Gulf Energy and Microsoft Plan to Develop Technology Solutions for Energy City Qatar Project

DOHA, Qatar, and HOUSTON, Texas — March 7, 2006 —Gulf Energy, a global consortium of energy consultants and investors, and the promoters of the multibillion-dollar Energy City Qatar project, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Corporation Qatar at a special ceremony in Qatar coinciding with the ongoing Microsoft 2006 Global Energy Forum being held in Houston, Texas. The MoU provides for the development and implementation of a new generation of advanced enterprise-level solutions to form the necessary technology infrastructure required for the groundbreaking Energy City Qatar project.

Located within the prestigious Lusail development in Doha, Energy City Qatar will become the Middle East’s first integrated business energy center, consolidating a range of industry and marketing services, attracting investment from significant global players in the hydrocarbon value chain and leading the development of the hydrocarbon industry.

Acting as technology advisor, Accelerator Technology Holdings, a company aimed at helping identify, invest in and build best-of-breed ventures in the information and communications technology value chain in the Arab world, is a co-signatory to the MoU.

“The State of Qatar is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, and we are open to and are promoting all new ventures and strategic partnerships that would contribute positively to our growth,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Jassem Al Thani, minister of Economy and Commerce for the State of Qatar. “Thus, we welcome this agreement between Microsoft, a world leader in technology, and Energy City Qatar, an integrated center for the energy business. We are confident that it will have a positive impact on our economy.”

The MoU forms part of the strategy of Energy City Qatar to enter into global business alliances with specialist providers.

“Energy City Qatar has been conceived as the Middle East’s first integrated energy business center for the oil and gas industry in the region,” said Esam Janahi, chairman of Gulf Energy. “It will be the most advanced center of its type, wholly dedicated to serving the world’s major oil and gas companies.

“Access to technology will be a key business enabler and driver at Energy City Qatar,” Janahi added, “and our association with Microsoft is a reflection of our resolve to create a highly advanced technology infrastructure for this project. We are confident that our association with Microsoft will be a major contribution toward developing Energy City Qatar into a technology-smart city.”

Announced in 2005, Energy City Qatar is a landmark project that will become the region’s first integrated energy business center of above-ground resources, leading the development of hydrocarbons. It also aims at playing host to secondary and tertiary economic activities that will in turn contribute to the economic and social development of the region, which currently accounts for over three-quarters of the world’s proven oil reserves.

“Microsoft is honored to be involved with such a groundbreaking venture with solutions that empower companies and people to easily collaborate, manage large capital projects, and improve overall operations to drive business success across the industry,” said Marisé Mikulis, worldwide oil and gas industry manager for Microsoft. “Microsoft works closely with a large number of partners in the oil and gas industry worldwide, which gives us the insight and understanding of the business and technology requirements of this vital sector in the world economy.”

“Microsoft is also one of the leaders in the development of the digital work style/lifestyle and automated environments,” said Mohammad Hammoudi, country manager for Microsoft Qatar. “We plan to provide companies and individuals working and residing in Energy City Qatar with access to state-of-the-art, integrated solutions and services, helping enable them to achieve their innovative objectives and visions. We look forward to working with Gulf Energy to realize its vision of Energy City Qatar and to contributing to this important element of Qatar’s drive to become a world-class hub for the energy industry.”

The signing of the MoU between Gulf Energy and Microsoft closely follows the recent appointment of Gulf Finance House B.S.C. as lead financial advisor and PFC Energy as lead strategic advisor for Energy City Qatar.

“By its very nature, the energy sector is extremely technology-intensive, be it subsurface imagery, knowledge management, or fundamental supply chain and enterprise management,” said Dr. Fawaz H. Zu’bi, chief executive officer of Accelerator Technology Holdings and former minister of Information and Communications Technology in Jordan. “As an integrated energy business center, it is essential that Energy City Qatar provide its tenants and clients not just with access to state-of-the art technology but also with advanced technology customization facilities. It is here where global technology leaders such as Microsoft will play a pivotal role in shaping the value proposition of Energy City Qatar.”

The first phase of Energy City Qatar will be developed at an investment of $1.6 billion (U.S.). Gulf Finance House, in conjunction with Kuwait Investment Co. and Abu Dhabi Investment House, recently concluded a $276 million (U.S.) private placement aimed at raising equity for the project.

The proposed clusters that comprise the first development phase of the project include business centers for oil and gas producers, infrastructure and downstream companies, shipping and trading agencies, service industries, and information providers.

About Gulf Energy

Gulf Energy is a global consortium of leading energy consultants, researchers and academics.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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