Western nations win the race to buy Qatar’s LNG

QatarGas CEO Faisal Al Suwaidi tells Oil&Gas Middle East, Asian markets have to open up

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By  Jyotsna Ravishankar Published  October 4, 2005

Europe and the US will drive future demand for Qatar gas, not Asia, said a top official of QatarGas. Speaking on the sidelines of the Opec meeting in Vienna, QatarGas Chairman Faisal Al Suwaidi told Oil&Gas Middle East that Qatar was supplying three times as much gas to Europe and the US as it was to Asia, and that this trend will continue. for the foreseeable future “We started our first liquefied natural gas (LNG) production train in 1992, and if you see the quantity…we have supplied the US and Europe three times as much LNG as we supplied to the Asian market, and we also see the same ratio continuing in the future.” Al Suwaidi blamed a lack of transparency among Asian buyers as the chief reason for this difference. He also said that LNG was a long-term relationship, which needed a mutual commitment from both the supplier and buyer, and that Asian consumers had to be forthcoming with their supply needs. However, Al Suwaidi said that Qatar was completely sold out on the 77 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) that it will produce by the year 2010. To achieve this target in terms of LNG production, Al Suwaidi said, there will be four new LNG trains, as production lines are known, for QatarGas, and three new trains for RasGas. The new trains in Qatar also will be the world’s largest, with a production capacity of 8 mtpa. Asked about the delays in a few of the GTL projects and a possible halt in more LNG projects in Qatar, he said that Qatar had taken a conscious decision to slow down upstream investment, as it was overheating the market. He also said suppliers were facing difficulty keeping up with Qatar’s needs for various infrastructure resources. “Qatar, alone will take 65–75% of the Korean shipyard building capacity. Obviously, we ourselves are driving up the prices, so we want to cool the market and dampen the demand a little before continuing any further. So now we will use the next six or seven years to make sure we execute our current projects and finish them on time,” he said.

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