Qatar Petroleum (QP) on behalf of the government of the state of Qatar has entered into a new exploration and production sharing agreement with Shell and PetroChina Company for Qatar block D.

According to the terms of the agreement, the partners will jointly explore for natural gas in block D which covers an area of 8,089sqkm onshore and offshore of Qatar, which is located close to Ras Laffan.

The Block D concession is for pre-Khuff geological intervals. The overlying Khuff horizon contains the North Field. Part of the Block D concession extends beneath the North Field.

The total term of this agreement is 30 years and starts with a five year First Exploration Period. During the exploration period, Shell and PetroChina will implement a work program including exploration technical studies, 2D and 3D seismic acquisition, processing, re-processing and interpretation, and drilling a number of exploration wells to the pre-Khuff formation.

Shell, as operator, will hold a 75% stake with PetroChina holding the remaining stake.

In a success case, Shell and PetroChina will produce the natural gas under QP’s supervision. Under the agreement, QP will be the off-taker of any potential gas produced.

Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, deputy prime minister and minister of energy and industry of Qatar, said: “This new agreement is part of QP’s plans to implement the wise policy and guidance of HH The Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, to increase the country’s hydrocarbon reserves base, oil and gas production potential and further strengthen Qatar’s economy.

“This is the second Qatar agreement dedicated to exploring hydrocarbons from the deep pre-Khuff reservoirs. QP is also preparing for additional pre-Khuff reservoir exploration tenders in the near future. Shell is a major investor in the development of Qatar’s proven gas resources.”

Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, said: “We are developing significant volumes of Qatar’s proven resources through our two giant projects with Qatar Petroleum, Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4. This agreement makes the most of Shell’s pre-Khuff exploration experience in the region and Qatar Petroleum’s unrivalled expertise in the state of Qatar.”