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Qatar plans to raise its already huge LNG production capacity by 30% to 100 million mt/year, state-owned Qatar Petroleum's CEO said Tuesday.

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The announcement at a media conference in Doha came just three months after Qatar in April lifted a 12-year moratorium on further development on its vast offshore North Field, which ranks as the world's largest conventional non-associated gas field, shared with Iran.

QP announced in early April plans to develop a new gas project in the southern sector of the North Field with a capacity of about 2 Bcf/d for export. Today it doubled the size of the proposed development to 4 Bcf/d.

This was the first project announced for the field since 2005.

"Last April, we announced our intention to develop a new gas project in the southern sector of the North Field that can be targeted for export. With the conclusion of further technical studies, we have decided that the best option would be to double the size of the project to 4 Bcf/d, which constitutes a 20% increase from the current North Field production rate, or about 1 million barrels/day of oil equivalent," CEO Saad al-Kaabi said in a statement.

"After further assessment, we have decided that the best way to develop this huge project is by dedicating it to the production and export of LNG, thereby increasing the production capacity of the State of Qatar from 77 million mt to 100 million mt/year, which means a 30% production increase," he added.

QP aims to have the project completed within five to seven years, lifting the country's production capacity to about 6 million boe/d, he added.

"This project will strengthen our position as the largest producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world," Kaabi said.

At the end of May, QP signed an agreement with Japanese engineering company Chiyoda to carry out a detailed study to identify modifications required to debottleneck capacity at Qatar's LNG trains at Ras Laffan, which will process additional quantities of gas produced from the new North Field gas project.

The study is expected to be completed before the end of this year, which will allow QP to kick off the front-end engineering and design work early next year.


In 2005, Doha slapped a moratorium on North Field gas development beyond projects already planned for development by 2010, and commissioned a detailed reservoir study ostensibly aimed at determining how rapid development was affecting the field's long-term performance.

Last year Qatar exported about 77 million mt of LNG to Asian and European markets. Since late 2007, Qatar has also exported at least 2 Bcf/d of North Field gas to the UAE through an undersea pipeline while providing a further 2 Bcf/d to its domestic market.

The offshore North Field straddles the Persian Gulf emirate's maritime border with Iran, where it is known as South Pars.

Qatar's announcement comes just a day after Iran's oil ministry signed a contract with France's Total, China National Petroleum Corp. and state-owned Petropars for the development of phase 11 of its share of the field.

The 20-year contract is the first signed by international oil companies since the lifting of sanctions in January 2016. Phase 11 is the last of the gas reservoir phases at South Pars yet to be developed.

The project will have a production capacity of 2 Bcf/d, or 400,000 boe/d including condensate. The gas produced will supply the Iranian domestic market starting in 2021, Total said.

--Adal Mirza,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,