QatarEnergy will sign a long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deal with an Asian entity on Thursday, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The deal will be one of many to come this year as the major LNG producer secures sales for its North Field expansion project, the source said on Tuesday.
Competition for LNG ramped up last year after the Ukraine war, with Europe in particular needing vast amounts to help replace Russian pipeline gas that used to make up almost 40% of the continent's imports.
But Asia, with an appetite for long-term sales and purchase agreements, has been the winner so far in securing gas from Qatar's massive production expansion project, set to boost its liquefaction capacity by more than 60%.
Thursday's contract will be the second to Asia since QatarEnergy started selling the gas expected to come on stream from the North Field expansion project.
The two-phase plan will raise Qatar's liquefaction capacity to 126 million tonnes per year by 2027 from 77 million.
Qatar's first Asian deal, with Sinopec, the longest to be signed at 27 years for the supply of 4 million tonnes a year, was followed by the state-owned Chinese company taking a 5% stake in the equivalent of one North Field East LNG train.
QatarEnergy's sales and purchase agreements to supply Germany with around 2 million tonnes of LNG annually through a partnership with ConocoPhillips cover at least a 15-year period.
Qatar is already the world's top LNG exporter and its North Field expansion project will boost that position and help guarantee long-term supplies of gas globally.
The North Field is part of the world's biggest gas field that Qatar shares with Iran, which calls its share South Pars.
QatarEnergy chief Saad al-Kaabi said last week there was big demand for LNG and that he expects by the end of the year to have signed supply deals for all the gas expected to come on stream from the North Field expansion.
(Reuters - Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Holmes)