The ExxonMobil Corporation has signed a drilling deal with the state-owned Qatar Petroleum. Qatar’s energy minister confirmed that the two have forged an agreement to undertake commercially viable shale gas exploration, development, and production. The deal comes just three weeks after Eni SpA gave up on Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas find.
Reading between the lines, ExxonMobil has passed over the most promising parts of Cyprus for development and is focusing on less economic areas in order not to overlap with prospects already operated by Qatar Petroleum (QP).
Several years ago QP and ExxonMobil were seen to share the giant Al-Shaheen and Dukhan gas fields in Qatar, but since then QP has opted for a wider development of its North Field while ExxonMobil concentrates more on the arm’s length Zor facility.
This week QP confirmed that it is involved with two drilling deals where ExxonMobil is the operator: one in Cyprus and another offshore East Timor where ExxonMobil will operate with QP, Total SA, and Galp Energia.
Onshore Qatar, ExxonMobil operates with QP (and others) at Al Khaleej and Tawilah. Existing onshore concessions give gas production of about 0.5 billion cubic feet per day, but QP is targeting 1.5 bcf/d by 2021 which would require several more concessions.
Since the 1980s ExxonMobil has also been active offshore Qatar where it started exploration with QP in 1984 and now operates with QatarGas (40% ExxonMobil) on the North Field/Aspire Zone. QatarGas is the operator on the North Field, where it has a 25.1% stake in the Dolphin gas field development rights at South Pars.
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