Qatar's RasGas venture is studying quadrupling production capacity to 20 million tonnes a year (t/y) to meet demand in Eruope and Asia, the energy minister said Tuesday.
"Talks are underway with European and Asian firm for LNG deliveries from RasGas," Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya told an annual Middle East gas conference.
"That led the company to start a study to build new liquified gas trains ... to reach a capacity of 20 million tonnes a year between 2004 and 2007," he said.
RasGas, whose main customer has been Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas), announced in April that its second LNG train had gone into production doubling capacity to five million t/y.
Qatar's second LNG venture is jointly owned by the state-controlled Qatar General Petroleum Corporation which holds 63 percent and Mobil with 25 percent, while the rest is in the hands of Korean and Japanese companies.
The minister also said a study was underway to lift capacity at Qatargas to nine million t/y "to strengthen the company's competitive capacity on world markets."
The comments came after Qatargas vice-president Faisal Al-Suwaidi told this week's Middle East Economic Digest the firm was to go ahead with raising production to 9.2 million tonnes by 2004 at the Ras Laffan liquefaction plant through an estimated 250 million dollars debottlenecking project.
Qatargas operates three LNG trains with a current capacity of six million t/y.
"We know that we can produce 7.7 million t/y without any new investment and following a study last month ... we see that 9.2 million t/y can be achieved with minimal investment," he added.
Qatargas is a joint venture between QGPC with 65 percent, France's Total (10 percent), Mobil of the United States (10 percent), and Japanese firms Mitsui and Marubeni, each with 7.5 percent.
A country of just 522,000 people, four-fifths of whom are expatriates, the emirate sits on top of the world's third largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran.
Qatar's huge offshore North Field contains proven non-associated reserves of more than 10 trillion cubic metres (350 trillion cubic feet). – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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