Qatar redraws energy-map with start LNG deliveries to Japan

Dec 17, 1996 01:00 AM

Qatar is set to start LNG supplies to Japan next week as it presses ahead with projects that will turn the Gulf state into the world's biggest exporter of LNG. A gas tanker leased from Japan for one of the LNG ventures arrived on Dec. 17 in Ras Laffan port to lift the first LNG shipment for Japan's Chubu Electric Company, launching annual supplies of 6 mmt over 25 years. "The export of the first shipment of Qatari LNG is an extremely important step because it redraws the map of international energy supplies," said Qatar's energy and industry minister, Abdullah ibn Hamad al-Atteyya.
The LNG will be supplied by Qatargas, a joint venture owned by the state-controlled Qatari General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC) and the international companies Total, Mobil, Mitsui and Marubeni. It is one of three LNG ventures planned by Qatar as part of a drive to tap its mammoth reserves of natural gas, estimated at nearly 7.1 trillion cubic metres (236.6 tcf). Qatari officials say the figure is far higher as those reserves are recoverable. Gas deposits are based in the North Field, the biggest single reservoir of natural gas in the world. The deposits are third only to those in Russia and Iran. Another project is Ras Laffan, or Rasgas, which is owned by QGPC and the Mobil. The third venture, Qatar-Enron LNG Marketing Company, aims to produce 5 mmtpy, but it has yet to get off the ground. The three projects are designed to produce more than 20 mmtpy by completion in 2000. Their costs have been estimated at more than $ 15 bn, mostly from foreign partners and bank loans.

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