The Mideast Gulf offers oil majors an investment environment of constrained opportunity and poor profitability, a scrutiny of current and planned 2020 production reveals. Theoretically, the region, home of two thirds of the world’s conventional oil reserves, has huge investment potential for the oil majors, many of whom date their birth from initial investments in the area. There is massive engagement with the Gulf, but with the close of Qatar’s LNG boom a few years ago, the region’s contracts have, in the main, got tougher, competition is fiercer, bureaucracies more cumbersome, and associated political risk higher.

A survey of the majors’ investment footprint in the region highlights just how central Qatar is to current stakes in the region. Taking a crude percentage stake in projects and dividing this by their output, shows Qatar makes up around 85% of the 29.465mn tons/year of majors’ stakes in the region’s LNG industry (see p19), or all but 4.6mn t/y. And ExxonMobil, with over half this total figure, clearly dominates this vital sector, outgunning its nearest rivals by a factor of almost three. With most of Qatar’s projects rich in LPG, condensate and NGLs, Qatari LNG projects assume a similar importance in majors’ production profiles for these products. (CONTINUED - 1181 WORDS)