Qatar, determined to reverse its crude production decline, is considering a multi-billion-dollar investment in its swing producer oil field, 300,000 b/d, al-Shaheen, operated by Danish independent Maersk. State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) is also in talks to convert Maersk’s production sharing agreement (PSA) when it expires into a joint venture (JV). It has already done this with Total, which operates the 19,000 b/d al-Khaleej field, and will also follow this pattern with Occidental’s (Oxy) 105,000 b/d Idd al-Shargi concession.

Since taking the helm of the Energy and Industry Ministry in January 2011, and chairmanship of state-owned QP, Muhammad al-Sada has led the drive to restore Qatari crude output. Qatar had under-invested in state-owned QP-operated fields, whose output has dropped, while it focused on becoming the world’s leading producer of LNG and gas-to-liquids (GTL). Although crude output has fallen from around 860,000 b/d in early 2008 to about 740,000 b/d, total oil output has risen to about 1.44mn b/d due to the massive boost from condensate produced in association with gas from Qatar's North Field (MEES, 23 November 2012). (CONTINUED - 1040 WORDS)