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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Qatar to increase LNG production capacity by nearly 85%


HE Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of QatarEnergy, at the press conference Photo: QatarEnegy
Speaking at a press conference in Doha, HE Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of QatarEnergy, unveiled plans that will see the kingdom’s production capacity increase to 142mn t/y before the end of this decade

Photo: QatarEnegy

Running counter to the COP28 agreement to transition away from fossil fuels, QatarEnergy has announced that it is proceeding with a new LNG expansion programme, the North Field West project, that will increase the kingdom’s production capacity to 142mn t/y before the end of this decade, representing an increase of almost 85% from current production levels.

Speaking at a press conference at QatarEnergy’s headquarters in Doha, HE Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of QatarEnergy, reported that extensive appraisal drilling and testing had confirmed that productive layers of Qatar’s giant North Field extend towards the west, which would allow for development of a new 16mn t/y LNG production project in Ras Laffan.


He also announced the presence of huge additional gas quantities in the North Field, estimated at 240tn cf, raising Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760tn cf to more than 2,000tn, and condensates reserves from 70bn barrels to more than 80bn, in addition to large quantities of LPG, ethane and helium.


Stating that the additional reserves would ‘take Qatar’s gas industry to new horizons’, Al-Kaabi said Qatar’s total LNG production would reach about 142mn t/y, or over 7.25mn boe/d, once the expansion project completed before the end of this decade.


He went on to say that QatarEnergy’s basic engineering works for the new project would commence immediately, and that work continued on the North Field East and South production expansion programmes.


Qatar is one of the world’s top LNG producers alongside the US, Australia and Russia. The Far East has been its main market, led by China, Japan and South Korea, although demand has also grown from European countries since Russia’s war on Ukraine threw gas markets into turmoil two years ago.


The North Field West project announcement could be of significant importance to the global gas market as earlier this year US President Joe Biden unveiled plans to pause approvals for pending and future applications to export LNG from new projects in the US, while a review is conducted to assess the economic and environmental impact of such projects. Gas importers and market analysts warned that such a move could compromise future energy security worldwide.


As noted, QatarEnergy’s LNG expansion plans stand in stark contrast to the final COP28 Agreement announced late last year that saw 198 countries agreeing to transition away from fossil fuels. Prior to COP28, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change HE Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani made it clear that although Qatar was committed to a strategy to reduce the country’s level of CO2 emissions by 25% during 2019–2030, despite expansion in gas and oil production and various other industries, it would be looking to ‘safeguard’ its interests during negotiations concerning greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adaptation to the effects of climate change. Indeed, it joined opposition from other oil and gas producing countries, led by Saudi Arabia, that diluted the language proposed in a draft text that had called for a phasing out of fossil fuel production, with the final text instead calling for a ‘transition away’ in a ‘just, orderly and equitable manner’.


According to Chatham House, all Gulf states except Qatar have committed to achieving net zero emissions around 2050 and have increased investments in clean energy. It says that the Gulf position is that to keep 1.5°C within reach the focus should be on addressing emissions, rather than the origins of the emissions, arguing that GHGs are emitted on the consumer end. Gulf states have therefore joined various global forums to cut GHG emissions.


Plans to expand oil and gas production in the Gulf, while advocating to scale up carbon capture and storage (CCS) and CO2 removal, underscore Gulf countries’ attempts to align the energy transition with their economic aspirations, notes Chatham House. However, it points out that financing these investments, as well as other clean energy options such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and hydrogen, currently remain heavily reliant on oil and gas revenues.


Saudi Aramco boosts unconventional field reserves

Meanwhile, in other Middle East news, Saudi Aramco has added significant volumes to proven gas and condensate reserves at its Jafurah unconventional field in Saudi Arabia.


The company has booked 15tn cf of raw gas and 2bn barrels of condensate as proven reserves, and now estimates that the field contains a total resource of 229tn cf of raw gas, alongside an estimated 75bn barrels of condensate.  


Work is currently underway to deliver production at Jafurah, with plans to reach a sustainable sales gas rate of 2bn cf/d by 2030, in addition to significant volumes of ethane, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and condensate.


To find out more about Saudi Arabia’s energy sector, visit the Energy Institute Statistical Review Country Transition Tracker.