Three oil fields account for more than 85% of Qatar's crude oil production capacity.
Oil exploration activity in Qatar is ongoing, although not to the degree seen in other oil producing countries. The last major discovery in Qatar came in 1994 (the Al Rayyan field), and any supply growth in the near term is likely to come from increased output at Qatar's existing fields, particularly through the use of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Operators have used EOR techniques in several fields, including Al-Shaheen, Dukhan, Bu Hanine, and Maydan Marjam. Qatar's oil production comes from just a few fields, led by the Al Shaheen, Dukhan, and Idd al-Shargi, which combined, account for more than 85% of the country's crude oil production capacity.
Qatar's total liquids production, which includes crude oil, condensates, natural gas plant liquids, and other liquids, was 1.6 million bbl/d in 2012, a slight decline from 2011 but up by more than 70% since 2003. Qatar produced over 1.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil and condensates in 2012, according to EIA estimates.
The Qatar National Bank (QNB) expects Qatar's crude oil production levels to reach 800,000 bbl/d by 2017 as Qatar Petroleum's $6.6 billion development plan (2010-2014) for crude oil projects continues. A previous government crude oil production capacity target of 1.2 million bbl/d no longer appears feasible, although investment from IOCs could also help boost, or at least maintain, crude oil production levels.
Qatar's non-crude liquids production has grown significantly over the past several years largely as a result of increased natural gas production in the country. EIA estimates that non-crude liquids production accounted for over half of Qatar's total oil supply in 2012, which EIA expects to continue in the short- and medium-term. Based on statements from government officials, some industry sources believe Qatar's condensate production could surpass 800,000 bbl/d by 2015 and reach nearly 1 million bbl/d by 2016. QNB reported in August 2013 that Qatar held condensate reserves of more than 22 billion barrels, although it is unclear under what economic and technological conditions those reserves would be considered economically viable.
Qatar effective crude oil production capacity, 2013
- Al Shaheen Oil Field
- 300,000 bbl/d
- Maersk began work on $2.5 billion drilling program in 2013 to maintain output at 300,000 bbl/d
- Dukhan Oil Field
- 225,000 bbl/d
- Qatar Petroleum
- ExxonMobil-led development plan likely to conclude in 2014
- Idd El Shargi North Dome Field
- 100,000 bbl/d
- Occidental Petroleum investing $3 billion to maintain production of 100,000 bbl/d through use of enhanced oil recovery techniques
- Bul Hanine
- 45,000 bbl/d
- Qatar Petroleum
- Total to invest $6 billion to double capacity to 90,000 bbl/d by 2017
- Maydan Mahzam
- 22,000 bbl/d
- Qatar Petroleum
- Al Khalij Oil Field
- 19,000 bbl/d
- Al Rayyan Oil Field
- 8,000 bbl/d
- 7,000 bbl/d
- Qatar Petroleum Development Company
- El Bunduq Oil Field
- 6,500 bbl/d
- Bunduq Oil Company
- Operated jointly with United Arab Emirates
- Total Capacity is 732,500 bbl/d
Nearly all of Qatar's natural gas production comes from the North Gas Field, which is part of the largest non-associated natural gas field in the world.
Qatar's dry natural gas production reached 5.5 Tcf in 2012, up from just 1.1 Tcf ten years earlier. The vast majority of Qatar's production comes from the North Field, although some smaller fields contribute production volumes as well.
The $10.4 billion Barzan Gas Project should boost Qatar's natural gas production from the North Field in the near term. The project consists of both onshore and offshore developments, including offshore platforms, pipelines, and a gas processing unit. Announcements by government officials and ExxonMobil indicate that the project—which began in 2011—will begin operations in 2014 and be capable of processing 1.4 Bcf/d of natural gas.
While nobody expects another discovery like that of the North Field in 1971, exploration in Qatar may still uncover commercially viable natural gas resources. In May 2013, QP and Wintershall announced the discovery of natural gas in Block 4 (North) off the coast of Qatar. The discovery may contain more than 2.5 Tcf in recoverable reserves, and Wintershall expects production of between 200 and 400 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d).