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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 06:30 GMT
Qatar and Shell in $6bn gas deal
Qatar's petroleum minister, Abdallah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, and Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer exchanging gifts after signing the deal
Qatar is trying to cement its position as a major player in gas
Shell has signed a $6bn (3.12bn) deal with the Middle Eastern sheikhdom of Qatar to supply liquid natural gas (LNG) to North America and Europe.

The UK-Dutch group will own 30% of the project, with Qatar's state oil firm owning the rest.

The agreement is the latest in a string of deals reached by Qatar, which is trying to make itself a regional leader in natural gas.

US oil giant ExxonMobil signed up for a $12.8bn deal earlier on Sunday.

France's Total is expected to join the ExxonMobil scheme, dubbed Qatargas-2, on Monday, taking 5 million tonnes of LNG a year.

ExxonMobil will be taking some 15 million tonnes each year for 25 years from the end of 2007 under the deal.

Shell's agreement, under the name Qatargas-4, foresees the building of new facilities to handle 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas, and 7.8 million tonnes of LNG each year from 2011 onwards.

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