South Korea to double imports of Qatari gas to 4.8 mmtpy

Feb 27, 1997 01:00 AM

Qatar has struck a tentative deal to deliver 4.8 million tonnes of LNG annually to South Korea, double the quantity agreed previously. Qatar's Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas) signed a contract in October 1995 to sell 2.4 mmtpy of LNG to South Korea for 25 years, with the first shipments scheduled for 1999. Qatari officials said at the time that Korea Gas Corporation had the option of importing an additional 2.4 mmt to 3 mmtpy. Meeting new demand will require plant expansion, said a spokesman for the state-owned Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC), which owns 70 % of RasGas. Mobil holds the remaining 30 % stake in RasGas.
RasGas, the firm set up for deliveries to South Korea, "will build a second production train which will allow the gas liquefaction plant to attain total production of more than 6 mmt a year," the QGPC official said. He added that Ras Laffan and its associates were "determined to increase the production of the LNG plant to 10 mmtpy."
South Korea currently gets its LNG from Indonesia and Brunei and Malaysia. Supplies from those three states have steadily grown over the past years because of a 20-% growth in gas demand in South Korea, according to South Korean officials. Until the year 2000, growth in consumption is forecast at around 11 % a year while it will be around 9 % beyond that year.
Qatar recently opened its LNG terminal at Ras Laffan, which is North of the capital Doha and has a capacity to ship 30 mmt of gas annually to its customers. The port, covering 8.5 sq km (3.4 sq ml), is next to a 50 sq km (20 sq ml) industrial zone which houses gas liquefaction facilities, surrounded by a large buffer zone.
Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas) began exporting LNG to Japan from the terminal in January and expects to produce 6 mmtpy by 2001. Qatargas is owned 65 % by QGPC, 10 % by Total of France, 10 % by Mobil and 7.5 % each by Japanese Marubeni and Mitsui.
Qatar has 10 trillion cubic meters (350 tcf) of natural gas reserves, the world's third largest after Russia and Iran.

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