Qatar finds gas, first in 42 years


Qatar found a nat­u­ral gas de­posit with 2.5 tril­lion cu­bic feet of the fuel, its first dis­cov­ery since un­cov­er­ing the world's big­gest gas field 42 years ago.

Qatar Pe­tro­leum, Win­ter­shall and Mit­sui & Co plan to de­velop the reser­voir in a 544sqkm (338sqm) area called block 4N off the Ara­bian Gulf state's north­ern coast, the com­pa­nies said on Sun­day at a news con­fer­ence in the Qatari cap­i­tal, Doha. Qatar's North Field was dis­cov­ered in 1971 and pro­vides the emi­rate with 900 tril­lion cu­bic feet in gas re­serves.

"We will start pro­duc­tion, God will­ing, in the next few years" from Block 4N, Mo­hammed Saleh Al Sada, Qatar's en­ergy min­is­ter, told re­porters.

"We have al­ready started plan­ning and look­ing at dif­fer­ent en­gi­neer­ing op­tions." The dis­cov­ery is larger than Ger­many's to­tal proven gas re­serves, which the BP Sta­tis­ti­cal Re­view of World En­ergy pub­lished in June 2012 lists at 2.2 tril­lion cu­bic feet. Rus­sia holds the big­gest gas re­serves, fol­lowed by Iran, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by BP.

Qatar pro­duces as much as 77 mil­lion tonnes a year of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas, or LNG, mak­ing it the world's big­gest ex­porter of the fuel chilled for ship­ment by sea.

Win­ter­shall, based in Kas­sel, Ger­many, signed a con­tract with Qatar to ex­plore block 4N in 2008, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment dis­trib­uted on Sun­day. Mit­sui bought a 20 per cent stake in the project two years later.

Mean­while, Qatar's cen- tral bank on Sun­day is­sued QR1 bil­lion ($300 mil­lion) of lo­cal cur­rency sukuk and QR3 bil­lion of lo­cal cur­rency con­ven­tional bonds, as part of an ad­just­ment of mon­e­tary pol­icy and in or­der to help com­mer­cial banks meet Basel III liq­uid­ity re­quire­ments.

Lo­cal cur­rency debt will be is­sued ev­ery quar­ter, half with three-year ma­tu­ri­ties and half with five-year, the cen­tral bank said in a state­ment. It did not give spe­cific dates or sizes for fu­ture is­sues, say­ing they would be an­nounced later.

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