Isolated Qatar plans to boost gas output by 30%

Gas-rich Qatar, which is facing isolation from its neighbors amid an ongoing diplomatic rift, on Tuesday announced plans to boost production of liquefied natural gas by 30 per cent over the coming years.

Reports quoting Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, the CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said his company intended to raise production from 77 million tonnes of natural gas to 100 million tonnes a year by 2024.

The announcement comes after the company said in April it was boosting output of its North Field, which it shares with Iran off the Gulf state's northern coast.

"The new additional volumes will be secured by doubling the size of the new gas project in the southern sector of the North Field, which Qatar Petroleum had announced last April," a statement by the company said.

The timing of the announcement suggests that Opec member Qatar, the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas, aims to ignore threats from neighbourd and concentrate on business and economy.

Qatar had, in April announced an end to the self-imposed ban on development of the field that it declared in 2005 to give Doha time to study the impact on the reservoir from a rapid rise in output.

Al-Kaabi said Qatar Petroleum's development plans have been unaffected by a "blockade" by the Arab quartet, and there has been no change in the level of communication with Iran over their shared gas field.

Al-Kaabi said the increased capacity could come online by 2022 to 2024.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar early last month alleging that Qatar supports extremist groups - a charge Qatar rejects.

On Monday, Qatar officially responded to a 13-point list of demands made by the four Arab countries.