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Oil Majors Flock To Qatar’s LNG Expansion Project   

The capacity expansion of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, Qatar, has attracted a lot of interest, and oil and gas majors who are Qatar’s long-standing partners, as well as majors that would be new to Qatar’s LNG, are expected to bid for a lucrative share of the expansion project, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing sources close to the preliminary talks.

Qatar announced last year plans to increase its LNG production capacity by 43 percent—from 77 million tons annually now to 110 million tons a year. The new export capacity, with projects to be completed in 2024, is expected to bring in billions of dollars more to the state coffers of the tiny gas-rich country, which is isolated by its Arab neighbors in a bitter feud in the Persian Gulf that has gone on for more than a year and a half now.

The four supermajors that hold stakes in Qatar’s existing LNG facilities—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Total—are widely expected to bid in the tender that Qatar Petroleum is expected to issue in search of partners for the expansion, according to Reuters’ sources.

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Other majors, including Chevron, Norway’s Equinor, Italy’s Eni, and a Chinese state-held company, are also considering bidding in the tender, the sources told Reuters. Chevron officials have visited Doha for talks in recent weeks and are mulling over bidding for a stake. Even Brazil’s Petrobras was considering bidding, but has recently decided against it, the sources say.

According to Jessica Brewer, Principal Analyst, Middle East Upstream Oil and Gas at Wood Mackenzie, Qatar’s new megatrains “will attract mega interest” and will be one of the “global standout opportunities in 2019.”

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“The upstream segment alone is a world-class asset and operators will struggle to find other low-cost opportunities of this scale,” Brewer said this week.

“QP is unlikely to sole risk the development and will seek partners. However, suitors will need to prove they can add value to win a stake. We expect to see all the incumbents, primarily the Majors, jostling for position,” according to Wood Mackenzie.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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