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ENERGY

French energy giant makes major new investment in Qatar gas to secure supply

France's TotalEnergies on Saturday signed a $1.5 billion investment in Qatar's natural gas production expansion, which comes as Europe scrambles to find new energy sources to replace Russian supplies.

TotalEnergies logo
This file photo shows the logo of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies. The firm has made a second investment into Qatar's natural gas expansion.  Astrid VELLGUTH / AFP

The French energy firm will have 9.3 percent stake in the North Field South gas project, the first foreign partner in that section of the vast field, Qatar Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi announced, at a news
conference alongside TotalEnergies chief executive Patrick Pouyanne.

“Qatar Energy announces the selection of TotalEnergies as a partner for the development of the North Field South,” Qatar’s official news agency QNA said. “New partners will be announced at a later stage.”

Kaabi said TotalEnergies would also help to finance the extraction of gas from North Field South, for which 25 percent would be reserved for foreign energy firms.

The French firm would take on an “enhanced strategic” role in Qatar’s gas expansion, he added.

In June, TotalEnergies agreed a $2-billion deal to take part in the giant North Field East project, that will help Qatar increase its liquefied natural gas (LNG) production by more than 60 percent by 2027.

Pouyanne, who said Saturday the latest deal would require another $1.5 billion, said his firm would have taken an even bigger chunk of the production if it was possible.

“We need new capacity for sure, and this will be coming at the perfect timing,” he told reporters.

“Most of the leaders of the world have discovered the words LNG,” he said, adding that European countries had to be prepared to strike more long-term deals — and possibly pay a higher price to guarantee energy.

“For security of supply, there is a price,” Pouyanne said.

READ ALSO: France’s TotalEnergies to sell stake in war-linked Russian gas field

Cost of security

Kaabi, who is to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday during his tour of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar, refused to discuss negotiations with European countries, but said some are “more advanced” than others.

He confirmed Qatar was also in talks with Britain.

Shell of Britain, Eni of Italy and United States giants ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil have also signed up to be part of the North Field East project.

More companies will be announced for the North Field South in coming weeks, officials said, but TotalEnergies will have the largest foreign slice.

Qatar is already one of the world’s top LNG producers, alongside the United States and Australia, and LNG from North Field is expected to start coming on line in 2026.

State-owned Qatar Energy estimates that North Field holds about 10 percent of the world’s known natural gas reserves.

The reserves extend under the sea into Iranian territory, where Tehran’s efforts to exploit its South Pars gas field have been hindered by international sanctions.

South Korea, Japan and China have been the main markets for Qatar’s LNG.

But since an energy crisis hit Europe last year, the Gulf state has helped Britain with extra supplies, and also announced a cooperation deal with Germany.

Europe has in the past rejected the long-term deals that Qatar seeks for its energy, but a change in attitude has been forced since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Qatar’s gas is among the cheapest to produce and has fuelled an economic boom in the tiny state, which has become one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

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ENERGY

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

Financial aid of up to €1,500 is temporarily available to households looking to replace oil-fired boilers with a more environmentally friendly heating systems. 

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

The temporary ‘coup de boost’ aims to encourage households to replace their oil-fired heating systems (chauffauge au fioul) and is in addition to the ‘coup de pouce chauffage’ (heating helping hand) scheme that is already underway to help under the energy saving certificates scheme (CEE).

All households that are primary residences – this aid is not available to second-home owners – equipped with an oil-fired boiler can benefit, with the amount for which they are eligible means-tested according to household resources and the replacement system chosen. 

Households with modest incomes benefit from a higher premium.

To benefit from the new temporary bonus, households must replace their individual oil-fired boiler with a more environmentally friendly heating system:

  • heat pump (air/water or hybrid);
  • combined solar system;
  • biomass boiler (wood or pellets);
  • connection to a heating network supplied mainly by renewable or recovered energy.

The total amount of financial help from the two schemes is €4,000 to €5,000 for low-income households; and from €2,500 to €4,000 for middle and high-income households.

For the connection of an individual house to a heating network, the amount of the bonus increases from €700 to €1,000 for low-income households; and from €450 to €900 for middle and high income households.

Estimates for the replacement of an oil-fired boiler must be accepted between October 29th, 2022, and June 30th, 2023, and work must be completed by December 31st, 2023.

The Coup de boost fioul aid can also be combined with MaPrimeRénov to replace an oil-fired boiler, meaning the least well-off households in France can benefit from aid of up to €16,000 to replace an oil-fired boiler with a pellet boiler or a combined solar system.

Since mid-April 2022, MaPrimeRénov’ financial aid has increased by an additional €1,000 for the installation of a renewable energy boiler. This can now reach €11,000 for the most efficient boilers (pellet boiler, combined solar system) and for households with modest incomes.

It must be noted that the installation of a very high energy performance gas boiler will no longer be eligible for MaPrimeRénov’ as of January 1st, 2023.

Find more details on the scheme HERE.

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