Qatar to Up Stake in Shell

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is preparing to purchase a 3 to 5% stake in Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Shell is Europe’s largest oil company. The Qatar Investment Authority is bullish on real assets such as commodities. In recent days, it has steadily increased its holdings in Xstrata Plc.

Shell’s $18.5 billion Pearl natural gas-to-liquids venture in Qatar will reach full capacity by June 2012.

Shell first came to Qatar in the 1930s. In the 1970s, Shell helped design offshore platforms in Qatar and discovered the North Field, a massive gas field. This Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) plant will be on scale to compete with a large oil refinery. The plant is the most expensive energy project in Qatar. It is projected that when the plant is fully operational it will be able to convert 1.6 billion cubic feet a day of gas into 140,000 barrels a day of liquid fuels.

This small stake is a seen by some as a symbol of confidence in Shell and their continued partnership in energy ventures. It will deepen the relationship between Qatar and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

“We are delighted to welcome the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) as a long term and major shareholder in Shell, and particularly given our excellent strategic relationship with the Qatari state,” said Ross Whittam, a London-based spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Qatar Holding LLC, a sovereign wealth enterprise of the Qatar Investment Authority owns about a 3% stake in Total SA.

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