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Gulf energy companies record largest debt in 25 years

Gulf energy companies

The Gulf energy companies recorded their largest debt in 25 years during 2021, Bloomberg Agency said.

Bloomberg said that Gulf energy companies borrowed $30.5 billion during 2021.

The government-owned Qatar Energy Company led the Gulf energy companies in debt after it issued bonds worth $12.5 billion, Bloomberg said.

Gulf energy companies

With its bonds, Qatar Energy aimed to increase the financing of its liquefied gas projects and strengthen its position as the largest exporter of liquefied gas in the world.

In the UAE, energy companies raised $7.7 billion in new debt, the highest level for the country in four years.

Saudi Aramco, which dominated the debt market for regional energy companies over the past two years, was the third largest borrower during 2021, with debts amounting to $6.5 billion.

Gulf energy companies also sought to sell off some of its energy assets in a series of moves that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

The US agency said that Gulf energy companies sought to increase debt, while outweighing the impact of the pandemic on the oil market.

Oil decline

Energy companies also sought to raise more debt while weathering the impact of the pandemic on the oil market, Bloomberg quoted Carole Nakhle, chief executive officer of consultant Crystol Energy, as saying.

“They were already struggling from the repercussions of the collapse in prices in 2014 only to be hit by this triple whammy of low oil prices, coronavirus and decline in volumes,” she said.

After months of decline, crude prices achieved a significant increase during the second half of the year with the increase in vaccination campaigns. They regressed during the last month due to the new Omicron variant.

Fitch

In a related context, Fitch, the credit rating agency, expected  the continuation of the rise in the debts of Gulf government companies in the medium term.

Fitch’s forecast comes despite the rise in oil prices, which supports revenues during the current year.

The partial recovery from the pandemic and the rise in crude prices will reduce the debt ratio of Gulf government companies, Fitch expected. But it stressed that these percentages will remain higher than they were before the pandemic.

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