*Production to be increased by adding a new train
*LNG production capacity to go up by 43%
*Delivery of LNG from new project expected either in end-2023 or early 2024

Qatar Petroleum has announced further increase in the capacity of Qatar’s LNG expansion project, by adding a fourth liquefaction train, to raise the country's liquefied natural gas capacity to 110mn tonnes per year.

The fourth liquefaction train, like the three trains announced earlier as part of a project to develop additional gas from the North Field, will be of nearly 8mn tonnes per year capacity.

When the project is completed, Qatar’s LNG production capacity will scale up by almost 43% from the current 77mn tonnes per year (mtpy), enabling the country to consolidate its position as the world's largest LNG producer and exporter, said Qatar Petroleum President & CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.

He said the expected delivery of the first LNG from the new project would be either in end-2023 or early 2024. The production from the four trains will be “staggered in a sequence” to attain the first delivery in end-2023 or early 2024.

With the addition of the fourth train, the new project will produce about 32mtpy of LNG, 4,000 tons/day of ethane, 260,000 barrels/day of condensate, and 11,000 tons/day of LPG, in addition to approximately 20 tons per day of pure helium.

Addressing a press conference at the Qatar Petroleum headquarters on Wednesday, al-Kaabi said: “As we have announced last year, Qatar Petroleum has embarked on a project to develop additional gas from the North Field and build three new LNG mega trains. Based on the good results obtained through recent additional appraisal and testing, we have decided to add a fourth LNG mega train and include it in the ongoing front end engineering of the project.

“When the project is completed and all four new trains are online, Qatar’s LNG production capacity will reach 110mn tpy. This will increase Qatar’s total production capacity from 4.8mn to 6.2mn barrels of oil equivalent per day."

"This new capacity increase will further strengthen our leading position as the world's largest LNG producer and exporter, and will further boost Qatar Petroleum's strategic growth plan. This production addition will have a great impact on Qatar’s economic growth and will help stimulate our local economy,” al-Kaabi noted.

“We believe that LNG has bright prospects, and that the new expansion project reflects Qatar Petroleum’s commitment to meeting its worldwide customers’ growing needs for this reliable and environmentally friendly fuel. I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar, for his wise leadership and continuous support to Qatar’s energy sector.

“On this occasion, I would also like to thank all my colleagues and partners in the energy sector in Qatar for their excellent dedication and support of our ambitious growth plans,” he added.

Al-Kaabi said the North Field Expansion Project is well underway with various activities currently ongoing, including the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) of the onshore facilities, which is being executed by Chiyoda Corporation of Japan.

The engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract for the offshore wellhead jackets is expected to be awarded before the end of the year, and development drilling activities are expected to commence imminently.

Tenders to drill new wells will be issued next month, a Bloomberg dispatch showed.

Al-Kaabi said when the FEED contract was awarded earlier; it was stated that engineering would be done for three trains with an option to add a 4th LNG train in future.

Asked whether the LNG capacity boost was a result of the “political crisis surrounding Qatar”, al-Kaabi said: “Our decision to increase production is purely based on business and commercial terms. The blockade for more than a year now is unjustified and unfair. But as we have stated earlier, we will carry on with our business in the same way, and frankly we do not think about it (blockade) when we make decisions.

“Our gas still flows into the UAE,” al-Kaabi said when asked about the future of the Dolphin project.

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