Limited growth prospects for production offshore Qatar, says EIA

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oil exploration offshore and onshore Qatar continues, though not to the same degree as in other producing countries in the Middle East, according to a new report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Qatar’s most recent major oil discovery was the Al Rayyan field in 1994, so any supply growth in the near term is likely to come from increased output at the country’s existing fields, EIA says, particularly through use of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques.

Various operators have applied EOR on fields, including Al-Shaheen, Dukhan, Bu Hanine, and Maydan Marjam.

EIA estimates that Qatar produced more than 1.5 MMb/d of crude oil and condensates last year, with Al Shaheen, Dukhan, and Idd al-Shargi accounting for more than 85% of the country’s crude oil production capacity.

Further investment from IOCs could also help boost, or at least maintain, crude production levels, EIA adds. However, this may not be economic in the current price environment.

Qatar effective crude oil production capacity, 2013


Capacity (thousand barrels per day)

Primary operator


Al Shaheen



Maersk began work on $2.5 billion drilling program in 2013 to maintain output at 300,000 b/d



Qatar Petroleum

ExxonMobil-led development plan likely to conclude in 2014

Idd al-Shargi



Occidental Petroleum investing $3 billion to maintain production of 100,000 b/d through use of enhanced oil recovery techniques

Bul Hanine


Qatar Petroleum

Total to invest $6 billion to double capacity to 90,000 b/d by 2017

Maydan Mahzam


Qatar Petroleum






Al Rayyan






Qatar Petroleum Development Co.




Bunduq Oil Co.

Operated jointly with United Arab Emirates





Note: These totals may not reflect non-crude liquids production capacity for these fields.
Source: Middle East Economic Survey, US Energy Information Administration

As for gas, nearly all of Qatar’s reserves are in the offshore North Field. Here, however, there is currently a moratorium as operators scrutinize ways of sustaining high levels of output over the longer term.

The moratorium, which was initially scheduled to end in 2008, will now run through at least the end of this year. As a result, the country’s natural gas production has plateaued and could soon start to decline.

The only potential for a near-term increase in natural gas production, EIA believes, is in the 1.4-bcf/d offshore Barzan project, the last development approved prior to the moratorium.

Barzan, a $10.4-billion project, is due to come online next year, according to indications from ExxonMobil and Qatari officials, and attain maximum production capacity in 2017.

It includes offshore platforms, pipelines, and a natural gas processing unit.

Another North Field-scale gas discovery looks unlikely, EIA adds, but future exploration in Qatar may still uncover commercially viable gas resources. In May 2013, QP discovered potentially more than 2.5 tcf of recoverable gas in offshore block 4 (North).


Qatar selected energy infrastructure
(Map courtesy US Energy Information Administration)

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