(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) is in talks with Qatar over a possible deal that could see the country investing in the company’s U.S. gas resources, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The deal could take the shape of a joint venture in which Qatar, through state-owned Qatar Petroleum, could partner or invest in future wells with Exxon’s unit XTO Energy, the paper said.
WSJ said that no deal had been finalised yet. The report did not say how much Qatar was planning to invest in XTO Energy.
Exxon, which is targeting the Middle Eastern nation for an investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, already partners Qatar Petroleum in places like Cyprus and Brazil.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The shale revolution in the United States has not only seen a huge rise in crude production, but also in gas output. Exxon had said it is aiming a production in the Permian basin to triple to 600,000 barrels a day of oil and natural gas by 2025.
For Qatar, which is locked in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, the move could help broaden its investment outside Middle East.
Qatar is one of the smallest OPEC oil producers and yet the most influential player in the global liquefied natural gas market due to its annual production of 77 million tonnes, cementing its position as the world’s largest LNG supplier.
Qatar Petroleum’s investment will be crucial for Exxon, which needs it to go ahead with a $10 billion natural gas-export project in East Texas, the Journal said.
The Golden Pass gas export terminal is chiefly owned by Qatar Petroleum and co-owned Exxon and ConocoPhillips (COP.N). Qatar Petroleum has held off from agreeing to develop it with Exxon until it owns U.S. natural gas supplies.