Qatar’s crude oil output has fallen as its oilfields mature and – according to QNB’s September 2015 Qatar Economic Insight – was expected to decline by 7.3% in 2015. However, Qatar Petroleum (QP) aims to boost the nation’s crude production by investing in new facilities in the Bul Hanine field. Redevelopment, announced in 2014, is planned for completion in 2028, and is expected to more than double its capacity – from 40,000 to 90,000 bpd – also extending the life of the field. The budget is approximately USD11 billion.

Acording to QP, ‘the magnitude of investment reflects the extent of project scope that includes new offshore central production facilities and a new onshore gas liquids processing facility at Mesaieed.’ About 150 new wells will be drilled by 2028. All wellheads’ stream fluids will be processed in a new offshore central complex and produced oil sent to Halul Island for export. About 900 million cubic feet of sour rich gas per day will be sent via a new 150-km subsea pipeline to a new gas treatment facility in Mesaieed for products recovery. Lean sweet gas will be sent back to the new offshore facilities for compression and injection.

Rising production of condensates and natural gas liquids (which account for well over 60% of Qatar’s liquid hydrocarbon production) has offset lower crude oil production in recent years. The offshore Al Shaheen field, which produces around 300,000 bpd is currently operated by Maersk Oil Qatar. However the field is being re-tendered in 2017 when Maersk’s current contract expires. At the time of going to press, Marhaba had received no update on the repairs to the Rumailah jack-up rig which had been operating in the Al Shaheen field, but was subject to a punch-through incident in July. At the time, GDI said the repairs would take ‘several months’.

Maersk Oil QatarIn September, it was announced that Maersk Oil Qatar’s ‘Qatar Whale Shark Research Project’ Documentary film would feature on the Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system for a six-month period. As Qatar’s largest offshore oil producer, Maersk Oil says it is committed to understanding and protecting the environment in which it operates. In 2011, Maersk Oil Qatar joined with Ministry of Environment (MOE) to support the Ministry-led Qatar Whale Shark Research Project, which aims to discover more about the creatures that visit Qatari waters each May to September. ‘Congregations’ in excess of 100 have been observed in and around the Al Shaheen field. Whale sharks can measure up to 20 metres in length and weigh more than 30 tonnes. The documentary can also be watched online.

Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada said in October that he believed the ‘oil price has bottomed out’ adding that he saw signs of recovery for the oil industry in 2016 after a drastic down cycle. Al Sada, who is also the acting president of OPEC, said he believed the growth in supplies from non- OPEC producers seen over the past five years had substantially reduced in 2015 and was likely to show ‘zero to negative growth’ in 2016.

Qatar’s former Minister of Energy HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah was meanwhile set to launch the Middle East’s first think-tank committed to the creation of knowledge and solutions critical to the future of international energy systems.

The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development will provide information, programmes and research to help tackle such challenges as energy efficiency. ‘I would like to see the Foundation become the leading think-tank in the region and one of the world’s leading institutions in the areas of energy and sustainable development,’ he said.

All the board members currently hold multiple directorships in Qatari oil and gas companies, financial institutions and in the diplomatic service. ‘We will advise governments and companies on how to build their own projects; how to cut the fat in their expenses; how to avoid market shocks; how to make the right calculations and how to plan ahead both in the short-term and the long-term,’ Al Attiyah added.

An overview by Marhaba Oil and Gas correspondent Gina Coleman, using published information compiled from media sources (October 2015).

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