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Qatar Diversifies Into IT, Plans Silicon Valley Office

LNG

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will open an office in Silicon Valley by the end of the year as part of a move to move the country’s economy away from crude oil and gas. According to the fund’s chief executive, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, the office, which will be in San Francisco, should open by the end of the year.

The new office follows several acquisition deals, among them the largest poultry producer in Turkey, Russia’s Rosneft, and British utility National Grid. Information technology is among the top priorities for the fund, officially known as the Qatar Investment Authority, along with healthcare and infrastructure, Al Thani said, aiming to turn Qatar into a knowledge-based economy.

Al Thani was speaking at an event in London, where he arrived with some 400 government officials and business executives on a two-day visit prior to UK’s invoking of Article 50 – the start button for its exit from the European Union. The fund’s CEO signaled that the UK will be a major partner in Qatar’s diversification, adding that several large-scale investments in the local economy would be announced by the end of the week.

Qatar has a personal interest in helping the UK remain a stable economy after it leaves the EU – the world’s largest LNG exporter supplies as much as 90 percent of UK’s LNG imports. The National recalls that Qatar has already invested over $50 billion (GBP 40 billion) in UK stocks and property in the last ten years, and has poured billions into Barclays during the 2008 financial crisis.

Related: The Upcoming Surge In U.S. Oil Demand Explained In One Chart

The Qatar Investment Authority was set up in 2005 to invest gas revenues globally. Its current size is $335 billion. Last week, the fund said it will transfer control of its domestic investments – around $100 billion – to the Finance Ministry as part of the latest in a series of overhauls in the fund prompted by the oil price crash.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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