Mideast LNG exports seen steady in 2012
Kuala Lumpur, June 6, 2012
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers in the Middle East expect to keep their exports steady in 2012, top executives from the biggest suppliers said on Wednesday, despite strong demand from within the region.
The heads of world's two biggest LNG exporters, Qatar's Rasgas and Qatargas, said they expect to produce at full capacity this year, while the head of Oman LNG said the company would export similar volumes of super cooled gas as last year.
"We are exporting all of our volume," Khalid bin Khalifa al-Thani, the chief executive of Qatargas, the world's largest seller of LNG, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Middle Eastern demand is rising fast and the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Tuesday there is unlikely to be any increase in gas exports from the region over the next few years.
A media report last week said Qatar and Oman could together cut their output by 5 million tonnes of LNG this year due to rising demand in their home markets.
Yet Qatar has plenty of gas in the world's largest non-associated gas field to meet its needs without impacting exports.
"We are operating at 100 per cent capacity," Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi, managing director of RasGas said at a global gas conference in Kuala Lumpur.
"We have already committed almost all the gas that we have on a long-term basis," Mohannadi said.
Oman LNG has been running at below capacity since 2007 because of limited gas supplies to the terminal.
But its chief executive said on the sidelines of the conference the company would produce around 8 million tonnes again this year, or about 2.4 million tonnes per year (tpy) below capacity.
Rasgas' Mohannadi said he was unaware of any additional maintenance planned for this year.
Last year, a RasGas official said there would be seven plant shutdowns in 2012, with Train 7 scheduled for a shutdown in January and again in October and Trains 1 and 2 shut in May.
RasGas is also close to having committed to sell all the gas from its plant into long-term contracts after making a deal to supply Taiwan's CTC Corp with 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year late last year.
RasGas, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil, is one of two producers in Qatar which together can produce 77 million tonnes a year of gas chilled to liquid form for export by ship.
Qatar has no plans to build more export facilities for now because it is focussing on meeting growing domestic energy demand with the $10 billion Barzan project expected to start up in 2014, but the vast North Field has plenty of gas to supply both its domestic and foreign customers.
Yemen LNG, which has had its gas feedline repeatedly blown up over the last year, resumed operations in late May after the latest attack in late April. – Reuters