Qatargas signs big deal with Technip and Chiyoda for Ras Laffan

Qatar is a small Arab nation with a population of around 770,000. It is also a nation that has the world's third largest reserves of gas, with ambitions to export about 35 million tons of stock to customers worldwide every year.

Qatargas, one of that nation's largest producers of LNG, has just signed a $90 million contract with Chiyoda Corp and France's Technip to raise output at its Ras Laffan plant. The engineering, procurement and construction contract is part of a $200 million plan to boost LNG production to 9.2 million tonnes per year from the current 7.7 million tonnes.

Work is scheduled to begin next year and is expected to be completed by 2005. Plans are afoot to add a fourth and fifth train at Ras Laffan. While output is ostensibly destined for Europe and the US, no doubt developers of the Timor Sea and the North West Shelf will see Qatargas as a tough, potential competitor.