North Dome Development
The North Dome also known as North Field, was discovered in 1971, with the completion of Shell's North West Dome-1 well.
With falling oil and associated gas production, and depletion of the Khuff reserves, developing the North field became imperative. In 1984 it was decided that development would occur in phases. Phase 1 involved installing production, processing, and transport facilities for 800 million cubic feet (23 million cubic metres) of natural gas per day to serve local utilities and produce 5,000 tons per day of propane, butane, gasoline, and naphtha. In 1989 a gas sweetening plant and sulfur processing unit were added. Phase one was online by early 1991. Gas from North Field phase one has been primarily used for local demand, and injection into the Dukhan field. Phase two was expected to involve selling North Field gas to its neighbors, possibly through a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) gas grid. Phase three involved exporting to Europe and Asia. Even before the Persian Gulf War, this phase ran into trouble. To justify the investment, Qatar Petroleum (QP) needed two large-scale long-term supply contracts. Despite efforts from QP managing director Jaber al-Marri, contracts were not forthcoming. This switched emphasis to domestic outlets. In 1988, a firm of international consultants presented a plan to QP for developing domestic projects to utilize Qatari gas. Suggestions included an aluminum smelter, a ferro-alloy production plant, methanol production facilities, and expansion of petrochemical and fertilizer operations.
Qatar rapidly expanded its production and exports from North Dome Field. Here are a number of milestones:
- 1989: Qatar begins production from North Field phase one (Alpha) at rate of 800 million cubic feet (23 million cubic metres) of natural gas per day.
- 1997: Qatar begins exporting by sending 5.7 billion cubic feet (160 million cubic metres) (0.16 million tons) of LNG to Spain.
- 2005: Qatar exports a total of 987 billion cubic feet (27.9 billion cubic metres) (27.9 million tons) of LNG. Of this, 316 billion cubic feet (8.9 billion cubic metres) went to Japan, 293 billion cubic feet (8.3 billion cubic metres) to South Korea, 213 billion cubic feet (6.0 billion cubic metres) to India, 161 billion cubic feet (4.6 billion cubic metres) to Spain, and 3 billion cubic feet (85 million cubic metres) to the United States.
- 2006: Qatar surpasses Indonesia as the world's largest LNG exporter.
- 2007: In March QP solidifies its leading role when RasGas completes its fifth LNG production train, giving the country 1.5 trillion cubic feet (42 billion cubic metres) of annual liquefaction capacity, the most in the world.
Subsequent phases of the North field development provided feedstock to LNG plants at Ras Laffan Industrial City.
Based on the current Qatar planned projects, production of LNG from North Dome Field may reach to 23 billion cubic feet (650 million cubic metres) to 27 billion cubic feet (760 million cubic metres) per day by 2012, any further increase in the production level of the Qatari side of the field is subject to the result of the ongoing study by Qatar Petroleum which is supposed to be released in 2012.
The prospects for further growth in Qatari gas production beyond 2012 are clouded by the uncertainty created by a moratorium on new export projects, which was imposed in 2005 while the effect of existing projects on North Field reservoirs was studied.
In order to monetize North Dome's vast resources of gas and liquids, Qatar has undertaken ambitious plans for establishment of the world's biggest LNG and GTL industry.
Read more about this topic: South Pars / North Dome Gas-Condensate Field
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