State-owned energy giant Qatar Petroleum has signed an agreement to buy a 30-percent stake in Exxon Mobil hydrocarbon affiliates in Argentina.
The deal, Qatar Petroleum's first in Argentina, was formally signed at a ceremony in a five-star Doha hotel by the heads of both companies. The agreement gives the Qatari oil and gas company shares in ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina SRL and Mobil Argentina SA for exploration, drilling and production of unconventional shale oil and gas in Vaca Muerta in the Neuquén province of western Argentina. No value was given for the agreements.
"We are happy to reach agreement with Exxon, a strategic partner with which we have a long history," said Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum.
Andrew Swiger, senior vice-president of Exxon, said the deal "underscores" his company's commitment to develop Argentine resources.
Announcement of the deal comes on the eve of a one-year anniversary of a diplomatic crisis which has rocked the Gulf. On June 5, 2017, a group of countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism and being too close to regional rival Iran. Qatar denies the allegations and says the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.
Qatar Petroleum is the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas. The small, but wealthy Arab state shares the world's biggest gas field, located in the Persian Gulf, with Iran.