Qatar became the world’s biggest LNG (liquefied natural gas) exporter in April this year, surpassing the US after its LNG exports jumped to a five-year high following the completion of seasonal maintenance on its LNG facilities, according to Kamco Invest.
Total LNG exports of Qatar reached $11.9bn during April 2022 compared to $5.8bn in April 2021. Most of the Qatar’s LNG exports went to China, followed by India and Japan.
The IEA (International Energy Agency) expects the Asia Pacific region to drive as much as 50% natural gas demand growth for the period. In terms of sectors, the IEA projects the industrial sector would represent about 60% of the global gas growth between 2021 and 2025.
In the GCC or Gulf Co-operation Council region, higher natural gas prices have been positive on the fixed front, especially for Qatar as a leading global LNG exporter.
Qatar, which accounted 21% of the LNG exports market share in 2021, has emerged as one of the key countries that the EU or European Union is trying to import more LNG from as they scramble to find new suppliers and increase LNG imports.
The EU imported 24% of its 77bcm (billion cubic centimetres) LNG in 2021 from Qatar ahead of Russia (20%) and behind the US (26%).
According to the International Monetary Fund, the EU’s Russian natural gas imports supply insecurity is weighing on European economies and is also expected to have a negative impact on the global economy.
Europe is currently facing the possibility of gas cut-off while Russia is dealing with the consequences of the US and EU sanctions.
According to the IEA, Russian natural gas would only account for 25% of total EU natural gas demand in 2022. The determination of the EU countries to find new natural gas suppliers is one the main elements that is keeping global gas prices up.
This was reflected in the 60% decline in Russian gas supplies to Europe since June-2021.The global economy is also facing investment, trade and supply chain disruption due to the conflict which might lead to reduced economic activity and rising inflation.
Qatar is currently set to begin the first phase of the North Field Expansion project after declaring some of the key partners in the project namely Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Eni and TotalEnergies.
In the first phase Qatar plans to increase its LNG production by 43% from 77mn tonnes per year to 110mn tonnes per year by 2025. In the second phase of the project Qatar plans its LNG production to increase to 126mn tonnes per year by 2027.