Changes in the LNG market: projects and forecasts

Recent information, revealing that Qatar Petroleum has “made the final investment decision to develop the North East Field Project (NFE), the world’s largest LNG project, which will increase Qatar’s production capacity from 77 million tonnes per year. up to 110 million tons per year ”, aroused great interest in the professional community and the media.

As noted in a press release from the company, production will begin in the fourth quarter of 2025. The total cost of the NFE project is estimated at $ 28.75 billion, which is one of the largest investments in the country’s energy sector in the past few years.

QP representatives said that in addition to liquefied gas, the project also provides for the production of gas condensate, liquefied carbon gas, ethane, sulfur and helium. At the same time, NFE represents only the first phase of the expansion of Qatar’s LNG capacities, while the second phase – the project of the southern part of the North Field, or NFS – will increase capacity from 110 to 126 million tons per year by 2027.

Qatar is a leading producer of liquefied natural gas in the world with a 26.5% share of the LNG market and the announced plans will allow the Middle East emirate to keep this leadership in the foreseeable future.

According to experts, the global LNG market is very young and resilient; it has been actively developing in recent years. In the last six years alone, production has grown by 55%, from 244 million to 378 million tons / year. Based on current investment projects, experts expect that by 2025 global capacities will increase by another 20%, but the real demand for LNG is still much higher than the exporting countries can cover.

In the long term, the market will continue to grow at an average annual rate of 4% and will reach 527 million tonnes by 2030. This forecast indicates a high potential of the market for its participants.

Qatar Petroleum’s decision is unanimously recognized as a significant event for the global LNG market, as commissions of this magnitude are rare. The geographic location provides Qatar with flexibility in terms of supply chains that go to Asian and European destinations. The largest consumers of liquefied gas are China and India, and in the future, it is the Asia-Pacific region that will become the main driver of growth in world LNG consumption.

According to Russian experts, despite a 4% reduction in consumption in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the gas market turned out to be more resilient to external shocks than the oil market. It is expected that this year gas consumption in the world will return to pre-crisis levels. And the demand for environmentally friendly fuels will dictate the growing demand for LNG. It is obvious that all these new phenomena and trends require consideration in the energy strategy of other oil and gas states.

In this context, Turkmenistan, which, according to BP, ranks fourth in the world in terms of proven natural gas reserves after Russia, Iran and Qatar, has good prospects for increasing its share in the global gas market in general and the LNG market in particular. In recent years, its production in the country has been growing at a faster pace. So, at the end of 2020, the production of liquefied gas increased by 16.7% compared to the previous year!