PetroChina to acquire stake in Qatar's natural gas block from GDF Suez
26 July 2012
PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas producer, will acquire a 40-per cent stake in the exploration and production rights for natural gas in Qatar's Block 4 from French energy company GDF Suez's Qatar unit, Qatar Petroleum today said in a statement.
Neither PetroChina nor GDF Suez revealed the financial terms of the deal.
The Chinese company will begin drilling in Block 4 in the next few months.
The move comes two months after the Beijing-based state-owned oil company signed a similar deal with Royal Dutch Shell for exploration of natural gas in Block D.
The Paris-based company, which earlier held a 40-per cent stake in the block, had acquired the remaining 60 per cent from Anadarko Petroleum Corp in 2009.
GDF Suez Qatar, which holds the remaining 60 per cent stake in Block 4, will continue to be the operator of the block.
Under Qatar's exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) for the offshore block located north of the country, the deal required the nod from state-owned Qatar Petroleum.
Block 4 extends for more than 2,500km at water depths up to 75 meters and is situated within some of the world's most prolific hydrocarbon areas that have been relatively unexplored for the last 30 years.
"I am confident that with GDF Suez and PetroChina working together, they would be able to effectively accomplish the exploration programme that is set to be implemented in Block 4," Qatar's energy minister Mohammed al-Sada said in the statement.
"Qatar Petroleum is glad to support PetroChina's participation in another exploration activity in Qatar in addition to its interest in the Block D exploration," Sada added.
Qatar has massive hydrocarbon resources, including the world's third largest non-associated natural gas reserves, mainly located in the giant North Field. The country is now the biggest exporter of natural gas.
Qatar has the third-largest natural gas deposits after Iran and Russia and is currently the biggest exporter of natural gas. The gulf state holds around 14 per cent of the world's total gas reserves and has enough gas for more than 200 years at current production quantities.