Libmonster ID: SE-356
Author(s) of the publication: S. A. STARTSEV

Qatar Keywords:gas production"gas OPEC"

At the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, Qatar, a small peninsular state in the Persian Gulf with an area of only 11,437 square kilometers and a population of 1.4 million people (2009), made a breakthrough in the gas "heavyweights". And in the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar claims the status of a world leader.


Candidate of Economic Sciences (Nizhny Tagil)

According to British Petroleum, Qatar occupies an honorable 3rd place in the "table of ranks" in terms of reliable reserves of "blue gold", which is 13.8% of the world (oil - 2.2%), second only to Russia (23.4%) and Iran (16%).2. If in 1989 proved reserves amounted to 4.62 trillion cubic meters, in 1999-10.9, then in 2009 - 25.46 trillion cubic meters 3.

The relative indicators that characterize the emirate's gas resources are unique. The specific density, i.e. the amount of gas per unit area, is 222.7 million cubic meters per 1 sq. km (in the world - 2.9 million). The projected service life is 332.4 years (in the world-63.1 years).4. Qatar's gas reserves are sufficient to meet US energy needs for 30 years.


Since the 1980s, Qatar's development strategy has been linked to the development of natural gas, which in Doha is considered the key to opening the door to economic prosperity in the post-oil era.

Qatar's Klondike gas field is a unique supergiant North Shelf field, the largest free gas field on the planet. It is assumed that in mining and geological terms, it forms a single whole with the Iranian South Pars field, covering an area of 6 thousand square kilometers. It was discovered in 1971 and, according to various estimates, contains from 8 to 10 trillion cubic meters of gas5. In addition, gas is also available in a number of oil fields in Qatar.

Until 1980, domestic energy demand was fully met by associated gas, so development of North Field did not begin until 1987.

Qatar's gas production shows high growth dynamics: in 2000-23.7 billion cubic meters, in 2005 - 45.8 billion, in 2008 - 76.6 billion. cube. m 6. Thus, over the past decade, a more than 4-fold increase has been recorded. In 2008, the Emirate had the second largest increase in energy production after the United States.

At the same time, since 2005, Qatar has expressed concern about the too high rate of development of the Northern Shelf field due to fears of a possible drop in pressure in gas-bearing formations, reduced productivity and complicating the prospects for future operation. The Emirate took a "gas pause": it was decided to suspend further development of the field and conduct a comprehensive study, the results of which were expected at the end of last year. However, despite the moratorium, active preparations are underway to conclude new contracts.

The core of intensive economic growth, a kind of "Qatar GOELRO", is a 5-year energy program (2007-2012) with investment support of about 70-80 billion dollars. The development of new capacities for the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is considered one of the three basic directions. Oil and gas sector revenues account for 60% of GNP.

In the oil and gas sector, a key role is reserved for the state represented by the vertically integrated national company Qatar Petroleum. It is implemented through a system of participation in subsidiaries and interaction with recognized " grandees "from among transnational energy concerns and new" players " from the Asia-Pacific region (APR). In particular, in September 2009, a 25-year agreement was signed with the Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) on the exploration and joint development of hydrocarbon resources in the waters of Qatar in the Persian Gulf.7

The organizational and legal foundation of the gas industry is joint ventures-corporations involving representatives of the global oil and gas business, with a flexible composition of participants varying from project to project, while maintaining a controlling stake in the state. Qatar LNG Company (Qatargas) was founded in 1997 and currently produces 7.2 million tons of LNG per year and 60,000 barrels of gas condensate per day*. The rather complex organizational, legal and technical-economic structure of the company is reflected in Table 1.

Qatar" moved " the global energy market into a new era when, on April 6, 2009, it launched the first-ever integrated system for the extraction and production of liquefied gas, Qatargas-2, a new generation facility worth $ 13 billion. The production chain consists of 3 fully automated offshore gas production platforms, factory facilities for three-phase gas processing and liquefaction, 5 giant tank cars, 2 berths and 14 state-of-the-art 8 tankers. Orientiro deliveries-

* The volume of natural gas reserves, production and transportation is measured in cubic meters. production (liquefaction by cooling) of LNG is calculated in tons, with the use of catalysts - in barrels. Transportation and sales in containers - in cubic meters, production of gas condensate - in barrels. Contracts for the supply of LNG are calculated in both tons and cubic meters (approx. ed.).

page 9

Table 1

Qatargas Company structure

Company, year of launch

Shareholders ' equity (%)

Number of lines / line capacity (million tons per year)

Number of vessels / cargo capacity (thousand cubic meters)

Major Importers

Qatargas-1 1996

Qatar Petroleum (65)

ExxonMobil (10)

Total (10)

Mitsui (7,5)

Marubeni (7,5)





Qatargas-2 2009

4 line

5 line

Qatar Petroleum (70)

ExxonMobil (30) Qatar Petroleum (65)

ExxonMobil (18.3) Total (16,7)


14/210 - 266

Great Britain

Qatargas-3 2009

Qatar Petroleum (68,5)

ConoccoPhillips (30)

Mitsui (1.5)


10/210 - 266


Qatargas-4 2010

Qatar Petroleum (70)

Royal Dutch

Shell (30)

1 /7,8

8/210 - 266




vans are similar to the UK and are potentially capable of meeting up to 20% of the country's needs.

Another gas industry participant is Ras Laffan LNG Company (Rasgas), founded in 1993 by Qatar Petroleum (with a 63% equity stake), ExxonMobil (25%), Korea Gas Corporation (5%), Itochu (4%) and Nisso Ivai (3%). Currently, there are 5 production units in operation with additional attraction of Japanese and Italian capital. In addition, Qatar Petroleum (70%) and ExxonMobil (30%) signed an agreement on the construction of the world's largest gas liquefaction plant Rasgas-3 with a capacity of 15.6 million tons per year with commissioning at the end of last year9.

Qatar is characterized by efficiency and intensity in the implementation of projects. The favorable investment climate attracts large portfolio foreign investments in the country's gas industry.

The core of vertical integration and geographical diversification in the international LNG trade is its sea transportation, which is carried out by Qatar Gas Transport Co., also known as Nakilat (i.e. "carrier" in Arabic).

It is no exaggeration to say that Qatar has the largest fleet of gas tankers in terms of the number of vessels and their total cargo capacity, the newest in terms of time of creation (vessels no older than 3 years) and the best in terms of technical equipment in the world. By the end of the decade, it will include 71 vessels of varying tonnage, allowing for flexible logistics and marketing policies.10

The final link of the energy carrier movement is the gas distribution network of the consumer country. In May 2009, Qatar began delivering liquefied natural gas to Europe's largest terminal in the UK, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil and Total. On August 21, 2009, the first vessel delivered Qatari LNG to a regasification terminal on the Italian Adriatic Coast, 45% owned by Qatar Terminal Ltd., a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum. The Qatari company also has a 70% stake in a terminal being built on the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, expected to be operational in 2010.11

It is expected that by the end of next year, Qatar will double its existing capacity for the production of liquefied gas and reach the level of 77 million tons (106.3 billion cubic meters) by 2012. There is also a positive side effect - as gas fields are developed, the production of condensate and liquefied petroleum gases (LPG), which do not fall into OPEC quotas, increases* , which serves as an additional source of increasing the production of liquid hydrocarbons.

Most of Qatar's domestic energy consumption is accounted for by natural gas (79%), with relatively moderate growth rates against the background of increased production volumes: in 2000-14 billion cubic meters, in 2005-18.7 billion, in 2008 -19.8 billion cubic meters 12. The fact is that the Emirate already ranks first in terms of consumption of this energy source. in the elite group (over 2 tons of oil equivalent per capita) with a gas distribution network of only 400 km.

In an effort to diversify the use of natural gas, Qatar joined the "aluminum club" of the Gulf states at the end of 2010. The 5th Qatar Aluminum (Qatalum) metallurgical plant with an initial capacity of 580 thousand tons, owned on a parity basis by Qatar Petroleum and the national Norwegian oil company Norsk Hydro, is being put into operation in the sub-region.


However, the country's export opportunities are limited by a spatial factor that is extremely important in international gas trade - its remoteness from leading consumption centers. Due to the specific physical and geographical location, access to key macro-regional gas markets via transcontinental pipeline deliveries is either technologically impossible (North America), or seriously limited by economic and technological factors (Asia-Pacific and Europe).

However, the emirate has successfully found its gas niche. The "wild card in the gas deck" of a country is an opportunity to organize LNG supplies. In this case, Qatar's equidistant location is between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans

* Qatar is a member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).

page 10

Table 2

Qatar's long-term LNG supply contracts (million tons / year)













South Korea




































Source: Kasaev E. O. Analysis and prospects of Qatar's gas industry development -

centers of global socio-economic development are becoming an advantage. After all, capital-intensive LNG production is economically justified if the consumer is located at a distance of more than 5-6 thousand km.

The volume of LNG sales, a very dynamic segment of the gas market, grew by 70% in 2002-2008 and is estimated to increase by another 2 times by 2020 13.

Qatar's strategic goal of becoming one of the largest energy exporters in the world is ambitious, but it is quite realistic. The debut - trial deliveries of 165 million cubic meters of LNG to Japan - took place in 1996, and ten years later Qatar confidently topped the rating of leading LNG exporting countries. In 2008, energy exports abroad totaled 39.68 billion cubic meters. m per year, including South Korea-11.62 billion, Japan - 10.91 billion, India - 7.98 billion, Spain - 5.12 billion, Belgium - 2.65 billion, Taiwan - 1.1 billion, Great Britain - 1 billion, the United States and Mexico-0.09 billion cubic meters each 14.

The main principle of organizing foreign gas trade is to maximize the diversification of delivery methods and markets, regardless of distances and "faces".

Qatar's "gas geography" is truly planetary in nature. Along with its focus on the traditional market of the Asia-Pacific region and South Asia, the emirate aims to join the quartet of the main gas suppliers of the European Union (EU) after Russia, Norway and Algeria. Gas supplies to Europe can be increased 4-fold from the current 7.5 billion cubic meters, and Qatar will become an important player in ensuring European energy security.

Long-term existing contracts for the supply of Qatari gas are shown in Table 2.

Before the global financial and economic crisis, it was assumed that the bulk of new supplies would come from the United States, where there was an intensive transition to LNG as an environmentally friendly energy source. Despite an increase in domestic gas production in the United States and a sharp decline in prices, in December 2009, Qatar sent the first methane tanker of a new modification there.

It is interesting to note that even the Arab world's "worst enemy" - Israel, which officially announced in 2008 its intention to purchase gas in the amount of at least 4 billion cubic meters from 2014-was among Qatar's potential partners.15 It was reported that a tender for the construction of a receiving terminal was being prepared. However, in Doha, information about any contracts with Tel Aviv was disavowed.

Recently, agreements have also been signed with China's CNOOC - 2 million tons with the prospect of increasing to 7 million tons, and the Polish oil and gas company Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazonoctwo (PGNiG) - 1 million tons 16, etc.

In addition to long-term contracts, Qatar actively uses spot gas supplies* to Japan, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the United States.

In addition to LNG, Qatar has begun to successfully establish a traditional pipeline gas supply. In 2007, trial pumping was carried out as the first phase of the implementation of the regional gas transmission project "Dolphin", which provides for the creation of a unified pipeline network of the Persian Gulf countries. Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates became its participants, and the operator was an international consortium (Abu Dhabi Government - 51%, Total-24.5%, Occidental Petroleum -24.5%). Already in the following year, the volume of deliveries amounted to 17.1 billion cubic meters, which provided Qatar with a 36% increase in international pipeline supplies in 2008.1 Bahrain and Kuwait are interested in connecting to the network.

The authorities of Turkey and Qatar are discussing the construction of a gas pipeline to Asia Minor, as well as the terms of an agreement for the supply of LNG. This was stated at a conference in Istanbul on August 2, 2009 by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani18. The two countries ' energy ministries agreed to set up a working group to prepare for the project. The proposed route of the gas pipeline will pass through the territory of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Earlier, the EU leadership said that it expects to supply 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from Qatar in the "next few years". Turkey is preparing to buy 4 billion cubic meters of gas from Qatar. m of liquefied gas per year.


Recently, the idea has become increasingly clear in the West that the countries with the world's largest natural gas reserves - Russia, Iran and Qatar-are gradually moving forward in creating a "gas OPEC", formed in the image and likeness of the oil cartel.19 In October 2008, the leaders of the gas corporations of Russia, Iran and Qatar held a meeting in Tehran that evoked symbolic historical associations, as they agreed to create a "big gas troika", which has approximately 60% of the world's proven gas reserves. This group should meet quarterly to discuss supply and pricing issues. While the members of the triumvirate are not obvious competitors in the international gas market, the situation is gradually changing.

During a visit to Qatar in February 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who at one time called the cartel agreement an interesting proposal, said, referring to the prospects of the union of gas exporting countries: "Whether it is needed, whether we will create it-this is a separate conversation, but producers of gas raw materials should coordinate their actions."20

* Spot (from the English spot - cash, immediately paid) - a type of transaction for cash goods, including exchange trading, involving immediate payment and delivery.

page 11

By and large, the creation of an organization similar to OPEC in order to exercise control over natural gas production and prices in the foreseeable future is unlikely to be achievable, mainly due to the specifics of the functioning of the international gas market. Nevertheless, as they say, "you go quieter - you will continue". In December 2008, representatives of 14 countries gathered in Moscow for the 7th Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which decided to establish a permanent secretariat, the center of which will be located in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Until the end of 2009, the Qatari Minister of Energy temporarily served as the head of the GECF. On December 9, in Doha, the energy ministers of 11 countries unanimously voted for the Russian candidate for the post of Secretary General of the organization, L. Bokhanovsky. The meeting participants were welcomed by the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who noted that " the increase in oil prices was not followed by an improvement in the situation on the gas market. We need to restore the link between the prices of hydrocarbons"21. Although Qatar is cautious about establishing a gas cartel, preferring to engage at the bilateral level, a kind of embryonic "gas OPEC" structure is still emerging.

Reflecting the whimsical mix of traditions and modern trends that emerged in the Gulf region at the turn of the millennium, Qatar is the global pioneer of innovative gas technologies and uses.

The GTL technology - Gas to Liquids ("gas to liquid") - is considered promising - using catalysts, and not as a result of refrezhiratsiya (cooling)22. The disadvantage of the technology is its high cost, the need to have large areas and a guaranteed supply of large volumes of gas for about 20 years. Nevertheless, in 2006, a plan was implemented for the construction of the Orix GTL plant with Chevron's participation (49%) with a capacity of 34 thousand barrels. per day. Construction of the Perl GTL plant has begun with Qatar Petroleum (51%) and Shell (49%) as the operator. It is expected that after 2010 it will produce more than 70 thousand barrels. per day (full capacity 140 thousand barrels per day). GTL and 120 thousand barrels of condensate and LPG). Although the cost of the project may increase from the initial $ 4 billion to $ 18 billion, it is being implemented, which demonstrates Qatar's determination to ensure the multi-vector development of the industry. There are plans to increase the volume to 177 thousand barrels. per day by 2012

Qatar Airways, one of the leading Middle Eastern airlines, with the participation of Qatargas and Royal Dutch Shell, made the first ever commercial flight on the London-Doha route using new fuel in October 2009. It consists of liquefied gas mixed with aviation kerosene in a 50-50 ratio.

Qatar has initiated the development of two new classes of vessels for the transportation of LNG with cargo capacity from 210 to 266 thousand cubic meters at South Korean shipyards.

Qatar's experience in the gas sector is interesting for our country, because, according to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, LNG production will open up access to new markets for Russia and allow it to master innovative technologies that are still practically unused and not used.23

The Concept of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation states that priority will be given to the development of mutually beneficial economic cooperation, including in the energy sector, with the states of the Middle East and North Africa, this strategically important area of the world for Russian national interests.24 And here a small emirate can play a significant role. The head of Gazpromexport, Alexander Medvedev, retained the title of "gas hope of the whole world" only for three states - Russia, Iran and Qatar, since all other supplier countries will not be able to fill existing and projected gas transmission systems before 2030.

Despite certain difficulties, largely due to its gas "lifesaver" Qatar was sufficiently prepared for the "knockdown" of the global financial and economic crisis. According to the Emir of Qatar, by November 2009, the country had completely overcome the consequences of the global economic crisis, and economic growth in 2009 was 9% compared to 2008. 25 The rating of countries resistant to the global crisis, previously compiled by the authoritative Swiss School of International Business (IMD) on 20 indicators, was confirmed to be correct. where Qatar took a decent 3rd place, behind only Denmark and Singapore 26.

In terms of GDP per capita in 2008, calculated using purchasing power parity, the IMF ranked Qatar 1st in the world27.

The Emirate can afford the "luxury" of launching ambitious multibillion-dollar investment projects. These are the creation of a sub-regional railway infrastructure, the construction of the Friendship Bridge connecting Qatar with Bahrain, the construction of the super-modern city of Lusail, etc.

1 UN data-see: russian.../2009/09/0918_...qatar.shtml. In 1997, there were 665 thousand people. Population growth over the past decade has been mainly driven by immigrants working in the hydrocarbon fields.

2 BP Statistical of World Energy. June 2009 // review, p. 22.

3 Ibidem.

4 Calculated from: Ibid., p. 22, 24.


6 BP Statistical of World Energy.., p. 24.


8 For more information, see: The Pioneer. The Magazine of Qatargas Operating Company Ltd. March-April 2009.

9 Oil and Gas J, 12.08.2009.

10 Qatargas - Press Releases. 9.08.2009.


12 BP Statististcal of World Energy.., p. 24.

13 Ibid., p. 30.

14 Ibidem.

Kasaev E. O. 15 Analysis and prospects of Qatar's gas industry development -09.htm



18 Gulf Times, 18.08.2009.

19 Christian Science Monitor, 13.10.2008.

20 Vremya novostei, 9.04.2007.


22 For more information, see: Khudyakov N. Maloe gosudarstvo s bolshom authoritative'em [A small state with great authority]. Mirovaya energetika, 2008, No. 7.

23 www.gas.rftoday, 24.09.2009.

24 Kontseptsiya vneshnoi politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii [The concept of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation].


Sychev V. 26 Crisis verification -



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