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Total turns to largescale solar in Qatar

21 Jan 2020 4:13 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

TOTAL will develop Qatar’s first large scale solar farm 80 kilometres south of capital Doha, in a major move for the multinational oil and gas company as it turns its attention to renewable opportunities in the Middle East.

The Arabian country is the largest LNG exporter after Australia but is now like regional peers harnessing the power of its fierce desert sun to produce domestic power too.

The project, named Al Kharsaah Solar after the town it will be built near, is estimated to cost 1.7 billion riyals (A$728 million).

Partnering with Japan's Marubeni Corporation, Total will build the 800-megawatt solar plant and have it fully connected to the Qatari grid by next year.

Total will have a 49% stake in the project, and Marubeni will hold the rest.

This is a major move for the company which has not embarked on a renewable venture of this size, nor in the region, before. Up until now, its presence in Qatar has largely been in upstream oil and gas, and petroleum refining.

Total has been present in Qatar since the mid-1930s and currently holds a 20% stake in the upstream Qatargas business as well as a 40% interest in the massive Al-Khalij offshore oilfield. The company's production last financial year averaged 211,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

However, this is all set to change as it looks to a future solar and hydrogen economy in the country. In a statement overnight Total said it was looking to renewable energy as part of a broader strategy in the energy transition.

Source: Energy News Bulletin

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