Gulf Arab oil and gas producer Qatar has delayed some energy sector projects including the Shaheen refinery because of falling prices, its energy minister was reported saying on Thursday.

“Qatar has delayed a number of major projects, such as the Shaheen refinery by one year…,” al-Hayat newspaper cited Abdullah al-Attiyah as saying in Paris.

Attiyah was quoted as telling the Arabic-language daily: “We expect changes in the costs of these projects… We are expecting prices that are lower by 30 percent or more.”

A company official said last week that the Shaheen refinery project was under review as state oil firm Qatar Petroleum assesses construction costs.

Qatar has completed the preliminary engineering and design study on the project at the industrial city of Mesaieed. Planned to have capacity of up to 250,000 barrels per day, it was initially scheduled to start up in 2010.

Energy companies worldwide have revised plans for new projects due to the lower oil price and falling demand, but also in view of cheaper costs for raw materials.

Attiyah said other projects were on track, citing liquefied natural gas lines. He also cited a polyethylene and aluminium plant and a condensates plant, without giving more details.

“All these projects will be implemented this year or next year so that they will be able to produce and export within two years,” al-Hayat quoted him as saying.

Qatar Petroleum’s 146,000 barrels per day Ras Laffan condensate refinery should be at full production in the fourth quarter of 2009, an official said last week.


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