QatarEnergy chief Saad al-Kaabi announced on Sunday a new expansion of its liquefied natural gas production that will add a further 16 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to existing expansion plans, bringing total capacity to 142 mtpa.

With this added boost, the overall expansion of the North Field from 77 mtpa currently to 142 mtpa by 2030 represents an increase of 85% in production, Kaabi said at a press conference in Doha.

Qatar is among the world's top exporters of LNG, competition for which has ramped up since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

State-owned QatarEnergy has already signed a string of supply deals with European and Asian partners in its massive North Field expansion project, which was expected - prior to Sunday's announcement - to produce 126 million mtpa of LNG per annum by 2027, from the current 77 mtpa.

Exploration activities in the west of North Field prompted the company's decision to expand further.

In December, Kaabi told Reuters that QatarEnergy had been drilling wells to assess expansion opportunities beyond the North Field East and North Field South phases.

This latest expansion will require the construction of two LNG trains, in addition to six already underway for the earlier expansions dubbed North Field East and North Field South.

The North Field is part of the world's largest gas field which Qatar shares with Iran, which calls its share South Pars.

(Reporting by Andrew Mills, Maha El Dahan and Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Elimam; Editing by Bernadette Baum)