Total not picked for Bab gas field contract

Updated 05 April 2013
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Total not picked for Bab gas field contract

PARIS: Abu Dhabi did not choose Total to develop the $ 10 billion Bab Sour gas field project in the UAE where it was competing with Royal Dutch Shell, the French group’s chief executive said.
“I read in the press that Shell is said to have been selected for the development of this acid gas project,” Christophe de Margerie said on the sidelines of an oil conference.
“If I understand well, they have offered a price that was significantly below ours. Good for them, but these prices didn’t work for us. So we didn’t get it, but it’s not a problem because at this price we couldn’t do it,” De Margerie said.
Industry sources said recently that Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) had recommended to authorities in Abu Dhabi that Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell win the project.
Total’s sidelining for the Bab project comes despite a French charm offensive which saw French President Francois Hollande fly into the UAE in January to help Total’s bid.
It could also give the Anglo-Dutch energy giant a competitive edge in talks for the 2014 renewal of the UAE’s largest onshore oil concession on which the Bab field stands.
De Margerie played down the link between the two projects, however. “They have nothing to do with each other, these are two separate issues.”
The winning bidder for the Bab project will be expected to form a joint venture with ADNOC as the majority shareholder, an ADNOC source said.ers. Republication or redistribution of content provided by Thomson Reuters is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters, except where permitted by the terms of the relevant Thomson Reuters service agreement. Neither Thomson Reuters nor its third party suppliers shall be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Thomson Reuters and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Thomson Reuters group of companies around the world.


Malaysia reviews China infrastructure plans

Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Malaysia reviews China infrastructure plans

  • Malaysia's scandal-mired former PM Najib Razak signed a string of deals for Beijing-funded projects, including a major rail link and a deep-sea port.
  • New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced a planned high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Singapore will not go ahead as he seeks to reduce the country’s huge national debt.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been a loyal partner in China’s globe-spanning infrastructure drive, but its new government is to review Beijing-backed projects, threatening key links in the much-vaunted initiative.

Kuala Lumpur’s previous regime, led by scandal-mired Najib Razak, had warm ties with China, and signed a string of deals for Beijing-funded projects, including a major rail link and a deep-sea port.

But the long-ruling coalition was unexpectedly voted out last month by an electorate alienated by allegations of corruption and rising living costs.

Critics have said that many agreements lacked transparency, fueling suspicions they were struck in exchange for help to pay off debts from the financial scandal which ultimately helped bring down Najib’s regime.

The new government, led by political heavyweight Mahathir Mohammed, has pledged to review Chinese deals seen as dubious, calling into question Malaysia’s status as one of Beijing’s most cooperative partners in its infrastructure push.

China launched its initiative to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global network of ports, roads and railways — dubbed “One Belt, One Road” —  in 2013.

Malaysia and Beijing ally Cambodia were seen as bright spots in Southeast Asia, with projects in other countries often facing problems, from land acquisition to drawn-out negotiations with governments.

“Malaysia under Najib moved quickly to approve and implement projects,” Murray Hiebert, a senior associate from think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told AFP.

Chinese foreign direct investment into Malaysia stood at just 0.8 percent of total net FDI inflows in 2008, but that figure had risen to 14.4 percent by 2016, according to a study from Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

However, Hiebert said it was “widely assumed” that Malaysia was striking quick deals with China in the hope of getting help to cover debts from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Najib and his associates were accused of stealing huge sums of public money from the investment vehicle in a massive fraud. Public disgust at the allegations — denied by Najib and 1MDB — helped topple his government.

Malaysia’s first change of government in six decades has left Najib facing a potential jail term.

New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced a planned high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Singapore will not go ahead as he seeks to reduce the country’s huge national debt.

The project was in its early stages and had not yet received any Chinese funding as part of “One Belt, One Road.” But Chinese companies were favorites to build part of the line, which would have constituted a link in a high-speed route from China’s Yunnan province to trading hub Singapore, along which Chinese goods could have been transported for export.

Work has already started in Malaysia on another line seen as part of that route, with Chinese funding — the $14-billion East Coast Rail Link, running from close to the Thai border to a port near Kuala Lumpur.

Mahathir has said that agreement is now being renegotiated.

Other Chinese-funded initiatives include a deep-sea port in Malacca, near important shipping routes, and an enormous industrial park.

It is not clear yet which projects will be amended but experts believe axing some will be positive.

Alex Holmes, Asia economist for Capital Economics, backed canceling some initiatives, citing “Malaysia’s weak fiscal position and that some of the projects are of dubious economic value.”

The Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to request for comment.

Decoder

What is the "One Belt, One Road" initiative?

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, started in 2013, has come to define the economic agenda of President Xi Jinping. It aims to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes with a network of ports, roads and railways.