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Qatar to boost gas output with new mega field expansion — minister

North Field expansion to add 16m tonnes of LNG per year

By AFP - Feb 25,2024 - Last updated at Feb 25,2024

Qatar is among the world’s top exporters of LNG, competition for which has ramped up since the Ukraine war (AFP file photo)

DOHA — Qatar on Sunday announced new plans to expand output from the world's biggest natural gas field, saying it will boost capacity to 142 million tonnes per year before 2030.

The new North Field expansion, named "North Field West", will add a further 16 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year to existing expansion plans, Qatari Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said at a press conference.

"Recent studies have shown that the North Field contains huge additional gas quantities estimated at 240 trillion cubic feet, which raises the state of Qatar's gas reserves from 1,760 [trillion] to more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet," said Kaabi, who also heads the state-owned QatarEnergy firm.

These results "will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field's western sector with a production capacity of about 16 million tonnes per annum", he said.

This will bring Qatar's production capacity to 142 million tons once "the new expansion is completed before the end of this decade" — a nearly 85 per cent rise from current production levels, Kaabi added.

The QatarEnergy chief said the firm will "immediately commence" with engineering works to ensure the expansion is completed on time.

Qatar is one of the world's top LNG producers alongside the United States, Australia and Russia.

Asian countries led by China, Japan and South Korea have been the main market for Qatari gas, but demand has also grown from European countries since Russia's war on Ukraine threw supplies into doubt.

The latest expansion plans follow a flurry of announcements for longterm Qatari gas supply deals.

Earlier this month, Qatar said it would supply 7.5 million tonnes of LNG per year for 20 years to India's Petronet, with the first deliveries expected from May 2028.

And at the end of January, QatarEnergy announced a deal with US-based Excelerate Energy to supply Bangladesh with 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year for 15 years.

Last year, Qatar inked LNG deals with China's Sinopec, France's Total, Britain's Shell and Italy's Eni.

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