Even if relations with Bahrain continue to regress, Qatar should continue to attract vast quantities of foreign investment to its wealthy energy sector. The Qatar General Petroleum Corp. (QGPC) recently signed a $1 billion contract with Exxon-Mobil to develop this tiny Gulf state’s giant offshore North Field. This deal followed TotalfinaElf’s decision to invest $350 million over the next three years to expand oil production capacity at its offshore Al Khaleej concession, and Technip Italy SpA’s winning $50 million tender to modernize gas installations in Qatar.
Qatar continues to relentlessly invite multinationals to execute industrial projects aimed at exploiting its huge natural gas reserves, the world’s third largest. In the process, this country has borrowed extensively on the international market. Fortunately, a strong appetite for Qatari debt exists. Preparations are now underway for a second sovereign Eurobond, expected to be worth between $1-2 billion with a 30-year maturity. In May 1999, Qatar ventured into the international capital market for the first time and succeeded to raise $1 billion. Banks fighting for the mandate to arrange this forthcoming issue include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Warburg Dillon Read, JP Morgan, Chase Manhattan and Credit Suisse First Boston.