Company formation specialists, Links Group anticipates that demand for oil and gas support services in Qatar will accelerate over the next 12 months as major contractors seek to implement long term maintenance agreements.
“Following the completion of several oil and gas mega-projects in Qatar, operators are now directing their attention towards facility upkeep and are increasingly looking to the expertise of foreign companies to fulfil their equipment and manpower needs,” Links Group country manager Wayne Merrick said yesterday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Exhibition, being held as part of the 20th World Petroleum Congress, he pointed out that as the world’s top exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Qatar’s real GDP is expected to soar by around 21% in 2011-2012, according to QNB Capital. The affiliate of QNB says the surge in the hydrocarbon sector, combined with its anticipated budget surplus, will maintain Qatar’s position as the fastest growing economy. Oil and gas income was put at $26.8bn in 2010-2011 and is projected to hit an all time high of around $38.3bn in 2012.
“While Qatar’s oil and gas sector shows no sign of slowing down, national oil companies are now entering a maintenance phase for their recently completed mega-projects such as RasGas, Qatargas, Shell Pearl GTL phase 1 and Dolphin project,” Merrick said. There is a definite uptick in interest for oil and gas support services particularly in the midstream and downstream sectors.
“Qatar’s oil and gas sector has moved from a project-led market to a maintenance driven market and so the business development focus locally – at least for the next 12 months – will be on facility management solutions as operators look to bed down their projects,” he said. “In line with the government’s National Development Strategy, national oil companies (NOCs) are taking a longer term view of their approach to facility maintenance with their interest directed towards integrated solutions to balance their logistics and sustainability needs.”
While Qatar remains a top export market for international support service companies, NOCs in Qatar do tend to favour those firms that establish an onshore commercial presence in the Gulf state. “Qatar is committed to taking the country from emerging market status to a fully developed nation so encouraging foreign companies to incorporate as limited liability entities in Qatar forms a logical part of that economic growth strategy,” said Merrick.