On the eve of Gastech, the world's biggest gas conference, Qatar plans to lift its North Field moratorium and grab more long-term LNG market share
Giles Farrer, research director, global LNG, has given his thoughts on the latest developments in the LNG market in the wake of Saad al-Kaabi's announcement that Qatar is lifting the moratorium on the North Field. The new CEO of Qatar Petroleum announced the news on 3 April, as Qatar lifted the self-imposed ban, which had been in place for 12 years.
Qatar declared the moratorium in 2005 on the development of the North Field, which it shares with Iran, to give Doha time to study the impact on the reservoir from a rapid rise in output. North Field is the biggest natural gas field in the world.
"We expect much of the gas to be targeted for export although whether that is via regional gas exports, debottlenecking its existing trains or installing new LNG trains is not clear," Farrer commented.
"With global activity levels and costs low, now is a good time to add new capacity, even if the LNG market does presently look over supplied. By the time new capacity is commissioned, in 5-7 years time, new pre-FID LNG supply is likely to be required in the global market.
"It’s a signal that Qatar intends to increase its market share, which has been falling as other regions have built new capacity.
"But it is also a threat to other developers of new capacity worldwide, as Qatar can add new capacity at a lower cost than anybody else. Any development of the North Field is likely to have a strong liquids component.
"Saad al-Kaabi, the new CEO of Qatar Petroleum, continues to shake things up. Today's decision follows moves to merge Qatargas and RasGas, re-integrate Qatar Petroleum International and take over Qatar's petroleum product marketing," Farrer concluded.