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Qatar and LNG: a new gas partner for Europe?

In an attempt to replace the lack of Russian gas imports, Europe has found a new partner: Qatar, a small country in the Middle East, rich in natural gas.

The current geopolitical situation, in fact, has caused a shift of perspective for European countries. Before the invasion of Ukraine, they imported a large amount of gas from Russia. Just think that in 2021, Europe depended on Russia for 40% of it.

To make up for the recent partial closure of Russian gas pipelines, Europe has begun to sign agreements with the United States, which, however, has insufficient resources.

And this is where Qatar comes in, which according to IEA data, in 2020 was the sixth producer in the world.

Source: IEA (Atlas of energy)

The new natural gas leader

To overcome this situation, the old continent is trying to increase imports of LNG from non-Russian producers, including Qatar.

LNG is a new form of refrigerated gas, much easier to transport and which does not require the construction of additional pipelines. To date, Qatar is the third largest exporter of LNG in the world, second only to the USA and Australia.

Source: EIA, December 2021

However, the Qatar government intends to increase this number: in 2019, it announced that it would increase its exports to 64% by 2027.

And the goal is ever closer: since February, European countries are increasingly demanding LNG from Qatar, with the consequence of the rise of demand. This leads the country to invest in its production, thus making Qatar even more competitive in the market, at the same level as the US and Australia.

The European continent is not the only one to require large quantities of gas: currently, the Qatar market is mainly aimed at Asian countries, such as South Korea, India, China and Japan. 

In recent months, therefore, Qatar has begun to demand the signing of long-term contracts by European countries, so as not to risk the overproduction in the coming years, and to secure a big portion of the market.

With the war underway, the future of the world economy is uncertain. Qatar, thanks to its large gas production, contributes to its own growth.

Read also: Oil and Gas: the consequences of the Ukrainian War and the sector’s new challenges.
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