TotalEnergies SE will make another investment in Qatar’s natural gas fields, as Europe intensifies efforts to wean itself off Russian supplies of the fuel.
The French energy giant is set to take a stake in a project called North Field South, according to people familiar with the matter. The multi-billion dollar plan will boost Qatar’s exports of liquefied natural gas, though it will take several years to complete.
Patrick Pouyanne, TotalEnergies’s CEO, may attend a signing ceremony in Doha on Saturday alongside Qatar’s energy minister, Saad Al Kaabi, the people said.
A TotalEnergies spokesperson declined to comment, while state-controlled Qatar Energy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar is increasing its output capacity amid a global energy crunch. Demand for LNG is soaring after Russia retaliated against sanctions for its attack on Ukraine by cutting gas flows to Europe.
It’s unclear how much TotalEnergies will invest in North Field South, which includes the construction of gas liquefaction plants.
Earlier this year, Qatar sold equity stakes worth 25 per cent in North Field East, a separate gas project costing about $29 billion. TotalEnergies acquired 6.25 per cent. The other investors were Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp, ConocoPhillips and Eni SpA.
Qatar, which vies with Australia as the world’s biggest LNG producer, has said the partners in North Field South may be the same as those in North Field East. Together, the projects will increase Qatar’s LNG capacity by almost 65 per cent to 126 millions tonnes a year by 2027.
Its reserves are mostly contained in the North Field, an offshore behemoth extending into Iran’s waters.
TotalEnergies is seeking new gas resources in part because the Arctic LNG 2 project under construction in Russia, in which it has a 10 per cent stake, is being jeopardized by European sanctions on Moscow. Another LNG development in Mozambique has been put on hold for more than a year because of attacks in the area by insurgents.