China’s two big oil majors urge tax breaks for building gas storage and imports

A Sinopec worker walks past liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tanks at an LNG terminal in Tianjin. (REUTERS)
Updated 08 March 2018
0

China’s two big oil majors urge tax breaks for building gas storage and imports

BEIJING: Top officials from China’s two largest oil and gas producers have urged the government to offer tax breaks for the building of gas storage facilities and importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to help avoid another gas crunch in the winter ahead.
Sinopec Vice President Ma Yongsheng said the central government should subsidize the construction of underground gas storage, LNG tanks and other facilities.
China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) President Wang Yilin urged the government to refund value added tax on LNG imports to lower gas costs for consumers.
Members of parliament and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Communist Party’s largely ceremonial advisory body, are encouraged to submit suggestions for future legislation during the current Parliament session.
Their chances of becoming legislation are minimal, but they can form part of future laws.
The proposals from Sinopec and CNPC come as the nation looks for ways to increase storage capacity for natural gas to avoid a repeat of this past winter’s heating crisis.
Millions of households in northern China switched from using coal to natural gas for heating before this winter, leading to rocketing gas consumption as well shortages across many regions.
The fuel shortages over the last three or four months deepened China’s worries over whether it can secure enough gas and LNG supplies in the winters ahead.
CNPC’s Wang said China’s gas demand will grow 15 percent to 16 percent in 2018 and supplies will continue to be tight, according to a transcript of his speech to a parliament meeting session published in CNPC’s official newspaper.
Sinopec’s Kong Fanqun, who heads the Shengli Oil field said a lack of storage facilities also contributed to China’s gas shortages this winter, according to a transcript of his speech sent to Reuters by the Sinopec Group.
The country needs an additional 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of storage facilities by 2020 to meet its own demand, Kong said. That is five times the size of China’s current gas storage facilities.
Kong asked the government to give gas producers subsidies as well tax breaks to build and operate gas storage facilities.
Both Sinopec and CNPC officials also proposed removing resource taxes on the development of shale gas, coalbed methane, high sulfur gas and tight gas reserves.


Lack of funds hinder Saudi scale-ups

Updated 2 min 6 sec ago
0

Lack of funds hinder Saudi scale-ups

  • SMEs with proven business models that are on the verge of rapid growth often struggle due to a lack of financing options in the Kingdom
  • The Saudi government is offering entrepreneurs subsidized licenses to set up businesses as well as providing scale-ups with mentorship programs
LONDON: Small-to-medium-sized companies (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia looking to take the next step in the growth of their businesses often struggle due to a lack of funding options in the Kingdom, a report found.
Saudi Arabia has an underdeveloped private equity and venture capital market compared to other countries in the region and the banks remain wary of lending to these so-called “scale-up” businesses, according to research published on Tuesday by consultancy Strategy& and Endeavor — an entrepreneur mentorship provider based in New York.
Scale-ups are defined as SMEs with proven business models on the verge of a phase of rapid growth in revenue or staff numbers. Typically they account for 5 percent of a country’s SMEs, the report said.
Saudi Arabia was ranked “below average” on a “scale-up readiness” index compiled by the two consultancies that aim to assess how supportive the business environment is for smaller companies on the precipice of growth throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
The UAE was judged as the leading country in the region for scale-ups, according to the index.
Small scale-up firms in Saudi Arabia face a further challenge of attracting talent to work for them due to the reluctance of Saudi nationals to give up the healthy salaries and security of working for the public sector, the report said. This means these companies have to employ expensive expatriate employees.
The Kingdom is starting to improve the environment for scale-up businesses, said Mahmoud Makki, partner with Strategy&, Middle East. “The government of Saudi Arabia is pursuing reforms that aim to benefit scale-ups and catalyze the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem,” he said.
Reforms include the creation of a “one-stop-shop” portal to help entrepreneurs find out about regulations and how to launch new businesses.
The Saudi government is offering entrepreneurs subsidized licenses to set up businesses as well as providing scale-ups with mentorship programs. The Kingdom’s ministry of economy and planning is working on a new strategy called the “National Champions Program” that aims to help scale-up firms access export markets.
The research sets out recommendations for the region’s governments, advising them to help scale-ups access larger companies by subsidizing the purchase of goods from scale-ups.
Smaller businesses also need access to clear and transparent regulations and better technological infrastructure to bring down the costs of setting up.
“Focusing on scale-ups as a distinct segment with its unique needs will definitely create a more vibrant eco-system and accordingly expedite economic growth and the pace of innovation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Amr Goussous, partner with PwC ME.