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New Energy Exchange ‘IMEX’ aims to go live by end of 2007

Qatar: Wednesday, March 14 - 2007 @ 14:39

The company further announced that the regulatory framework for this unique exchange was currently being developed by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA).

Additionally, in a special reception hosted on the sidelines of the fourth Annual ‘Finance & Investment in Qatar’ conference held in London, senior officials from IMEX showcased the project and all the latest developments on this landmark trading platform to figureheads from the global financial and energy industries, especially those from the United Kingdom and the State of Qatar.

Presided over by His Excellency Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the Second Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Energy & Industry of Qatar and His Excellency Jabr Bin Yousef Al Thani, Office Director of the First Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs, the reception was also attended by Mr. Esam Janahi, the Chairman of IMEX, senior British government officials, senior IMEX officials, as well as representatives of Hess Energy Trading Company, Clifford Chance and QFCRA.

Geographically located in the State of Qatar, IMEX has Hess Energy Trading Company (HETCO), a leading worldwide energy trading company, as its principal consultant, while Clifford Chance LLP – the largest law firm in the world – are acting as legal consultants. The trading platform aims to become a centre for energy swaps, futures and options trading. Serving both international and regional participants, IMEX has been designed to attract a wide range of investors by launching new contracts, Sharia’a compliant products and mini-contracts pending regulatory approval. Furthermore, it aims at increasing the degree of price transparency and pricing autonomy in the region that is the world’s principal supplier of hydrocarbon.

Commenting on the business rationale for IMEX, Mr. Esam Janahi, Chairman of International Mercantile Exchange Holdings L.L.C, said: “Much of the world’s hydrocarbon pricing mechanisms are based in the major consuming centres of the Atlantic Basin and the Far East. And at the moment, the world’s energy futures markets are dominated by two exchanges, both in the West. However, with the Middle East’s leading position in the space of proven energy reserves, now is the time for the Middle East to become an independent region for price discovery. What makes this exchange unique are its plans to launch new LNG contracts, Sharia’a compliant products and mini-contracts, provided the necessary governmental and regulatory approvals are obtained.”

The Middle East is uniquely positioned to straddle the time zones and the changing demand and supply balance between the western markets and the rapidly growing markets of Asia. The region is considered to be the hub of the world’s supply of key hydrocarbons and has the largest proven reserve base of petroleum and natural gas in the world. As the largest supplier of crude oil to world markets, the region will also soon be the largest source of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). As new export refineries are built, the region will also be the largest incremental supplier of petroleum products worldwide by 2010. The Middle East region is also one of the fastest growing consumer areas in the world.

IMEX will be based at the Qatar Financial Center in Doha and is expected to be moving to the Energy City in Qatar in 2009 to form the cornerstone of Energy City Qatar (ECQ), a new US $2.6 billion energy business district that is being developed in Doha, due for completion by 2012. IMEX aims to be a magnet and trading hub for international and national oil companies. Furthermore, the creation of Energy City Qatar as a centre for regional energy excellence gives IMEX a unique opportunity to take a lead in the region’s trading development. In the competitive world of commodity exchanges, the success of IMEX will be driven by innovative trading propositions supported by a foundation of world-class strategic partnerships in technology and marketing.

Commenting on the regulatory framework for IMEX, Mr. Phillip Thorpe, Chairman of QFCRA, said: “We have been working closely with IMEX and its advisors to develop a world class regulatory environment for exchanges seeking to establish in the QFC. We all recognise that global market users will settle for nothing less than a fair and efficient trading environment, reflecting international best practises and overseen by a properly constituted regulator with the appropriate powers and abilities. The QFCRA will ensure that no exchange will be authorised to operate in the QFC unless it can achieve and maintain the required standards.”

Commenting on the contracts that would be traded on IMEX designed to give it a leading edge, Mr. Jon O’Neill, Vice President of HETCO (UK), said: “The planned flagship contract for IMEX will be an innovative LNG contract which will be the first of its kind in the energy exchange world. The Middle East’s dominance in the global LNG market is starting to have profound pricing impacts in end-user markets and the nascent spot LNG arbitrage market is anticipated to grow quickly in the coming years. IMEX’s LNG project contract will provide a unique platform to manage gas risk and further catalyse the development of the spot LNG market. IMEX aims also at being a platform for other innovative trading contracts that are currently under development, some of which will be aimed at Islamic investors.”

The State of Qatar alone, where IMEX is located, posses an estimated 15.2 billion barrels in petroleum reserves, the world’s third largest reserves of natural gas at 14.9 per cent and has already emerged as the world’s leading producer of LNG. Collectively, the Middle East boasts of 60 per cent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and 40 per cent of the natural gas reserves.

The IMEX platform is designed to offer world class connectivity to global institutions and will enable them to trade remotely in a highly secure environment. Furthermore, the platform itself is highly robust and its architecture is equipped to support all future product innovations and contracts.

Going forward, IMEX has aggressive expansion plans and aims at emerging as amongst the world’s leading energy trading platforms. Furthermore, according to a senior IMEX spokesperson the company is open to both organic and inorganic routes for its planned global expansion.

The establishment and operation of IMEX and the associated clearing and settlement systems are subject to requisite approvals being obtained from the QFC Regulatory Authority and QFC Authority.

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Wednesday, March 14- 2007 @ 14:39 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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