According to the latest Bloomberg report, Qatar Petroleum is the hidden giant of the global energy industry, overshadowed by its neighbour Saudi Aramco. Qatar’s giant natural gas resources allow the state-run company to pump more oil and gas than Rosneft PJSC or Exxon Mobil Corporation.
After almost two decades of growth, the company needs to change focus. QP plans to expand abroad as domestic crude output declines and the government bars new drilling in the offshore North Field.
QP will have no problem paying for overseas expansion. Qatar’s energy minister announced that almost all the country’s domestic LNG terminals have been paid for. And despite a near-term glut, he said the commodity will be in short supply by 2021.
In 1971, Royal Dutch Shell Plc discovered the offshore North Field, which, together with the connected South Pars deposit in Iran, is the world’s biggest reservoir of non-associated gas. The find was a disappointment at the time because it showed no crude.
It took more than twenty years for Qatar Petroleum to partner with Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total SA and ConocoPhillips - as well as with Japanese customers Mitsui & Co. and Marubeni Corp. - to start building 14 plants that chill gas into a liquid for shipment to Asia and Europe. By 2006, Qatar was the biggest exporter of LNG, and it shipped 78 million t in 2015, or 32% of global supply that year.
By more than doubling gas and oil production since 2006, Qatar has become the world’s fourth-biggest energy supplier and wealthiest country by per capita income. Qatar Petroleum has overtaken Rosneft and Exxon in total output, and the company makes and sells more LNG than any other.
Qatar Petroleum, through its LNG-producing divisions Qatargas and RasGas and other investments in related businesses, holds stakes in the companies that extract, process, ship and receive gas. This integrated supply chain helps make Qatari LNG the cheapest in the world to produce, an advantage QP plans to exploit as competitors in Australia and the U.S. dethrone it as the top producer by volume.
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