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Qatar Petroleum to absorb investment unit in sign of consolidation

[DOHA] State-owned oil and gas giant Qatar Petroleum (QP) will absorb Qatar Petroleum International (QPI), QP said on Monday, a move suggesting authorities want to consolidate the industry after the plunge of oil prices.

"The integration will see QPI's employees, assets and projects transition into the new QP organisation commencing in March of this year," said an emailed company statement.

QPI is a wholly owned subsidiary of QP; it was formed in 2007 as the foreign investment arm of the firm.

Over the last few years, QPI has created 10 joint ventures in the United States, Britain, Italy, Singapore, Egypt and elsewhere, though it has not disclosed a figure for its total assets.

In the period before full integration, QPI's management and employees will continue to run the company's day-to-day operations, the statement added.

Over the past few months, QP has been reviewing its projects and structure. Earlier this month, QP and Shell said they had decided not to proceed with their US$6.4 billion Al Karaana petrochemical project in the Gulf state.

Industry sources in Qatar told Reuters that QP was planning to cut its current workforce of around 14,000 employees over the coming two years, in some areas by as much as 30 per cent, in addition to restructuring some of its departments.

"The job cuts will affect both Qatari and expat employees," one industry source said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic. No one from QP was available to comment.