Qatar, the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has stated its "unhappy" that prices are so high, but is producing at full capacity.
Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi's statements came amid a gas market crisis, with prices increasing as supply fails to keep up with growing demand. Despite spending billions of dollars to raise output, Qatar mentioned that it will struggle to increase output in the short term.
"We are maxed out," said al-Kaabi, adding that volumes are currently about 80 million tonnes per year. "We're just consistent and producing what we can."
Qatar has the world's lowest production costs due to an abundance of easy-to-extract gas, the majority of which is contained in the large north field that stretches into Iran.
Despite calls for an earlier ramp-up, al-Kaabi reiterated the schedule for a planned expansion of north field output. By 2027, Qatar plans to expand LNG output by about 50%, a project that will cost nearly $30 billion.
The global energy crisis has intensified as the northern hemisphere approaches its winter heating season. Russian and Norwegian gas flows have been restricted, while low wind generation has boosted demand for gas-fired power. Fuel stockpiles in Europe have reached their lowest seasonal level for over a decade, and prices have increased fourfold since the beginning of the year.
"I'm unhappy about gas prices," al-Kaabi stated. "A customer will not buy if they're unhappy."
Prices were pulled back in recent days after Russia, a key supplier, stated that it could potentially ship record volumes of gas to Europe this year. However, al-Kaabi mentioned that he is still "concerned about the winter."
"Storage is quite low in Europe, in many places around the world," he said.