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Qatar Petroleum Buys Congo Stake as Investment at Home Declines

Qatar Petroleum International agreed to purchase a stake in Total SA’s Congo operations, its first investment in an overseas offshore oil field, amid a slowdown in energy spending at home.

The foreign investment arm of Qatar Petroleum, the state-run energy company, will participate in a 15 percent capital increase for the Republic of Congo unit, Total and Qatar Petroleum International, or QPI, said in a joint e-mailed statement. QPI will contribute to Total’s investment in Congo, specifically the Moho North project, the companies said today.

Qatar is acquiring oil and gas reserves abroad amid a halt to development of the country’s North Field, the world’s largest gas reservoir. The Congo agreement came one month after QPI and Centrica Plc agreed to buy natural gas fields in Canada from Suncor Energy Inc. for C$1 billion ($965 million).

QPI will buy into offshore oil-producing facilities as well as assets under development and exploration blocks, the company said in an e-mail. Total’s Congo operation produced 113,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day for the unit last year, QPI said.

The venture isn’t QPI’s first in Africa. The company owns a 20 percent stake in a Total-lead exploration project in Mauritania, according to the Qatar Petroleum website.

QPI declined in an e-mail to give the size of its planned investment in Congo.

Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, finished building its 14th gas liquefaction plant in 2011 and plans to build no more amid the North Field development moratorium.

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