North Field expansion project encompasses the expansion of the North gas field, which is located off the north-east coast of Qatar.

Owned and operated by Qatargas, the North gas field has been in production since 1997. Qatargas is a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, which is the state-owned petroleum company of Qatar.

The expansion project is aimed at increasing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity of the North gas field from 77 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 100Mtpa.

The expansion project was announced in April 2017, after Qatar lifted its self-imposed 12-year ban to refrain from any further gas development plans and decided to monetize the remaining reserves of the gas field.

The expansion is part of Qatar National Vision 2030 for hydrocarbons development, which also includes the North Field Sustainability project. First gas from the expansion project is targeted to be achieved by 2023.

North gas field location, discovery, and reserves

The North gas field is located 80km off the coast of the Qatar peninsula. Discovered in 1971, the field is considered to be the world’s third biggest, holding more than 900 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) of gas in reserves.

The gas field is spread over 6,000km² and is being developed by leveraging the infrastructure of existing projects such as Qatargas phases 1-4, Ras Laffan phases 1-3, and Al Khaleej gas projects.

North Field expansion project details

The offshore field expansion will have a production capacity of one million barrels of oil-equivalent a day, while the onshore processing facility is estimated to produce approximately 32Mtpa of LNG.

The offshore facilities will comprise six wellhead jackets weighing 1,500t each and associated subsea production manifolds, bridges, and living and utilities quarters. The proposed facilities will be located on the southern part of the gas field. The topsides of the living quarters comprise a 754t jacket, a 174t helideck, and six bridges weighing 37t.

The onshore LNG processing facility will be located at the existing Ras Laffan industrial complex. It will host three 7.8Mtpa liquefaction trains with the provision to add one more train in future.

Each liquefaction train will include systems for acid gas removal, dehydration, mercury removal, gas chilling and liquefaction, refrigeration, fractionation, nitrogen rejection, and sulfur recovery.

The onshore facility will process 4.6 cubic feet per day of feed gas into LNG for international export. Associated infrastructure will include water desalination and water distribution facilities as well as equipment for air compression and nitrogen generation.

Details of the existing infrastructure at the North field

The North field gas development project comprises the North Field Bravo and RasGas Alfa offshore complexes, which together contribute approximately 2.8 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) of gas to the total production capacity of the field.

The field is developed by 20 remote wellhead platforms having a combined production capacity of 15.7bscfd. The gas produced from the field is supplied onshore to the Ras Laffan industrial city.

The onshore processing facility associated with the North Field comprises a total of 14 LNG trains with capacities ranging between 7.8Mtpa and 10Mtpa.

Contractors involved

McDermott was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) contract for the wellhead jackets in April 2019. The company was also awarded a contract for providing detailed design for the offshore jackets associated with the expansion project in May 2018.

Rosetti Marino was awarded the engineering, procurement, installation, and construction contract for the topsides of the living quarters.

Chiyoda Corporation, an engineering company based in Japan, won the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the onshore facilities in March 2018.

Mentor IMC Group is involved in the project management of the expansion project.

Qatargas signed an agreement with BASF for providing gas removal and gas treatment technologies in April 2019.