Qatar Prepares For Huge Gas Developments

Massive gas developments are to take place in Qatar in the coming years following confirmed results of the country's gas reserves being 900 trillion cubic feet (tcf), Abdulla bin Hamad Al Atiyyah, Qatar's Energy Minister said.

"The gas reserves in Qatar's North Field have been certified by a third party to be 900 tcf now. Therefore, large scale gas developments will take place now that the gas reserves have trebled from 300tcf in the mid-90s," Al Atiyyah said in an Interview with Gulf News.

"There is the whole gas basket - LNG, LPG, GTL - and other gas-based products for local and international markets, to be developed. You will see major activity in the country's gas sector," he said, adding that discussions to this effect will begin in the coming months.

The minister pointed out that Qatar is in discussions with Spain for supply of natural gas equivalent to five million tonnes annually under a long-term agreement.

Qatar is also supplying natural gas to Italy equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes annually for twenty five years as per a term agreement signed last year, he said.

"Qatar is discussing with some other markets in Europe for export of natural gas. Of course, the other customer in this region is India's Petronet," the minister added.

On the status of the Gulf-South Asia (Gusa) pipeline project of exporting Qatari gas to Pakistan, the minister said Qatar is hoping that Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum will finalise it soon.

Asked why it is delayed, the minister said there are certain issues which Crescent Petroleum has to sort out.

On whether Opec is likely to raise output at this month's meeting in Vienna, Al Atiyyah said there is no reason for Opec to hike output. "I am convinced there is a balance in demand and supply. In fact, right now, supply is more than demand in the markets. There is no shortage, there is enough oil to satisfy consumers," he said.

"The fall in oil prices by two dollars in the last week proves this," he added.

Also, Al Atiyyah said non-Opec cooperation is crucial for a stable oil market. "Cooperation between Opec and non-Opec should continue unconditionally. Opec alone cannot balance the market having only 30 per cent of the world market share."

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