Citadel Capital, a leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa with $9.5 billion in investments under control, has set up a joint venture with Qatari investors led by QInvest to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) into Egypt starting from middle of next year.
QInvest is Qatar’s leading investment bank with business lines including investment banking, investment management, brokerage and wealth management. It is owned by Qatar Islamic Bank, as well as other institutional investors and prominent high net worth individuals from Middle East and has an authorized capital of $1 billion.
Announcing the new venture on Thursday, Citadel said it has signed a project development and shareholders’ agreement for the establishment of the JV, which would construct and own the facilities required to position a floating LNG storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to deliver natural gas to high-volume end-users in the north African country.
As per the deal, the Qatari investment group will hold a 51 per cent interest in the planned joint venture, with Citadel Capital holding the balance.
Once ready, the JV firm will import LNG, regasify it at the FSRU, transmit it through the Egyptian national natural gas grid and market the natural gas to local high-volume end-users. The planned location of the FSRU facility and the expected investment cost of the project were not announced.
Citadel said it expects the JV to enter into the Egyptian market pursuant to the licensing process for import of natural gas recently announced by the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS).
The planned joint venture has secured the technical and commercial cooperation of global industry leaders in the field, , said a Citadel official.
“We are delighted to partner with QInvest on this project, which will stand as an important pillar of Egypt’s energy security at a key moment in the nation’s development,” remarked Citadel Capital chairman and founder Ahmed Heikal.
"We believe that Egypt is in strong need of additional natural gas to feed the power generation sector and supply Egypt’s industrial base with a reliable, clean source of energy," noted Heikal.
"Citadel Capital has very strong technical skills in this sector and unrivalled knowledge of the current and planned large consumers of natural gas, thereby putting us in a unique position to market imported natural gas in Egypt," he added.
This marks Citadel Capital’s second large project in Egypt’s energy sector with Qatari investors, following this year’s successful financial close of the $3.7 billion financing package for the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) project, in which Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) is a key shareholder.
Energy is one of five core industries in which Citadel Capital invests, alongside mining, agriculture and consumer foods, transportation and logistics and cement manufacturing.-TradeArabia News Service