RasGas started producing gas in 1999 and currently finds itself the supplier of choice in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. What are the driving elements behind this quick global success?
RasGas has a relentless focus on reliability, efficiency and cost effectiveness, and innovation, and is leveraging its financial and corporate structure to deliver the best results to its customers and shareholders. We have expanded rapidly since our small-scale beginnings in 1993, and have gone from operating just one liquefied natural gas (LNG) train in 1999 to: seven LNG trains producing approximately 37 million tons per annum; two pipeline sales gas trains; two helium plants, which meet approximately 25% of global demand; and a fleet of 27 LNG vessels. All this could not have been achieved without the visionary leadership at the helm of the State of Qatar and the unwavering support and growing trust and responsibilities our shareholders have given us over the years. Natural gas has rapidly become the cleaner energy of choice and powers and transforms global economies. Our capability to adapt and meet the needs of a dynamic market demonstrates RasGas' ability to safely and reliably deliver cleaner energy to all corners of the globe with great flexibility.
Gas flaring reduction is posing a high-priority challenge for the energy sector as a whole, and RasGas has set ambitious reduction targets. What is the company's approach to realizing that goal?
In 2012, RasGas initiated a fresh, five-year flare minimization plan covering its Ras Laffan facilities, both on-site and off-plot, a continuation of the inaugural five-year plan set in 2005. The new plan, expected to be complete by 2016, aims to reduce flaring emissions from a baseline of 1.26% (volume of flared gas per unit of gas intake) in 2011 to 0.43% in 2016. RasGas' approach is to continue employing industry best practices and innovative efforts that include, but are not limited to, improving facility designs, enhancing operating procedures, and using waste gas for power generation. RasGas continued to reduce the amount of gas flared in 2013, achieving a rate that was roughly 18% below our target for the year. The most significant contribution came from a passing-valves monitoring program, which generated about three-quarters of the reduction in 2013. We have also made improvements to flare gas control systems and have sought improvements in plant reliability, leading to reduced flaring.
All over the world, LNG extraction facilities are being built or improved and it is estimated that this will lead to a doubling in overall output capacity by 2025. Will this increase in supply change the way in which the LNG market now operates and, if so, how?
The next wave of potential gas supplies and strategies that help connect supplies to the world's growing energy requirements will require a diversity in supply options not only from established producers with proven records of reliability and stability, but also from new market entrants. For these reasons, RasGas closely monitors the global gas supply-demand balance so that it is able to react appropriately and efficiently when markets signal an increased need for LNG supplies. RasGas has the commercial and operational flexibility to respond quickly to long-term and short-term market requirements. We remain focused on delivering energy to the world in a safe and reliable manner, while optimizing our business for the benefit of our customers, shareholders, and the State of Qatar.