State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP), the world’s largest natural gas producer, said by 2027 it should be able to increase current liquefaction capacity by 64%.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity now is set to climb to 126 million metric tons/year (mmty) from 77 mmty. Last April, QP CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said the country was working to boost capacity from the massive North Field to 110 mmty by 2024, which he affirmed in October. The field extends into Iran.

However, newly completed studies have revealed that the North Field’s productive layers extend “well into Qatari land in Ras Laffan,” allowing expanded production in the northern part of the country.

Al-Kaabi addressed the new findings in a press conference on Monday.

“During the past two years, Qatar Petroleum worked diligently to determine the degree to which the North Field extends towards the southwest, as well as the possibility of production from Qatar’s northern coastal onshore areas,” he said.

The “appraisal efforts have borne fruit, and we have confirmation that the productive layers of the North Field extend well into Qatari land in Ras Laffan. Studies and well tests have also confirmed the ability to produce large quantities of gas from this new sector of the North Field.”

The latest North Field appraisal well, NF-12, was drilled onshore in the Ras Laffan Industrial City, about 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) from shore and “underwent extensive testing over the past few months.”

Al-Kaabi also announced that the confirmed gas reserves of the North Field exceed 1,760 Tcf, in addition to more than 70 billion bbl of condensates, and “massive quantities” of liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, and helium.

“These are very important findings, which will have a great positive impact on Qatar’s gas industry, and which will move it forward into bigger and wider horizons,” he said.

“These results will also enable us to immediately commence the necessary engineering work for two additional LNG mega trains with a combined annual capacity of 16 mmty. This will raise Qatar’s LNG production from currently 77 mmty to 126 mmty by 2027, representing an increase of about 64%.”

The expansion, Al-Kaabi said, also is expected to increase Qatar’s overall hydrocarbon production to about 6.7 million boe/d. Combined oil and natural gas, which QP supplies via pipeline and through LNG exports, this year has been around 4.8 million boe/d.

QP in late 2018 said it planned to exit the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, i.e. OPEC, to concentrate on building its gas business. In the United States, QP is partnering with ExxonMobil Corp. to build the 16 mmty Golden Pass LNG export project in Texas, which was sanctioned in February and is set for ramping up in 2024. QP and ExxonMobil also have established Ocean LNG to handle all production marketing.