August 27, 2007 (Bloomberg) – DOHA BANK plans to start the Arabian Gulf’s first carbon-credits exchange in 2009 to tap an emerging market for emissions trading.
“The Gulf is the primary source of the oil and gas the world’s using,” Doha Bank deputy CEO R Seetharaman said in an interview in Dubai. “Emissions trading is not only central to our corporate social responsibility, it’s good business too.”
Doha Bank is working with the San Francisco, California-based RainTrust Foundation on the Qatar exchange project and has secured expressions of interest from Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group, according to Seetharaman.
Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the UN started managing the Clean Development Mechanism, which encourages developing nations to cut production of so-called greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming by earning carbon credits that can be bought and traded by companies in industrialised nations. The global emissions trading market more than doubled to $30bn last year, according to Point Carbon, a Norway-based research firm.
The Chicago Climate Exchange on August 23 said it would start offering so-called certified emission reduction futures contracts, or CERs, because they’re becoming the international currency in global markets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Gulf countries aren’t required to generate carbon credits under Kyoto but there are financial incentives for them to do so,” Souheil Abboud, regional manager for Dublin-based emissions trader EcoSecurities Group Plc, said in a phone interview from Dubai.
“We see huge potential for Gulf companies to reduce their emissions, generating a lot of credits to sell, but it’s early days yet.”
EcoSecurities opened a Middle East office in Dubai in April and has helped state-run Qatar Petroleum (QP) register its Al Shaheen field project under the Clean Development Mechanism, according to Abboud.
In June the Irish company said it will join the state-run Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre business park to help turn Dubai into a regional centre for carbon emissions trading.
Last month Mubadala Development, an investment company owned by Abu Dhabi’s government, said its Masdar unit plans to earn the United Arab Emirates’ first tradable carbon credits by helping Dubai Aluminium cut production of pollutants known as perfluorocarbons.
Doha Bank will invest $27mn in its electronic Qatari exchange, and has so far spent $7mn on a plot of land in the $2.6bn Energy City business park Qatar is building to lure international oil and gas companies to the emirate, according to Seetharaman.
The plot adjoins that of International Mercantile Exchange Holdings, an energy derivatives bourse under formation by investors, including Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House, Kuwait Investment and Abu Dhabi Investment House that’s due to open by the end of this year.
Qatar owns the world’s largest natural gas field and is the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporter after overtaking Indonesia in 2006. Doha Bank will complete the business plan for its for-profit exchange in September 2008, Seetharaman said.