Qatar's LNG liquefaction facilities have clocked a 102% utilisation rate in 2023, the International Gas Union (IGU) has said in its latest report.

Qatar announced the country will be doubling its LNG production in a few years with the operation of North Field development projects and commencement of production at QatarEnergy’s LNG project in Texas, US.

The LNG expansion projects at Qatar’s offshore North Field, the world’s largest non-associated gas field, are moving ahead on track towards an increased production capacity of 142mn tonnes per year.

“Qatar’s LNG expansion projects are designed to help meet growing demand for cleaner energy driven by economic growth and rising populations and living standards,” QatarEnergy had said earlier.

Recent studies have shown that the North Field contains huge additional gas quantities estimated at 240tn cubic feet, which raises Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760tn cubic feet to more than 2,000tn cubic feet, and the condensates reserves from 70bn to more than 80bn barrels, in addition to large quantities of liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, and helium.

Earlier QatarEnergy had said production capacity at the country’s LNG expansion projects in the North Field will reach 142mn tonnes per year by 2030.

Qatar will sequester 11mn tonnes of carbon from that project. Add to that the construction of 104 LNG ships, all of which will be powered by LNG.

The country is also building the largest blue ammonia plant in the world that has solar power and CO2 sequestration facilities. Qatar is also capturing CO2 from its production sites in the north and sending them via pipeline across the country to be injected in the oil field of Dukhan as part of the enhanced oil recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, IGU noted global operational liquefaction capacity totalled 483.1mn tonnes per year (MTPY) as of end-February, with the weighted average utilisation rate in 2023 averaging 88.7% of pro-rated capacity1, similar to 89% in 2022.

It is notable that no major unplanned LNG outages occurred in 2023. However, maintenance, feedstock challenges and other factors impacted production at some plants.

Some export facilities have been running below average – for example, Equatorial Guinea LNG operated at below 80% of capacity due to a major triennial maintenance project in April and natural decline at its original feedstock field.

Feedstock challenges notably reduced LNG production at SEGAS LNG in Egypt, NLNG in Nigeria, Darwin LNG in Australia, as well as others.

“Despite outages and upstream supply disruptions, nine out of 20 LNG exporting markets achieved higher than global average utilisation rates in 2023,” IGU noted.
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