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Rating Action:

Moody's concludes review of certain Qatari government-related issuers

17 Feb 2011

London, 17 February 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has today taken a number of rating actions affecting certain government-related issuers ("GRIs") in Qatar, which conclude Moody's review process initiated on 22 March 2010. These rating actions affect the instrument ratings of debt facilities raised by Ras Laffan 1, Ras Laffan II, Ras Laffan 3 and Nakilat (the full names of these issuers are listed below).

Today's rating actions consist of a one notch downgrade for all ratings of these issuers, which is in line with the likely outcome that was set out in our March 2010 press release announcing the review. Following today's rating actions the senior ratings listed below are positioned one notch below that of the Qatari government itself, and reflect strong underlying credit performance combined with our expectation that support from the Qatari government would be forthcoming in the great majority of any potential future stress scenarios, recognising the strategic importance of these issuers to the State of Qatar.

Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited ("Ras Laffan 1"):

- Instrument rating for the USD800 million 8.294% amortising senior secured bonds due 2014: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (II) ("Ras Laffan II"):

- Instrument rating for the USD1,400 million 5.298% Series A senior secured amortising bonds due 2020: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (3) ("Ras Laffan 3"):

- Instrument rating for the USD850 million 5.838% Series B senior secured amortising bonds due 2027: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

- Instrument rating for the USD750 million 5.832% Series C senior secured amortising bonds due 2016: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

- Instrument rating for the USD800 million 6.332% Series D senior secured amortising bonds due 2027: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

- Instrument rating for the USD500 million 4.5% Series E senior secured bullet bonds due 2012: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

- Instrument rating for the USD1,115 million 5.5% Series F senior secured bullet bonds due 2014: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

- Instrument rating for the USD615 million 6.75% Series G senior secured bullet bonds due 2019: downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

Nakilat Inc. ("Nakilat"):

- Instrument rating for the USD850 million 6.067% senior secured bonds due 2033 (the "Nakilat Senior Bonds"): downgraded to Aa3 / stable from Aa2.

- Instrument rating for the USD300 million 6.267% subordinated second priority secured bonds due 2033 (the "Nakilat Subordinated Bonds"): downgraded to A1 / stable from Aa3.

RATINGS RATIONALE

On 22 March 2010 Moody's had placed these ratings on review for possible downgrade to consider their consistency with an evolving view that was reflected in certain precedent rating actions - for example, Mubadala Development Company PJSC downgraded to Aa3/stable from Aa2 on 4 March 2010 - which had introduced a moderate distinction between the rating of the GRI and that of the supporting sovereign. During the review period, Moody's has taken further similar rating actions in instances where we deemed support to be high (leading to multi-notch uplift from the GRI's baseline credit assessment), but where no explicit guarantee existed obligating the government to support the relevant GRI if it was to become distressed - for example, PSA International Pte Ltd and PSA Corporation Ltd downgraded to Aa1/stable from Aaa on 16 September 2010.

Our rating methodology Government-Related Issuers: Methodology Update, published in July 2010 (the "GRI Methodology") provides additional guidance on the circumstances in which it would be appropriate for Moody's to rate a GRI at par with the supporting government, where the baseline credit assessment is materially lower (more than three notches) than the rating of its government sponsor. During the recent global credit crisis, the governments of certain countries have signalled priority to protecting their balance sheets, potentially at the expense of GRIs, and this has led us to be somewhat more cautious in the area of support assumptions.

Although there may be exceptions, GRIs most suited for a par rating would typically benefit from either (i) a special status, conferring the strategic importance of their role and offering elements of protection such as a carve-out from normal bankruptcy procedures; or (ii) a pledge of financial resources commensurate with their role; or (iii) other pledges in the form of capital replenishment, backstopping of operating losses or legal provisions transferring GRI debt obligations to the government upon dissolution. Formal contractual arrangements of this sort do not apply to any of Ras Laffan 1, Ras Laffan II, Ras Laffan 3 or Nakilat.

The Government of Qatar has expressed strong support for these GRIs to Moody's, and we have concluded that the likelihood of extraordinary support is high for each of them. However, for consistency with our rating approach for other GRIs we have also concluded that it is appropriate for us to introduce a distinction between the senior ratings of these issuers and those of the government, which has resulted in the downgrades to the instrument ratings listed above.

We note, however, that the standalone credit quality of each of Ras Laffan 1, Ras Laffan II, Ras Laffan 3 and Nakilat is very robust, and each of them continues to perform strongly at the standalone level, which is reflected in our baseline credit assessments for these issuers - i.e. these rating actions do not arise from any deterioration in the standalone performance or prospects of these issuers.

The last rating action for Ras Laffan 1 was implemented on 22 March 2010, when Moody's placed the ratings of Ras Laffan 1's bonds on review for possible downgrade.

The last rating action for Ras Laffan II was implemented on 22 March 2010, when Moody's placed the ratings of Ras Laffan II's Series A bonds on review for possible downgrade.

The last rating action for Ras Laffan 3 was implemented on 22 March 2010, when Moody's placed the ratings of Ras Laffan 3's Series B, C, D, E, F and G bonds on review for possible downgrade.

The last rating action for Nakilat was implemented on 22 March 2010, when Moody's placed the ratings of the Nakilat Senior Bonds and the Nakilat Subordinated Bonds on review for possible downgrade.

The ultimate shareholders of Ras Laffan 1 are Qatar Petroleum (63.0%, rated Aa2/stable), Exxon Mobil Corporation (25.0%, rated Aaa/stable) and Korea Gas Corporation (5.0%, rated A1/stable), with the balance held by certain Japanese companies.

The ultimate shareholders of each of Ras Laffan II and Ras Laffan 3 are Qatar Petroleum (70%) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (30%).

Nakilat is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd. (Nakilat) Q.S.C..

The principal methodologies used in this ratings were "Government-Related Issuers: Methodology Update" published in July 2010, and "Generic Project Finance Methodology" published in December 2010.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit ratings are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information, and confidential and proprietary Moody's Analytics information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entities or their designated agents and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible Service(s) to the rated entity or its related third parties within the three years preceding the Credit Rating Action. Please see the ratings disclosure page www.moodys.com/disclosures on our website for further information.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

London
Andrew Davison
Senior Vice President
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
William Coley
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's concludes review of certain Qatari government-related issuers
No Related Data.
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