Qatar’s gas deals make it the region's most affluent nation
In the year 2001, the state of Qatar has recorded a per capita income exceeding $29,000, more than double the 1995 figure of $14,500. The country’s sharp economic growth is mainly attributed to major gas projects that have been recently launched to tap the giant North Field, the largest gas basin in the world, with reserves estimated at more than 10 trillion cubic meters.
Investments in Qatar’s energy sector reached eight billion dollars over the past five years, and are expected to grow to $20 billion by 2007. Many of the planned mega-projects are considered the peace dividend of last year’s resolution of a territorial dispute with Bahrain. Qatar Petroleum (QP) is set to tender more than 7,000 square kilometers of virgin territory in the Hawar Islands, with the expectation that these three blocks will deliver some major finds.
QP is also targeting two new business areas. After years of debate, QP is now close to realizing its pipeline ambitions. Following the award of the upstream front-end engineering and design contract in mid-December, the estimated $3.5 billion Dolphin project is on track to commence deliveries of North Field gas to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2005. Talks are also being held with Kuwait and Bahrain to pipe up to 1,500 million cubic feet per day of dry gas. Already, Qatar and Kuwait are in agreement on the supply of Qatari gas from the North Field.
In the meantime, Qatar’s Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas) is among the frontrunners to become the primary liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier to China. The winner of the $10 billion contract, issued by China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation, will be announced by mid-year 2002. Other contenders for this contract are Australia’s LNG Pty and BP Gas of Indonesia. The deal will encompass the supply of three billion tons per year of LNG, over a 25-year period, to a reception terminal in China’s southern Guangdong Province.
With investment plans in Qatar set to accelerate in the near future, the country represents an extremely attractive market for foreign firms. British companies recognize Qatar’s potential, and eight British trade delegations will be visiting Qatar this year. The annual value of equipment supply and services in the state’s oil and gas sector is approximately $420 million. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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