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Qatar bullish on LNG as it plans increased production

Qatar LNG Reuters/Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto
Saad Sherida Al Kaabi: 'If there is more gas, we probably will do more'
  • Qatar is a top global LNG exporter
  • Expects more LNG projects
  • Asia main Qatari gas client

Qatar’s energy minister said he is bullish on global demand for liquefied natural gas and his country is likely to push its production levels beyond those already targeted for 2030.

“Technical capability is going to be assessed, and if there is more [gas], we probably will do more,” Saad Sherida Al Kaabi said at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha on Wednesday.

Al Kaabi said the state-owned QatarEnergy had secured sales of 25 million tonnes of LNG in the past year and expects to sign more this year.

The Gulf state had previously said it was planning to expand LNG production to 142 million tonnes by the end of the decade.

“We are very bullish on the demand in the future. We are going to expand to meet the demand.

“I don’t think that gas is going away anytime soon; there is going to be a need for LNG for a very long time,” he said.

The minister said that more supply projects will be needed globally beyond 2030.

He expects many new LNG projects to come up in areas such as Africa and the US, including QatarEnergy’s LNG facility in Texas. “But if we have reasonable [global] economic growth going forward, the supply and demand will catch up, and you will see another phase of gas development in 2030-plus.”

Qatar, one of the world’s top LNG exporters, announced plans in February for an 85 percent expansion in LNG production from its North field’s current 77 million tonnes per year (mpta) to 142 mpta by 2030. Previously, it was planning to expand up to 126 mpta. 

According to experts, the move may allow the country to control nearly 25 percent of the global LNG market by the end of the decade.

Al Kaabi said natural gas has become an energy transition fuel, allowing countries to phase away from coal and liquids and reduce emissions from power generation as it complements intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

The LNG market has been tight as the demand is growing in Asia, while Europe has been striving to replace Russian gas since the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Asian countries led by China, Japan, and South Korea have been the main clients of Qatari gas.

Global trade in LNG reached 404 million tonnes in 2023, up from 397 million tonnes in 2022, as tight supplies of LNG constrained growth, according to Shell LNG outlook 2024.

Egypt and Indonesia are facing falling outputs and growing demand. Australian exports are scheduled to drop next year due to a decline in legacy production, while in the US, President Biden paused applications for liquified natural gas export terminals in January over climate concerns. 

However experts believe the market may turn to oversupply despite delays faced by some US LNG projects, including the Golden Pass, which may miss its first-half 2025 start-up date.

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