Bahrain’s Bapco completes multibillion-dollar financing

Around 88 percent of the crude that Bapco refines comes from neighboring Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Bahrain’s field. (File/Courtesy of Bapco)
Updated 19 May 2019

Bahrain’s Bapco completes multibillion-dollar financing

DUBAI: State-run Bahrain Petroleum Co. (Bapco) has completed a multibillion-dollar financing aimed at expanding its refining capacity to 380,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 267,000 bpd.
Bahrain, a small non-OPEC Gulf oil producer with around 124.6 million barrels of proven reserves, gets its oil revenue from two fields: the onshore Bahrain field, and the offshore Abu Safah field, which is shared with Saudi Arabia.
Around 88 percent of the crude that Bapco refines comes from neighboring Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Bahrain’s field.
The refinery’s expansion is projected to be completed by 2022, Bapco said in a statement on Sunday.
It did not disclose the size of the financing, but sources previously told Reuters it was over $4 billion.
Five export credit agencies and a syndicate of 21 commercial banks — regional and international — took part in the financing, which includes conventional and Islamic loans, Bapco said.
BNP Paribas, HSBC Middle East and Verus Partners advised the firm on the deal.


Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

Updated 28 May 2020

Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

  • The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved on Thursday a law to remove decades-old banking secrecy rules in order to better fight rampant corruption that has pushed the country to the edge of economic collapse.
The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers, legislators and civil servants, state-run National News Agency reported.
The restoration of stolen public money in the corruption-plagued nation has been a key demand of protesters who have been demonstrating since mid-October against Lebanon’s ruling elite, which they blame for widespread corruption and mismanagement.
The approval of the law came two months after the Cabinet approved a draft resolution to abolish the country’s banking secrecy laws, which have turned tiny Lebanon into the region’s Switzerland, attracting clients from around the Arab world who prized the anonymity its banks offered.
The new law gives powers to National Anti-corruption Commission and a Special Investigative Committee at the central bank to investigate bank account of officials, the report said.
For Thursday’s session, Lebanese lawmakers convened inside a Beirut theater so that they could observe social distancing measures imposed during the pandemic. Dozens of anti-government demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police outside as legislators met.
As lawmakers in face masks arrived at the theater, known as the UNESCO palace, paramedics sprayed them with disinfectant before they entered, one at a time.
Lebanon has been facing its worst economic crisis in decades, with unemployment figures soaring and the local currency losing more than half of its value against the dollar.
After the banking secrecy measure was passed, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri suspended the session until later in the afternoon when the legislators were to discuss a draft general amnesty law.
The amnesty issue has deeply divided parliamentary blocs, with Christian groups calling for pardoning Lebanese who fled to Israel after it ended its occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and others want the release of hundreds of Islamists held as terror suspects.
Lebanon and Israel are at a state of war and some Lebanese who fled to Israel now hold Israeli citizenship. Scores of protesters demonstrated in Beirut and southern Lebanon on Thursday against pardoning those living in Israel.