UAE's Crescent eyes expansion with Russian firms

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Badr Jafar, managing director of the Crescent Group and CEO of Crescent Enterprises.

Badr Jafar, managing director of the Crescent Group and CEO of Crescent Enterprises.

UAE-based Crescent Group, parent company to Crescent Petroleum, has announced plans to accelerate its expansion in joint cooperation with Russian companies.

The Group said in a statement that it expects to conclude two major Russian investments in 2013, both of which are in the ports and logistics industry sector.

"In a globalised energy and logistics world, the UAE and Russia are natural partners," said Badr Jafar, managing director of the Crescent Group and CEO of Crescent Enterprises.

"Together, these two countries produce 36 percent of world oil production and 29 percent of world gas production, and yet we are only just beginning to realise the full potential of this bilateral relationship.

"What is important is that we both realise the potential for engaging our respective companies in each other's territories, since only through two-way bilateral trade will we be able to cement a long-term and robust economic relationship," he added.

Jafar said Crescent Petroleum is focusing its efforts on developing joint energy ties, working together with its Russian counterparts to identify new opportunities in upstream and midstream natural gas as well as power in the Middle East and North Africa.

Through its subsidiaries, the Crescent Group has established strong Russian links over the past five years, including a close working partnership with Rosneft, Russia's oil company which currently produces over 2.6 million of barrels of oil per day.

In 2010, the two organisations signed an agreement to jointly pursue upstream projects in the Middle East, with Rosneft joining Crescent Petroleum in the exploration of the Sharjah Onshore Concession, a 1,250 sq km known for its gas potential.

The first exploration well was drilled in November 2011, and following an extensive and state-of-the-art 3-D seismic survey the parties are planning a second exploration well scheduled to be drilled in the first half of 2013.

Gulftainer, a subsidiary of Crescent Enterprises, is set to invest over $300m in the next five years in Russia, increasing its port coverage in the Baltic and the Black Sea area.

In this period of time, it hopes to be in a position to handle 7.5m TEU of cargo and more than 2.5 million TEU containers capacity in its ports.

Crescent Group said discussions are at an advanced stage with various potential Russian partners.

Jafar added: "The opportunities are ripe for a vast increase in the scope for further business between the UAE and the Russian Federation.

"With over a million Russians expected to visit the UAE in 2013, Russians are already the second largest economic contributors to UAE tourism, so the setting is right for business, particularly those operating in the real estate, energy and logistics sectors.

"At the Crescent Group, we have been active in developing ties with Russian companies over the past few years, and we have ambitious plan to build on our mutually rewarding relationships even further in the coming years."

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