Posted on January 18, 2011

DOHA, Jan 18, 2011 (AFP) - Qatar's energy minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah has been appointed as the emir's chief of staff and replaced at the ministry by state minister of energy Mohammed Saleh al-Sada, state news agency QNA reported on Tuesday.

In a limited cabinet reshuffle, Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani appointed Attiyah as chief of his staff, QNA reported.

Attiyah, 59, became the gas-rich emirate's energy minister in 1992 and served a one-year term as president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1993.

He was appointed in 2007 as deputy premier while retaining his position as minister of energy and industry. He is currently the chairman of state-run oil company, Qatar Petroleum, formerly known as Qatar General Petroleum Company (QGPC).

QGPC was founded in 1974 to oversee the oil and gas industry in the Gulf emirate and various interests overseas that include exploration, drilling, production and distribution.

The company has full control of the National Oil Distribution Company (NODCO), and controlling shares in Qatar Petrochemical Company Ltd. (80 percent), Qatar Fertiliser Company (75 percent), Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Ltd. (66.5 percent) and Qatar Liquefied Gas Company Ltd. (65 percent).

Qatar holds the world's third-largest natural gas reserves, estimated at more than 900 trillion cubic feet (25 trillion cubic metres), after Russia and Iran.

The Gulf state also produces some 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day.