The $10 billion project - a RasGas-operated joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil - is designed to meet rising domestic energy demand in the Gulf state as it prepares to host the football World Cup in 2022.

After repeated delays, the project's first phase was due to start in November, boosting Qatari gas production capacity by up to 2 billion cubic feet per day when it reached capacity in the first half of 2017. But a leak was discovered in recent weeks, sources told Reuters.