Qatar celebrated achieving 77 million tonnes a year (t/y) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity, cementing its position at the world’s largest producer and exporter, Four new liquefaction trains have come on stream in 2010, raising capacity from 62.2 million t/y in 2009 and 39.9 million t/y in 2008.

“This milestone brings to fruition years of investment in infrastructure and expertise, which has enabled us to go from zero to 77 million t/y in a mere 14 years,” said Energy & Industry Minister, Abdullah al-Attiyah, at a ceremony held at Ras Laffan Industrial City on 13 December.  

The field is operated by two companies: Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas) and Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas). Both are majority controlled by Qatar Petroleum, but also use the expertise of some of the world’s leading oil majors.

When the Qatargas initiative was launched in 1997, Qatar had no experience in the gas industry, despite being a significant producer of crude oil and a prominent member of oil producers group Opec. The emirate now has 14 LNG trains, six of which are capable of producing 7.8 million t/y each (MEED 12:2:10).

Qatar’s considerable advantage over rival producers is the offshore North field. With an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, the field is the world’s biggest non-associated gas reservoir, and the bedrock on which Qatar’s LNG projects have been built.