Qatar Petroleum (QP)and the US' ExxonMobil Corporationannounced on 24 June the signing of a heads of agreement (HOA) to supply locally produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the UK. The HOA calls for QP to take a 70 per cent stake and ExxonMobil a 30 per cent interest in two new liquefaction trains to be built at Ras Laffan. Feedstock for the two trains is expected to be sourced from the enhanced gas utilisation (EGU) project, which is also being jointly developed by QP and ExxonMobil (MEED 29:3:02).
ExxonMobil says the two new trains will be the largest in the world, implying that they will each have a capacity of about 5 million tonnes a year (t/y). They are expected to be built at the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas)complex and be commissioned in 2006-07.
QP and ExxonMobil will now look to finalise various outstanding issues on the project, including a potential site for the LNG receiving terminal in the UK, prospective offtakers and the shipping requirements. The next major milestone in project development will be the signing of a joint venture agreement between the two parties.
The HOA provides further evidence of Doha's desire to become a major player in Europe. Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas)has already signed a 3.5 million-t/y agreement with Italy's Edison. Qatargas is also carrying out a joint feasibility study with Spain's Repsoland Italy's Enelfor the construction of a fourth gas train at its Ras Laffan plant. The capacity of the proposed train will be 4.8 million t/y, considerably larger than its existing 2 million-t/y trains, and its output will be marketed in Europe by Repsol and Enel (MEED 12:10:01).