Qatar’s LNG boom has been phenomenal, according to a report from QNB Group. Through the 1990s and 2000s Qatar invested heavily in LNG production, with exports beginning in late 1996.
Ten years later, Qatar was the world’s largest exporter and in 2011 it exported 76 million tonnes (mt) of LNG, accounting for 31 per cent of the global market..
In 2011, 47 per cent of Qatar’s LNG exports went to the Asia Pacific region and 42 per cent to Europe.
Asia has been the primary export destination for some time, and received an even larger share in 2007 of 79 per cent. This region is characterised by a shortage of hydrocarbon resources combined with rapidly rising demand for gas-fired power generation. The largest Asian destinations in 2011 were Japan (12mt), India (10mt) and South Korea (8mt).
Europe’s share of Qatar’s LNG exports has increased significantly, mainly as the UK has had to replace declining gas production from its North Sea fields. The UK was the single largest importer of Qatari LNG in 2011. It has long-term sales and production agreements (SPAs) with Qatar for a total of 12m tonnes per year and in 2011 purchased a further 4m tonnes of Qatari LNG on the spot market.
Other countries in Europe have also increased imports from Qatar to lower dependence on Russian supplies, and to reduce carbon emissions by using more, relatively clean, natural gas.
Notably, this has led to increasing exports to Italy (6.1mt in 2011), Spain (4.8mt) and France (3.2mt). Belgium imported 6.1mt in 2011, up from 2.8mt in 2007, some of which was re-exported through recently-expanded storage facilities at Zeebrugge port, designed to support the development of an LNG spot market.
According to QNB Group, Qatar is diversifying its LNG export destinations. In 2007, Qatar exported to eight different countries and in 2011 it exported to 23 different countries.
In 2011, export destinations included the Middle East (UAE and Kuwait) and South America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile). Exports to Argentina are set to rise after the signing of an SPA for 5mt per year starting in 2014.
A new long-term SPA with Thailand is reported to have been signed and Qatar recently made the first delivery of LNG to Singapore. Jordan has expressed strong interest in importing LNG, and Qatar is helping it to build a regasification terminal in Aqaba.
Total LNG capacity is 77mt. However, slightly less than this is usually exported owing to downtime for maintenance and repairs. Most of Qatar’s production goes towards meeting the long-term commitments of SPAs.
Form Gulf Today