The leading producer of liquified natural gas (LNG) has signed similar agreements in various countries.
QatarEnergy has acquired 40% interest in an exploration block offshore Egypt after signing an agreement with ExxonMobil, the Gulf state’s company announced.
The state-owned company said that it has acquired “a working interest” in the exploration block as ExxonMobil, the operator, holds the remaining 60%. A working interest is a type of investment in oil and gas drilling, under which QatarEnergy would be liable for costs related to exploration, drilling and production.
ExxonMobil had acquired the North Marakia Offshore in 2020.
“This agreement represents another important step in establishing QatarEnergy’s presence in the Arab Republic of Egypt’s upstream oil and gas sector, and in implementing our international growth strategy,” said Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s Minister of State and CEO of QatarEnergy.
The agreement on the North Marakia Offshore Block required the customary approval of the Egyptian government. QatarEnergy would be working with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
According to QatarEnergy, the site “covers an area of 4,847 km2 in water depths of 1,000 m to 2,000 m.”
The agreement coincided with the visit of Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to Egypt, which signaled the resumption of ties between the two countries.
Egypt had joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE in severing ties with Qatar in 2017 over claims that it had supported terrorism. Doha had rejected and vehemently denied those claims.
The restoration of the quartet’s ties with Qatar was seen following the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration on 5 January, 2021.
Qatar has been diversifying its global explorations by signing a number of agreements.
In December last year, QatarEnergy and ExxonMobil were awarded energy exploration licenses by Cyprus. Turkey later accused Cyprus of violating its continental shelf, a claim that came following a decades-long conflict between Ankara and Athens.
The conflict has surrounded territorial claims of some islands in the Aegean and the Turkish-Greek split island.
During the same year, QatarEnergy had signed a deal to acquire a 40% stake in one of ExxonMobil’s major offshore explorations in Canada.
This was the Qatari company’s first such deal in the North American nation, under which it was given a license for EL 1165A offshore the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
In July, 2021, QatarEnergy, known as Qatar Petroleum at the time, signed an agreement with France’s TotalEnergies to enter three offshore exploration blocks in South Africa. The Gulf state acquired 25% of the block.
During April of the same year, the Qatari company entered a similar deepwater agreement in Namibia with Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas giant Shell. Qatar acquired 45% of the exploration license, which was also the Gulf state’s second in Namibia.
In 2020, the Qatari company had signed three farm-in agreements with Total to obtain almost 30% of the French firm’s interest in blocks 15, 33, and 34 in the Campeche basin offshore Mexico.
The energy giant is moving towards becoming the wold’s largest producer of LNG through the multi-billion dollar North Field expansion project. The project would enable Qatar to ramp up its production capacity would increase from 77 million metric tonnes to 126 million tonnes by 2027.