Agriculture and fishing
Use of treated sewage effluent and desalinated water for irrigation, however, has helped to expand the production of fruits such as dates and melons and vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, and eggplant, which Qatar now exports to other Persian Gulf countries. Production of meat, cereal-grains, and milk also began to increase by the end of the 20th century. The government maintains a fishing fleet and since the late 1990s has placed greater emphasis on commercial fishing and shrimp harvesting.
Oil & Gas
Qatar possesses enormous deposits of natural gas, and its offshore North Field is one of the largest gas fields in the world. The country’s petroleum reserves, found both onshore along the western coast at Dukhān and offshore from the eastern coast, are modest by regional standards. In an attempt to reduce its dependency on oil, Qatar began to develop its natural gas resources in the mid-1990s. Natural gas surpassed oil as the largest share of the government’s revenues and the country’s GDP in the first decade of the 21st century.
With a fast-expanding population and substantial economic growth over the past decade, a reliable and extensive transportation network is becoming increasingly necessary within Qatar. Qatar has more than 760 miles (1,230 km) of road, nearly all of which are paved. There are no railroads. The country has several important ports, including those at Doha and Umm Saʿīd. An international airport is located at Doha, and Qatar Airways is the country’s national carrier.
Qatar Public Telecommunications Corporation is the sole provider of telecommunication services in the country. It also sets policies and makes administrative decisions for the sector. In 1996 the Internet was made available to the public, with Qatar Public Telecommunications Corporation as the sole service provider. Internet use is highest among Qatari nationals. A submarine fiber-optic cable system completed in the late 1990s links Qatar with Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait.
Qatar has a vibrant steel industry: its Steel Company began operating in 1974, and they started producing steel in 1978. Currently, it produces hot bricked iron, steel bars, steel coils, and steel billets. Most of the steel products are exported to neighboring Gulf nations. In 2008, Qatar Steel Company was ranked among the leading four steel manufacturers in the Middle East.
Qatar’s petrochemical industry deals in the production of chemicals such as ethylene, sulfur, polythene, and gasoline. It is a significant income generator for Qatar providing as much as $8 billion annually. The industry is estimated to grow at 6% per annum in the next decade. Nonetheless, the industry faces stiff competition from petrochemicals produced in neighboring nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Qatar Petrochemical Company is the world’s top producer of low-density polyethylene.
Despite its millennial Islamic tradition, in recent years Qatar is opening up to tourism and modernity. Tourists visit Doha all year round, but what fascinates Western tourists is the desert, with its mystery and simplicity. Among the desert dunes there are many historical sites, observation towers and forts that testify to the millennial history of this magical land.