Qatar partnership with ExxonMobil for the $1.3 billion Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas is set to start LNG production from shale gas in five years, according to the chairman of the non-profit Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said that Qatar, the world's biggest LNG supplier, plans to increase its production from 77 million tons per year to 100 million tons in the near future.
Al-Attiyah explained that Qatar will increase its annual production from two sources; from local sources and the second from the terminal in Texas.
He said the terminal was initially intended for LNG cargoes from Qatar to the U.S.
Al-Attiyah explained that, however, on completion of the terminal's construction, the shale gas boom began and prices dropped impacting transportation costs to the terminal so no cargo was sent there.
A decision was taken to convert the terminal's function from re-gasification to a liquefaction using shale gas. Although the construction of the terminal had a cost of $1.3 billion, it will need a few hundred millions of dollars for the conversion. Now exports of LNG from the terminal are due to begin by 2023.
- Demand on rise from Asia, Africa and the Middle East
LNG cargoes from Texas will go to Latin America and Europe while those from Qatar will go to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, he explained.
"This is to support our international market and our existing consumers. We believe there will be big demand from China and India and we believe there will be new customers from Asia, the Middle East and Africa," he said.
"We will be a main producer of LNG," he affirmed.
Qatar has increased its trade with Bangladesh and Pakistan. Qatar has already signed an agreement with Pakistan for 5 million tons per year and last month with Bangladesh for 2.5 million tons.
"So this is the new market. For sure, the demand from these markets will increase. Both Pakistan and Bangladesh have huge populations and big shortages of power," he underlined.
According to Al-Attiyah, Qatar is now well placed in the market as it has the most flexibility offering competitive pricing compared to many projects from Australia and other countries, whose offered prices are expensive.
- Qatar-Turkey cooperation in Mediterranean gas exploration welcome
Qatar is also breaking into the gas exploration market in the Mediterranean through partnerships with a number of international companies like ExxonMobil and Shell.
He said that Turkey could also discover gas in the Mediterranean, similarly to Israel and Cyprus, because it is well placed to do so and can play a pivotal role in the region as a supplier.
Turkey could also benefit from a partnership with Qatar for gas exploration in the Mediterranean, he said. "Qatar Petroleum would be happy to partner with Turkey for future discoveries," he stated.
"Qatar is very supportive and open for cooperation with Turkey. Turkey is now trying to discover gas in the Mediterranean and has very limited experience in this field," he said.
Turkey's first seismic vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa began operations in the Mediterranean in April 2017.
He welcomed further bilateral trade between Turkey and Qatar through investment in third countries and praised the support that Turkey gave in the aftermath of the Saudi Arabia, Egypt, U.A.E. and Bahrain blockade in which Qatar was accused of supporting terrorism in June.
"Turkey stood behind Qatar and we received a lot of products from Turkey and other countries. They [the blockade countries] failed because they thought that if they blockaded us, we would collapse but Qatar's economy is strong," he said.
Qatar resisted in having money transferred outside the country after the blockade, a move to de-stabilize the country, but the economy is strong, he said.
Al-Attiyah concluded that Qatar exports to around 95 countries in the world.
Al-Attiyah is also the former deputy prime minister and minister of energy and industry of Qatar. He currently heads the non-profit organization established to preserve and build upon his 40 years of service in the energy industry.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya