QATAR’S LOW-COST BASE GIVES IT COMPETITIVE EDGE OVER OTHER LNG SUPPLIERS

Qatar's decision, in Apr, to lift moratorium on the development of the North Field, will help cement the country's position as the leading global LNG exporter.

The country also made a strategic decision, to enhance its LNG production by 30% to 100 mn tonnes per year (tpy), which would substantially boost the fastest growing economy and support the national exchequer.

Already Qatar accounts for one-third of the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

In early Apr, Qatar lifted the moratorium on the development of the North Field, the world's largest non-associated gas reservoir. The moratorium had been in place since 2005, and its removal clears the way for an increase in production and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The production boost (to 100 mn tpy) will be facilitated by the doubling of LNG output from the new export-oriented gas project in the North Field, which is expected to be completed in five to seven years.

The year also saw a joint venture � North Oil Company (NOC) � taking on the role of operator of Al Shaheen, which is Qatar's largest offshore oil field and one of the largest in the world.

Al-Shaheen oil field is located in Qatari waters, 80 km north of Ras Laffan, with facilities consisting of as many as 33 platforms, 300 wells and currently producing 300,000 bpd.

NOC is a Qatari company, 70% owned by Qatar Petroleum and 30% by Total.

Further to the taking over of the operatorship of Al-Shaheen oil field in July this year, NOC safely and successfully loaded the first tanker of crude oil.

NOC is set to become a world leading offshore operator, by developing one of the world's largest and most complex oil fields and by applying cutting-edge, innovative and world-class technologies.

The London Stock Exchange-listed Qatar Investment Fund (QIF) had viewed that, Qatar's renewed gas development at the North Field could give it a competitive edge over other established LNG suppliers, after 2020, when the global market is expected to tighten. This, QIF said, is because of Qatar's low-cost base.

Global LNG markets are expected to be oversupplied until 2020, but become under-supplied thereafter, QNB said, in an analysis earlier.

New LNG supply is expected up to 2020, mainly from the US and Australia, boosting global production by around 10% per year over the period, which will outstrip demand growth, expected to be around 6% per year in line with recent historical growth.

However, beyond 2020, the market is expected to tighten with supply broadly flat, as few new LNG projects (which take five to seven years to complete) have been given the green light, since the sharp decline of oil prices in 2014.

Qatar's push in the global LNG industry will certainly help it step back into the market, to deter new investments elsewhere, given its comparative advantages.

Qatar already has existing world-scale infrastructure and LNG facilities that could help keep costs down.

And as the world's largest producer, Qatar already has the reputation for reliability and the relationships to agree long-term supply agreements with importers, who are growing steadily.

Source: NAM News Network