Qatar consolidates its dominance in the global LNG market - Energy

Qatar is in a good position to enhance its role in the global LNG market, having snatched the top spot as the largest exporter from the United States.

Qatar is studying plans to increase the production capacity of the giant North Field, by more than 126 million tons annually, according to the “Upstream Online” platform, although the Qatar Energy Company has not made any official announcement yet.

The company added two more LNG production lines to the second phase of expansion, the South North Field project, backed by persistently high gas prices and growing interest from European and Asian consumers.

liquefied natural gas prices

Industry observers believe there is no better time for Qatar to achieve higher LNG capacity, although achieving this goal may take years.

Spot LNG prices have risen to record levels in Asia in recent months, trading at more than $30/MMBtu at times, forcing major gas consuming nations to consider long-term supply arrangements with producers such as Qatar and Australia. and the United States.

While higher LNG prices could dampen global demand in the long run, Qatar’s position between Asia and Europe also places it as a preferred partner for LNG exports.

Given the favorable market prospects and changing geopolitics that have opened up the European gas market, it would not be surprising if Qatar decides to advance the further expansion of the North Field unilaterally, even beyond its stated capacity.

Gas carriers - Qatar

LNG in the Middle East

A few months ago, Qatari gas was outside the scope of European countries, due to its high costs and capital expenditures associated with gas regasification facilities.

However, as Europe moves to avoid imports of Russian gas and searches for alternatives to enhance its energy security, Middle Eastern producers such as Qatar and the UAE are working to enhance their LNG capabilities.

As Qatar looks to expand in the North Field, the UAE recently confirmed its intention to move forward with the front-end engineering design phase of the Fujairah LNG terminal.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) plans to develop a two-line liquefaction plant with a capacity of 10 million tons per year in Fujairah, which would enable the UAE to meet the needs of many gas markets, to become a major regional exporter of liquefied gas, thus competing with its neighbor Qatar, and reducing its dependence on imports.

The LNG Exporters Race

Qatar has overtaken the United States to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, with exports in April exceeding 7.5 million metric tons, according to ship tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

During the winter months, cooler temperatures, combined with Europe’s desire to reduce dependence on Russian energy, increased demand for natural gas and fuel prices.

Once winter was over, some US export terminals took advantage of the period of low demand and lower prices to undergo maintenance, which reduced production in the United States.

Looking ahead, the United States and Qatar are expected to participate in a race to dominate the global LNG market.

Once the Calcio Pass export terminal in Louisiana is completed later this year, the United States is expected to reach peak LNG production capacity of 13.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Meanwhile, Qatar is planning a massive export project in the late 21st century, which could boost the Middle Eastern country as the largest supplier of LNG fuels.

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