The first quarter of 2021 saw the start of construction for the massive North Field East Project (NFE) in Qatar. The largest LNG liquefaction project in the world is due to start production in 2025.
By Joanne McIntyre
Qatar Petroleum’s recent investment decision on the USD 28.75bn North Field East Project (NFE) will further consolidate Qatar’s position as the top liquefied natural gas producer and exporter in the world.
NFE is one of the global energy industry’s largest investments in the past few years. It is also the largest LNG capacity addition ever, and the most competitive LNG project in the world. The project will raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity by around 64 percent. In addition to LNG, the project will produce condensate, LPG, ethane, sulphur and helium. It’s expected to start production in the fourth quarter of 2025 and its total production will reach about 1.4mn barrels oil equivalent per day.
World’s largest reservoir
The North Gas Field, with total recoverable gas of more than 900 trillion standard cubic feet, was discovered in 1971 and is considered to be the largest single non-associated gas reservoir in the world. It covers an area of 6,000 square kilometers, equivalent to about half the land area of the State of Qatar. Owned and operated by Qatargas, the North gas field has been in production since 1997.
The utilization of this field’s massive reserves is a national priority to continue the development and prosperity process in the country.
North Field expansion
The two-phase North Field expansion project encompasses the expansion of the North Gas Field. The firsgy, suggesting that the time is right for the coordination-based approach advocated by Shell. phase (North Field East) will include expansion will include expansion
of LNG capacity from 77 mtpa to 110 mtpa by 2025 while the second phase, known as North Field South, will take LNG capacity to 126 mtpa by 2027. North Field East is billed as the largest ever liquefaction project planned globally.
The expansion project was announced in April 2017, after Qatar lifted its self-imposed 12-year ban to refrain from any further gas development plans and decided to monetize the remaining reserves of the gas field.
North Field East & South
Qatar Petroleum announced the Financial Investment Decision (FID) for the mammoth USD 21 billion North Field East project in February 2021. LNG from these projects will be competitively priced and less carbon-intensive, and therefore can be more attractive to the buyers, especially to the European and Asia companies, which form the bulk of the global LNG demand.
The North Field East development scope includes drilling 80 platform wells, eight offshore jack-up drilling rigs, four LNG trains, and a processing facility. Production at the North Field East is expected to start in 2025 with 4.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas, 260,000 barrels per day (bd) of condensate, and 11,000 tons per day of liquefied petroleum gas.
“The North Field East development scope includes 80 drilling platform wells”
Low carbon LNG
Qatar’s gas production process is among the lowest carbon-intensity globally and will further decline as a result of the Qatar Petroleum sustainability strategy, announced in January 2021, which includes cutting methane leaks, using solar power for operations and boosting carbon capture and storage.
In April 2021 Qatar was one of the five founding members of the Net Zero Producers’ Forum, alongside the US and Saudi Arabia. This commitment to reducing the intensity of production will further add to Qatar’s competitive edge against other LNG producers.
In September 2020 Qatar Petroleum signed an LNG contract with Singapore that includes wellhead-to-delivery reporting of greenhouse emissions. This was a first step towards a future in which carbon taxes or other mechanisms could advantage lower-intensity producers like Qatar.
Boost to post-Covid recovery
The six new LNG trains being built in the current round of expansion will boost Qatar’s LNG output by nearly two-thirds and also lift its production of valuable by-products including condensates, natural gas liquids, ethane and helium. Work on the project will pick up rapidly over the next few years, providing a significant boost to the post-Covid-19 recovery, particularly for the construction sector and for companies supplying goods and services to the project.
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