The West’s three biggest energy corporations are lobbying Qatar to take part in a huge expansion of its gas production, handing Doha an unintended but timely boost in its bitter dispute with Gulf Arab neighbors.
ExxonMobil(XOM.N), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Total (TOTF.PA) already have large investments in countries on both sides of the dispute, and are keen not to take sides after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Doha on June 5.
Here are some facts about international oil companies which operate in the Gulf countries involved in the rift:
The U.S. oil major’s relationship with Qatar goes back to 1935 when it was known as Socony-Vacuum, and later Mobil.
It helped to develop the North Field, the world’s biggest gas field, and supplied Qatar with technology to make it the top competitor in the LNG market.
Qatar’s LNG production is divided between two companies, Qatargas and Rasgas. State oil company Qatar Petroleum (QP) owns a majority stake in both.
RasGas is 70 percent-owned by QP and 30 percent-owned by ExxonMobil, while Qatargas is owned by a consortium including QP, ExxonMobil, Total, Mitsui (8031.T), Marubeni (8002.T), ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Royal Dutch Shell.
ExxonMobil is also the only foreign participant in two domestic gas projects, Al-Khaleej Gas and Barzan Gas.
** Saudi Arabia
ExxonMobil is one of the largest foreign investors in Saudi Arabia, with more than 3,000 Saudi nationals working in the joint ventures in which the U.S. oil major participates. These range from petrochemicals manufacturing to petroleum refining.
The company began working with Saudi Arabia in 1927 and owned a stake in the state oil giant Saudi Aramco before it was fully nationalized in the 1980s.
ExxonMobil has been a partner with Aramco in several major projects over the years including building the East-West Pipeline (Petroline) linking the Eastern Province fields with Yanbu on the Red Sea and the SAMREF refinery in Yanbu, which is equally-owned by Aramco and a subsidiary of Exxon.
It is also a partner with SABIC in two petrochemical joint ventures – Saudi Yanbu Petrochemical Company (YANPET), and Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (KEMYA).
** The UAE
ExxonMobil was awarded the first oil concession in Abu Dhabi, now the capital of the UAE, in 1939.
Exxon is now developing the Upper Zakum offshore oilfield through a joint venture, Zakum Development Company (ZADCO), with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. ADNOC has a 60 percent stake, while Exxon owns 28 percent and Japan’s Jodco 12 percent.
The U.S. company also markets lubricants and petrochemicals for the Middle East and North Africa region out of its office in Dubai.
The French oil major has been working with Qatar since 1936 through cooperation with Qatar Petroleum in developing LNG, refining and petrochemicals projects.
Total is one of the main partners of Qatargas, the world’s largest LNG producer, owning stakes in Qatargas 1 and Qatargas 2. It is a main shareholder in the Dolphin Energy pipeline which transfers natural gas from Qatar to the UAE and Oman.
It has joint ventures with Qatar Petroleum to develop the Al-Khalij and Al-Shaheen oil fields. Total Refining & Petrochemicals has stakes in both Qatar Petrochemicals Company (QAPCO), operating a petrochemical complex manufacturing ethylene and low-density polyethylene, and QATOFIN. Total is a partner in the Ras Laffan refinery and also sells lubricants.
** Saudi Arabia
Total has been present in Saudi Arabia for almost 40 years and is a main player in the downstream sector. The French company has a 51 percent stake in the Saudi Total Petroleum Products joint venture, which manufactures and retails lubricants and specialty products.
It owns a 37.5 percent stake in the SATORP joint venture – a 400,000 barrels per day refining and petrochemicals complex in Jubail – with Saudi Aramco owning the remaining 62.5 percent.
** The UAE
Since 1939, Total has been working with the majority of Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas operating companies and other energy firms: ADCO, ADMA-OPCO, ADGAS, GASCO, FERTIL, Taweelah A1, Shams 1 and Dolphin Energy.
It has a 10 percent stake in a 40-year onshore concession to help develop Abu Dhabi’s biggest oilfields.
Total signed a 20-year contract with Iran this week to develop the giant South Pars gas field, which it shares with Qatar. The deal is the first major Western energy investment since sanctions against Tehran were lifted.
Total will be the operator with a 50.1 percent stake in South Pars. The first stage will cost around $2 billion.
Shell said it is the biggest international investor in Qatar, surpassing Exxon. It is in partnership with Qatar Petroleum in projects covering LNG production, gas to liquids (GTL), shipping, exploration and petrochemicals.
One of Shell’s main investments in Qatar is Pearl Gas-to-Liquids in Ras Laffan, the largest GTL plant in the world.
The company also own a 30 percent stake in Qatargas 4, an integrated LNG production facility together with Qatar Petroleum, and is the shipping and maritime services provider for QatarGas Transport Company (Nakilat).
** Saudi Arabia
Shell has a diverse business with Saudi Arabia. It has a stake in SASREF, a 50:50 joint venture refinery at Jubail with a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 bpd, and a partnership with SABIC through its SADAF joint venture.
It also has a joint venture that markets and sells Shell lubricants and another that handles aviation refueling operations in the kingdom.
** The UAE
Shell currently does not own a direct stake in UAE’s oil or gas fields as talks with ADNOC to renew its 40-year oil concession stalled. However, the company has its regional headquarters in Dubai, through which it manages its businesses in the Middle East.
** Other foreign companies such as Occidental (OXY.N) have operations in both Qatar and the UAE, while ConocoPhillips also owns interests in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
** Trading houses including the world’s biggest names such as Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore also have business interests with all the countries locked in the political crisis.
** Asian countries such as China, India, South Korea and Japan are major buyers of crude, condensate and LNG from the Middle East producers.
** Sources: Companies’ websites, Reuters