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Arab exports of natural gas have increased by more than 50% over the past four years with the majority of the increase coming from Qatar, according to official data.

The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), in its 2009 statistical report, said the Arab region’s total gas exports rose by 54.4% to 161.9 billion cu m in 2008 from 104.8 billion cu m in 2004.

Arab gas reserves stood at 53.7 trillion cu m at yearend 2008, according to the OAPEC report, which said that Qatar has nearly half the Arab gas potential, with more than 25 trillion cu m.

The OAPEC report said Algeria remained the leading Arab gas exporter in 2008, with its exports of 59.4 billion cu m accounting for more than a third of the total Arab gas sales.

But the report also noted that Algeria’s exports have remained static in 2004-08, while those of Qatar have rocketed to 56.8 billion cu m from 24.1 billion cu m during the same period.

With 16.9 billion cu m in 2008, Egypt was the third-largest Arab gas exporter in 2008, followed by Oman 10.9 billion cu m, Libya 10.4 billion cu m, and the UAE 7.5 billion cu m.

The OAPEC report forecast that Qatar, which controls 15% of the world’s proven gas resources, will dominate the gas export trade in the region due to new projects planned for the North Field, which has more than 900 tcf of proven gas resources.

Qatar produced 30 million tonnes of LNG in 2008 and output could surpass 50 million tonnes in 2009. By yearend 2011, Qatar is forecast to produce 77 million tonnes of LNG.


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