November 30, 2017 / 1:57 PM / a year ago

Qatar's new LNG giant to start operations Jan. 1 -industry sources

DOHA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Qatar Petroleum’s merger of liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers Qatargas and RasGas will take effect on Jan. 1 when the combined entity will commence operations, industry sources said on Thursday, citing an internal company memo.

In an email inviting staff to a convention at the Sheraton in Doha on Dec. 6, Qatargas Chief Executive Khalid Khalifa Al Thani told staff to expect an update on the strategy and leadership team of the new company, two sources said.

Day 1 of the new Qatargas - incorporating RasGas - will be Jan. 1, the sources quoted the email as saying. Qatargas and RasGas are already the world’s two biggest LNG producers.

Last week the two producers began implementing job cuts that had been postponed because of the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbouring states.

Qatar Petroleum’s CEO has said that the merger of RasGas and Qatargas would help to cut operating costs by hundreds of millions of dollars at the world’s largest LNG producer.

The combined company will handle all of the Gulf state’s 77 million tonnes of nameplate LNG production capacity annually sold through a mix of joint venture agreements with Western oil majors including Exxon Mobil and Shell.

Qatar is not the first LNG producer in the Middle East to merge its operations under one roof. Oman unified its two companies, Oman LNG and Qalhat LNG, in 2013.

Qatar Petroleum did not respond immediately to an emailed request for comment.

Writing by Oleg Vukmanovic in London; Editing by David Goodman

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