Qatar Petroleum (QP) recently rebranded as QatarEnergy, highlighting its increased focus on energy transition even as the emirate prepares a massive expansion of its liquefied natural gas production capacity to 126 million tonnes per annum by 2027.

QP is among the first Middle East national oil and gas companies to have rebranded itself a diversified energy company as it aims to lower carbon emissions and speed up its energy transition drive.

The company said it aims to emerge as a leading global low-carbon producer of LNG, which it sees as a transition fuel in the immediate future.

Chief executive Saad Sherida al Kaabi said that becoming QatarEnergy reflects the company’s understanding of the global changes and its response to the need to protect the planet and its environment.

“Not only will our LNG projects bring additional cleaner energy to customers across the globe, but we will continue our heightened commitment to our central role in the global energy transition,” he said.

He added that the company is ensuring that it protects the environment by keeping “carbon footprint at a minimum”.

“This is why we are utilising sophisticated carbon sequestration methods to capture and sequester 9 million tonnes of CO2 per annum by the end of this decade,” he said.

However, experts believe that increased LNG production in the coming years is likely to lead to higher emissions for the company and the emirate needs to come forward with a clear net zero goal if it aims to substantially lower emissions.

Qatar is no longer an Opec member and so is not bound by output cut agreements, unlike its Persian Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

While Qatar’s oil production is less than the other Persian Gulf petrostates, it is still expected to continue spending on key offshore oil development projects — including Al Shaheen and Bul Hanine — which is likely to create concerns over its long-term emission reduction goals.

Versatility

Al Kaabi said that in the ongoing energy transition, LNG offers the advantages of versatility, flexibility and price.

“More consumers are realising the economic benefits and environmental qualities of LNG, and are adopting it as a key, cleaner, and economical and reliable component in their energy mix,” he added.

Al Kaabi noted that natural gas will continue to “be the partner of choice for renewables in the transition journey and beyond”.

The company is spending billions of dollars to increase LNG production from its giant North Field, with the expansion process spread across two stages.

QatarEnergy has said it plans to reduce the carbon footprint at the flagship North Field through substantial reduction of fuel gas consumption and capturing and reinjecting carbon dioxide.

The company claims it is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in its North Field LNG expansion project, applying “technologies that will result in a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to similar facilities”.

Rystad Energy Middle East upstream analysis vice president Aditya Saraswat said QatarEnergy intends to reach a methane intensity of 0.2% by 2025, zero regular natural gas flaring, and a portfolio with more than 90% gas by 2030.

Saraswat added that the company has also set a target of reducing carbon intensity, including direct and indirect emissions, by 15% from upstream facilities and 25% from LNG facilities by 2030 compared with 2013 levels.

Through focused investment in flare reduction projects over the past decade, the company has managed to increase the utilisation of gas and, with this, sweet gas levels as it continues its push towards reducing its carbon footprint.

Al-Kaabi earlier said that the company has commissioned a facility at Ras Laffan, which has become the largest CO2 recovery and sequestration facility in the Middle East region with a capacity of handling 2.1 million tonnes per annum of CO2.

Qatar’s LNG industry will be “capturing and sequestering more than 5 million tpa of CO2 by 2025”, he noted.

Hydrogen investments

Qatar is expected to scale up its hydrogen business and is likely to enter into multiple agreements in the coming months as it builds on its clean energy business.

QatarEnergy recently teamed up with Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell to jointly pursue investments in blue and green hydrogen projects in the UK.

The two players will jointly target "integrated and scalable opportunities in key sectors where hydrogen could help decarbonise, especially around industrial cluster development”.

QatarEnergy said the joint venture also plans to target the transport sector, "with a focus on the London metropolitan area”.

QatarEnergy said the agreement signed on the sidelines of the UK government’s Global Investment Summit will employ both players' expertise in delivering large and technically complex energy projects.

Al Kaabi said the agreement “creates a viable path for innovation and investments in low carbon fuels and technologies across the UK’s energy sector, a key area of investment for QatarEnergy”.