Italian company Eni on Sunday joined Qatar Energy’s project to expand production from the world’s biggest natural gas field, days after Russia slashed supplies to Italy. Eni will own a stake of just over three percent in the $28 billion North Field East project, Qatar Energy’s CEO said at a signing ceremony in Doha.
Qatar announced France’s TotalEnergies as its first, and largest, foreign partner on the development last week, with a 6.25 percent share. More companies are set to be named. “Today I’m pleased… to announce the selection of Eni as a partner in this unique strategic project,” said Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, who is also president and CEO of state-owned Qatar Energy.
The project’s LNG — the cooled form of gas that makes it easier to transport — is expected to come on line in 2026. It will help Qatar increase its liquefied natural gas production by more than 60 percent by 2027, TotalEnergies chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told AFP last week.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has injected urgency into efforts around the world to develop new energy sources as Western countries try to reduce their reliance on Russia.
On Friday, Eni said it would receive only 50 percent of the gas requested from Russia’s Gazprom, the third day running of reduced supplies. Rome has accused Gazprom of peddling “lies” over the cuts. “We have a lot of things to learn from your leadership and also from your standards and from your ability to adapt to very difficult circumstances,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi told his Qatari counterpart. Qatar Energy estimates that the North Field, which extends under the Gulf sea into Iranian territory, holds about 10 percent of the world’s known gas reserves.