Total to invest in Qatar's solar sector: Report

QP and QEWC have signed a deal to establish a 60:40 joint venture with an initial capital of about $500mn to develop a solar power project with a capacity of 1,000MW

Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total.
Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total.

Global energy giant Total has announced its plans to invest in Qatar's emerging solar energy sector by establishing partnership with local companies.

The move was announced by Patrick Pouyanne, the French energy Group's chairman and CEO during a press conference in Doha on Tuesday.

"We have learnt recently that Qatar Petroleum (QP) is establishing a new company in partnership with Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), the main producer of utilities in Qatar, in order to develop some solar farms in the country," Pouyanne said.

He added: "We have established solar business in Abu Dhabi, and would be pleased to do in Qatar as well. We discussed with officials concerned and intend to study it seriously to establish a joint venture between SunPower and the new company."

SunPower designs and manufactures crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, roof tiles and solar panels. Total, Europe's third largest oil company, owns majority stakes in SunPower.

QP and QEWC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a 60:40 joint venture with an initial capital of about $500mn to develop a solar power project with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Commenting about the impact of oil price volatility on the future of renewables, he said that the oil market is expected to rebalance by year-end or early 2017.

Total’s CEO explained that if the current oil price prolongs - which he does not expect - it may put some pressure and lower the pace of growth of renewable sources of energy because the sector partly emerged because the prices of oil were very high, which pushed for energy efficiency and generated a quest for alternative forms of power.

"If the price of oil remains too low, this will neither be good for energy efficiency nor for renewables, as we have witnessed significant improvements in solar technology which has resulted in the continuous decline in the cost," he added. "But we at Total will continue investing about $500m in renewables per year, and continue working to lower the cost further."

Speaking on the company's plan on bidding for Al Shaheen oilfield, Pouyanne said Total has submitted an offer to QP, and would be happy to be selected.

Al Shaheen is located off the north east coast of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf, 80km north of Doha, with a production capacity of over 300,000 barrels per day.

On Total's long partnership with Qatar the CEO said: "We are not only producing oil and gas in Qatar. We have developed a full spectrum of business activities in the country, including refining, lubricants and petrochemicals, and adding value to almost all segments of our activities in Qatar."

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