Qatar to detail next LNG expansion within a year

FILE PHOTO: Qatar Petroleum CEO and Minister of State for Energy Saad al-Kaabi speaks during a news conference in Doha, Qatar June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoun

(Reuters) - Qatar Petroleum will announce within a year detailed plans for the second phase of expansion of its North Field South liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the head of the world’s largest LNG producer said on Tuesday.

The expansion project will add two new LNG processing plants, known as trains, and will be announced by the end of the year or early in 2022, Qatar Petroleum (QP) CEO Saad al-Kaabi told the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference.

“We look for Exxon definitely to be one of our partners going forward,” said Kaabi, on a panel with Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods.

International partners will participate in about 30% of the development, he said.

Last month, QP signed a contract for the first phase of its North Field LNG project expansion, aiming to boost the country’s LNG production capacity to 110 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2026 from 77 million mtpa in the largest single LNG project ever to be sanctioned.

The second phase of expansion will increase its LNG capacity to 126 mtpa by 2027.

“We will be announcing by the end of the year or first quarter next year the implementation of North Field South,” Kaabi said.

The large growth in LNG output will be underpinned by expectation for soaring demand for natural gas in the coming decades, he said.

Gas “is going to be in higher demand than we thought just a few years back and I think events that happened recently where you saw some spikes in prices have demonstrated gas is needed for much longer, especially in the Asian side of the world,” Kaabi said.

Reporting by Ron Bousso, Marianna Parraga and Jennifer Hiller; Editing by David Goodman, David Evans and David Gregorio