To which countries does Qatar sell the most natural gas and oil?

(CNN Spanish) — Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is known around the world for being one of the main producers of oil and natural gas, in a region – the Persian Gulf – that is mainly devoted to the extraction of hydrocarbons.

This key role for Qatar in the world of energy catapulted the country – and others like it – to the center of the global stage after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which weighed on global markets and launched initiatives to expand oil and natural gas production, and divert supplies.

In this context, which countries are the main buyers of Qatar and how much energy is sold to them?

Basic data of Qatar

Qatar is located on a peninsula surrounded by the Persian Gulf, and shares an 87-kilometer long border with Saudi Arabia. Its geography is mostly desert, with almost no elevations, and the climate is arid with mild winters and very hot summers.

Qatar will keep the flow of natural gas to Europe 1:01

Its population of 2,508,182 inhabitants lives on an area of ​​11,586 square meters, with 563 kilometers of coastline. Arabic is the official language and 65% profess Islam, although there are also significant Christian (13.7%) and Hindu (15.9%) minorities.

Qatar’s economy is based almost entirely on the extraction of oil and gas, much of it from the vast field in the Persian Gulf — the world’s largest natural gas field — which it shares with Iran. These significant revenues have brought nominal GDP per capita to $61,276, one of the highest in the world (nominal GDP per capita is about $93,500).

Qatar joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which brings together the world’s major producers and sets production quotas to control prices, in 1961, but left the organization in 2019, amid clashes with other Gulf countries.

Major buyers of oil and gas from Qatar

According to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), in 2020 natural gas sales accounted for 47.1% of total exports, worth USD 22.2 billion. Meanwhile, crude oil accounted for 23% of exports ($9,890 million) and refined oil for 13% ($6,140 million).

The industrial city of Ras Laffan, Qatar’s main liquefied natural gas production site, about 80 kilometers north of the capital Doha, on February 6, 2017. (Credit: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Oil and gas together accounted for 81.1% of Qatar’s exports in this period, most of which were destined for Asian markets. Counting the export of nitrogen fertilizers, polymers and other oil derivatives, it amounts to almost 90 percent.

The main buyers of natural gas from Qatar in 2020 were India (22.7%), China (19.1%), South Korea (16.6%), Japan (13.9%) and Taiwan (5.45%). ).

In the case of crude oil, the main buyers in the same period were Japan (32.6%), Singapore (19.1%), South Korea (15.7%), China (14.3%) and India (10.8 %).

Meanwhile, for refined oil, the list of top clients was Japan (26.6%), Taiwan (8.58%), Singapore (8.35%), South Korea (7.12%) and the United States (6 .9%).

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Finally, considering all products that Qatar exports, the main clients are Japan (17.1%), India (15.4%), China (15%), South Korea (12.8%) and Singapore (6%) .

Qatar and the war in Ukraine

Qatar and other gas-producing countries came into the spotlight in February this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which put enormous pressure — with significant price increases — on global energy markets. Specifically, the United States has approached Qatar asking it to increase its production and allocate some of it to other markets.

Russia, like Qatar, is one of the world’s leading producers of natural gas. However, unlike Qatar, which places most of its production in Asia, Russia’s main customer is Europe, and this supply began to decrease precisely because of the war that Brussels condemned.

On February 22, two days before the invasion, Qatari Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi was quoted as saying by Reuters that it was “almost impossible” for his country to replace Russian gas supplies to Europe, as almost all of its production is tied up in long-term contracts with Asian countries.

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