Qatar Assembles Dream Team for LNG Expansion

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The first tranche of awards for equity stakes in Qatar’s $28.75 billion North Field East (NFE) project have gone to TotalEnergies, Exxon Mobil, Italy’s Eni and ConocoPhillips. Others may join later, but these June awards will make up the lion’s share of international investment in Doha's 32.6 million ton per year LNG mega-expansion. Apart from Eni, QatarEnergy has gone for familiar faces, choosing investors from its existing LNG portfolio. All NFE investors were required to bring marketing capabilities and commitments, Qatari Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi told attendees at signing ceremonies in Doha this week, suggesting marketing muscle is a key metric for successful entrants. For all winning firms, this is flagship project. The North Field is “the world’s largest gas field. It has the lowest cost of supply. It has the lowest [greenhouse gas] intensity of any development around the world today,” ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance told reporters in Doha on Monday. His firm and Eni won 3.25% stakes in NFE, with Total and Exxon each getting shares twice as large. The combined 18.75% dolled out so far is substantially less than the up to 30% QatarEnergy originally envisaged awarding to outside investors. Al-Kaabi declined to state whether either or both of Shell and Chevron — the other two shortlisted for NFE — could yet join the project. Offers may need to improve. Key Asian customers could yet be bolted onto one or more of the joint ventures provided they “add value,” al-Kaabi noted.

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