TotalEnergies invests more than $1 billion in Qatar gas field

Verity Ratcliffe and Walid Ahmed September 26, 2022

(Bloomberg) — TotalEnergies SE is investing about $1.5 billion in Qatar’s latest, mammoth natural gas development, just three months after buying into another of the nation’s expansion projects.

The French energy giant will hold a 9.375% stake in North Field South, Qatar Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said Saturday. The project will raise Qatar’s liquefied natural gas capacity to 126 million tons.

Total and other international oil companies will take a 25% stake in the project, with the country holding onto the rest, Kaabi said. Other investments may be announced in coming weeks.

Qatar is increasing its gas production and liquefaction capacity amid a global surge in demand for the fuel. Supplies were already tight before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February sent prices rocketing.

TotalEnergies’ investment in the new project will be around $1.5 billion, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said at the signing event in Qatar.

“We are not overexposed to Qatar, and if Saad had offered a little more, we would have taken a little more,” he said, referring to the nation’s energy minister, who’s also chief executive officer of Qatar Energy.

Talks are ongoing with German energy companies Uniper SE and RWE AG, Kaabi said, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits the region this weekend to sign deals on LNG and hydrogen supply.

TotalEnergies was the first foreign company to buy a stake in another Qatari development, North Field East, in June. It owns 6.25% of that 33 million ton-per-year project, which will cost $29 billion to construct. Total invested about $2 billion in that phase, Pouyanne said.

While the expansion plans will allow Qatar to tap growing global demand for LNG, both projects will take several years to complete, leaving gas-starved businesses in Europe grappling for supplies in the meantime.

According to previously announced schedules, the first cargoes from North Field East will leave Qatar at the end of 2025 or early 2026. North Field South will send out shipments starting in 2027.

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