World's biggest LNG supplier Qatar merges 2 gas producers

By The Associated Press

Qatar is merging its two government-controlled liquefied natural gas companies, streamlining distribution of the fuel as the OPEC nation grapples with a slump in energy prices.

In this Saturday, April 4, 2009 file photo a gas production facility is seen in at Ras Laffan, Qatar. Qatar is merging its two government-backed liquefied natural gas companies, streamlining distribution of the fuel as the OPEC nation weathers a slump in energy prices. The Gulf country is the world’s largest producer of LNG, which is natural gas chilled to liquid form for shipment on tanker ships to customers around the world. (AP Photos/Maneesh Bakshi, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar is merging its two government-controlled liquefied natural gas companies, streamlining distribution of the fuel as the OPEC nation grapples with a slump in energy prices.

The Gulf country is the world's largest producer of LNG, which is natural gas chilled to liquid form for shipment on tanker ships.

Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, president and CEO of state oil company Qatar Petroleum, said Sunday the plan to combine Qatargas and the smaller RasGas will create a "unique global energy operator in terms of size, service and reliability."

International oil giants including Total, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell have stakes in the Qatargas production lines. Rasgas is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and minority shareholder Exxon Mobil.

Officials say the merger should be finished within 12 months.

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