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Friday, May 14, 2021

Qatar Petroleum to expand gas production at world’s largest field

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By Doha News Team

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: QP/Facebook

Qatar Petroleum (QP) will ramp up production at the world’s biggest gas field by 30 percent to 100 million tons per year, it announced this morning.

Production facilities will be doubled at Qatar’s section of the North Field, which it shares with Iran, reporters were told at a news conference.

By 2024, output levels will increase by the equivalent of 1 million barrels of oil a day. Once increased, production would be equivalent to 6 million barrels a day.

The new targets will be a significant expansion from the 77 million tons per year Qatar currently produces at the site.

In a statement, Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, QP’s President and chief executive, said:

“This new project will strengthen Qatar’s leading position. We will remain the leader of LNG for a very long time…

The planned production increase will also contribute to monetizing Qatar’s resources and to stimulating the domestic economy as well as the country’s overall development.”

Gulf crisis

Al Kaabi reportedly said he hoped the development expansion would happen through a joint venture with an international company.

But boycotting nations have warned further economic sanctions on Doha that could include making international firms choose between them and Qatar.

Saad Sherida al Kaabi, QP President and CEO. Credit: QP

However, Al Kaabi maintained Qatar could undertake the project alone if other states do not collaborate, AFP reports.

“If there are no companies willing to work with us, we will do the 100 million tons,” he said.

Qatar is the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Today’s announcement comes amid an escalating dispute led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

For illustrative purposes only. Credit: QNA

Those countries have served Qatar a list of 13 demands, including closing Al Jazeera and ending diplomatic ties with Iran.

They say Qatar must agree to meet these conditions before they lift the economic blockade, which began a month ago.

And the announcement has further strengthened local support for Qatar.

North Field development

The North Field was discovered in 1971, and is known as South Pars in Iran.

Spanning an area of 6,000 square km — half the size of Qatar — it has 900 trillion standard cubic feet of recoverable gas, making it part of the world’s largest non-associated natural gas field.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: RasGas

The announcement to expand comes just three months after Qatar ended its 12-year, self-imposed moratorium on development of the North Field. It is currently the source for the majority of Qatar’s gas exports.

At the time, Al-Kaabi discussed ramping up production 10 percent, Reuters reported.

The uplift in production was to meet projected increased demand for gas, he had added.

New Iran-China deal

Meanwhile, since the end of economic sanctions, Iran has already made clear its intentions to develop production in its section of the field.

Last November, it signed a preliminary agreement with French energy company Total to increase production.

South Pars facilities. Credit: Hamed Malekpour/Wikicommons

And yesterday, details of the deal were revealed. Total will be the developer, with a 50.1 percent stake, while the Chinese national energy company CNPC will take a 30 percent share.

Iranian National Oil Company subsidiary Petropars will hold the remaining 19.9 percent, Reuters reported.

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