Qatar sends Saleh al-Sada to Petrotech

Vol 14, PW 7 (23 Sep 10) People & Policy

Three Indian companies, possibly more, will be lobbying hard for private meetings with Qatari minister of state for energy and industrial affairs Dr.

Mohamad Saleh al-Sada when he’s in India next month. PETROWATCH learns the Qatar government wants the Manchester University PhD and ex-RasGas managing director - seen as a ‘Rising Star’ in Doha - to be its representative for both the international renewable energy conference in Greater Noida from October 27-29, and the bi-annual oil and gas Petrotech conference which follows from October 31 to November 3.

“NTPC’s discussions with the Qataris have reached a ‘critical mass’,” reports a source. “Al-Sada’s visit will give them a push.

” Three weeks ago NTPC signed Confidentiality Agreements with Qatar Petroleum International and Qatar Electricity & Water Company, as it tries to persuade the Middle Eastern sheikhdom to invest in the 1050-MW expansion of the 350-MW Kayamkulam power station in Kerala and the 2100-MW expansion of the 2050-MW former Enron-operated Ratnagiri power station at Dabhol. “In earlier talks the Qataris said gas supply should be de-linked from the investment aspect of the negotiation,” we hear.

“But now they want a link, and are saying: ‘we won’t make any investment unless you buy our gas’.” NTPC’s progress is the culmination of eight months of talks that will confound sceptics who say any idea Qatar will invest in Indian infrastructure is best left to the realms of fantasy.

Yet far from going nowhere, the exchange of confidential financial data has already begun, say sources. “Qatar wants evidence of the kind of returns NTPC makes on its investments,” we hear.

“NTPC is telling Qatar it makes 13% to 14% return and where can you get such a rate elsewhere.” Qatar, however, is concerned about electricity tariff reviews carried out by the Indian government every five years, and how this will affect any proposed investment.