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Qatar Petroleum exploring new projects

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Reuters are reporting that Qatar Petroleum (QP) is exploring oil and gas opportunities in Morocco and Cyprus as it aims to expand its LNG assets abroad while reducing costs at home.

QP has been pursuing deals in Cyprus where it has won a bid for 40% of a plot for exploration, and recently moved into Morocco for exploration as well.

QP is merging two LNG divisions, Qatargas and RasGas Co Ltd, to save hundreds of millions of dollars following a more-than-two-year slump in oil prices that has forced Gulf countries to reduce state spending.

The economy of Qatar, which has a population of 2.6 million, has been strained by the oil slump and QP has fired thousands of staff and earmarked a number of assets for divestment.

To maintain dominance over key competitors the US and Australia, QP is reducing costs at its domestic operations and looking to expand overseas through joint ventures with international oil companies.

Qatar shipped 76.4 million t of LNG in 2014, or 32% of global supply.

In November, QP received U.S. regulatory approval to build a US$10 billion LNG plant with partner Exxon Mobil.

The company is also interested in the Mozambique gas business of Italian energy group Eni and could opt to join Exxon in buying a multibillion-dollar stake.

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