The National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) sealed an agreement with Norwegian shipping major, Skaugen and Islamic investment bank, Capital Management House to foray into the booming petrochemical and liquefied natural gas shipping domain.
NOGA with its partners would carry out purchase and rental of ships to transport petrochemicals and liquefied natural gas from various production hubs in the Middle East to South East Asia, particularly China.
As per the agreement, NOGA will have a 35 per cent stake in Skaugen’s Middle East arm, Skaugen Gulf Petrochem. The latter holds 35pc stake and Capital Management House 30pc.
Oil and Gas Affairs Minister, Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, who signed the agreement with Skaugen and Capital Management House Chairman Khalid Abdulla Al Bassam said the project was in line with the strategy to increase NOGA investments and diversify income sources making maximum use of available investment opportunities.
“Entering into partnerships with international oil companies and those involved in supply and transportation of oil and petrochemicals with advanced technologies will maximise the return on investment and stimulate the Kingdom’s economy and create jobs for citizens.”
He said the foray into maritime transport would complement the efforts of the Economic Development Board to stimulate the logistics and transport sector, which was one of the six sectors it was working to attract investment and foreign capital.
Dr. Mirza said NOGA’s role in bolstering oil and gas supply to meet the growing demand for energy was reflected in a series of joint venture agreements and projects involving Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), Bahrain National Gas Company (Banagas), BAFCO, Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC), Tatweer and Skaugen Gulf Peetrochem.
“We have now added a new company to the oil companies under the umbrella of NOGA.”
Skaugen listed on the Oslo stock market offers shipping services for crude oil and gas petrochemical and liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas besides being a shipbuilding specialist.
“The company enjoys excellent reputation due to its high growth and profitability. Skaugen will be largely responsible for the transfer of products from the Middle East to China. It should be noted that, since the year 2006, China is witnessing a rapid increase in the import of ethylene and its primary source from the Middle East, making it a major industrial centre for petrochemicals.”
Oslo was global hub of shipping companies, anchored by such powerhouses as Wilhelmsen, Höegh and BW Gas, and filled out by niche leaders like IM Skaugen, Tschudi Shipping, Klaveness, Western Bulk and Fred Olsen. Today, Norwegian shipping companies control five per cent of the world’s merchant fleet, and growth is set to speed up again with the Norwegian government’s recent ratification of a tax regime matching that of the European Union.