Italian and Chinese majors vie for Pakistan’s mega LNG tender

Italian energy company Eni is among the bidders for a massive LNG tender from Pakistan. (Reuters)
Updated 20 July 2019

Italian and Chinese majors vie for Pakistan’s mega LNG tender

  • The country’s biggest supplier currently is Qatar, with which it signed a deal in 2016 for 3.75 million tons of LNG a year for 15 years

LONDON: Italian oil major Eni, China’s overseas energy unit PetroChina and two trading houses are vying to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Pakistan in a tender worth billions of dollars.
The 240-cargo 10-year tender, worth up to $6 billion according to Reuters, was issued last month and closed on Thursday.
Pakistan is expected to be a significant top-five growth driver in global LNG demand, with WoodMac estimating the country will need 25 million tons a year as domestic supplies dwindle and its economy grows.
Eni, the trading arm of Azeri state oil company SOCAR, PetroChina International Singapore, a unit of PetroChina Co. Ltd. and global trading house Trafigura have reportedly all made offers.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Tender is to buy 240 LNG cargoes for 10 years.

• Deal worth billions at current oil price.

• Tender to be awarded in August.

“The technical bids for our long-term LNG supply tender were received and opened yesterday. Evaluations are underway,” Pakistan LNG said in emailed comments to Reuters.
The tender is keenly watched due to its size and because Pakistan, gripped by an anti-corruption drive under the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, is expected to publish the lowest prices offered by the companies.
This will give a valuable insight into the opaque LNG market, which is characterized by closed bilateral trades, secret long-term supply agreements and an over-the-counter spot market.
Commercial offers are expected to be opened on Aug. 2, said a source, which is when tender issuer Pakistan LNG is likely to announce the prices.
Pakistan, like most Asian buyers, purchases LNG priced against Brent crude oil expressed as a price slope.
The country’s biggest supplier currently is Qatar, with which it signed a deal in 2016 for 3.75 million tons of LNG a year for 15 years. It also has a separate 15-year agreement with Eni.


$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

Updated 54 min 18 sec ago

$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

  • Overseas holdings in Istanbul stock exchange are at lowest in 16 years

ANKARA: Foreign capital is flooding out of Turkey in a massive vote of no confidence in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic competence.
Overseas investors have withdrawn nearly $8 billion from Turkish stocks since January, according to Central Bank statistics, reducing foreign investment in the Istanbul stock exchange from $32.3 billion to $24.4 billion.
As recently as 2013, the figure was $82 billion, and foreign investors now own less than 50 percent of stocks for the first time in 16 years.
“Foreign investment has left Turkey for several reasons, both internal and external,” Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, told Arab News.
“Externally, investors fled riskier assets like emerging markets during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those flows are returning, but investors are being much more discerning and Turkey does not seem so attractive.”
In terms of internal factors, Thin said that Turkish policymakers had made it hard for foreign investors to transact in Turkey. “This includes real money clients, not just speculative.
“By implementing ad hoc measures to try and limit speculative activity, Turkey has made it hard for real money as well. Besides these problems, Turkey’s fundamentals remain poor compared to much of the emerging markets.”
Erdogan allies claim international players are manipulating the Istanbul stock exchange through automated trading, and have demanded action to make it difficult for them to trade in Turkish assets.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Credit Suisse were banned this month from short-selling stocks for up to three months, and this year local lenders were briefly banned by the banking regulator from trading in Turkish lira with Citigroup, BNP Paribas and UBS
JPMorgan was investigated by Turkish authorities last year after the bank published a report that advised its clients to short sell the Turkish lira.
MSCI, the provider of research-based indexes and analytics, warned last month that it may relegate Turkey from emerging market status to frontier-market status because of bans on short selling and stock lending.
With the market becoming less transparent, overseas fund managers, especially with short-term portfolios, are unenthusiastic about the Turkish market and are becoming more concerned about any forthcoming introduction of other liquidity restrictions.
The exodus of foreign capital is likely to undermine Turkey’s drive for economic growth, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when employment and investment levels have gone down, with the Turkish lira facing serious volatility.