Qatar Chooses TotalEnergies to Develop Giant Gas Field


Qatar said on Sunday that TotalEnergies of France will be its first foreign partner in developing the world's largest natural gas field, which will help alleviate Europe's energy concerns. Qatar's Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi told a press conference that the French energy giant would have a 6.25 percent stake in the massive North Field East project, which will enable Qatar to grow its liquefied natural gas (LNG) production by more than 60 percent by 2027. The agreement would endure until 2054, according to Kaabi, making it "more than an engagement."

Other foreign companies will have joint venture holdings in Qatar Energy (QE), but none will be as large as TotalEnergies, according to Kaabi, who did not name them. According to industry insiders, ExxonMobil, Shell, and ConocoPhillips are all in talks to participate in the massive $28 billion development that Qatar had planned to fund on its own. "We've completed the selection process and signed the agreements," Kaabi said, adding that the names would be released "shortly."

LNG from the North Field is slated to begin shipping in 2026, as European countries scramble to find alternatives to Russian oil and gas. TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne stated that the company's largest transaction with Qatar will help compensate for the company's departure from Russia during the invasion of Ukraine.

Pouyanne stated, without providing details, that Qatar had requested a high price in the discussions that began in 2019. In remarks to the minister, who is also the QE chief, he added, "Your staff and yourself have been a very excellent protector of Qatar's interests in this project."

"Qatar Energy clearly pressed their case. Qatar, on the other hand, is too good to pass up for the world's top LNG operators, such as Shell and TotalEnergies. "A stake in these LNG trains provides scalability, low-cost supply, fantastic marketing potential, and a solid partner," said Ben Cahill, an energy security specialist at Washington's Center for Security and International Studies.

Qatar is already one of the world’s top LNG producers, alongside the United States and Australia. QE estimates that North Field holds about 10 percent of the world’s known natural gas reserves.

On June 12, 2022, Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs and QatarEnergy President and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi (right) and TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne attended a signing ceremony at the QatarEnergy headquarters in Doha. — The Associated Press

Qatar Chooses TotalEnergies to Develop Giant Gas Field

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