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Sun 30 Oct 2011 06:42 PM

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Qatar's Rasgas extends LNG deal with French energy giant

Agreement inked by Rasgas to deliver 4.5bn cubic metres of natural gas a year to EDF

Qatar's Rasgas extends LNG deal with French energy giant
An LNG tanker

Qatar's Rasgas has extended a long-term deal to supply France's EDF with up to 3.4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a year for delivery to northwest Europe, the companies said in a statement on Sunday.

The agreement to deliver around 4.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year to EDF Trading at the Zeebrugge LNG Terminal in Belgium renews a deal signed by the two companies in 2007.

"This agreement is a major achievement for Rasgas," Rasgas managing director Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi said.

"It enables the continuation of deliveries of gas by Rasgas to markets in northwest Europe."

Rasgas declined to comment on the duration of the contract and did not give any pricing details.

Qatar, which with an annual production capacity of 77 million tonnes is the world's leading LNG exporter, was struggling to find buyers for all of it until a tsunami wrecked Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant in March, driving up gas demand.

A subsequent rise in Qatari LNG exports to Asia, combined with rising demand from new importers elsewhere, has stoked fears of tighter supplies in Europe over the next few years and put pressure on buyers to lock in long-term deals.

"We are pleased to be working alongside Rasgas as LNG is and will continue to be an important source of supply for the EDF Group and our third party customers," EDF Trading chief executive John Rittenhouse said.

Rasgas, one of two LNG exporters in Qatar, was established in 2001 by Qatar Petroleum and U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil and has an annual capacity of 37 million tonnes.

Sister company Qatargas said last month it plans to double long term LNG sales to Asia from 11 million tonnes currently to more than 20 million tonnes.

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