QatarEnergy picks Eni as partner for giant LNG expansion project

QatarEnergy has chosen Italy’s Eni as a partner for its giant LNG expansion project which will boost Qatar’s LNG export capacity by 32 million tons per annum.

The state-owned firm selected Eni to join its massive LNG expansion project in Ras Laffan following a request for proposals.

This is the second partner to sign a deal with QatarEnergies for the North Field East (NFE) expansion project following an agreement with France’s TotalEnergies revealed on June 13.

Qatar’s energy minister and chief executive of QatarEnergy, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, and Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, signed the partnership agreement for the creation of the new joint venture company during an official ceremony on Sunday, according to a statement by Eni.

QatarEnergy will hold a 75 percent interest while Eni the remaining 25 percent interest in the new company.

The JV would hold 12.5 percent interest in the entire NFE project, including the 4 mega LNG trains with a combined capacity of 32 MTPA, Eni said.

This project will expand Qatar’s LNG export capacity from the current 77 Mtpa to 110 Mtpa.

A $28.75 billion investment, NFE would start production before the end of 2025 and would deploy technologies to minimize overall carbon footprint, including carbon capture and sequestration, the statement said.

“Significant milestone” for Eni

Eni said the agreement marks the completion of a competitive process started in 2019 and has a duration of 27 years.

It is a strategic move for Eni, which expands Eni’s presence in the Middle East and gains access to a world leading LNG producer, detaining among the largest natural gas reserves in the world, it said.

In his remarks during the ceremony, Eni CEO Descalzi said that, “as a newcomer joining this world leading LNG project, we feel the privilege and the responsibility of being a strategic partner of choice for the State of Qatar.”

“This agreement is a significant milestone for Eni and fits our objective to diversify into cleaner and more reliable energy sources in line with our decarbonization strategy,” Descalzi said.

This announcement comes just a day after Eni revealed that the 3.4 mtpa Coral Sul FLNG had received its first gas supplies from the Coral South reservoir offshore Mozambique.

QatarEnergy picks Eni as partner for giant LNG expansion project
Image: QatarEnergy

QatarEnergy to announce more partners

QatarEnergy said in a separate statement on Sunday that “more partners are slated to join the NFE project, and the relevant announcements will be made soon.”

Besides these two firms, several media reports said that other partners include Shell, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips.

Reuters also recently reported that China’s CNPC and Sinopec were in talks to take a part in the giant development as well.

In February last year, QatarEnergy took a final investment decision on the $28.75 billion NFE project.

The state-owned firm is developing a second phase to further boost capacity to 126 Mtpa by 2027 as well as additional expansions.

QatarEnergy and its unit Qatargas are also working on a giant fleet of LNG carriers to support this expansion and the firms already completed the first contracts in China and South Korea, with many more to come.

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