Credit FAQ: Closing The Strait of Hormuz: The Risks For Corporate And Infrastructure Issuers

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1 February 15, 2012 Credit FAQ: Closing The Strait of Hormuz: The Risks For Corporate And Infrastructure Issuers Primary Credit Analysts: Karim Nassif, Dubai +971 (0) ; Kai Stukenbrock, Frankfurt (49) ; Secondary Contacts: Izabela Listowska, Frankfurt (49) ; Karl Nietvelt, Paris (33) ; Simon Redmond, London (44) ; Tommy Trask, Dubai (971) ; Thomas Watters, New York (1) ; Michael Wilkins, London (44) ; Kevin Willis, Dubai ; Table Of Contents Frequently Asked Questions Related Criteria And Research 1

2 Credit FAQ: Closing The Strait of Hormuz: The Risks For Corporate And Infrastructure Issuers (Editor's Note: This article, the original version of which was issued on Feb. 13, 2012, has been republished to clarify our views on the oil and gas sector, including downstream activities. A corrected version follows.) Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated following the recent decision by the EU to impose an oil embargo, from July 1, 2012, as part of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. In such an uncertain environment, geopolitical risk--already a major rating factor for issuers in the Gulf region--can assume greater importance. In light of the recent rise in rhetoric from Iran surrounding a potential closure of the Strait of Hormuz in response to increased sanctions from the U.S. and EU, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services outlines its base assumptions for rated corporate and infrastructure ratings in the region. As part of this FAQ, we also examine the impact of a prolonged blockage of the Strait. Frequently Asked Questions What are Standard & Poor's base assumptions with regard to the actions of Iran in the Strait of Hormuz following the increased sanctions from the U.S. and EU? Our base assumption is the status quo. Nevertheless, the likelihood of geopolitical risk materializing has risen noticeably. In the absence of a diplomatic solution, we believe Iran could respond to the latest wave of sanctions and international pressure through low-level provocation, which could materially disrupt shipping routes. For example, Iranian authorities could slow shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and disrupt the timely supply of oil from the Gulf by imposing tanker inspections, boarding merchant ships, and otherwise obstructing shipping routes in its territorial waters. (See related article "The Impact Of Rising Gulf Tensions On Sovereigns In The Middle East," published Feb. 13, 2012, on RatingsDirect on The Global Credit Portal.) Would such disruption impact the global economy? Various sources estimate that 20% of the world's oil production is shipped through the Strait, and nearly 40% of the world's seaborne oil. Aside from increasing the cost of shipping insurance and causing selective delays in oil deliveries, low-level antagonism by Iran would in our opinion likely cause global oil prices to remain elevated, reflecting the increased geopolitical risk. That said, further upward pressure on oil prices, compared with our base assumptions, could be partially offset by increased oil production from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, or alternative transport routes (the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline [ADCOP], for example). The unlikely event of a severe disruption of oil supplies from the Gulf could ultimately affect the fragile global economic recovery, in our view--especially if it were to continue over several months. (See related article "Tension in the Gulf: How An Oil Shock Could Threaten Global Economic Growth," published Feb. 13, 2012.) How important is the Strait of Hormuz to Standard & Poor's portfolio of rated corporate and infrastructure issuers in the Gulf region? The Strait of Hormuz is used as a main transportation route by corporate issuers based in Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia that operate in the oil and gas upstream and downstream Standard & Poors RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal February 15,

3 activities and commodity sectors. As a consequence, oil and gas, polymer, fertilizer, and aluminum exports pass through the Strait, along with imports of raw materials such as iron ore, bauxite, and copper. The Strait is also an important conduit for the import of soft commodities (food supplies). Which rated corporate and infrastructure issuers does Standard & Poor's consider are most exposed to trade disruption through the Strait? The most exposed issuers, in our view, operate in the following industry sectors: Infrastructure projects that operate in the LNG sector from Qatar. Infrastructure issuers are heavily reliant on the Strait for their financial viability and operations. In the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, for example, Qatari issuers such as Qatar Petroleum (foreign currency AA/Stable/--), Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd. (II) and Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd. (3) (collectively RasGas; debt rating A/Stable), and Nakilat Inc. (AA-/Stable/--) rely entirely on the passage of their LNG fleets through the Strait to reach export markets worldwide. Consequently, a long-term blockage of the Strait could lead to a force majeure event being called by LNG buyers, and the cessation of cash payments. National and international oil and gas majors. In addition to Qatar Petroleum, national oil companies such as Kuwait Petroleum and Saudi Aramco (both not rated) that both export the bulk of their oil production via the Strait, would suffer greatly from a severe disruption to shipping. What's more, alternative transportation routes would in our opinion be limited for these companies due to the size of their production volumes. Interestingly, Abu Dhabi has mitigated its security of supply risks substantially through its recently commissioned $10 billion crude oil pipeline project (ADCOP), sponsored by International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC; AA/Stable/A-1+) and ADNOC. The pipeline, approximately 400 kilometers long, enables 1.5 million barrels of oil per day of ADNOC's crude oil--about 60% of Abu Dhabi's oil exports--to bypass the Strait, connecting oilfields at Habshan directly to an export terminal at Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman (see map). For our rated international oil and gas majors (IOCs), we don't see a negative credit impact because the likely increase in oil prices arising from disruption in the Strait should more than offset any loss of local production, as we observed for Libyan operators in IOCs with a modest share of production in the Gulf include Total S.A. (AA-/Stable/A-1+), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (Shell; AA/Stable/A-1+), and ExxonMobil Corp. (AAA/Stable/A-1+). We note, however, that these companies' production in Abu Dhabi and Iraq tends to generate only a few dollars per barrel of cash flow because contracts in these countries are service-based. This compares with typical average oil and gas unit cash flows of $25-$30 per barrel of oil equivalent. By contrast, we believe the unit cash flow from Qatari LNG or Shell's Pearl gas-to-liquid production is high, due to the significant upfront capital investments involved. But again, the overall financial impact should be more than offset by increased profits from the IOCs' production in other countries, in view of their very significant geographic diversification. 3

4 Downstream oil and gas activities. In the downstream oil and gas segment, fertilizer exports from Qatar Fertiliser Company (Q.S.C.C) (QAFCO; A+/Stable/--) pass through the Strait, as do petrochemical and fertilizer products from Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC; A+/Stable/A-1). In our view, there are limited alternatives available to these companies to ship products across country by pipeline to the Red Sea or Gulf of Oman ports. The same is true for the petrochemicals production of Borouge, an Abu Dhabi-based joint venture between Borealis, a subsidiary of IPIC, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC; not rated). The financial impact of a prolonged closure of the Strait would be more severe for these and other Gulf-based commodity companies, even if they were able to use alternative land transportation routes or spare capacity in existing East-West pipelines. Increasing trucking volumes would likely prove expensive. Building additional pipeline capacity to the Red Sea or Gulf of Oman would also be costly and require several years to complete. An interim action open to these companies would be to bring forward the scheduled maintenance of plant and equipment. A closure of the Strait would adversely affect these issuers' credit quality, although we believe that they have sufficient financial flexibility to weather a closure of a couple of weeks. SABIC, for instance, benefits from geographic diversity, albeit limited in terms of profit-weighted capacity. It has international assets in Europe, China, and the Americas. Also, some of its domestic plants are located at Yanbu on the Red Sea. Ports. The Strait is also an important route for container and non-container vessels using ports outside of Qatar, including the Jebel Ali port of DP World Ltd. (BB/Positive/B). DP World, the fourth-largest port operator worldwide, has its main hub, Jebel Ali, in the UAE. Jebel Ali generates about 50% of DP World's EBITDA and relies heavily on containerized vessel-based trade in and out of the Gulf, and to a lesser extent non-containerized trade. Standard & Poors RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal February 15,

5 We believe that low-level disruption to shipping through the Strait, or the Strait's temporary closure, would most likely lead to higher insurance premiums for DP World and, potentially, lower overall traffic utilization. A rise in insurance premiums, in tandem with heightened geopolitical risk, could affect major shipping lines that use DP World's ports. This, in turn, could disrupt the flow of traffic through Jebel Ali, with a corresponding effect on DP World's cash flow generation and profitability. Partially mitigating these risks are DP World's port activities outside the Middle East, as well as the historical precedent of the tanker wars of the 1980s during the war between Iran and Iraq. During the latter, we understand that no DP World trade vessels were obstructed at any time. Metals industries. For firms in this sector, the challenge is more in terms of securing ongoing supplies of raw materials than of access to export markets. The continued supply of bauxite for aluminum smelters, or iron ore for steel producers, is critical to avoid costly plant shutdowns. We believe aluminum producers Dubai Aluminium Company Ltd. (Dubal), Emirates Aluminium Company Ltd. (EMAL), and Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (ALBA) would look to import bauxite through ports outside the Strait and transport it by land, which would increase production costs. It's unlikely these costs could be passed on to customers, leading to a temporary negative impact on profitability. Both Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. (BBB/Negative/A-3) and Mubadala Development Co. PJSC (AA/Stable/A-1+) are likely to be affected through their respective ownership interests in ALBA and EMAL. Shipping. The abrupt decline in oil volumes carried by sea would diminish employment opportunities for tanker operators, with Asian operators likely to be the hardest hit according to Lloyd's List Intelligence. What's more, the alternative transit route via the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-mandab Strait would incur higher insurance premiums. A spike in the price of crude oil would also be detrimental to ship owners and operators worldwide. Retail, hospitality, and real estate. In two of these sectors, delays through, or a blockage of, the Strait would hit consumer confidence, tourism, and the ability of distributors to maintain supplies. In retail, consumers would likely cut back their discretionary, rather than non-discretionary, spending. Despite some disruption, we believe distributors could maintain essential supplies through alternative land and air transportation routes. Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC (BBB/Stable/A-2) would not be severely affected because its retail focus is on the grocery segment. A fall in the number of tourists to the region would likely have a greater effect on Dubai, which is more reliant on tourism than Abu Dhabi and Doha. The hospitality businesses of Emaar Properties PJSC (BB/Stable/--) and Majid Al Futtaim are in our opinion likely to be meaningfully affected, due to their geographic focus in the Gulf. We don't foresee a significant direct effect on our rated property investment companies in the Gulf. Leases typically run for a year or longer and we do not believe a closure of the Strait would give tenants a right to early termination of leases. Aside from the diversification of the various businesses, do issuers have any structural protections to mitigate their exposure? The LNG supply chain companies do benefit from structural protections that anticipate the potential for disruption to services or transportation. Both RasGas and Nakilat have six months' debt service reserves to protect against a temporary closure of the Strait. 5

6 What's more, Nakilat, under the terms of its charter contracts, continues to be paid for a period of 2.5 years following the declaration of a force majeure incident. Neither RasGas nor Nakilat have terrorism or business interruption insurance. That said, Nakilat has confirmed to us that it considers that its war risk insurance covers the extreme political stress scenario if the Strait of Hormuz were to be blocked for an extended period. Absent the potential for Nakilat to claim under its war risk policies, and barring the charter contract mitigants, both RasGas and to a lesser Nakilat are exposed to a prolonged interruption of trade through the Strait. Some crude oil (and other non-lng) ship owners and operators are protected from potentially rising fuel prices (as a result of, say, interruptions of trade in the Strait) because they have bunker adjustment factors built into their contracts. Equally, they operate vessels under bareboat- or time-charter contracts, whereby the charterer is contractually responsible for voyage expenses such as fuel costs. Are there any other alternatives that corporate or infrastructure issuers could benefit from in order to alleviate this risk? There are some other possibilities that could help mitigate, in part or in full, the risk of disruption: Government financial support. Based on the experience of the aforementioned tanker wars of the 1980s, we anticipate that certain governments in the Gulf would provide financial support to their key assets to meet higher insurance premiums. Alternative shipping routes. In the unlikely event of a prolonged closure of the Strait, downstream oil and gas and petrochemicals companies are unlikely to find valid alternative export routes due to the size of their production volumes. Logistics and infrastructure bottlenecks would in our view only allow for a comparatively small share of production to be exported, even though the likely resulting spike in oil and petrochemicals prices would offset higher transport costs. Some alternative arrangements could include trucking products to the west of Saudi Arabia (Yanbu at the Red Sea, for example) or to the east, to the port of Fujairah. Existing East-West pipelines would not in our opinion offer a viable option because the available excess capacity is limited. Hence the only longer-term solution would be to increase security of supply through expanding or building new pipelines. Abu Dhabi has set an example through its recently completed ADCOP crude pipeline to Fujairah, but it remains to be seen if other Gulf States will follow. Do recent events change Standard & Poor's view of how operating in a region exposed to significant geopolitical risk affects corporate and infrastructure ratings? No. We have long recognized the risks associated with the geopolitical climate in our credit ratings and transferability and convertibility assessments for sovereigns in the Middle East. In turn, therefore, we take account of these risks in our analysis of the credit quality of corporate and infrastructure issuers. When will Standard & Poor's review its base assumptions on the geopolitical risk? Should the current events escalate in terms of their seriousness and, therefore, the likely impact on those issuers mentioned become more material, then we will review our base assumptions for entities operating within the region--in the main, we anticipate, to reflect the risks we have identified above. Related Criteria And Research All articles listed below are available on RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal, unless otherwise stated. Standard & Poors RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal February 15,

7 Tension in the Gulf: How An Oil Shock Could Threaten Global Economic Growth, Feb. 13, 2012 The Impact Of Rising Gulf Tensions On Sovereigns In The Middle East, Feb. 13, 2012 Additional Contacts: Industrial Ratings Europe; Infrastructure Finance Ratings Europe; 7

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