Qatar Petroleum Rebrands as QatarEnergy

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Qatar Petroleum said on Monday it has changed its name to QatarEnergy, as the big state-owned oil and gas companies of the Middle East signal that they intend to be active players in the energy transition, rather than passive bystanders.

The announcement on the company's Twitter account comes as the world grapples with a surge in natural gas and electricity prices and as pressure mounts to scale back the use of all fossil fuels to fight climate change.

Qatar had previously set an ambitious carbon capture and storage capacity target of 9 million tons per year by 2030, while the United Arab Emirates announced last week that it will aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Even Iraq — which has long been one of the world's top flarers of natural gas — is making an effort to bolster its environmental credentials.

It recently signed a deal with TotalEnergies that includes a 1 gigawatt solar power project and it has since followed that up with two more deals for solar projects.

The switch from Qatar Petroleum to QatarEnergy is "more of a reflection of what we're actually doing that wasn't reflected by the name that we had," said Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi, who is also the head of QatarEnergy.

Defending the Role of Gas

To be fair, Qatar — a major LNG exporter — has been working on decarbonizing its energy industry for several years now in tandem with a massive expansion of its LNG production capacity.

In addition to carbon capture, Qatar is also investing heavily in solar power and technology to scale back wasteful and environmentally harmful flaring of gas.

The emirate is especially keen to promote the use of gas as part of the energy transition and has sought to counter those voices that argue that the world needs to stop using all fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

"Natural gas is our core business, and we are conducting that in the most responsible way," the official Qatari news agency quoted al-Kaabi as saying on Monday.

"Natural gas is also part of the solution in the ongoing energy transition and it will be a requirement for sustaining the development of the world for at least a few decades."

Image Management

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that oil and gas producers are feeling growing pressure to counter criticism of their role as fossil fuel producers by presenting a greener profile — especially in the run-up to the UN climate conference in Glasgow next month.

Reiterating comments he made last week, al-Kaabi said he was "unhappy" about the current high level of international gas prices.

"They [high prices] are negative for the customer, and customers being satisfied is the most important thing for me," he told reporters in Doha.

However, he added that Qatar is struggling to meet demand from its LNG customers and cannot supply additional volumes that could provide some price relief. "We are maxed out," he was reported as saying.

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