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Centrica Partners Qatargas and Petroleum

British Qatari Gas Business

Oil PumpsThey may not be able to host a summer World Cup but the Qataris sure can do energy.

As the purveyor of an energy driven economy, Qatar have taken a key role in LNG and now ship their production to all corners of the globe and are becoming increasingly important players in the ‘global complex’ especially with such a mobile raw product.

For some time now, lie an oil rich state buying up an ailing football club with Champions League glory on its mind, Qatar has been circling major investments in the UK energy market, not least Centrica, owner of British Gas Business.

Indeed Centrica has not only agreed a £4.4bn LNG contract with Qatargas but they have also entered into partnerships with Qatar Petroleum International to tackle development projects worldwide.

Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy minister said:

“We (Qatar and Centrica) invested together in Canada and we are still discussing other potential investment, be it here in the UK and outside. We are capitalising on the success and positive commonalities between the two and we were just talking about a few areas of future co-operation.”

That simple précis hasn’t stemmed the flow of takeover rumours however, with the increasingly ailing Centrica looking a prime target for acquisition at a time when it is being described as a “rudderless” ship with a “confused strategy”.

Another state derived Qatari investment vehicle, Nebras, was created by Qatar Petroleum International, the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Electricity and Water Co with a vision to unearth and capitalise on overseas energy investments.

The market and governmental sentiment for a potential Qatari takeover was positive with Michael Fallon, the energy minister welcoming:

“The broad and growing Qatar-UK relationship. I hope that Qatar will continue to invest in the UK in all sectors and in all areas”

Whilst analysts spoke of Centrica’s ongoing haemorrhaging of board level executives as making them:

“More vulnerable to a takeover approach”.

Whilst they underlined that the strength of the pre-existing relationship was such that they said:

“Given the strengthening relationship between Centrica and Qatar… we see merit in the speculation that Qatar could be interested in either taking over Centrica or else at least building a strategic cornerstone holding”

British Gas Business, one of the last British owned Big 6 energy suppliers alongside Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) looks like a genuine takeover target right now. With rumours circulating that SSE are actively ‘fattening’ up their portfolio of customers for a disposal soon the very real prospect of our major energy suppliers being entirely foreign owned and controlled at a time of a failing network, huge supply and generation challenges and a toxic climate of profiteering claims.

Energy security indeed.

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