European supermajor Shell has picked up a key stake in Qatar’s huge North Field East (NFE) liquefied natural gas scheme.

Shell said on Tuesday that QatarEnergy selected it as a partner in the project and added: “Shell will hold a 25% share in a joint venture company which will own 25% of the NFE expansion project, including the four mega LNG trains with a combined nameplate LNG capacity of 32 million tonnes per annum.”

The company noted that its investment in the LNG expansion project “will support the delivery of much-needed supplies of natural gas to markets around the world”.

“The project will also be integrated with carbon capture and sequestration to reduce emissions,” it said.

CCS integration

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said that through the company’s “pioneering integration with carbon capture and storage, this landmark project will help provide LNG that the world urgently needs with a lower carbon footprint”.

“Lower carbon natural gas is a key pillar of our powering progress strategy and will also help us achieve our target of becoming a net-zero emissions business by 2050,” he said.

Van Beurden added that the agreement deepens its strategic partnership with QatarEnergy, which includes multiple international ventures, including the Pearl GTL asset.

Qatar’s $28.75 billion NFE project aims to expand the tiny emirate’s LNG production capacity from the current 77 million tpa to 110 million tonnes by 2026.

Fifth key investor

Shell is the fifth international major to have joined as a partner in the NFE expansion project, with ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, TotalEnergies and Eni already on board.

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 the NFE project, media reports have claimed.

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 what is labelled as the world’s largest LNG expansion project will develop the southeastern area of the field via eight platforms, 80 wells and gas pipelines to the onshore plant.

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