Arab Oil Producers Say Investments Unaffected by Turmoil

Arab Petroleum Investments Corp., the investment banking arm of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries known as Apicorp, said recent turmoil in the region won’t affect its plans to double outlays by 2014.

“We are confident that Apicorp will meet its target of doubling its direct investment portfolio by the end of its 2010 to 2014 five-year plan,” Ahmad Hamad al-Nuaimi, Chief Executive officer of the Dammam, Saudi Arabia-based company, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The group aims to have an investment portfolio of about $700 million by 2014, a company official said in a telephone interview today, declining to be named in line with policy. That compares with $339 million in 2009 and $366 million in 2010, he said. The investment bank negotiated transactions valued at $3.3 billion in the oil and gas industry throughout the Middle East and the North African region in 2010, al-Nuaimi said.

Apicorp’s five-year plan will focus on expanding its equity portfolio with so-called midstream projects, according to al-Nuaimi. “We are investigating opportunities in shipping, petroleum tank farms, refining and related infrastructure investments,” he said.

Unrest has spread throughout the Middle East and toppled or threatened regimes in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The ongoing political turmoil blurred the energy investment climate in the Arab petroleum-producing countries, Apicorp said last month in its investment outlook report.

“We still own stakes in projects in Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Egypt,” the official said. “The turmoil in those countries did not affect our investment decision on them.”

The total number of direct equity investments in Apicorp’s portfolio fell to 13 in 2010 from 14 in 2009 after it sold its 12 percent stake in Egypt-based Alexandria Carbon Black Co. to the Aditya Birla Group.

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