The State of Qatar is the largest global exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Qatar possesses the third largest known reserve of natural gas in the world after Russia and Iran and has existing reserves of approximately 24.7 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Crude oil production is at approximately 1,300,000 barrels per day, making Qatar one of the top 15 oil exporting countries and one of the world’s major fertilizer producers. Qatar is undertaking a $30 billion North Field Expansion (NFE) project in the LNG sector. The market is vibrant and there are significant opportunities for U.S. companies offering products and services in the LNG production process.
Qatar’s export of LNG, crude oil, and petroleum products constitute most of the government’s total revenue for the past several years. In 2021, hydrocarbon revenue contributed around 37 percent of Qatar’s GDP, a 9 percent increase from 2020. The oil and gas industry is still the most active and bullish sector in the country and will likely continue to play a leading role in the future. This sector also includes the most significant export and investment opportunities for U.S. companies over the past year, both in terms of dollar value and strategic interest.
Qatar’s state-owned oil and gas company, Qatar Energy (QE), oversees the oil, gas, fertilizer, petrochemicals, and refining operations in the country. As a global leader in LNG extraction, QE is an important player in Qatar and globally, with billions invested overseas. QE developed the sector through key partnerships with international companies and has solidified several long-term supply agreements with companies in Bangladesh, China, Japan, India, Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, which is set to start importing Qatari LNG in 2023. Europe is also pinned as a growing LNG import destination for Qatar through its regasification terminals located in Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Germany.
QE has announced several overseas acquisitions and investments in hydrocarbon blocks in Brazil, Oman, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Cyprus, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Kenya, Guyana, and Cote d’Ivoire. In 2022, QE also acquired hydrogen blocs in Egypt and Canada. Despite the Gulf Rift from June 2017-January 2021, Qatar continued to supply LNG to the UAE through the Dolphin sub-sea pipeline, which provides 40% of the UAE’s power generation. In 2019, QE invested a total of $18 billion in the U.S. energy sector in the $10 billion Golden Pass Terminal and a petrochemical plant on the Texas Gulf Coast at $8 billion. Qatar’s natural gas production costs are among the lowest in the world, enabling cost-effective LNG and Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) technology. The Pearl GTL plant is the world’s largest facility of its kind and is notable as the first to integrate upstream natural gas production with a downstream conversion facility.
In May 2017, the 12-year moratorium on LNG extraction from the North Field was lifted, allowing QE to proceed with the North Field LNG Expansion project, which will increase LNG production in two phases. The first phase of the North Field project is expected to increase capacity by 43 percent from 77 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 110 mtpa by 2026. The second phase, called the North Field South Project (NFS), will increase the production capacity from 110 mtpa to 126 mtpa, a 64 percent increase by 2028. In June 2022, the Government of Qatar selected partners for this project that includes the development of six LNG mega trains. QE also awarded the construction of a petrochemical complex that will have 1.6 mtpa ethane capacity which is expected to start its production by 2025.
The key business drivers for the oil and gas industry in Qatar are evolving in three segments: upstream, midstream, and downstream. U.S. companies should consider providing products and services that focus on exploration and production, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), automation and systems, drilling, pipeline, refinery and oilfield or well servicing.
Sub-Sector Best Prospects
- Oil & Gas Field Machinery, Equipment and Supplies
- Oil & Gas Field Services
- Green/Clean Energy Technology
- Automation/Smart Digital Technology and Renewables
Qatar is poised to dramatically increase its LNG capacity and diversify products, projecting high growth in the coming years, despite globally depressed hydrocarbon prices. QE’s focus on major contracts for the North Field Expansion, together with the upcoming development of the petrochemical complex and ethane cracker facility, are likely to be key drivers of business activities in the energy sector. To maximize such opportunities, it is important to take part in the energy-related events and trade shows and to connect with the resources that are readily available with the U.S. Commercial Service.
October 31-November 3, 2022
Abu Dhabi, UAE
May 1-4, 2023
Contact the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy for more information.