Middle East & Africa Report
The original mandate of state owned Oman Oil Company (OOC) was to develop energy-related assets overseas. Oil trader John Deuss was in favour for a time with the Omanis and their oil company OOC. As a result, he played a major role in developing the Caspian Pipeline Company (CPC) project. The mandate has changed, however. Now the focus is closer to home, on Sohar. By Rod Morrison
Egypt's economy, like any in the emerging markets, can take on the appearance of a roller coaster. The government's recent decision to reintroduce exchange controls is the latest in the up and down ride. Economic growth last year was just 1.6%, down from 3.3% in 2002 and a high of 6% in 1999. Gas offers a vital pportunity to stabilise the situation. By Rod Morrison.
Iran is pursuing an ambitious programme to privatise several major industries and encourage foreign investment. These are some of the stated objectives of the Law of the Third Five Year Economic Development Plan (2000-2005), which specifically allows participation by foreign persons in a variety of activities previously reserved for the state. Progress towards this goal is clearly in evidence in the downstream gas, petrochemical and power sectors, a brief overview of which follows below. This article provides an overview of activities in Iran's downstream gas, petrochemical and power sectors and highlight some of the legal issues that lenders and sponsors will need to consider when financing projects in Iran. By Michael Taylor and Laurie Pearson of Norton Rose and Babak Namazi of Atieh Associates.
The US$1.55bn financing for the Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) 5th Potline Expansion has been finalized, with the financing agreements executed in Bahrain on April 7. In an extremely capacity constrained debt market, under the spectre of conflict in the Gulf region, Alba's unique financing structure was able to efficiently tap multiple pools of capital in an expeditious manner and deliver an overall cost of financing to the borrower that was substantially less than originally predicted by the market nine months ago. By Terry Newendorp, chairman and CEO, Taylor-DeJongh.
The 13-year US$460m project financing for Bonny Gas Transport (BGT) reached full close recently, with 20 banks finally signing into the deal to fund four new LNG tankers for the shipping subsidiary of the Nigeria LNG (NLNG) gas liquefaction project on Bonny Island. Beyond just achieving funding, the deal succeeded in its aim of attracting shipping financiers into a more non-recourse structure than they are familiar with and also stretched the tenor for Nigerian risk. By Daniel O'Sullivan.
Change within the global energy market is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. The need for cleaner and more reliable energy is a key-driving factor in this. And renewable sources are seen by many as the answer to eliminating greenhouse gases and other noxious pollutants. However, the costs involved in transforming energy infrastructure to accommodate renewable-only generation would be astronomical and so this noble idea is, for the time being, unobtainable. Instead, an increasing number of firms are beginning to harness technology that reduces emissions from old-fashioned fossil fuels. One market leader in this area is the fifth largest South African company - the multinational Sasol, which is building a whole new sector - gas to liquids (GTL). And project finance is playing a major role in its plans. By Michael Dunning.
Angola's state-owned oil and gas company Sonangol has been supposedly brewing-up a slew of large-scale hydrocarbon projects for some time, but definite movement is now coming across at least two of these schemes. The recent end of the civil war has opened a new window for long-term external financing, as various export credit agencies (ECAs) and development funding institutions (DFIs) scramble to get the previously-off-limits country back on cover. By Daniel O'Sullivan.