Abu Dhabi, armed with oil wealth and a $500 billion spending plan, is providing the escape route for engineers as their bets on Dubai’s construction boom turn sour. AAbu Dhabi, where 1 million people sit atop 8 percent of the world’s oil reserves, is pumping money into developing tourist attractions and manufacturing to break away from its dependence on crude. Oil prices have fallen to below $50 a barrel from $147 in July. The spending project, titled “Plan Abu Dhabi 2030,” includes the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park and museum ventures with the Louvre and Guggenheim.
As Abu Dhabi plans and invests, the economic slump has taken the shine off of Dubai, which borrowed $80 billion to finance its transformation through projects such as the world’s tallest building, the biggest hotel and man made palm-tree shaped islands packed with luxury homes for bankers and professional athletes. Dubai’s focus on financial services, luxury homes and mass tourism attracted skyscraper designers and road-network planners. It also made the emirate dependent on industries that have been hit hard by the economic slump.