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Qatar Merging LNG Operating Companies

Top global liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer Qatar Petroleum (QP) plans to integrate its RasGas Co. Ltd. and Qatargas operating companies under a single entity, named Qatargas, it said Sunday.

The combined company will operate all of the LNG ventures of QP. The move is seen as a cost-cutting measure amid slumping oil prices.

"The integration aims to create a truly unique global energy operator in terms of size, service and reliability," said QP CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi. "We will merge the distinctive resources and capabilities of Qatargas and RasGas to create even higher value for our stakeholders, and enhance our competitive position."

Those stakeholders include ExxonMobil Corp., Total S.A., ConocoPhillips Co., and Royal Dutch Shell plc.

The integration is expected to start immediately and be completed within 12 months, QP said.

According to the International Gas Union (IGU) World LNG Report for 2016, last year globally traded LNG volumes reached 244.8 million tonnes, a 4.7 million tonne increase from 2014 and an all-time high for total LNG trade.

Qatar alone accounted for nearly one-third of the global trade exports and was the world's largest LNG exporter, IGU said. Qatar had 31.8% of the market and exported 77.8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). "Though Qatar remained the largest liquefaction capacity holder as of January 2016, Australia is expected to become the largest source of capacity by 2018," IGU said.

According to its website Qatargas is the largest LNG producer in the world with an annual production capacity of 42 mtpa. RasGas operates a dedicated fleet of 27 LNG carriers under long-term charter agreements with ship owners, according to its website.

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