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Qatar to launch Islamic banking giant focused on energy

The world’s biggest Islamic bank, which is set to specialize in the energy sector, will appear in Qatar in the fourth quarter of the current year, according to executives launching the project.

With targeted capital of around $10 billion, the new lender will be focused on financing both domestic and global energy-related projects, Mohammed al-Marri, chairman of Energy Bank’s media committee, told journalists at an Islamic finance conference in Doha. Energy Bank, which is projected to be the largest Islamic energy-focused lender in the world, will target both private and government-led energy projects, according to the top official.

“With paid-up capital of $2.5 billion, the establishment of Energy Bank in Qatar comes in light of the incredible growth projected for Qatar’s energy sector,” Marri said.

The executive declined to provide details of how or when the new lender would raise its capital to the $10 billion target, stressing that the bank would provide finance not just for projects in the oil and gas sector, but for petrochemical and renewable energy enterprises as well. Marri didn’t specify how much would be allocated for lending outside the country.

Energy Bank will be opened under the umbrella of Qatar Financial Center, according to its chairman, Khaled Al Suwaidi. In late 2018, Qatar, the world’s second largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, announced that it was quitting the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), putting an end to its nearly 60-year membership of the world’s biggest oil cartel.

The step was reportedly driven by the country’s broader plans to concentrate on its natural gas sector. Later, Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced that the country’s state-run oil giant Qatar Petroleum would invest around $20 billion in various projects in the US over the next five years.—Agencies

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