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[DOHA] Qatar Petroleum, the largest producer of liquefied natural gas, plans to increase output by 30 per cent within seven years, a step that would entrench the Gulf nation's role as a major energy supplier as it seeks to overcome a boycott by a Saudi-led coalition of neighbouring countries.
The state-run producer is doubling to four billion cubic feet per day its target for output capacity at a new project in the North Field, Qatar's section of the world's biggest natural gas deposit, chief executive officer Saad Sherida Al Kaabi told reporters in Doha.
The company said in April that the project would have a capacity of two billion cubic feet per day, or 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent. Demand for LNG is growing faster than that for oil, Mr Al Kaabi said.
Qatar won't halt shipments of gas to the United Arab Emirates, he said, even as the UAE along with Saudi Arabia seeks to isolate the Persian Gulf sheikhdom in an unprecedented regional dispute.
Qatar's neighbours insist that it cool ties with Iran, which shares the huge offshore gas field. Qatar denies the coalition's allegations charges that it sponsors terrorism, and has said the demands were designed to be so tough that it would reject them.
QP is ending a 12-year ban on new projects at the North Field that allowed the company to assess how its current rate of extraction affects the giant reservoir. Qatar, also the biggest exporter of helium, is continuing to sell the gas, sending shipments by sea, Mr Al Kaabi said.