Centrica eyes Qatar with new contract

CENTRICA has signed a memorandum of understanding to look at joint investment opportunities with Qatar Petroleum, two weeks after announcing a £1bn exploration and supply deal with Norwegian group Statoil.

The British Gas owner said investment targets will include new or existing projects in upstream oil and gas including gas storage, as well as combined-cycle gas turbine generation assets and downstream opportunities.

The news comes as the company targets growing production by 50 per cent to 75m barrels of oil equivalent annually in the next three to five years, prompting speculation more deals as big as the one with Statoil could be in the offing.

Centrica also said last month it would invest in its upstream oil and gas business to strengthen its energy hedge.

The agreement, signed at the World Petroleum Conference in Doha, follows the long-term LNG contract Centrica signed with the emirate earlier this year.

Qatar Petroleum International is the international investment arm of Qatar Petroleum.

“The partnership will enable us to jointly develop significant energy investments that will further boost the long-term security of the UK's gas supply,” Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said in a statement.

“We will also explore joint opportunities to deploy capital and expertise in other markets to deliver growth and value for the group,” Laidlaw added.

Carillion yesterday signed its maiden deal in Qatar, agreeing a £395m joint venture contract to help build a mixed-use project across 21 hectares in downtown Doha.