CAIRO: Heeding warnings from Egypt’s petroleum minister about delaying investments in the energy sector, a panel at InterGas discussed the challenging financial landscape this week.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, a session titled “Financing of the Hydrocarbon Sector; Evolving Structures and New Sources of Liquidity, gave experts a chance to discuss the effects of the global credit crunch on the industry as well as government policies to promote investment.
Peter J. Goodall the managing director, head of natural resources, infrastructure and power at Calyon (Crédit Agricole corporate and investment banking arm), gave a broad vision of the global scene.
The “primary driver of financial strategies today [is] capacity, he said.
Highlighting the need to be flexible and adapt to changing market forces, he added that “strategies will evolve, so [bankers should be] prepared.
As for underwriting, Goodall said financiers should “look for flexibility in structure and alternative funding sources.
While sounding a note of optimism about the way the world’s financial market is heading, he was quick to point out that “it’s difficult to predict who will do what.
Before taking his current position in May 2008, Goodall was in charge of Calyon’s Paris-based project finance sectors in Europe.
During the same session, Ignacio de Calonje, investment officer at the International Finance Corporation’s Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemical Department, gave a presentation about financing oil and gas projects in emerging markets.
In his presentation, he said that bankers and forecasters remain “cautious about “future oil prices.
He also noted that “fund-raising for non-producing junior explorers is difficult.
Generally, financing is deeply affected by the credit crunch characterizing the global economic crisis, but Calonje was cautiously optimistic.
Referring to Jean Claude Trichet, president of the European Investment Bank, Calonje described the current economic environment by saying: “as far as growth is concerned, we’re around the inflection point in the cycle, that’s the sentiment.
He also highlighted a report that said “France, Italy and the United Kingdom are showing tentative signs of, at least, a pause in the economic slowdown.[in] China, signs of a pause have also emerged.