Qatar Petroleum

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Qatar's national oil company, established in 1974, formerly known as Qatar General Petroleum Company.

As they did in other countries in the region, Western companies controlled Qatar's oil production until local leaders insisted on nationalizing this valuable resource. The Qatar General Petroleum Company (QGPC) was established in 1974, with 40 percent of the ownership held by foreign companies. The company was fully nationalized in 1977, after which it began to expand its operations from onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production to refining, petrochemical production, exploration, and development.

A major turning point came in 1991, with the opening of phase one of the North Field natural gas development project. The North Field is the largest natural gas field in the world, and its development has made Qatar a major producer. Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya, minister of energy and industry and the company's chairman and managing director, announced in 2001 that his company's name change to Qatar Petroleum (QP), which happened in that year, reflected in part its increased status in world energy markets. Many of QP's projects revolve around developing the field and utilizing its products in domestic and international markets while promoting the hiring of Qatari nationals in the company and maintaining a policy sensitive to the region's natural environment.

see also qatar.


Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Qatar. London: Author, 2002.

El Mallakh, Ragaei. Qatar: Energy and Development. Dover, NH; London: Croom Helm, 1985.

Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Persian Gulf States: Country Studies, 3d edition. Washington: Library of Congress, 1994.

mary ann tÉtreault
updated by anthony b. toth