UPDATE 2-Qatar plans to boost LNG production to 126 mln T by 2027

Dahlia Nehme

* New expansion plans come after drilling, appraisal work

* QP plans to build 2 more LNG mega trains

* Qatars LNG production now is 77 million tons per year

* Oil and gas majors are racing for stake in new LNG project (Adds details, quotes)

DOHA, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Qatar on Monday said it aims to lift its production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 64% to 126 million tonnes per year by 2027, putting oil majors racing to secure a stake in the Gulf country's expansion plans under pressure to make the best offer.

The expansion of Qatar's LNG facilities is the world's largest and one of the energy sector's most lucrative projects.

The world's top oil and gas majors have showered state energy giant Qatar Petroleum with some of their most prized ventures for a role in QP's new LNG project.

The estimated increase in Qatar's LNG production comes after new drilling and appraisal work in the expanded North Field mega project showed that confirmed gas reserves of the field exceeded 1,760 trillion cubic feet, chief executive of Qatar Petroleum Saad al-Kaabi told reporters in Doha.

"I am pleased to announce that our appraisal efforts have borne fruit, and that we have confirmation that the productive layers of the North Field extend well into Qatari land in Ras Laffan," Kaabi told a news conference.

"Studies and well tests have also confirmed the ability to produce large quantities of gas from this new sector of the North Field."

Kaabi said the latest appraisal well, NF-12, was drilled onshore in the Ras Laffan Industrial City, about 12 kilometres from shore.

"These results will... enable us to immediately commence the necessary engineering work for two additional LNG mega trains with a combined annual capacity of 16 million tons per annum," Kaabi said.

"This will raise Qatars LNG production from currently 77 million tons to 126 million tons per annum by 2027, representing an increase of about 64%."

That would also boost Qatar's total output to 6.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) from around 4.8 million boed in the next 8 years, Kaabi said.

Qatar is one of the most influential players in the LNG market due to its huge production.

In 2017 it lifted a self-imposed ban on the development of the North Field, the worlds biggest natural gas field it shares with Iran, and announced a new project to develop its southern section, increasing output in five to seven years.

QP had said before it was lifting its LNG production to around 110 million tonnes per annum by 2024, and that it would build four new production facilities, known as LNG trains.

Kaabi told Reuters in September that QP has shortlisted international oil firms for a stake in its expanded North Field mega project, but may still choose to go it alone unless oil majors offer it significant value. (Additional reporting and writing by Rania El Gamal in Dubai; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Ed Osmond)