Qatar calls for increased investment in oil and gas markets

Qatar's Minister of Energy Mohammed al-Sada gestures as he speaks to the media in Doha, Qatar February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Qatar’s energy minister on Thursday called for oil-producing countries to boost investment in the oil and gas sector given a recovery in the price of oil, but said he did not back setting any specific targets for such investment.

Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said he expected the issue to be addressed during a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC countries in Algeria at the end of the month.

“While the oil price has been recovering, the only thing now is to see an adequate level of investment going back to the oil sector,” Sada told Reuters ahead of a bilateral Qatar-German investment conference.

Boosting investment was important to ensure secure oil supplies in the future, he said, noting that failing to invest now would have consequences in two to three years.

Sada said he did not favor setting specific investment targets, since that could distort the market.

“From the government point of view, we would like to act as a catalyst. If there are bottlenecks or hurdles, we will work hand in hand with investors, but we leave it to the market to determine the level of investment,” he said.

State energy giant Qatar Petroleum in May said it will push ahead with its strategy to boost production and acquire foreign assets to be on par with oil majors, despite a regional political and economic embargo on Doha, its chief executive said.

Sada also cited Qatar’s plans to boost production of liquefied natural gas from 77 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes a year as evidence of its commitment to invest in the sector.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Toby Chopra