Qatar Petroleum

10 November 2013

QP’s revenues have underwritten the development of Qatar’s economy

Founded: 1935

Chairman/managing director: Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada (also oil and gas minister)

Tel: (+974) 4 440 2000



Although Qatar was one of the first countries in the Middle East and North Africa region to produce oil, it has subsequently become better known as one of the biggest gas producers and exporters in the world, and as a pioneer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution.

Anglo-Persian Oil Company, a predecessor of the UK’s BP, was awarded the first oil exploration and production concession in Qatar in 1935. It later transferred the contract to another company it owned, Petroleum Development Qatar, which in turn was later renamed Qatar Petroleum Company (QPC). Oil was discovered at the Dukhan field in 1938, but the Second World War saw the export of oil delayed until 1949. Qatar Petroleum (QP) was formed in 1974 to aid Doha’s nationalisation of the oil industry, which was completed in 1976.

Since the mid-1990s, Qatar has embarked on a huge gas production drive, and QP has acted as the joint-venture partner with several international oil companies to exploit the country’s gas resources through major production and liquefication projects. In recent years, Qatar has become one of the major developers of gas-to-liquids technologies.

Role in Qatar’s economy

Oil and gas exports accounted for just under two thirds of government revenues in 2012, while 57.2 per cent of economic output relied directly on hydrocarbons. Much of the remainder of state revenues comes from investment into public enterprises, which is supported by the money earned through oil and gas exports. QP also oversees the development of Qatar’s petrochemicals industry, seen by many as the main pillar of economic diversification. The firm and its subsidiaries employ more Qataris than any other state-run enterprise, while the revenues it produces have underwritten the development of Qatar’s economy.

Role in the global economy

Qatar is the world’s seventh-largest gas exporter and biggest LNG exporter. QP subsidiaries and joint ventures account for a quarter of world LNG supply, and Qatar has the world’s third-largest oil reserves. QP also runs two of the world’s four gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants, including the world’s biggest GTL facility, Pearl GTL, a joint venture with UK/Dutch Shell. The firm aims to become a global producer, but the growth of its international arm, Qatar Petroleum International, has been somewhat limited.


In 2011, QP reached the end of a 20-year investment programme and announced a moratorium on gas production at its biggest field, the North Field. The firm has since turned its attention to developing its capacity for liquid fuels, which accounted for 700,000 barrels a day (b/d) of Qatar’s stated 1.7 million b/d of oil production in 2012. QP is also working on a series of downstream petrochemicals schemes, and wants to produce 23 million tonnes a year of petrochemicals by 2020.


QP has about 20 major subsidiaries and joint ventures. Among the most important are Industries Qatar, a petrochemicals producer; Laffan Refinery, which runs the country’s main condensate refinery; Pearl GTL; Oryx GTL, another gas-to-liquids joint venture with South Africa’s Sasol; Qatar Chemical Company, a petrochemicals joint venture with the US’ Chevron Phillips Petrochemical Company; Qatar Fertiliser Company, a regional fertilisers joint venture; Qatar Petrochemical Company, a joint venture with France’s Total; Qatar Petroleum International; Qatargas, which oversees most of the country’s LNG projects; Qatofin, a plastics producer; and RasGas, a joint-venture gas producer with ExxonMobil.

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