Doha, Qatar: Qatar will sign more long-term natural gas supply deals this year to meet the growing demand, Minister of State for Energy Affairs, President and CEO of QatarEnergy H E Saad Sherida Al Kaabi said, yesterday.

Addressing a panel session entitled ‘The Next Stage of the Global Energy Transition’ at the Qatar Economic Forum, Minister Al Kaabi highlighted the supply and demand for oil and gas in the next couple of years.

Minister Al Kaabi said, “The main thing that drives demand is economic and people growth. So, if you look at the expectation of having 1.5 billion to 2 billion people in the next 30 years or so, it means that we are going to need more energy, power, and even more petrochemicals for materials we use every day.”

“I think renewable energy is going to play a big role with additional solar and wind but because of the intermittency, you are going to need, a backup to have sustainable power. So, the requirement for power from fossil fuels is going to be there for a very long time. We also need to be fair to the population and make sure they have access to reasonably priced power,” he added.

Minister Al Kaabi criticised last year’s media scepticism of Qatar’s ambitious expansion projects and reports saying it will have difficulty selling its LNG. He noted, “Today, I can report that since then, we have secured 25 million tonnes of long-term LNG sales, and we are signing more this year. There’s a huge demand out there for LNG, whether it’s from Asia or Europe and I think even Europe is realising now they have to do something different to secure long-term. They have been lucky with two warm winters.”

Responding to a query regarding LNG expansion capacity by 2030 and further expansion plans, Minister Al Kaabi stated, “The North Field East and South are on track, we are in the construction as we speak and all the construction is going very well.”

Qatar’s LNG expansion projects are moving ahead on track towards an increased production capacity of 142 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

“With 18 mtpa coming from our LNG project in Texas, Qatar will be doubling its LNG production capacity in the next few years.

“There is a big demand for gas in the future and we are going to expand to meet that demand but I think technical capability of doing more in Qatar is going to be assessed in the future. If there is more, we probably will do more, but we are also a big explorer around the world and one of the largest holders of exploration blocks in the world,” he added.

Also speaking at the panel, Chairman and CEO, TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné discussed the LNG market landscape. “Fundamentally, we believe gas is part of the transition. Gas is the best way to make flexible power to complement the intermittency of renewable, so it’s a good transition. There is a clear place for the gas in the transition,” he said.

Executive Chair and CEO, ExxonMobil, Darren Woods said, “I agree that ultimately, the demand for energy is being driven by economic growth and people’s living standards rising, and there are billions of people around the planet who deserve better lives and are going to require affordable, available and reliable energy sources. I think that’s the challenge going forward while we continue to see demand.”

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