International

Qatar Says Big Oil Keen to Invest in $29 Billion Gas Expansion

Published on : 2021-06-23

Qatar said there’s plenty of demand from some of the world’s biggest oil companies to be part of its $29 billion project to raise production of liquefied natural gas and preserve the country’s dominance of the global market.


The Persian Gulf state received pitches for double the equity investment it’s seeking to finance the expansion, said Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi. LNG buyers have also rushed to make offers for the extra supplies, he said, even though they aren’t scheduled to be available until late 2025.


Royal Dutch Shell Plc, TotalEnergies SE and Exxon Mobil Corp. are among the bidders for the equity investments, Kaabi said at the Qatar Economic Forum on Tuesday.


Attracting international investors is an important vote of confidence for Qatar and its LNG expansion plans, amid changing global perceptions of the fuel. Once touted as a bridge between coal and oil and cleaner forms of energy such as wind and solar, its future is looking less certain as governments step up efforts to slow climate change and cut out fossil fuels entirely.


State firm Qatar Petroleum, which Kaabi also heads, is increasing its annual LNG production capacity to 110 million tons from 77 million tons, and has undercut rival exporters on pricing in a bid to retain its spot as the world’s biggest producer of the super-chilled fuel. QP plans a second project that will raise output to 126 million tons per annum by 2027.


QP executives have jetted around the globe in recent months to strike competitive deals with the fastest growing customers, sometimes agreeing rates well below those they were asking for less than a decade ago.


South Asia, where Shell expects LNG demand to triple through 2040, has been a particular focus for Qatar.


QP expects to sign more agreements to sell LNG over the next few months, Kaabi said.


Qatar’s investments in carbon capture are boosting interest among LNG buyers and prospective investors, the energy minister said. The government is trying to improve the environmental credentials of its main export by building facilities capable of capturing more than 7 million tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2030, up from 2 million tons currently.


“The bids are double what we requested, whether it’s sales and purchase agreements or equity,” he said. “There’s great interest and I think a big part of it is due to the carbon sequestration and gas being part of the solution for the future.”


The Qatar Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Investment Promotion Agency Qatar and Media City Qatar are underwriters of Bloomberg’s Qatar Economic Forum.

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