Proposals were submitted by about six banks in mid-November for the mandate to arrange a dollar-denominated bond issue for Qatar Petroleum (QP). A selection is due by the end of the month.

Banks submitting proposals are understood to include Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Lehman Brothersand Morgan Stanley. The bond is likely to be used to refinance the $1,200 million NGL-4 borrowing, taken out in 1999 and 2000, in addition to some smaller QP financings. About $700 million of the NGL-4 financing remains to be paid off.

‘A bond issue would be a good way to diversify funding sources given the loaded project pipeline in Qatar, and fixed-income instruments are particularly well suited to refinancings,’ says one international banker. ‘However, since the sponsor on NGL-4 is QP, refinancing through the bank market could also be attractive.’ The NGL-4 project covered the construction of a fourth natural gas liquids (NGL) plant at Mesaieed, primarily to feed the Qatar Chemical Company (Q-Chem) complex.

The original financing consisted of three tranches, two $400 million commercial portions and an insurance wrap of the same size.

QP has been a pioneer of innovative funding solutions. In August, two bonds were launched, worth a total of $2,250 million, to part finance the RasGas III project, a 70:30 joint venture of QP and the US’ ExxonMobil Corporation(MEED 12:8:05).