Qatar lifts development moratorium on world’s biggest gas field
Qatar has lifted a self-imposed moratorium on development of the world’s biggest natural gasfield after more than a decade, the chief executive of state energy company Qatar Petroleum said yesterday.
The giant Gulf gasfield, which Doha calls the North Field and Iran calls South Pars, accounts for nearly all of Qatar’s gas production and about 60 per cent of its export revenue.
Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, declared a moratorium in 2005 on the development of North Field, which it shares with Iran, to give Doha time to study the impact on the reservoir from a rapid increase in output.
“We have completed most of our projects and now is a good time to lift the moratorium,” Saad Al Kaabi told reporters in Doha.
“The decision today was based on results from tests we ran on the technical capability of the field. The area we are developing is in the absolute south of the north field. It is the furthest project from the Iranian border.”
New production from the field is seen starting within five to seven years, targeting gas exports of 2 billion standard cubic feet per day, Mr Al Kaabi said.
New development will increase current production of the North Field by about 10 per cent, adding about 400,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent to Qatar’s output, he said.
Iran, which suffers severe domestic gas shortages, has made a rapid increase in production from South Pars a top priority and signed a preliminary deal with France’s Total in November to develop its South Pars II project.
Total was the first western energy company to sign a major deal with Tehran since the lifting of international sanctions.
Mr Al Kaabi said the decision to lift the moratorium has nothing to do with Iran’s plan to develop its part of the shared gasfield. “What we are doing today is something completely new and we will in future of course … share all this with them [Iran]. For us this has nothing to do with Iran’s production.”
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