DOHA, March 5 Qatar is no longer in negotiations
to take a stake in an Arctic liquefied natural gas (LNG)
project under development by Russian gas producer Novatek
, an executive at Qatar Petroleum International (QPI)
said on Tuesday.
Qatar's energy minister, Mohammed al-Sada, said in late 2011
the world's leading LNG producer was keen to join the project,
which backers Novatek and Total hope will produce
super-cooled gas from the Arctic Yamal peninsula by 2016.
But the tiny desert state, which has already grown wealthy
from selling LNG out of the world's largest gas field under the
warm waters of the Gulf, has gone cold on Yamal.
"At QPI we look at opportunities on a case-by-case basis.
Yamal was one of those opportunities," Ahmed Abdulqader
al-Ahmed, QPI's executive upstream director, said at an industry
event in Doha.
He said QPI had "shelved, but not killed" the idea of taking
a stake in Yamal but declined to elaborate.
The project to develop the South Tambey field could produce
more than 15 million tonnes of LNG per year (mtpa) from 2018,
but the Arctic operating environment could make it more costly
than Qatar's existing capacity of 77 mtpa.
Novatek has said it plans to retain at least 51 percent of
the project but has been looking for partners to help develop
it. France's Total owns 20 percent.
A source close to Novatek said last week that a Chinese
company may acquire a stake in the project.
(Reporting by Regan Doherty in Doha, additional reporting and
writing by Daniel Fineren in Dubai; editing by Jane Baird)