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Qatar to boost gas production amid regional rift
[DOHA] Qatar announced Wednesday plans to boost natural gas production for the second time since a Gulf diplomatic crisis erupted last year pitting the energy-rich emirate against a rival Saudi-led bloc.
The head of state-owned Qatar Petroleum, Saad al-Kaabi, told a press conference that the country intends to raise production by a further 10 per cent by 2024, to 110 million tonnes per year.
It follows the promise of a 30 per cent boost last year.
"This new capacity will further strengthen our leading position as the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer and exporter," said Mr Kaabi.
"The production increase will also contribute to Qatar's economic growth and stimulating the economy as well as the country's overall development."
Shortly after Saudi Arabia and its allies severed ties with Doha in 2017, Qatar Petroleum said it planned to increase production from its giant offshore North Field by 30 percent, from 77 to 100 million tonnes a year.
On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a sweeping embargo on Qatar, sparking the worst rift to ever hit the Gulf.
The four countries accuse Doha of seeking closer ties with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran and of supporting radical Islamist groups.
Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change.
Mr Kaabi said Qatar's decision to increase production was, however, "purely business", adding that the emirate had no plans to disrupt its Dolphin gas pipeline which it shares with the UAE.
Gas has helped fuel Qatar's prominence into one of the world's richest countries, transforming the peninsula state and leading it to successfully bid for the 2022 football World Cup finals.