x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Qatar plans 150% gas production rise

World's leading exporter of LNG poised to ramp up capacity as demand for commodity falls.

DOHA // Qatar, the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), is poised to increase its production capacity by more than 150 per cent, just as demand for the commodity is falling. That would contribute to a global LNG supply glut likely to last through until 2013, delegates at a gas conference in Doha, the country's capital, heard earlier today. "We are certainly into an unexpected time for the LNG business," said Andy Flower, an independent energy consultant and the former manager of BP's interest in an LNG venture with state-owned QatarGas. "This year, 20 million to 25 million tonnes of extra supply will hit the market when demand will probably be 10 million tonnes less than last year."

Mr Flower said 95.3 million tonnes per year of new LNG production capacity is under construction worldwide, and scheduled to come on stream over the next four years. Qatar would provide 46.8 million tonnes of the projected new annual capacity, or about half of the global amount. Russia, with plans to develop 9.6 million tonnes per year of LNG capacity by 2012, would be the next largest contributor.

Currently producing around 30 million tonnes of LNG annually, Qatar will commission the first of six planned "megatrain" production facilities early next month. As the largest facilities of their type in the world, each megatrain would be able to process and refrigerate 7.8 million tonnes per year of gas to a temperature below 160 degrees Celsius, liquefying it in order to load it into tankers for transportation to markets in Asia, Europe and North America.

Following completion of the new facilities, Qatar's total LNG output would rise to 77 million tonnes per year, the energy equivalent of about 5 million barrels per day of oil. That would make the Gulf state the region's second biggest energy exporter, after Saudi Arabia. tcarlisle@thenational.ae