Business

Qatar to merge state-owned giant gas producers

DOHA: Qatar, the world’s largest liquified natural gas producer, announced on Sunday it is to merge state-owned Qatargas and RasGas to create a “truly unique global energy operator”.

Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, president and chief executive of state-owned Qatar Petroleum, said the move to the merger would begin right away and the companies would begin operating under a single entity, named Qatargas, within 12 months.

He said the move would save “hundreds of millions of dollars”.

“The integration aims to create a truly unique global energy operator in terms of size, service and reliability,” he told reporters at a news conference.

Kaabi added that there would be no job losses on the “operating side”, but it was unclear if there would be cuts elsewhere.

Qatargas, in its present form, is the largest LNG producer in the world, according to its website.

RasGas, holds no assets but oversees and manages all LNG operations in the energy-rich emirate.

Both companies have joint ventures with oil companies including ExxonMobil, Total and Shell.

Representatives of these companies were present at Sunday’s news conference.

Gas exports have helped make Qatar one of the richest countries in the world.

It is currently the world’s biggest LNG exporter but could soon be overtaken by Australia.

The move comes as Qatar tries to adapt to an era of lower energy prices.

The World Cup 2022 host faces an estimated budget deficit of more than $12 billion in 2016, its first in 15 years, and the country’s leadership has called for greater efficiency in public spending.

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