State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) is considering its next step in developing the North Field – options include expanding output of: LNG, Gas-To-Liquids (GTL) and methane-based petrochemicals, while Dolphin Energy prepares to enhance its gas pipeline to Abu Dhabi. But a question mark hangs over feedstock supplies. Qatar will still have some potential spare gas production capacity when its final planned project is completed, and there is a possibility that Doha might end a moratorium on new projects in the North Field. The moratorium will stay in place until completion of a study into reservoir depletion of the field that has more than 900 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas. The study will not end before enough data from the 1.4bn cfd Barzan project’s production wells has been collected over a period of time once it has ramped up to full output. This could be in 2015 after a 2014 start up. The Minister of Energy and Industry, Muhammad al-Sada, has said the study will continue “however long it may take.”

However, depending on the study’s results, the moratorium may be continued. Tremendous variations in gas wetness and acidity, and depth, permeability and porosity of the reservoir make the study extremely complex. Pressure drops in some wells are causing liquid formation, blocking gas flow. Disturbing reports about the reservoir’s behavior are coming from the Iranian side of the field – productivity of recently opened phases has fallen, while another drilled a dry hole, and salt water is increasingly entering some South Pars wells (MEES, 12 December 2011). Furthermore, Iran gives unreliable reports about how much gas it intends to extract and the timeframe for this activity, making it hard for Qatar to build a reservoir model. QP, which once publicly talked with enthusiasm about the possibility of debottlenecking LNG trains if the moratorium is lifted, now focuses on efficiency. Nonetheless speculation and rumors are rife in Doha about future projects. (CONTINUED - 2136 WORDS)