(EnergyAsia, June 7 2012, Thursday) — Following its conclusion of a collaboration agreement with J.P. Morgan Treasury Services last month, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) said it is looking to expand its range and offering of trade finance services to energy companies operating in the Arab world and beyond.

Starting this month, APICORP, a multilateral development bank owned by the member states of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), said it will offer a complete range of trade finance products and services to its clients including letters of credit, collections and guarantees.

The US bank will provide APICORP with trade finance processing support including internet-based technology, and access to trade finance services from a global network of branches.

Ahmad Bin Hamad Al Nuaimi, APICORP’s chief executive and general manager, said:

 ““This announcement has been preceded by extensive efforts with J.P. Morgan to set up a highly reliable service that can be increased in scale to meet rising demand.”

 “APICORP will initiate transactions and interface with customers as well as make final credit approval decisions. Of the financial institutions that were considered for this alliance, we felt J.P. Morgan is the most suited partner, recognised for its expertise, wide banking network, and trade processing capability.

“The collaboration with J.P. Morgan allows APICORP to expand its geographical reach by extending facilities to Arab energy companies operating in the Arab World as well as in the emerging markets of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

“It also has the added benefit of extending services to a wider range of energy companies and projects, including small and medium enterprises.

“These services will be launched in June this year following the approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), which is expected imminently,”

 Mark Garvin, chairman of J.P. Morgan Treasury and Securities Services International, said:

 “J.P. Morgan’s collaboration with APICORP, to meet trade finance demand from the multilateral development bank’s clients in the Middle East, has resulted in much needed additional liquidity in the global trade finance markets.

“This mandate is testimony to J.P. Morgan’s ongoing commitment to the region and strong local market knowledge, coupled with our global expertise in trade finance, which enables us to meet the cross-border trade finance needs of clients such as APICORP.”

Since its establishment in 1975, APICORP has helped finance the development of projects in oil and gas, petrochemicals, fertilisers, power and water generation, transportation and storage logistics, and energy intensive projects such as aluminium smelters.

The bank’s move into trade finance is complementary to its 37 years of expertise as a projects lender in the energy sector and a co-investor in 22 oil and gas ventures. Its shareholders include the governments of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Libya, Iraq, Qatar, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria.

J.P. Morgan has conducted business in the Middle East for 75 years and has seven offices in the region including a branch in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.