Qatar will not discuss new North Field projects till 2011

Oct 31, 2007 01:00 AM

Qatar will not discuss new gas production projects from its giant North Field until at least 2011-2012, when projects under way and a study of the field are completed, QatarGas’ chief executive said. Delay in completion of the study is a blow to international energy companies competing for limited access to the Middle East’s upstream oil and gas sector. The North Field is the world’s largest reservoir of pure gas.
“There is no point talking about new projects,” Faisal Al Suwaidi, said on the sidelines of a gas conference. “First we need to clear the backlog of existing projects. And the study won’t be finished until 2011-2012.”

The study cannot be fully completed until data is collated from all the wells drilled as Qatar executes its plans for rapid gas expansion at the field, he said. There were still around 100 wells to be drilled, he added.
Qatar plans to boost total production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to 77 mm tpy in 2010, up from 31 mm tons now. It is already the world’s largest producer of LNG, which is gas chilled to liquid form for shipment.

Qatar put new projects on hold at the North Field in April 2005 pending the study into how it was reacting to rapid development. US firms ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil saw plans for super clean fuel plants in Qatar put on ice as a result of the study.
Qatar was considering a plan to double capacity at the under-construction Ras Laffan refinery to 292,000 bpd from 146,000 bpd, Suwaidi said.

“We may boost the refinery capacity by another 146,000 bpd, or we may add a petrochemical plant, or both,” Suwaidi said. Doubling capacity would cost around $ 800 mm to $ 1 bn, he added.
Ras Laffan will process gas condensate produced from the North Field.

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