Total to invest $3.5 billion over five years in Qatari field

FILE PHOTO - Workers fix a sign for oil giant Total at a petrol station in Cairo, Egypt, October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

DOHA (Reuters) - France’s Total will invest $3.5 billion over five years in Qatar’s offshore Al Shaheen oilfield and expects to keep production running at 300,000 barrels per day in future, French and Qatari executives said on Tuesday.

Total’s investment commitment was announced while Qatar is embroiled in a political crisis. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed sanctions on Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne told a news conference in Doha to mark the inauguration of the joint venture firm that will run the field that the French firm aimed to maintain Al Shaheen’s output at 300,000 bpd for “many years”.

Total won a 30 percent stake in the field last year, while state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) holds 70 percent in the joint venture, called North Oil Company (NOC). The previous operator of the field was Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk.

QP Chief Executive Saad al-Kaabi said Total had given the best offer for the field last year and that the new contract would bring Qatar more revenue than the previous deal. He said Total would invest $3.5 billion over the next five years.

Pouyanne on Tuesday said Total could invest more in Qatar, as well as in neighboring UAE.

The operation of the Al Shaheen field under the new arrangement runs for 25 years, starting on July 14.

Reporting by Tom Finn; Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Aziz Yaakoubi and Edmund Blair