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Qatar plans to increase its liquefied natural gas production capacity by 43 percent to 110 million tons annually, S&P Global Platts reports, citing the country’s Energy and Industry Minister.
To date, Qatar has an annual LNG production capacity of 77 million tons annually and, S&P Global Platts notes, this latest update on future plans is the largest yet. Earlier, Qatar had announced plans to up production capacity to 100 million tons annually by 2020, after it lifted a moratorium on drilling in its largest deposit, the North Field, which it shares with Iran. Iran calls the field South Pars.
When the moratorium was lifted, plans were to build three additional liquefaction trains at the world’s largest gas field that would add 23.4 million tons annually to total capacity, Rystad Energy noted at the time, adding that the decision to start drilling at the North Field came as several large-scale LNG export projects in the United States awaited their final investment decision.
Indeed, Qatar, which is still the world’s top LNG exporter, has been facing growing competition from Australia and the United States, and both capacity updates aim to tackle this competition.
Now, Qatar Petroleum, the state company, will add a fourth liquefaction train to the North Field’s processing facilities, which will have an annual capacity of 32 million tons of LNG, as per an earlier announcement from the company’s chief executive, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, as quoted by Natural Gas Intelligence.
The expansion will put Qatar well ahead of Australia, whose total LNG capacity is about to reach 88 million tons annually once all projects begin producing at full capacity. Yet the timeline for the increase has been changed. While the 100-million-tons expansion was slated to be done by 2020, the 110 million tons will be produced beginning in 2024, minister Mohammad Bin Saleh Al-Sada said at an industry event in Japan.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.