrow Airport Limited. Over the next three years the company will work together with Heathrow to maintain and upgrade Terminals 1, 2 and 4.

Balfour Beatty has also been awarded a USD131 million contract by the City of Charlotte, North Carolina to build the track and systems components for the new Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) LYNX Blue Line Extension. This is in addition to the USD106 million civil contract won in February for the Blue Line Capacity Expansion Project.

Aker Solutions has secured a framework agreement to provide engineering, modifications and maintenance services for BP-operated oil and gas fields offshore Norway.

The contract will run for two years and is valued at maximum NOK1.8 billion (USD302 million), with options to extend the work by as many as four years.

KBR Inc has been awarded a contract by Maersk Oil for topsides front end engineering and design (FEED) for the Culzean Project in the North Sea.

USA based AM Agrigen has chosen a site in St Charles Parish, Louisiana, to develop a USD1.2 billion fertiliser plant. Feasibility studies are underway and a final investment decision is expected in the first quarter of 2015, reports

Hatch has been chosen by Solel Boneh Guatemala (SBG) as the design-build contractor for the 25.5 MW Oxec hydroelectric project in Guatemala. Hatch will develop the detailed design (FEL4) of the civil works and provide construction support for the project.

Rosneft and BP Exploration Operating Company Limited have signed a Heads of Agreement on Domanik formations.

The agreement provides for the implementation of a joint pilot project by Rosneft and BP relating to the Domanik formations and, in the event of success, the possible development of unconventional Domanik resources in the Volga-Urals region. The joint venture company (Rosneft 51 percent, BP 49 percent) will be incorporated in Russia.

A Foster Wheeler AG subsidiary has been won a contract from Marubeni Corporation for the engineering and material supply of a new Terrace Wall steam reformer heater, including an air preheating system, for the KazMunayGaz oil refinery located at Atyrau, Republic of Kazakhstan.

Technip has been awarded an engineering, procurement and technical assistance contract by Fengzhen Wanjie Gas Co. Ltd. for an LNG plant in Fengzhen City, Inner Mongolia Province, China. Technip's operating centers in Shanghai, China, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will execute the contract with plant start-up scheduled for the second half of 2016. has reported that the Myanmar Minister of Electric Power has granted approval to local company, Asia World, and China's Hanergy Group Holding to develop a 1,400 MW hydropower plant along the Thanlwin River.

The Upper Thanlwin hydroelectric project would allow the companies to operate the plant for up to 40 years on a build-operate-transfer basis, with 90 percent of its output being sold to China.

Ducab Aluminium will set up a USD60 million manufacturing plant in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, reports The plant will come online in 2015.

After the latest round of negotiations General Electric (GE) has agreed to extend the closing of its proposed USD17 billion takeover of Alstom from June 2 to June 23.

Furthermore, in a radio interview GE's local chief Clara Gaymard has pledged to keep the Alstom's nuclear operations based in France.

AREVA, SMART ENERGIES through its subsidiary CETH2, and the ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) have together launched the AREVA H2-Gen joint venture, which aims to manufacture Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers. This technology shall enable hydrogen to be produced from water and electricity.

Houston headquartered Flint Hills Resources LLC, a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire PetroLogistics and its general partner PetroLogistics GP LLC for USD2.1 billion.

PetroLogistics is a major producer of propylene with operations in the vicinity of the Houston Ship Channel. The company owns and operates the only propane dehydrogenation facility in the US, and its plant is among the largest of its kind in the world.

A non-binding MOU for the USD2.5 billion sale of interest in the Leviathan licenses offshore Israel between Noble Energy Inc. and Woodside Petroleum has been terminated, reports Oil&Gas Journal.