Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil are to build on their existing partnership by investing $10 billion in a new project to export exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States.
The Golden Pass LNG project will take a site in Texas that was originally built to import gas and convert it to process and export LNG. Over its five-year construction, it is expected to create some 9,000 jobs. On completion in 2024, it will employ 200 workers and export up to 16 million tonnes of LNG each year.
ExxonMobil, which also makes industrial lubricants for Mobil UK distributors, is heavily involved in the US shale industry. While this has dramatically revived the US oil industry, it has also brought abundant supplies of natural gas. Unlike crude oil, which is relatively easy to store and transport by tanker, natural gas needs to be first cooled to about −162 °C to get it in a liquid state that occupies 1/600th of the volume. The new Golden Pass LNG project will therefore open up a new pathway for ExxonMobil to export the low-cost gas from its shale operations.
ExxonMobil will own 30% of the project, with Qatar Petroleum owning a 70% majority share. Some believe the investment may be linked to Qatar’s intention to leave OPEC, a decision the country’s energy minister said was based on a desire to shift the country’s focus away from oil and onto natural gas, as well as enhance the country’s role abroad.