Qatar Review

Total ... teaming up with Qatar for buying up assets

Total ... teaming up with Qatar for buying up assets

Qatar Petroleum looking for international upstream assets

QPI is working very hard with its international partners to buy up assets. Upstream opportunities, however, are getting scarcer not because they are too expensive but because of the expectations of sellers in view of current oil prices

QATAR Petroleum International, the cash-rich overseas arm of state-owned Qatar Petroleum, is seeking upstream assets and may announce an acquisition at any time, CEO Nasser Jaidah says. QPI was satisfied with the downstream gas and petrochemical assets it has but realises it has a gap in terms of upstream assets.

“The development is continuing, on the gas and power. We are working very hard in that regard. Our portfolio is full with them and is well balanced. The area where we are lacking, which will make QPI a genuine company, is the upstream.

The upstream is really the one that will carry us,” Jaidah says..

QPI is working very hard with its partners, particularly the international oil companies, and “we are looking for opportunities worldwide and I think we could announce at any time that an acquisition could take place,” Jaidah told a joint news conference with Total CEO Christophe de Margerie.

Upstream opportunities, however, are getting scarcer not because they are too expensive but because of the expectations of sellers in view of current oil prices, he says.

One particular project that QPI has been looking at is the Yamal LNG project in the Russian Arctic, in which Total is a partner, and a possible stake in independent Russian gas producer Novatek.

Jaidah says he could not comment on what were ongoing negotiations. “It’s in the process of discussion,” he says.

Asked whether Qatar, the world’s biggest LNG exporter, would not be in competition with itself should it acquire a stake in Yamal, Jaidah says there was a need to complement domestic assets with an overseas expansion. Qatar has imposed a moratorium on further development of its offshore North gas field. “We are a major player in the world and we are chasing resources wherever it is. If we don’t take it, somebody else will take it.”

Total’s de Margerie, whose company also owns stakes in Qatari LNG producers, says he supported Qatari participation in the Yamal project. Qatari Oil Minister Mohammed Al Sada says that Qatar Petroleum was interested in securing a stake in the Yamal LNG project alongside Total and Novatek.

Total and Russia’s largest independent gas producer, Novatek, signed two memorandums of cooperation in October that would give Total a 12.08 per cent stake in Novatek and a 20 per cent stake in Novatek’s Yamal LNG project, a 15 million mt/year plant to be built on the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia.

Novatek estimates the Yamal LNG project will cost between $15 billion and $20 billion, with the final investment decision to be made by the end of 2012. Total and Novatek also are seeking a new partner for the high-cost project and Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko has been pressing the Russian case for Qatari participation in Doha in recent days.

Relations between Russia and Qatar worsened December 5, however, when Moscow downgraded ties with Doha.




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