Gates backs ‘Energy City’

Schlumberger and Microsoft back new Qatar energy hub—set to ‘capture’ revenue streams with new trading exchange and upstream R&D facility. A new rival to Houston, Aberdeen and Stavanger?

A new Middle East energy business hub, Energy City Qatar (ECQ), was inaugurated this month by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar. Located in Doha’s Lusail development, the EQC is set to ‘serve the commercial, technical and HR needs of the oil and gas industry.’ The ECQ will be home to a new energy trading platform, the International Mercantile Exchange (IMEX), regulated by Qatar’s Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

Gulf Energy

The ECQ is backed by Qatar government owned Al-Addiyar Real Estate (AARE) and Gulf Energy, a consortium of energy consultants, researchers and academics. ECQ includes an intellectual and technology ‘cluster’ of a research lab and data center linked to a geosciences analysis facility. Gulf Energy recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft Corp. for the development and implementation of ‘next generation enterprise solutions’ to support the ECQ.


Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, in a videotaped message said, ‘Software plays a central role in the energy industry. We will work together with the ECQ to create new tools and solutions that will enable oil and gas companies to achieve new levels of performance in every phase of their business. ECQ will be an international showcase for the next generation of technology innovations.’


ECQ tenants include the International Mercantile Exchange (IMEX), a new energy trading platform that is expected to be active in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market. A Service Industry Satellite will include drilling, oilfield service, engineering, offshore suppliers and seismic companies.

Star Trek

Mohammad Hammoudi, manager of Microsoft Qatar told Oil IT Journal, ‘We will be working with ECQ management over the next couple of months to identify specific technologies. We plan make all facilities ‘intelligent,’ leveraging the new generation of Microsoft technology due out next year. This will include productivity tools and business applications, along with sector-specific stuff. The ECQ will deploy RFID technology, voice and video over IP. We will combine the ‘digital lifestyle’ of the residential Lusail quarter with a new ‘digital workstyle’. My personal vision is for a mini ‘Star Trek’ city!’


Schlumberger chairman Andrew Gould added, ‘We believe Energy City Qatar can fill an important role as the regional hub for intellectual capital. We welcome Qatar’s initiative in pursuing such a vision. The oil and gas of the future will become progressively more difficult to develop and an integrated approach such as this must be part of the answer.’

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