Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the sponsors, Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil, on the successful closing of its US$10.3 billion Barzan Gas Project, the largest single financing project ever undertaken in Qatar, to supply the country's growing domestic energy demands.
"This is the conclusion of a complex transaction that required significant project management and successful cooperation over many months and showcases our oil and gas project financing expertise." said Philip Stopford, head of White & Case's WEMEA Project and Infrastructure Finance Group and who, with partner Mark Castillo-Bernaus, lead the Firm's team of 11 lawyers from three offices working on the deal. "The abundance of natural resources, combined with the region's sustained strong economic growth, makes Qatar an attractive prospect for investors."
On completion, the Barzan Gas Project will consist of onshore and offshore gas-processing facilities, developing natural gas from the country's North Field – estimated to represent 14 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves – to supply existing and new power generation as well as water desalination plants in Qatar.
The initial gas production line, Train 1, is expected to be completed in 2014, with a second line, Train 2, scheduled for completion in 2015. Barzan will eventually produce 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas a day. The project is structured to permit expansion for a maximum of six trains.
The team working on the Barzan project from White & Case was led by London-based partner Philip Stopford, working with partners Mark Castillo-Bernaus (London), Shibeer Ahmed (Abu Dhabi), Troy Alexander (New York) Kevin Keogh (New York) and recently promoted partner Paul Harrison (London), and associates Sajjad Khoshroo (London), Adrian Lawrence (Doha), Anastacia Kharitonova (London), Caroline Montier (London), Alan MacRitchie (Doha), Sara Gamay (London), Andrzej Omietanski (London), Ahu Yalgin (London) and Anshu Pasricha (New York).
The White & Case Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance team is a leader in oil and gas projects in both emerging and established markets. The Firm was awarded 'Infrastructure/Energy Team of the Year' at The Lawyer Awards 2011 in recognition of its work on the ground breaking Nord Stream project.
Closing last month, just before the financial completion of the Barzan Gas Project, was a sovereign bond offering from the State of Qatar (SOQ) (which closed on December 5, 2011).
White & Case advised SOQ on the biggest deal of its kind in the Gulf region in 2011, a US$5 billion sovereign bond offering, including five, 10 and 30 year tranches. The proceeds of the offering will be used by SOQ to fund various infrastructure projects in Qatar, to fund the continued growth of Qatar's hydrocarbon sector and to provide funding for State owned entities.
"Not only is the size of this bond issuance notable, the milestone is even more significant given existing volatile markets," said Ian Clark, a partner in the Firm's Banking & Capital Markets Group based in the London office and who lead the team working with the State of Qatar. "It is a sign that the markets remain open, at least on a selective basis, for Gulf credits with compelling stories."
White & Case has extensive sovereign experience, having worked with over 60 sovereign nations over the past 30 years. Other sovereigns on whose bond offerings the Firm has acted include Belarus, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mongolia, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia and the Ukraine. In 2011, the Firm advised on three bond issues in sub-Saharan Africa including Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Senegal and most recently, the Republic of Namibia.
The Firm's team supporting the State of Qatar's bond issue was lead by London-based partner Ian Clark, working with partner Philip Stopford (London) and recently promoted partner Sean Johnson (London), and associates Meenakshi Roy (London), Adrian Lawrence (Doha), Alan MacRitchie (Doha), Laura Clegg (London).
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