Qatar’s plans to develop an export-oriented gas project in the North Field, with a capacity of about 2bn cu ft a day will help the country consolidate its position as a major LNG exporter while satisfying the rising domestic demand for natural gas.
A project of this size will increase the current production of the North Field by about 10% and add about 400,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent (bpdoe) to Qatar’s hydrocarbon production.
By developing a world-scale gas project in the North Field, Qatar is in fact lifting of moratorium on drilling in the world’s largest non-associated natural gas field. The vast offshore gas field accounts for nearly all of Qatar’s gas production and a bulk of its export revenue.
The ban on drilling in North Field for new gas projects has been in place since 2005.
Since then, Qatar Petroleum has been conducting extensive studies and exerting exceptional efforts to assess the North Field, including drilling a number of appraisal wells to better estimate the field’s production potential. Qatar Petroleum has already spent hundreds of billions of dollars on developing the field.
The new production from the North Field is expected within five to seven years, according to Qatar Petroleum President & CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi. But, he recently noted, Qatar Petroleum has not decided if exports will be in the form of LNG, GTL or pipeline gas.
The new project, which is unnamed, will be located on the southern sector of the North Field.
Experts believe that the additional development of the North Field will help to support Qatar’s liquefied natural gas exports over the coming years, which may have faced huge challenges due to stronger competition. This will also help Qatar keep its market share in volume terms in the face of a global rise in LNG exports.
The global LNG market is undergoing huge changes as the biggest ever flood of new supply is hitting the market, with volumes coming mainly from the US and Australia.
Currently, Qatar exports about 77mn tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually. A recent study by Royal Dutch Shell said worldwide LNG demand hit 265mn tonnes in 2016, with Qatar responsible for around 30% of global production.
LNG is produced through an industrial process whereby natural gas is cooled to -162C (-260F) and stored as a liquid, making it easier to transport in ships.
Although Qatar Petroleum said it is too early to comment on the scale of investments on the project or QP’s partner in it, obviously, the new gas project in the North Field will strengthen Qatar’s position as a major player in the global gas industry.
This is because the new development will increase production of the North Field by about 10%, adding about 400,000 bpd of oil equivalent to Qatar’s output.
Qatar is one of the lowest cost producers and will remain the dominant force for LNG in the world for a long time and the new North Field gas project basically solidifies that position.
North Field will strengthen Qatar’s position as a major player in the global gas industry
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