QATAR PETROLEUM has announced that it will ramp up its LNG production by 30% over the next five to seven years, from 77m t/y to 100m t/y.
President and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said that Qatar’s production will reach 6m boe/d, enhancing Qatar’s world-leading position in LNG exports, meeting customer demand, and stimulating the domestic economy.
“Last April, we announced our intention to develop a new gas project in the southern sector of the North Field that can be targeted for export. With the conclusion of further technical studies, we have decided that the best option would be to double the size of the project to 4bn ft3/d, which constitutes a 20% increase from the current North Field production rate, or about 1mboe/d,” he said.
The extra production will all be used to produce LNG.
Qatar is currently politically isolated from its Middle East neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, which accuse it of destabilising the region by supporting extremism and harbouring terrorists, and have imposed political and economic sanctions. They have issued Qatar, which has just 2.7m inhabitants and is reliant on imports, with a number of demands, reportedly including shutting down the Al Jazeera television channel, lessening its ties with Iran and aligning itself politically with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Qatar has reportedly missed two deadlines to respond to the list of demands, with credit agency Moody’s downgrading its economic status to negative.
Commentators have told media outlets that Qatar’s move to increase LNG production is a direct challenge to Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest oil producer.
Jonathan Stern, chairman and senior research fellow at the Natural Gas Research Programme of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told Bloomberg: “Basically what it’s saying is, ‘We are going to promote LNG as a substitute for oil.’ That’s a very confrontational thing to say.”
It is also being seen as a sign that Qatar expects the dispute with its neighbours to be long-running.