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Qatar to have operational LNG export capacity of 100 mil mt/year by 2024

London — The global LNG market is not currently oversupplied and is expected to tighten in the period beyond 2024, Qatar's oil minister Mohammed al-Sada said Monday, coinciding with Qatar's additional 23 million mt/year of export capacity becoming fully operational.

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Related article -- OPEC to consider 'short-term and long-term market stability' at Vienna meeting: Qatari oil minister Sada

Sada, in an interview with S&P Global Platts, said there could be a small LNG supply surplus in the early 2020s, but the market would remain effectively balanced until 2024 (full transcript).

"There is no LNG supply glut," Sada said. "There may be a surplus of only 10 million mt/year of LNG in the early 2020s [but] in a 350 million mt/year LNG market, this means that the market is practically in balance," he said.

Qatar's gas and oil fields

A number of new LNG projects are due online in the coming years, especially from Australia and the US, and some market observers have predicted demand would struggle to keep up with the supply growth.

But strong Asian demand for LNG -- especially in China -- has seen LNG spot prices rise and the market remain tight in recent months.

A lack of final investment decisions for new projects over the past few years has also meant there could be a supply crunch in the 2020s.

"The global LNG market is expected to tighten up beyond 2024," Sada said.

This is the same time frame for Qatar to make its new 23 million mt/year of capacity fully operational.

Qatar announced its plan to increase its LNG export capacity to 100 million mt/year from the current 77 million mt/year in July last year.

Qatar, Sada said, currently supplies about a quarter of the world's total LNG.

"[Qatar] intends to remain the global leader in LNG supplies in the future as well," he said, with the 30% increase to 100 million mt/year "to be fully operational by 2024."

Under the expansion plans, Qatar will add three new 7.8 million mt/year trains.

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,