Posted on April 10, 2011

Alex Dodds, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar, said that over the last two decades ExxonMobil has invested over $16bn in the development of (Qatar’s) energy infrastructure. He added: “We expect our investments to continue through 2014 with the development of the Barzan project, which is the final phase of the current development of the North Field”. Dodds was speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the Business and Investment in Qatar Forum held in New York.

Qatar’s North Field is the largest unassociated gas reserve in the world.

During the forum, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, Minister of Energy and Industry, HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, and Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, inaugurated the Golden Pass Receiving Terminal in Texas. Dodds described the achievement as  “the final link in the value chain building with RasGas”.

“In the liquefied natural gas (LNG) business, what you have to have is a way to take LNG exports from Qatar and turn it into gas for power generation and other applications,” Dodds said. “The way to do that is with a receiving terminal. The Golden Pass Receiving Terminal is the asset that we built in partnership with Qatar Petroleum International (QPI),” he added.

So far, the Terminal, which represent a $2bn investment,  has received a handful of LNG shipments from Qatar.

“The global gas market is very dynamic. What we’ve done in our joint ventures is designed national arrangements with buyers to allow us to send LNG to the most economic markets for Qatar,” Dodds said. He addedd that when gas prices are low in the US, Qatar has the ability to sell LNG to Asia or Europe, where there is a market advantage, and vice versa.

“It is a unique commercial arrangement that we’ve developed in Qatar that doesn’t exist anywhere else…Purely because of the vast scale of natural resources that Qatar has and the economies of scale developed in joint ventures,” he added.

Giving a brief history of ExxonMobil’s commitment to Qatar, Dodds explained that the company has been in the country for over 20 years. Their focus is in helping the development of the Qatari economy and energy resources.

ExxonMobil is the largest US investor in Qatar and the company has been prominent in the country since the early 1990s when invited by the country to help develop the North Field’s LNG reserves.

“Our journey is remarkable on two counts – 1) because back in the 90s, Qatar’s gas resources were stranded in terms of ability to commercialize. People viewed Qatar as too distant from the marketplace to sell gas traditionally,” he said. “Through partnership with Qatar Petroleum (QP), ExxonMobil brought technology, skilled labour, and advanced capabilities to Qatar.”

Dodds emphasised Qatar’s most commercially beneficial characteristics in providing a stable political and economic climate to encourage the US to invest so heavily.

Over the years, through partnering with Qatar’s national oil company, Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil was able to transform the perceived disadvantage in the North Field in 90s into a significant advantage.

“Now Qatar is able to sell its LNG anywhere in the world and compete with other LNG projects — which no one ever believed would be possible,” Dodds noted.

“It is a remarkable story that we are very, very proud of and deeply grateful for to the State of Qatar and His Highness the Emir for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful project,” he continued.

Notably, ExxonMobil has also remained committed to His Highness’ Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) objectives. Through investing in sustainable development projects, Dodds’ described the company as an active contributor to Qatar’s aspirations toward achieving a knowledge-based economy.

“Very early on when we began the work that we did in Qatar, it was obvious that the country had huge ambitions in terms of not only the economy… but in the people,” he said. “His Highness the Emir and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser were able to come up with concept to allow the country to diversify away from being dependent on oil and gas,” he added, referring to the four pillars of the QNV 2030; 1) human 2) social, 3) economic, and 4) environmental development.

“The vision for the knowledge-based economy is very well articulated in the QNV 2030,” he asserted.

Discussing corporate social responsibility (CSR), Dodd’s remarked on ExxonMobil’s “signature programs” in the areas of health, education, environment, and economic development.

One are of CSR that ExxonMobil has launched over a decade ago is the Social Development Center in Qatar, headed by Muneera Al Missned and Amal Al Mannai.

“As a guest in the country, the development of the community on a social level is as important as developing the community from an economic point of view,” Dodds stated. “We see this center as being very valuable and [with an] honorable vision to help dev underprivileged people in Qatar,” he added.

So far, over 34 percent of ExxonMobil Qatar employees are Qataris, Dodds said. Referring to the company’s dedication to Qatarisation, he stated that it is a “huge challenge, as there are not enough Qataris in Qatar to meet the 50 percent target. But we are committed to Qatarisation… (with the) sole objective to achieve 50 percent or more” Qatari employees in the company.

INJAZ Qatar is another one of the company’s CSR programs, aimed at promoting junior achievement in Qatar. Dodds explained that the organization helps youth in high school to understand what it takes to become successful business people.

Further, ExxonMobil is “very well connected to Qatar University and Education City. We use that link to not only help promote our technology but give us access to the greatest and best students to come work for us,” he remarked.

source: The Peninsula