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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Qatar eyes new assets in British gas sector: reports

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Sources said Qatar Investment Authority has shown interest in acquiring assets in the British gas sector. 

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, is eyeing assets at National Grid, the British utilities company, sources revealed to CNBC Arabia.

Companies competing to acquire National Grid gas assets also include global investment funds such as Australian multinational Macquarie and UK investor Equitix, the report said.

Almost five years ago, QIA was part of an association of investors that acquired about 61% of the National Grid’s gas pipeline assets, with the Qatari sovereign fund’s share amounting to 8.5% at the time.

The estimated value of the assets included in the deal is $7 billion, with media outlets previously reporting that global investment banks Goldman Sachs and Barclays were advising the National Grid on the potential sale of the stake.

Qatar, UK energy officials meet amid ‘fuel panic buying’

This comes as recent news had reported that the UK had reached a long-term agreement with Qatar to secure its gas needs, which constitute about 40% of the country’s total energy mix.

The agreement meant that the gas-rich Gulf state would enter a long-term arrangement to ensure a stable and continuous supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the UK.

Despite the news, the UK government denied that it asked for more LNG supplies from Qatar or secured extra short-term deliveries, according to SP Global.

The UK is currently suffering from a stifling energy crisis with the disruption of global energy supply chains amid soaring global energy costs and a reduction in LNG exports from Russia. This has driven a number of British suppliers out of business.

British business energy supplier CNG Energy Ltd is the latest to fall victim to the crisis, and 17 other energy suppliers in the country have gone out of business since September.

While the UK has vowed to seek net zero target by 2050, it remains heavily reliant on gas to provide heat and electricity.

A contributing factor to the drop in the number of LNG tankers coming to the UK is competition from Asia, as most LNG shipments, including those from Qatar, have been sent to the continent.

Qatar’s portfolio includes long-term fixed contracts with countries in Asia, but has fallen off the UK government’s list of main gas suppliers this year.


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