Doha: Qatar Petroleum and Gaz de France (GdF) have signed a key memorandum of understanding envisaging join international operations in the energy sector here yesterday as French President Nicolas Sarkozy began a two-day visit to the country.
The memorandum encompasses a broad spectrum of activities and the two companies have already identified potential projects in Europe, Asia and the Gulf, said Jean-Francois Cirelli, GDF’s chairman chief executive officer.
“The memorandum sets the framework for a long-term cooperation between Qatar Petroleum and GDF. It envisages not only that GDF will invest and do business in Qatar but also that we will develop join operations outside Qatar in the energy sector,” he told Gulf News.
With regard to the French company’s involvement in Qatar, Cirelli said GDF has been prequalified by the Qatari authorities to participate in the bidding process for the exploration of new wells in Qatar.
He added the company, which on Sunday inaugurated its Qatari branch, would consider Qatar, which has the third world’s largest gas reserves, as its focal point in the Gulf area.
“We have made a decision that Qatar would be the driving force of our expansion in the Gulf. We have no major plans outside Qatar except in Yemen, where we would be interested in exploration and production,” he said.
Asked whether GDF and Qatar Petroleum have already identified joint energy projects to be developed, he confirmed a number of operations were under study. “We have identified potential projects in Europe, Asia and the Gulf and we have now to consider whether they meet our criteria,” Cirelli said.
In addition to the gas-related activities, state-owned GdF, which is about to merge with Franco-Belgian Suez, is also considering expanding its activities to power generation in the Gulf region, Cirelli said.
“When we are merged with Suez, we are going to become one of the major producers of electricity in the Gulf area,” he said.