Call him Ishmael. “In 20 years of dealing with oil and gas projects, I have come to the conclusion there is no escape from the whales,” Marc Partridge, managing director of Gazprombank, told the 2012 Mediterranean Oil and Gas conference on Monday.
Some are metaphorical. There are project “whales”, Partridge told delegates, referring to the ballooning costs of oil and gas infrastructure, particularly LNG, around the world.
Warming to his theme, Partridge spoke of the “whale of London”, AKA JP Morgan trader Bruno Iksil, or the man with the largest blowhole in the Square Mile. He built up trading positions that caused a $2 billion dent in the investment bank’s profits in May, fuelling criticism of banks’ Moby-sized appetite for risk.
There are also real whales. One of the key issues in Gazprombank’s financing of Sakhalin LNG was “the protection of the grey whale”, said Partridge, illustrating the growing importance of environmental concerns in project finance.
Wildcat can add a fourth whale to Partridge’s school; the 480 bcm gas field off the coast of Israel: Leviathan, which in Modern Hebrew means “whale.”
We just hope he can avoid the loan sharks. LE