Qatar to sign more long-term LNG contracts this year

DOHA (Reuters)Qatar has not had difficulty securing long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts and will sign more this year, QatarEnergy CEO and State Minister for Energy Saad al-Kaabi said at an economic forum on Wednesday.

"We've actually secured 25 million tons of long-term LNG sales (in the last 12 months) and I can tell you also on this podium that we're signing more this year," he said.

State-owned QatarEnergy has been signing supply deals with European and Asian partners for gas that is expected to come onstream from its massive North Field expansion, part of the world's largest natural gas field which Qatar shares with Iran, which calls it South Pars.

Qatar, one of the world's largest LNG exporters, announced an additional expansion of its LNG production in February that will add 16 metric MMtpy to its original plans, bringing total capacity to 142 MMtpy from 77 MMt.

Kaabi said he sees big future demand for LNG and Qatar would continue to assess its gas reservoirs for possible future growth. "We are very bullish on demand going forward," Kaabi said. Kaabi also reiterated that should technical evaluations show Qatar could further expand production, it would. "If there is more, we probably will do more," he said.

Competition for LNG had ramped up since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in February 2022. Europe, in particular, needs vast amounts of the fuel to help replace the Russian pipeline gas that had made up almost 40% of the continent's imports.

On Wednesday, Kaabi said he saw a future need for more LNG in European markets. "The comfort that they get in Europe is because they had two very warm winters and they filled up all the storages and they didn't need to use much of it," he said.

"So if you have two harsh winters or normal winters ... you're always going to need a lot more LNG. And the world will need much more LNG with the growth and I don't see an oversupply."

(Reporting by Andrew Mills; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Maha El Dahan, Christian Schmollinger and Jacqueline Wong)

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