While Brazil's OAS SA is benefitting from its home country's market, the company also is finding success abroad in Latin America, mainly in Peru and Colombia, and in Africa, mainly in Angola, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana, says Evandro Daltro, OAS international corporate director.

Daltro says Brazil's government agencies and large energy firms are helping the country's contractors expand. "BNDES [the Brazilian ex-im bank] and the strong capacity of the Brazilian industry, together with the worldwide presence of Petrobras and [Brazilian mining company] Vale are the main factors to support our success in the international market," he says.

Another firm targeting the Americas, along with other select markets, is Samsung C&T. "We see good opportunities for expanding into North America and Australia as well as parts of South America and Africa," says Fredrickson. He says that while each of these areas has a very different delivery model, the Samsung approach is flexible and dynamic.

In the U.S. infrastructure sector, "all the indicators are that it's going up" says Hochtief's Stieler. For Skanska, infrastructure is providing the best U.S. prospects, says Karlström. The company should benefit from a trend for larger, more complex projects, he adds.

Many international contractors are eyeing the impact of the development of U.S. shale-gas reserves. "The technological advancements that have permitted unconventional gas deposits to be monetized in a cost-effective manner have the potential to re-calibrate the global energy market" says John Grill, CEO of Australia's WorleyParsons.

The impact of lower gas prices may shift markets worldwide, says Kenji Sato, general manager of corporate communications at Toyo Engineering Corp., Japan. Greater U.S. self-sufficiency in liquefied natural gas (LNG) may mean countries that export natural gas to the U.S., such as sub-Saharan countries, "will diversify the utilization of gas resources from LNG for export to fertilizer and petrochemicals, which will benefit us," he adds.

In response to the surging interest in LNG, Toyo is working with U.S. technology firm Velocys and Japan's Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co. to develop the first economically feasible gas-to-liquids technology for small to midsize gas resources, says Sato. A demo using the "Micro-GTL" process is being installed at a Petrobras facility in Brazil, he says.