Qatar would like to see costs on three energy projects cut by as much as 40 percent, the country’s oil minister said on Monday.

“We are looking to cut costs by 20 to 30 percent,” Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said at a press conference after the inauguration of a new gas plant. “But 40 percent would be better.”

Qatar has delayed projects to build the Shaheen refinery, the Mesaieed Aromatics plant and to develop the Barzan gas field as it looks to take advantage of a slump in the price of raw materials to drive down costs.

The Shaheen oil refinery was planned to have capacity of 250,000 barrels per day. Qatar has completed the preliminary engineering and design study for the project.

The $5-billion Barzan field was a project under joint development by state-run Qatar Petroleum (QP) and U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), the largest foreign investor in Qatar.

Exxon took on the Barzan gas field project in 2007 after spiralling costs forced it to abandon plans for a multi-billion dollar super clean fuels plant. Gas from the Barzan field will supply rapidly growing demand in Qatar’s domestic market.

The third project on hold is the $2.6 billion Mesaieed Aromatics plant to be developed by South Korea’s Homan Petrochemical Corp and QP.

Honam said in January that the plant would be delayed by a year to 2013 due to the current slump in oil demand.


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