His Excellency Mr. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, paid tribute to the historic and strong relations between Qatar and the United States, particularly in the field of energy.
Speaking during a webinar organized by the US-Qatar Business Council, HE Minister Al-Kaabi said recent global developments came right at the heels of a number of other geopolitical developments including trade war threats and regional tensions. “As the industry was being affected by the recent global recession, it was dealt a second blow by an OPEC+ lack of agreement that drove prices down,” His Excellency said in his opening remarks.
The Minister of State for Energy Affairs said, “In addition to falling demand due to lockdowns, we witnessed negative oil prices in North America, as buyers were paid to take the oil over fears that storage capacities were running out for May.” H.E. added: “Due to the self-imposed lockdowns around the world to deal with the pandemic most of the world economies will be in a self-induced recession or depression this year.”
His Excellency highlighted that “the energy sector is very resilient and has been through many cycles, but this is different.” He expected it would take 1-2 years for demand to go back to pre-pandemic levels and for the industry to return to some kind of normal, as it remains in uncharted territory due to the impact of the self-induced recession.
His Excellency the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, also discussed Qatar’s efforts to serve the market and to meet demand for an efficient source of energy that can help solve the global environmental challenge, and meet the upcoming economic requirements.
“We are going full steam ahead with the North Field expansion projects to raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 million to 110 million tons per annum by 2025 and 126 million tons per annum by 2027,” H.E. said during the webinar, adding that the final onshore commercial bids will be received by September and that contracts will be awarded by the end of the year.
Minister Al-Kaabi highlighted a number of important milestones in the development of the North Field have started , including the start of a drilling campaign for 80 development wells, insulation of offshore well head jackets, and the reservation of capacity to build LNG ships that would ensure meeting Qatar’s future LNG fleet requirements.
Discussing US-Qatari relations, His Excellency the Minister of State for Energy Affairs highlighted two major Qatar Petroleum landmark investments. He said, “Just over a year ago, I was in Washington D.C. for the announcement of the final investment decision with ExxonMobil for the Golden Pass LNG export project, in Sabine Pass, Texas. This investment, worth over 10 billion dollars, is one of the largest single investment decisions in U.S. LNG history. In July of last year, the President of the United States hosted His Highness the Amir of the State of Qatar at the White House, where they witnessed the official signing of the Qatar Petroleum agreement with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company to develop a the largest world-scale petrochemical ethane cracker in the world the US Gulf Coast region with an estimated cost of around 8 billion dollars.”
Answering questions from participants in the webinar representing Council members and partners in the United States and Qatar, His Excellency Minister Al-Kaabi stressed that Qatar will not be hampered by the recent developments. “We are in it for the long haul. We are the most cost-effective producer and can withstand market shocks. We are in very good financial shape and we are still looking for good investment opportunities.”
Minister Al-Kaabi said Qatar Petroleum is planning greater international upstream expansion and will continue farming-in and acquiring promising exploration blocks around the world with major players.
Answering a question if Qatar would be forced to reduce production due to the price drop Minister Al-Kaabi said “ In such a scenario of forced production curtailment because of Price, many other producers will be forced to shut down before Qatar due to their high production cost, therefore there is absolutely no way that we would curtail production.
Answering a question about cost reduction His Excellency stated” Qatar petroleum will be reducing its capital and operating expenses by 30% in June .”
The Minister of State for Energy Affairs said being a low-cost producer will help Qatar withstand lower gas prices, and that it was not considering cutting production at the time being. “In fact, we are going to expand and even produce more than the planned 126 million tons per annum if and when that becomes possible,” he added.
Minister Al-Kaabi stressed that Qatar Petroleum is developing its capabilities and international presence with an ultimate goal of being recognized as an International Oil Company (IOC) rather than just a National Oil Company (NOC). He said, “I am proud to have great talents working with me in leadership positions along with professional Qataris and expatriates, who are doing a great job; and we are moving steadily as a team with determination in that direction to be recognized as a world class organization in all aspects.”
Asked about OPEC membership, His Excellency said Qatar made it clear that it was a small producer with no say in what happens in the organization and that it wanted to focus on developing its gas industry, and said, “We are happy we are out of OPEC.”
On the environment, His Excellency said, “We remain focused on achieving the highest standards in our LNG industry to significantly reduce emissions by applying the best available technologies and practices. We are investing in modern technologies to reduce NOx and SOx emissions by about 50%. In addition, we are making sizeable investments to capture and re-inject CO2 extracted from the feed gas in our LNG facilities, resulting in a 25% reduction in Green House Gas emissions. Such new Carbon Capture and Storage projects will enable Qatar’s LNG industry to capture and sequester up to 7.5 million tons per annum by the time we achieve full development of the North Field.”
Speaking on the role of women in Qatar petroleum, His Excellency the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said: “Ambitious Qatari females want to be part of the Qatari skilled workforce whether in the oil and gas sector or other branches of the economy. We are very proud of our talented Qatari female employees, who work as geologists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and in many other disciplines and who take part in the advancement of Qatar Petroleum.”
At the end of the webinar, His Excellency Mr. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, thanked the partners and members of the US-Qatar Business Council for their dedicated efforts to enhance the special friendship and strong relations between the United States and the State of Qatar. He also thanked the members of the board and all the staff at the Council for driving relations forward, and for organizing the webinar.
The US-Qatar Business Council webinar was held with the participation of high-level executives from the oil and gas industry as well as other industries in the United States and the State of Qatar, media from around the world also participated.
The US-Qatar Business Council is the leading organization dedicated exclusively to enhancing the bilateral relationship between the US and Qatar.
The Council was founded in 1996, under the patronage of His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, by a group of American companies that first invested in the Qatari economy with the goal of promoting the commercial, economic, and trade relationship that has since grown exponentially.
The Council has played a crucial role in expanding the bilateral relationship by hosting senior executives from Fortune 500 companies, small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and high-ranking government officials for discussions on challenges and opportunities in both markets.