Russia Aims To Challenge Qatar LNG Dominance

12 Dec 2017   LNG, Qatar, Russia

Vladimir Putin officially launched on Friday the Yamal LNG project in the Arctic—Russia’s second LNG plant and its push to challenge the dominance of Qatar and Australia, and the U.S. in the future, on the global LNG market. The first tanker from the US$27-billion project will be shipped to China’s CNPC, in what the majority holder of the project, Russia’s Novatek, said in October is “in recognition for their overall contribution to the project and the importance the Asian Pacific market represents as a key-consuming region.” Novatek is the majority shareholder of Yamal LNG with 50.1 percent, France’s oil and gas supermajor Total has 20 percent, CNPC holds another 20 percent, and China’s Silk Road Fund owns the remaining 9.9 percent. All LNG production will be sold to customers in Europe and Asia under 15- to 20-year contracts, Total says. Novatek, which has been on the U.S. list of […]

The Qatar Blockade Could Cause A Regional Recession

27 Oct 2017   Qatar

Five months into the Gulf’s blockade against Qatar, and neither side looks ready to budge. But the repercussions of the ongoing spat—and Kuwait’s failure to end the dispute—could deliver a huge blow to the Gulf economy. Doha has stood its ground: It refuses to shut down its renowned news station Al Jazeera or abide by the sectarian politics orchestrated by Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and its allies (the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and others) maintain that Qatar’s relationship with Iran and other Shi’ite regimes contributes to disharmony in the Middle East. A series of ultimatums, diplomatic talks, and regional sanctions have yielded no results. Kuwait volunteered to mediate between the sparring parties a couple of months ago, but despite international encouragement for its leadership, the country has made no progress in resolving the impasse, which could lead to a regional economic recession if not remedied soon. In 1982, the […]

Qatar Unfazed By Arab Blockade

16 Sep 2017   Qatar

Qatar’s resilience in the face of months of economic and diplomatic ostracization echoes in the ears of Saudi Arabia—a regional and religious leader running out of options in its quest to keep the states on the Arabian Peninsula within the confines of its geopolitical agenda. Doha flaunted its perseverance in fulfilling international natural gas orders once again this week, when Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada confirmed this fact to diplomats and reporters in Doha. “During this blockade we have never missed a single shipment of oil or gas to any of our consumer partners,” Al Sada said Tuesday. “That shows how committed Qatar is, not only to our economy and reliability but also to consuming countries.” Instead of crumbling without political access to the KSA, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, the world’s largest natural gas exporter proved itself to be flexible under severe diplomatic distress. […]

Russia Urges GCC To Resolve Qatar Dispute

12 Sep 2017   Qatar, Russia

The Russian foreign minister has urged a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia to negotiate with Qatar to end a bitter diplomatic dispute that has raised tensions on the Arabian Peninsula. Sergei Lavrov on September 10 told his Saudi counterpart that “we have confirmed our position in favor of settling the disagreements via negotiations.” Lavrov’s comments to Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a meeting at the Saudi port city of Jeddah were released in a transcript provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to the transcript, Lavrov praised the efforts of Kuwait to mediate the dispute. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have broken all diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, accusing it of financing regional terrorism and of having too close ties to the Arab states’ bitter rival, Iran. Qatar has denied the accusations and has rejected a list of 13 demands set […]

Middle-East Tensions Soar After Critical Phone Call

12 Sep 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia

The last bilateral contact between the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman last Friday is the best example. After some recent indications of a detente between the two Arab leaders, a crucial phone-call on Friday destroyed hopes of improving relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The two rival nations could be headed towards a real showdown. No real information has been released on what was discussed between the two Arab leaders, but insiders indicated that the Qatari Emir offered to sit down to discuss the ongoing dispute with members of the quartet, which includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE. Since June these four have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of cuddling up to Iran, embracing non-state players that spread terror throughout the Arab World, allying themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood and supporting Qatari state-funded Al Jazeera TV. The […]

China invests $9.1 billion in Rosneft as Glencore, Qatar cut stakes

9 Sep 2017   China, Qatar, Russia

Chinese conglomerate CEFC will buy a 14.16 percent stake in Russian oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM) for $9.1 billion from a consortium of Glencore (GLEN.L) and the Qatar Investment Authority, strengthening the energy partnership between Moscow and Beijing. CEFC China Energy has grown in recent years from a niche oil trader into a sprawling energy conglomerate and the transaction will allow China, the world’s second largest energy consumer, to boost cooperation with the world’s top oil producer. The deal comes as the United States imposes a new round of economic sanctions on Russia, making it difficult for large Western firms such as Glencore to develop partnerships and increase ties with state-owned firms such as Rosneft. Glencore said in a statement that CEFC will buy shares at a premium of around 16 percent to the 30-day volume weighted average price of Rosneft shares without naming the price. A […]

Qatar says new port will help circumvent Arab sanctions

6 Sep 2017   Qatar

HAMAD PORT, Qatar (Reuters) – Qatar inaugurated a new $7.4 billion port along its Gulf coast on Tuesday that officials said would become a regional transport hub and help shield its economy against sanctions enforced by neighbouring Arab states. The Hamad port, 40km south of Doha, is one of the largest such facilities in the Middle East. Since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed ties with Qatar in June, the port has been receiving large quantities of food and building materials for construction projects including stadiums for the 2022 soccer World Cup. The isolation of Qatar over Doha’s alleged support for militants has raised concerns that projects could be delayed if supplies from the Far East and South Asia are choked. But officials on Tuesday said Hamad port would allow Qatar to get around the sanctions by importing goods directly from countries such as […]

Blockade Can’t Stop Qatar From Suppling UK With Gas

24 Aug 2017   LNG, Qatar, United Kingdom

Qatar supplies 20 percent of Britain’s natural gas. Just in the past four weeks, British ports have received one million meters worth of scheduled gas orders, according to the Middle East Monitor. Doha dodged the worst logistical obstacles of the blockade by shifting its main export hub from the United Arab Emirates to Oman when the row first became public. Now, Qatar’s energy leaders are optimistic, feeling the ordeal has made the country’s logistics more robust. In mid-July , diplomats from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates signaled that they no longer wanted Qatar to comply with 13 specific demands levied in June. Instead, they proposed six broad principles that they wanted Qatar to sign onto. The principles included denying safe havens and financing to terrorists, combating terrorism and extremism, stopping incitement of hatred and violence, and refraining from interfering in the internal politics of other […]

Despite Sanctions, Qatar Outpaces Saudi Arabia In Economic Growth

22 Aug 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Despite the torrent of reports attesting to the non-impact of the Saudi Arabia-led diplomatic boycott of Doha, new estimates by Bloomberg’s economic survey predict that 2017 will be Qatar’s slowest year of GDP growth since 1995. A previous study in June forecasted 3.1 percent and 3.2 percent growth for this year and next, respectively. New figures reduce those numbers to 2.5 percent for 2017 and 3.2 percent for 2018. The deficit figures jump to 5.1 percent for the current period, compared to previous estimates at 4.6 percent. The current feud between Gulf monarchies began on June 5 th , when Saudi Arabia expressed its indignation at an insubordinate Qatar. Energy interests, most notably Doha’s shared custody of the South Pars gas field – the largest of its kind – prevent Qatar from cutting relations with Shiite Iran, the Sunni Saudi government’s main rival in the Middle East. “Even before […]

Qatar Passes Landmark Law to Grant Permanent Residency to Expats

3 Aug 2017   Qatar

Qatar, facing a Saudi-led boycott, approved a landmark law with the potential to ultimately transform Gulf societies by granting permanent residency cards — and new rights — to some of the foreigners who dominate its population. The move would be the first in the Gulf region, where the privileges of nationals have been zealously guarded and expatriates’ access to public services and property rights are sharply curtailed. Under the new law, cardholders will be treated like Qatari nationals and will benefit from elements of the state’s generous welfare system, including education and health-care services, the official Qatar News Agency reported late Wednesday. They will also be given priority, after locals, for military and civilian public jobs and would be allowed to own property and run certain commercial activities without a local partner, QNA reported. Those eligible for the card include children of Qatari women married to foreigners, people with special talents “needed by the state,” and others who have extended notable services to the country, it said. Citizenship, however, will remain off-limits to foreigners.

Qatar Dispute Back To Square One

2 Aug 2017   Qatar

The four countries leading the boycott against Qatar are going back to their list of 13 demands for Doha to meet before talks can start, essentially reverting the Arab Gulf spat back to square one. At the same time, economic data for June shows that Qatar’s imports plummeted due to the blockade imposed by most of its neighbors, and foreign deposits at Qatari banks dropped to their lowest in nearly two years. However, Qatar has a huge sovereign wealth fund, and boasts considerable foreign exchange reserves. Although Qatar’s non-oil economy is expected to see some pressure due to the fact that it has to use alternative trade routes, the world’s largest LNG exporter has not seen its LNG trade disrupted yet, which is precisely why analysts do not see the blockade as potentially crippling Qatar’s economy. Rather, they see it as merely straining economic growth. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, […]

UAE buys first U.S. oil cargo to replace Qatar condensate: sources

26 Jul 2017   Qatar

The United Arab Emirates will import the country’s first oil cargo from the United States, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the OPEC producer sought substitutes to replace Qatari condensate supplies after a diplomatic row. The UAE halted condensate imports from Qatar after it, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorism, a claim which Doha denies. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) bought a U.S. Eagle Ford condensate cargo in a tender for September arrival, the sources said on Wednesday. Specific volumes were not available but the cargo will arrive in a supertanker that can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil, one of the sources said. ADNOC declined to comment. ADNOC faced limited options in sourcing for condensate substitutes as strong demand for the ultra-light oil in South Korea […]

No Winners in Gulf Feud as Saudi, Qatari Assets Converge on Oil

24 Jul 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia
No Winners in Gulf Feud as Saudi, Qatari Assets Converge on Oil


Investors aren’t taking sides in the biggest political crisis in the Gulf in decades because their focus has already returned to oil.  Seven weeks after Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab states in cutting ties with Qatar over allegations that it supports terrorism, holders of both countries’ stocks and bonds are paying almost identical risk premiums. Their five-year credit default swaps converged for the first time in two years, stocks are valued at about 13.7 times’ projected earnings over the next 12 months, and their international bonds were almost level on Monday.

The Gulf dispute remains in stalemate after Qatar denied the charges and rejected the Saudi bloc’s demands, which include rolling back ties with Iran and shutting the Al Jazeera news channel. Meanwhile, the feud is taking a back seat to oil for investors, said analysts including Saad Siddiqui at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The price of crude is languishing under $50 a barrel, far below the level many Gulf producers need to balance their budgets.

Qatar’s $300 billion conundrum: how liquid are its reserves?

20 Jul 2017   Qatar

When is $300 billion not enough? That question is key to Qatar’s future as some bankers and hedge funds speculate the super-rich state’s vast financial reserves may not be liquid enough to defend its currency in the long term. Nobody doubts Qatar has a lot of money to resist economic sanctions imposed on it early last month, when Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states cut diplomatic and transport ties. Central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said last week that Doha could employ about $340 billion of reserves: some $40 billion plus gold at the central bank, and $300 billion at the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund.(For graphic on Qatar Investment Authority’s largest M&A deals click That suggests Qatar could cope comfortably with any capital flight due to the crisis. Bank of America has predicted $35 billion of outflows from the […]

Three Years Into Cheap Oil, Gulf Is Still Depending on a Rebound

Low prices combined with output cuts are weighing on growth Isolation of Qatar has added to perception of regional risks Energy-rich Gulf Arab nations have scrambled to adjust to the slump in oil prices since 2014. Three years on, their economies are mired in weak growth and largely just as dependent on crude as they ever were. The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have curtailed subsidies and introduced new taxes to bolster non-oil revenue and reduce ballooning budget deficits. Much of the savings, however, have been due to spending cuts and the pace of reforms has slowed across the region, said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Overall progress in economic diversification has been limited, she said. Absent a rebound in oil prices, analysts say it’s unlikely that these nations can repair their finances without deeper spending cuts that could further hurt growth. The […]

The Qatar Blockade Is Threatening The OPEC Deal

20 Jul 2017   Qatar

The blockade of Qatar could persist for quite a long time, according to the foreign minister of the UAE, who insisted that the Gulf States that have imposed the punitive barricade are not looking for a “quick fix.” The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Bloomberg earlier this week that the blockade would be in place for “weeks, months…as long as it takes them to realize that this is not a crisis that we are looking for a quick fix. This is a crisis that we want to get to the bottom of, and we want to take away Qatar’s huge, huge support for this extremism and terrorism that we are seeing everywhere.” Despite the bluster, the blockade for the past month and a half has not gone according to plan. Qatar has still been able to import food and other necessities, while its exports […]

Tillerson Sees Qatar Crisis Lingering

15 Jul 2017   Qatar

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said a dispute between a Saudi Arabian-led bloc and Qatar may last “quite a while” as the two sides still refuse to speak to each other directly and are no closer to resolving the key demands made after the crisis started. Despite leaving the Middle East after four days of shuttle diplomacy without a breakthrough, Tillerson said progress was made. Potential ways forward in the dispute were weighed by both sides and there is a “changed sense of willingness to at least be open to talking to one another and that was not the case before I came,” Tillerson said Thursday evening while en route to Washington from the Gulf region. Nevertheless, “the final and ultimate resolution may take quite a while,” Tillerson said. “But if we can begin to have some success beginning to take some of these issues off the table […]

Are The Arab Nations On The Brink Of War – An Interview With Shadow Governance

14 Jul 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Almost five weeks have passed since Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies, and Egypt announced the start of a diplomatic boycott against Qatar—a fellow Arab monarchy which, the boycotters contend, encourages sectarianism in the Middle East and sponsors terrorist organizations. Doha has refused to comply with KSA and friends’ demands that it shut down renowned news outlet Al-Jazeera, end the construction of a Turkish military base inside Qatar, and cut off ties with Hezbollah and terrorist organizations. The whole list of demands includes 13 points, each one bent on curbing the Qatari diplomatic initiatives that contradict the Saudi Arabian foreign policy agenda. Risk consultancy Shadow Governance talks to OilPrice about the political players driving the landmark rift between GCC monarchies that has shaken Middle Eastern alliances without causing volatility in oil and natural gas prices. 1. Who are the most influential individuals in the GCC dispute? Generally, the heads of […]

Total Starts Work at Biggest Qatari Oil Field to Maintain Output

12 Jul 2017   Qatar

Total SA will start work soon on Qatar’s biggest oil field and is willing to make more investments in the country, which faces a trade boycott led by fellow OPEC producer Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg) — Total SA will start work this week on Qatar’s biggest oil field and is willing to make more investments in the country, which faces a trade boycott led by fellow OPEC producer Saudi Arabia. Total will start operating at Al-Shaheen field on Friday to maintain output at 300,000 barrels a day, a development project involving $3.5 billion in investment over five years, Patrick Pouyanne, the company’s chief executive officer, said Tuesday in Doha. There will be no disruption in output and deliveries of crude during the transition to Total as the field’s operator, he said. Paris-based Total beat competitors including Royal Dutch Shell Plc last year to win a 30 percent stake in the […]

Qatar Says It Has $340 Billion To Withstand Boycott By Arab Nations

11 Jul 2017   Qatar

Qatar’s central bank says it has $340 billion in reserves that could help the country to withstand any effects from the boycott imposed by its Arab neighbors and other countries. Central bank Governor Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud al-Thani said in an interview with CNBC published on July 10 that this shows “the credibility of our system.” “We have enough cash to preserve any — any — kind of shock,” he said. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt broke diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar over the emirate’s alleged financial support for Islamist extremists and its ties to regional rival Iran. The four countries set a list of 13 demands and threatened further sanctions against Qatar if it did not act. Among the demands were calls to end financial support for terrorism, shutter the Al-Jazeera network, cut most ties with Iran, and close Turkey’s air base in […]

Qatar Spat Worsens As Saudi-Led Arab States Vow New Measures

10 Jul 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia

The four Arab states that are leading the boycott against Qatar vowed on Friday to take new measures against their tiny gas-rich neighbor after Doha rejected in full the list of ultimatums. Despite the public threats of “new measures”, Qatar’s Finance Minister, Ali Sharif al-Emadi, told The Times today that Qatar is too rich to worry about what Saudi Arabia thinks, and that their huge financial resources would provide the small gas-rich nation the resources necessary to weather the sanctions. “We have sovereign wealth funds of 250 per cent of gross domestic product, we have Qatar Central Bank reserves, and we have a ministry of finance strategic reserve,” al-Emadi told The Times. “Bahrain and Egypt, they are at junk bond level. If you look at Saudi Arabia, they are having genuine issues with their finances,” the minister said. In a joint statement posted on Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia, […]

De-escalate, Pentagon tells Persian Gulf rivals

10 Jul 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia

The U.S. military said it was pressing Persian Gulf countries to resolve lingering issues with Qatar, an issue that presents risks to the energy sector. Saudi Arabia in June led a coalition of Middle East countries in severing ties with Qatar, adding a layer of geopolitical risk to the global energy market. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Qatar is a leading natural gas supplier and the Persian Gulf is a choke point for the flow of energy supplies from the region. The countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorist networks and called on the nation to downgrade its relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and close its al-Jazeera media […]

Arab states rap ‘negative’ Qatari reply to demands but announce no new sanctions

6 Jul 2017   Qatar

Four Arab states refrained on Wednesday from slapping further sanctions on Qatar but voiced disappointment at its “negative” response to their demands and said their boycott of the tiny Gulf nation would continue. Qatar earlier in the day accused Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt of “clear aggression” and said the accusations cited when they severed ties a month ago “were clearly designed to create anti-Qatar sentiment in the West”. The four Arab nations accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and allying with regional foe Iran – which Doha denies – and their foreign ministers met in Cairo on Wednesday after a deadline they gave Qatar to meet 13 demands expired. They had been expected to consider further sanctions at the gathering, but announced no new measures. “The response the four states got was overall negative and lacked any content. We find it did not provide a […]

Qatar crisis deepens after Arab states attack ‘negative’ Doha

6 Jul 2017   Qatar

The four Arab states that have imposed an extraordinary embargo on Qatar, on Wednesday lambasted Doha for its “negative” response to their demands in a sign that the month-long diplomatic crisis is deepening. After meeting in Cairo to discuss the dispute, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt said Qatar’s response showed “a lack of seriousness in dealing with the roots of the problem” and a “failure to appreciate the dangers in the situation”. Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, warned that additional steps against Doha could be taken at the appropriate time. The crisis erupted when Riyadh and its allies cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar, accusing the gas-rich state of sponsoring terrorism. Doha was given until Wednesday to respond to a list of 13 demands, including that it pay reparations, cease all support for the Muslim Brotherhood and close Al Jazeera, the satellite television channel. Why do they see Qatar as such a threat? I think it is because we have different views on politics and the best path for our collective future Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister Qatar, which hosts the US’s main military base in the region, says it is willing to discuss legitimate grievances but will not be dictated to by its neighbours. Speaking in London, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said Doha “continues to call for dialogue” despite what he described as “clear aggression” against his country. Kuwait is mediating the dispute, which pits important US allies against each other.

Qatar Blockade To Continue As Doha Shrugs Off Ultimatum

6 Jul 2017   Qatar

Foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain released statements following a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, after the latest deadline they had set to Qatar expired on Tuesday night. The four Arab nations, locked in a diplomatic crisis with Qatar, dismissed Doha’s response to their demands as “not serious” and pledged to continue to keep the Gulf state under political and economic sanctions until it changes its policies. They also “expressed regret with regards to the negative response from Qatar, which showed complacency and non-seriousness to deal with the root of the problem and reconsider their policies and practices.” (Click to enlarge) Arab Foreign Ministers meet to discuss the diplomatic situation with Qatar, in Cairo, Egypt. Speaking to reporters, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that Qatar’s response to the four Arab states’ list of demands, which was passed on via intermediary Kuwait on […]

Saudis Refuse To Relinquish Grip On Key Asian Market

6 Jul 2017   Qatar

While it is cutting more than required in the OPEC deal, Saudi Arabia is not ceding its grip on its biggest Asian market—Japan—and is raising market share by selling more light crude to its prized market to compensate for revenues lost from cutting the supply of the heavy crude variety. According to trade flows data by Thomson Reuters Eikon, Japan’s imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia rose by 7.7 percent annually in the first half this year, to 1.3 million bpd, making the Saudis the biggest crude supplier to Japan. Saudi Arabia’s state oil firm Aramco has been selling more of the Arab Extra Light to Japanese customers, as the Saudis have been offering extra light crude cargoes on top of the volumes that buyers have contracted, two Japanese refining sources told Reuters. Trading sources told Platts in mid-June that the major buyers of Saudi oil in Asia […]

Qatari LNG development to extend LNG surplus into mid-2020s

5 Jul 2017   Qatar

Share Qatar’s announcement Tuesday that it will double the size of its proposed new development on the giant North Field to 4 Bcf/d and use the gas for LNG exports will throw off course multiple new LNG projects elsewhere in the world. According to the International Gas Union, there were 879 million mt/year of proposed LNG projects waiting in the wings at the start of 2017. Qatar has said that the new project will raise its LNG capacity from 77 million mt/year to 100 million mt/year, an addition of 23 million mt/year, and that the project will take five to seven years to complete. 4 Bcf/d gas is the equivalent of 30 million mt/year of LNG, suggesting that some of the gas will be used either for domestic consumption or to support existing LNG capacity. However, the LNG market already expects a glut of new supply and is uncertain […]

Qatar Launches Plan to Increase LNG Output Amid Arab Dispute

5 Jul 2017   Qatar

Qatar Petroleum, the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas, said Tuesday it plans to increase natural-gas output by 30% over the next seven years, as the small emirate faces a diplomatic crisis with its Persian Gulf neighbors. Qatar Petroleum will double the size of a major project in a massive subsea Persian Gulf gas field shared with Iran, Chief Executive Saad al-Kaabi said in a news conference in Doha on Tuesday. The expansion will bring Qatar’s total LNG production to 100 million tons a year—the…

Qatar shows mettle, offers compromise as Gulf states prepare meeting

5 Jul 2017   Qatar

Qatar announced plans for a steep rise in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) production capacity on Tuesday that suggested it was ready for a protracted dispute with Gulf neighbors, but Doha said it was doing all it could to reach agreement. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain were due to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to continue sanctions they imposed on Qatar on accusations it was aiding terrorism and courting regional rival Iran. Doha denies the charges and has submitted to mediator Kuwait replies to 13 demands that the gathering will consider. “What Qatar has given in goodwill and good initiative for a constructive solution, based on dialogue, we believe should be sufficient (to show) we have carried out our duties from our side,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told a news conference in Doha. “There is a lot of progress that has […]

Doha ends moratorium on North Field development in face of new competition from Tehran

Qatar’s development of its giant North Field, which began more than 20 years ago, propelled the small Gulf state into the position as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. It also provided Doha with the substantial wealth and political clout to stand independently from its Gulf Arab neighbors on geopo­litical issues, including interaction with Iran. Doha’s distinctive stance toward Tehran has contributed to the crisis with other Gulf states.  However, Qatar’s announcement that it has lifted a 12-year morato­rium on new projects in the North Field, which it shares with Iran, is setting the stage for fierce competi­tion between Doha and Tehran for global gas market share. That com­petition could strain diplomatic re­lations that the two Gulf countries carefully cultivated.  Iran is moving quickly to expand its own gas potential now that it is free from the most stringent inter­national sanctions and is expected to surpass Doha’s production lev­els from their shared gas field this year. Since the easing of sanctions in January 2016, Iran has prioritized developing its portion of the North Field, known as South Pars, be­cause it badly needs more gas to meet domestic power demand and for re-injection into ageing crude reservoirs. In November 2016, Iran signed a deal with French energy giant Total to develop its South Pars II project.

Qatar to raise LNG production by 30% to 100 million mt/year by 2024: QP CEO

4 Jul 2017   Qatar

Qatar plans to raise its already huge LNG production capacity by 30% to 100 million mt/year, state-owned Qatar Petroleum’s CEO said Tuesday. The announcement at a media conference in Doha came just three months after Qatar in April lifted a 12-year moratorium on further development on its vast offshore North Field, which ranks as the world’s largest conventional non-associated gas field, shared with Iran. QP announced in early April plans to develop a new gas project in the southern sector of the North Field with a capacity of about 2 Bcf/d for export. Today it doubled the size of the proposed development to 4 Bcf/d. This was the first project announced for the field since 2005. Article continues below… LNG Daily is essential reading as LNG supply dynamics continue to change in big markets like Japan, China, India and the U.S. This premier independent news publication for the global […]

Wealthy Qatar Weathers Siege, but Personal and Political Costs Grow

3 Jul 2017   Qatar

A young business executive had to cancel a $150,000 family vacation in Saudi Arabia . Another woman grumbled that deliveries of designer fashions from the internet store Net-a-Porter were taking several days longer to arrive. Others said they disliked the taste of the new Turkish milk in stores, preferring the old Saudi variety, but a tycoon offered a solution: He intends to fly 4,000 cows to Qatar , in what may be the biggest ever bovine airlift. Qatar has been under a siege of sorts for the past month, but the immensely wealthy Persian Gulf nation is, so far, feeling little pain. When four Arab nations blockaded Qatar’s airspace and shipping channels last month in a bid to force it to drop its maverick foreign policy and shutter its influential TV station, Al Jazeera , there was an initial burst of panic as some supermarket shelves […]

Middle East At Point Of No Return As Saudi-Qatar Rift Deepens

Saudi King Salman’s decision to appoint his son Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) as the new crown prince did not come as a surprise. For months, the power struggle between former crown prince Mohammed Bin Nayef (MBN) and MBS happened in plain sight, and a confrontation was imminent. However, King Salman made his own calculations and decided to remove MBN in favor of MBS, providing a continuation of his own family line in the future. Over the last week, the media has been overwhelmed with assessments of the House of Saud and the role MBS will play or has been playing. The family feuds in the House of Saud are notorious, whenever a king dies an internal power struggle will emerge, regardless of what strategies have been implemented before. At present, the Young Prince of Riyadh, Mohammed Bin Salman, has been given the key to power. This has happened at […]

Qatar won’t cut gas to UAE: Qatar Petroleum CEO

Saad al-Kaabi, chief executive of Qatar Petroleum, gestures during a news conference in Doha, Qatar, December 11, 2016. Qatar will not cut off gas to the United Arab Emirates despite a diplomatic dispute and a “force majeure” clause in its contract, the chief executive of Qatar Petroleum told Al Jazeera network, two weeks after some Gulf Arab states severed ties with Doha. CEO Saad al-Kaabi said that although there was a “force majeure” clause in the agreement on the Dolphin gas pipeline, which links Qatar’s giant North Field with the UAE, Qatar would not stop supplies for other reasons. “The siege we have today is a force majeure and we could close the gas pipeline to the UAE,” he said. “But if we cut the gas, it does great harm to the UAE and the people of the UAE, who are considered like brothers … we decided not to […]

Gulf Showdown Exposes Qatar’s Fragility

17 Jun 2017   Qatar

At her new exhibition in Doha, Qatari artist Maryam Al-Semaitt explained to guests the central message of her latest work: what happens when great wealth is taken for granted. That money, mainly from selling natural gas from a peninsula in the Gulf desert that was a British protectorate until 1971, has paid for the city’s skyscrapers, hotels and investments in some of the world’s most iconic companies, buildings and sports teams. What it can’t do, she said, is provide a shield for what’s now the world’s richest nation. The showdown with Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has exposed the precarious position of Qatar. The soft power of the multi-billion-dollar Qatar brand that was meant to protect it has never looked more fragile. Doha’s isolation, cutting it off from diplomatic and transport links, is heading into a third week. “The fact that we have always taken […]

World Bank: Persian Gulf economies growing, but face considerable risk

17 Jun 2017   Qatar

Geopolitical risks, as well as U.S. economic and energy sector influences, could undercut growth for Persian Gulf countries, the World Bank said. A World Bank report on the economies for members of the Gulf Cooperation Council finds aggregate growth expands from 1.3 percent this year to 2.6 percent in 2019. A regional economic report, the first for the bank, said oil prices should hold steady and support growth in the region, but nowhere near the levels from 2014, when the global benchmark for the price of oil, Brent, was more than twice the current level. Nadir Mohammed, the GCC director at the World Bank, said some energy market recovery is supporting regional growth with the help of improvements in the non-oil […]

Qatar Spat Spills Over To Libya’s Oil, Rekindles Political Divides

15 Jun 2017   Libya, Qatar

Just as Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is targeting to raise crude oil output to 1 million bpd by the end of July, the rivaling factions in the east and west of the country have entered into a fresh dispute over Libya’s crude oil sales after several Arab states cut ties with Qatar last week. In the east, the military commander is supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt—three of the Arab states that severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region. According to Bloomberg, the chairman of the eastern NOC in Libya, Nagi al-Maghrabi, has accused Qatar of using its 8.5-percent stake in commodity trader Glencore to control the Swiss trader’s sales of Libyan crude oil. Authorities in eastern Libya have threatened to block Glencore operations, which could potentially reduce (again) Libya’s output and threaten its tentative recovery. Earlier […]

How The Qatar Crisis Is Shaping The Future Of The Region

15 Jun 2017   Qatar

GCC-member Qatar has been confronted by a concerted diplomatic and economic effort from its former Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia, UAE, and non-GCC member, Egypt. The official cause of this rift appears to be statements made by the Emir of Qatar criticizing growing U.S.-Saudi military cooperation and their anti-Iran positions. The Qatar News Agency quoted the Emir as saying, “ There is no wisdom in harboring hostility towards Iran.” Qatar quickly denounced the statement, suggesting that the Qatar News Agency had fallen victim to a cyberattack. This claim did not prevent the GCC countries and Egypt from coming together to jointly accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. The crisis has been brewing for some time. In 2014, another diplomatic breakdown between the same players led to the withdrawal of ambassadors from Doha. During that time, Doha was accused of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood […]

Analysis: LNG trade disruption worries ease as Qatari flows to Suez, Egypt resume

14 Jun 2017   Qatar
Analysis: LNG trade disruption worries ease as Qatari flows to Suez, Egypt resume

Singapore (Platts)–13 Jun 2017 719 am EDT/1119 GMT

* Qatargas vessels transit Suez for Ras Laffan

* Egypt gets Qatar LNG despite blockade
* Limited impact of UAE’s port restrictions
* Qatar Petroleum: “business as usual”

Concerns over the impact of diplomatic blockade on Qatar on LNG trade flows eased this week, following deliveries of Qatari LNG into Egypt and the transiting of several Qatari vessels through the Suez Canal, a key transport route for Middle East LNG shipments to the European markets.  This came as a relief to LNG traders, who were caught off guard last week when two Qatari cargoes destined for the UK via the Suez Canal turned around off the coast of Yemen and diverted towards South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, raising fears Egypt might have restricted access to the waterway.  Market experts, however, argued the diversion was likely a move by the Qatari government to avoid transiting the Suez Canal and paying US dollar-denominated canal fees to Egypt, among those to have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Chart: Qatari LNG exports in 2016

“It was likely Qatar’s decision to turn away the two cargoes rather than Egypt’s,” said an Atlantic-based LNG trader.

Flying Cows to Qatar Is One Man’s Way to Beat the Saudis

13 Jun 2017   Qatar

Call it the biggest bovine airlift in history. The showdown between Qatar and its neighbors has disrupted trade, split families and threatened to alter long-standing geopolitical alliances. It’s also prompted one Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to the Gulf desert in an act of resistance and opportunity to fill the void left by a collapse in the supply of fresh milk. It will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590-kilogram beasts that Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, bought in Australia and the U.S. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said. Photographer: Brent Lewin Led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar stands accused of supporting Islamic militants, charges the sheikhdom has repeatedly denied. The isolation that started on June 5 has forced the world’s richest country by capita to open new trade routes to import food, building materials and […]

Qatar crisis to speed the rise of Asia’s spot LNG trade

13 Jun 2017   Qatar

Qatar’s isolation by other Arab nations has dealt a strong hand to Japanese utilities in talks reviewing long-term gas contracts with the top LNG exporter, likely accelerating a shift to a more openly traded global market for the fuel. If Japan gets its way in the periodic contract review, the world’s biggest buyer of LNG would have to import more short-notice supplies from producers such as the United States, another step away from rigid deals that run for decades towards a more active spot market. At stake for Qatar are 7.2 million tonnes of annual liquefied natural gas (LNG) sold in contracts that expire in 2021. The $2.8 billion a year in gas mostly goes to Japan’s JERA, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric […]

Qatar remains committed to oil supply cut deal: minister

12 Jun 2017   Qatar

OPEC President Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada addresses a news conference after a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader Qatar’s energy minister said on Sunday Qatar remained committed to an oil output cut deal agreed upon by OPEC and non-OPEC producers last month. Mohammed al-Sada said in a statement “circumstances in the region shall not prevent the state of Qatar from honoring its international commitment of cutting its oil production.” (Reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by Jason Neely)

Gulf Mediator Says Qatar ‘Ready to Understand’ Region’s Concerns

12 Jun 2017   Qatar

Kuwaiti minister says his country to continue mediation effort Saudi-led alliance cut ties and transport links with Qatar Gulf crisis mediator Kuwait said on Sunday that isolated Qatar was “ready to understand” the concerns of its neighbors and bolster stability in the region, in a sign that the week-old spat may be easing. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said his country would not abandon mediation efforts until the impasse was resolved, the state-run KUNA news agency reported. Qatari leaders are “willing to hold dialogue” to end the crisis, he said. Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, retweeted the Kuwaiti remarks from France 24, and then added in a separate message: “Is this the beginning in which wisdom and reason prevail? I hope so.” Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt last week cut diplomatic relations and transport links with Qatar, saying […]

These Are the Corporate Winners and Losers of the Qatar Standoff

12 Jun 2017   Qatar

Sanctions against Qatar may hurt U.A.E. construction companies Qatar Airways is set to be one of the biggest losers With Qatar increasingly isolated from its Gulf neighbors in an escalating geopolitical crisis, the economic and financial implications are starting to emerge. The country — which has been accused of supporting Islamist militant groups by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt — relies on other Gulf states for about 20 percent of its imports and almost half of its tourists, according to Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd. Billions of dollars of infrastructure projects are also at stake as it prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup. “We expect the move to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar could have significant economic ramifications for its economy, but to have barely an effect on the rest of the GCC,” said Arqaam’s head of equity research Jaap Meijer. “We expect consumer […]

Trump criticises Qatar for funding terrorism at ‘high level’

10 Jun 2017   Qatar, USA

Donald Trump accused Qatar of funding terrorism at a “high level”, just hours after his secretary of state urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to end a blockade of the gas-rich state because it was creating economic hardship and hitting counter-terrorism efforts.  Speaking from the White House, Mr Trump said Qatar “has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level”. His comments came at the end of a week that saw Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt sever ties with the Gulf state over what they said were concerns that it was fuelling terrorism and supporting Shia proxies of Iran.  Mr Trump said Saudi Arabia and other nations had talked to him about confronting Qatar in the wake of his recent visit to Riyadh.

Saudis Have a Lot to Lose in Fight With Qatar, Even If They Win

10 Jun 2017   Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Saudi camp has the numbers but standoff could scare investors A new faultline emerges in Middle East already torn by war Saudi Arabia dwarfs Qatar on almost any measure, yet there are plenty of ways the tussle between the Gulf neighbors could end up hurting the world’s biggest oil exporter — even if it wins. All week the Saudis and their allies have ratcheted up pressure on Qatar, cutting diplomatic ties and imposing a blockade by land, sea and air. The stated goal is to force Qatar to stop cozying up to Saudi Arabia’s rival Iran and bankrolling Islamist groups across the region. Qatar says it’s being punished for things it didn’t do, and the U.S. signaled Friday that it wants the embargo eased. The disagreement over Qatar is longstanding. The scale of the current crisis is new, and it’s erupted into a Middle East already polarized by war. […]

Pressure increases on energy-rich Qatar

10 Jun 2017   Qatar

Saudi Arabia and its Middle East allies said Friday they were committed to combating terrorism, condemning further the actions of OPEC-member Qatar. Saudi Arabia and its regional allies on Monday severed ties with Qatar because of its alleged support for terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Sunni militants aligned with the Islamic State . The row raised questions over the durability of an agreement led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance the market through managed production declines as many of the countries involved in the regional spat are members of the group. The government in Riyadh, through the official Saudi Press Agency, said it was joined by its counterparts in Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates […]

Biggest Middle East Ports Shun Qatar as Saudis Tighten Isolation

7 Jun 2017   Qatar

Saudi, Abu Dhabi oil ports bar tankers calling at Qatar Dubai’s DP World shuts access to container port at Jebel Ali The biggest Middle East oil and container ports banned all vessels sailing to and from Qatar from using their facilities amid a diplomatic crisis gripping the world’s main energy-exporting region. Saudi Arabian and Bahraini authorities closed off all of their ports to Qatari-flagged vessels or ships traveling to or coming from the Persian Gulf state, according to a notice posted on the website of Inchcape Shipping Services Tuesday. Container and oil terminals in the United Arab Emirates also closed off traffic to any ships touching Qatar, according to separate statements from three port operators. The three Persian Gulf countries and Egypt severed ties with Qatar Monday citing its support for regional rival Iran and for extremist groups. The dispute pits two of OPEC’s largest oil producers — Saudi […]

Biggest Middle East Ports Shun Qatar as Saudis Tighten Isolation

7 Jun 2017   Qatar

Saudi, Abu Dhabi oil ports bar tankers calling at Qatar Dubai’s DP World shuts access to container port at Jebel Ali The biggest Middle East oil and container ports banned all vessels sailing to and from Qatar from using their facilities amid a diplomatic crisis gripping the world’s main energy-exporting region. Saudi Arabian and Bahraini authorities closed off all of their ports to Qatari-flagged vessels or ships traveling to or coming from the Persian Gulf state, according to a notice posted on the website of Inchcape Shipping Services Tuesday. Container and oil terminals in the United Arab Emirates also closed off traffic to any ships touching Qatar, according to separate statements from three port operators. The three Persian Gulf countries and Egypt severed ties with Qatar Monday citing its support for regional rival Iran and for extremist groups. The dispute pits two of OPEC’s largest oil producers — Saudi […]

The Saudi Prince, the Sheikh and a Gulf Renegade

7 Jun 2017   Qatar

The choreographed statements by Saudi Arabia and three allies to quarantine Qatar at just after 6 a.m. on June 5 were not signed, but there was no mistake about who was behind them. The move to halt air and sea transport and shut the tiny Gulf nation’s only land border carried the fingerprints of two of the Arab world’s most powerful leaders: Saudi Arabia’s young deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the de facto head of the United Arab Emirates. The coordinated action underscores the growing authority of both men, whose countries control vast amounts of oil wealth and buy weapons from the U.S. They’ve been using both to mold the Middle East in recent years by supporting leaders and groups they like and opposing those they don’t. And now they have the explicit backing of President Donald Trump as he tries to toughen […]