When the UK ran out of gas, Qatar stepped in to save the day. In November, the Persian Gulf emirate sent four giant liquefied natural gas tankers through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea to the North Sea at the request of London Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Now Qatar is to do the same for all of Europe if Russia turns off the tap because of the Ukraine crisis.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, travels to Washington this Monday to discuss emergency aid for Europe with U.S. President Joe Biden. So far, Qatar supplies about five percent of European gas imports. The EU sources around 40 percent of its imports from Russia . At least theoretically, Qatar could sell more gas to the Europeans than before. The emirate is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas stored offshore. Qatar sits on the largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran.
Large deposits of natural gas in Qatar
Gas has made Qatar rich: per capita income is 45.000 euros a year. Qatar uses the money for its foreign policy. The emirate propped up partner Turkey with $15 billion in investment commitments during a financial crisis two years ago. As the location of an important US military base with about 10.000 soldiers, Qatar is a key partner of Washington in the Middle East. Currently, the emirate is trying to mediate the nuclear dispute between Tehran and Washington. Ahead of the first World Cup on Arab soil in December, host Qatar is working to burnish its reputation.
So helping Europe out of a jam fits Qatar’s foreign policy concept. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke last week with his Qatari counterpart Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. Washington fears Moscow could drastically cut gas supplies to Europe in response to Western sanctions following a Russian attack on Ukraine.
Per day maximum 60.000 cubic meters extra for Europe
However, despite its huge reserves, Qatar cannot produce and liquefy as much natural gas as it likes. The emirate is already producing at the upper limit of its capacity, US magazine Forbes reported. If all potentials were exhausted, Qatar could produce at most 60 per day.000 additional cubic meters to Europe. This would do little to help Europeans, as total EU consumption is more than one billion cubic meters per day.
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In the USA, meanwhile, the government stresses that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will not go into operation if Russia invades Ukraine. The pipeline also lacks a permit. This is not expected to happen in the first half of the year despite the establishment of a German subsidiary, Jochen Homann, head of the Federal Network Agency, told the FAZ newspaper.
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Deu has at least one advantage, that Nord Stream 1 gets gas from Russia directly via long-term contracts, without transit countries being able to interfere with it; but even there the neighboring country Poland stands out to hinder the transmission in Europe and then wants to be supplied itself via Yamal back-pumping, because it does not want to extend the gas supply contract with Russia. Comparable to Turkish Stream, which is now being used by some southeastern European countries. Countries to be supplied without the detour via Ukraine and the EU regulations. And countries like Qatar, Norway and the U.S. will not be able to make up the gas deficit for Europe if there is no gas coming through the UA , Yamal and NS 2. The shortage is also causing prices to rise exorbitantly. Facts count, not high value morals.