The Qatari state-owned company began looking into potential partners in 2019 for the major project, with production expected to start before the end of 2025.
QatarEnergy has named Italy’s oil and gas company Eni as its second partner for the North Field East (NFE) Project, the Qatari state-owned gas company announced on Sunday.
The announcement was made by QatarEnergy’s CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, alongside the Italian company’s CEO Claudio Descalzi in Doha. Al-Kaabi also serves as Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs.
“This is an important addition to a series of partnerships with Eni, which include upstream exploration projects in a number of locations around the world as QatarEnergy expands its international footprint,” Al-Kaabi told the press.
Under the agreement, Eni will be a new joint venture company (JV), holding 25% interest while the Qatari company holds the remaining 75%. The JV will also own 12.5% of the entire NFE project, comprising four mega LNG trains with the combined capacity of 32 million tonnes per annum (MPA).
The NFE is one of two parts of the $28.75 billion North Field liquified natural gas (LNG) expansion project that is set to ramp up Qatar’s production from 77 to 110 million tonnes per annum.
The second part is the North Field South (NFS) project which will increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 110 to 126 million tonnes per annum.
The latest agreement comes a week after QatarEnergy named France’s TotalEnergies as its first partner in the NFE. Al-Kaabi noted that the agreement with Eni is the Italian company’s first ever entry in the upstream sector in Qatar.
In what Al-Kaabi described as a competitive process, QatarEnergy began looking into potential partners in 2019 for the major project, with production expected to start before the end of 2025.
Responding to a question over the number of agreements expected to be signed, Al-Kaabi said “we’ve signed with everybody, we’re just not telling you”.
Italy is among the European countries that approached Qatar in an effort to replace Russian gas in light of its invasion of Ukraine.
With Rome heavily relying on imports for more than 90% of its energy needs, its supply faced risks in light of the war in Ukraine. In 2020, Russia exported 40% of Italy’s imports.
In March, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio visited Qatar, where he expressed his country’s interest in boosting bilateral energy ties.
Other European countries that approached Qatar included Austria, Germany, the UK, and France.