Qatar Petroleum (QP) is considering raising the capacity of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains to accommodate increased gas production from the offshore North Field.

State-owned QP has signed an agreement with Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation to conduct a detailed study to identify the modifications required to debottleneck liquefaction capacity to process the additional gas.

QP said the study is expected to be completed by the end of this year, which will allow the company to “kick-off the front-end engineering and design (feed) work early next year”.

“This agreement provides QP with the option of increasing its LNG production with minimum investment, by leveraging the existing massive, world-class infrastructure and valuable synergies available in Ras Laffan industrial city,” said QP CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.

Qatar, which is the world’s largest producer and exporter of LNG, announced in April that it has decided to lift the moratorium on new gas developments at the North Field, the world’s largest gas field, which Qatar shares with Iran.

Doha had placed the moratorium in 2005 in order to carry out studies on the field to assess its potential for further production growth.

Al-Kaabi announced on 3 April that assessments of the field have confirmed the potential for developing a new gas project with a capacity of about 2 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d), increasing the field’s capacity by about 10 per cent.