Abu Dhabi National Oil Company inks US$10b deal, keeps tight control of costs amid market downturn

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group CEO poses during an interview at the Panorama Digital Command Centre, at the ADNOC headquarters in Abu Dhabi, UAE December 10, 2019. — Reuters pic
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group CEO poses during an interview at the Panorama Digital Command Centre, at the ADNOC headquarters in Abu Dhabi, UAE December 10, 2019. — Reuters pic

DUBAI, June 23 — Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said today it had signed a US$10 billion (RM43 billion) gas infrastructure deal with a consortium of investors, while its chief executive told Reuters the company would keep a tight lid on costs amid low oil prices.

The mega pipeline deal is the world’s single largest energy infrastructure investment this year, CEO Sultan al-Jaber said in a phone interview.

A consortium of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Brookfield Asset Management, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, NH Investment & Securities and Italy’s Snam will invest in select ADNOC gas pipeline assets valued at US$20.7 billion, ADNOC said.

The venture will bring US$10.1 billion in foreign direct investment to Abu Dhabi, where real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract by 7.5 per cent this year, according to S&P Global Ratings.

The group of investors will acquire a 49 per cent stake in newly formed subsidiary ADNOC Gas Pipeline Assets, while ADNOC will hold the remaining 51 per cent.

The deal comes as the world’s top oil and gas companies, including ADNOC, scramble to control costs in response to the coronavirus crisis which has hammered oil demand and prices.

A transformation strategy embarked on four years ago has helped ADNOC adapt more quickly to market changes, and it would continue to work with strategic investors to attract foreign capital and maximise value from its resources, al-Jaber said.

“In today’s low price environment we must focus on the things we know we can control and that is of course our cost, we need to remain agile,” he said.

Under the gas infrastructure deal, ADNOC will lease its ownership of the pipeline assets to ADNOC Gas Pipelines for 20 years in return for a volume-based tariff. The new subsidiary will distribute 100 per cent of free cash to the investors as quarterly dividends, ADNOC said.

Al-Jaber said the Opec+ pact to cut oil supply has boosted confidence and there have been signs of a tighter oil market in recent weeks, with demand recovering as global economies slowly reopen. That trend is expected to continue for the rest of the year, he added. — Reuters

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