Total will operate Qatar’s biggest oil field

Total SA was chosen by Qatar Petroleum to operate the country’s biggest oil field, replacing AP Moeller-Maersk A/S in running the reservoir responsible for more than 40 percent of the OPEC nation’s daily output.

The French producer, which beat competitors including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, won a 30 percent stake in the Shaheen joint venture with Qatar Petroleum, Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar Petroleum’s chief executive officer, told reporters at the signing ceremony in Doha. The venture with Total will start in July 2017.

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has seen crude output decline over the past eight years. The recent slump in energy prices has ended more than a decade of budget surpluses for the government, forcing state-owned companies to fire thousands of people. Qatar Petroleum completed a restructuring last year that reduced its headcount, divested non-energy units including a catering company, and imposed stricter conditions on foreign partners.

 Qatar Petroleum and Total will form a joint venture called North Oil Co. to develop the Shaheen field for 25 years. Total plans to invest $2 billion over five years to maintain the field’s output and will study how to boost production, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said.

New Barrels

“We don’t receive a lot of money for the existing barrels but for the new barrels we are able to bring, we will be rewarded,” Pouyanne said.

Al-Kaabi said the jobs of Maersk Oil Qatar workers operating al-Shaheen will be guaranteed with the new proposed venture. The unit of Copenhagen-based Maersk has developed and managed al-Shaheen since 1992. Its agreement with Qatar Petroleum ends in mid-2017.

Qatar, the third-smallest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped 640,000 barrels of crude a day in May, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Sales of oil and LNG have made the Persian Gulf state of 2.5 million people the world’s richest per capita by purchasing power parity, according to the World Bank.


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