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17 Dec, 2018 11:03

Life after OPEC: Qatar to invest $20 billion into US energy in major expansion

Life after OPEC: Qatar to invest $20 billion into US energy in major expansion

After Qatar recently announced its intention to withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), its state-run oil giant has pledged hefty investments in the US energy sector.

Qatar Petroleum is seeking to invest some $20 billion in various projects in the US over the next five years, Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi told journalists in Doha.

According to the top-official, Qatar is interested in projects connected to both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas supplies, as well as crude production.

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In particular, the company is planning to revive the multi-billion dollar Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas. Qatar Petroleum owns 70 percent of the project with American energy multinationals ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips splitting the rest.

Earlier this month, Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, said it was quitting the Saudi-dominated OPEC oil cartel on January 1, putting an end to nearly 60-year membership in the organization.

Back then, Al-Kaabi said the decision wouldn’t have significant impact on OPEC oil production plans, as Qatar’s share is small compared to other members. The minister also pledged Qatar would stick to all its commitments like any other non-OPEC oil producer.

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Qatar’s decision to leave the world’s biggest oil cartel was reportedly triggered by the ambitious plans to focus on developing its natural gas sector. The peninsula state is seeking to boost its annual LNG output from 77 million to 110 million tons.
Another reason for leaving OPEC is Qatar's concern that its membership in the oil cartel would be a stumbling block for its ambitions in the US, according to industry sources, as quoted by Reuters.

In November, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed source in the US government, that the US Department of Justice was exploring the possibility of applying its antitrust legislation, dubbed No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC). The law is set to allow the White House to reduce the power of the OPEC, and even sue the organization over its efforts to control oil output and crude prices.

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