US giant ConocoPhillips has been awarded a key stake in QatarEnergy’s North Field East (NFE) liquefied natural gas project, which aims to retain Qatar’s position as one of the world’s largest LNG exporters.

State-owned QatarEnergy still holds a majority stake in the $28.75 billion NFE project which is expected to start production by early 2026, scaling up Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 110 million tonnes per annum from the existing 77 million tpa.

ConocoPhillips is the third partner to have joined Qatar’s NFE scheme, with France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni also picking up stakes in joint ventures with QatarEnergy.

ConocoPhillips has been awarded a 25% interest in a new joint venture, with QatarEnergy on 75%.

The joint venture will hold a 12.5% stake in the 32 million tonnes per annum NFE development, the Qatari giant said.

QatarEnergy chief executive Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said the new partnership will enable the company “to benefit from the wide experience of ConocoPhillips in the development of the world’s largest LNG expansion project”.

Italy’s Eni recently became the second Western company to officially join the NFE expansion project with a 12.5% stake in another joint venture with QatarEnergy.

QatarEnergy will hold the majority 75% interest in the joint venture with Eni on 25%.

Earlier this month, TotalEnergies became the first international company to be awarded a stake in the NFE expansion project, entering a 75:25 joint venture that will hold a quarter share in the NFE development, equivalent to one of the four 8 million tpa trains.

Chinese companies in fray

QatarEnergy said more partners are expected to join NFE, with announcements to be made in due course.

While Western companies have been previously involved with North Field projects, Asian consumer nations including China are seen as crucial to Qatar’s strategy.

State-owned Chinese players including China National Petroleum Corporation and Sinopec are reportedly among those vying for additional stakes in Qatar’s NFE project, Reuters recently reported.

QatarEnergy had earlier launched a competitive bidding process in 2019 to select international partners for the NFE LNG project, which includes four LNG mega-trains each with a capacity of 8 million tpa.

The upstream part of the project will develop the south-eastern area of the field via eight platforms, 80 wells and gas pipelines to the onshore plant.

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.