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Qatar to capitalise on growing global demand for clean energy

Qatar to capitalise on growing global demand for clean energy

Rahul Preeth
Doha
Qatar is set to capitalise on an increasing global appetite for a cleaner burning fuel as it presses ahead with plans to increase its LNG output from the current 77 million tonnes (MT) a year to 110 MT by 2024.
According to the latest World LNG Report by the International Gas Union, global LNG trade increased sharply again in 2018, rising by 28.2 MT to reach 316.5 MT.
This marks the fifth consecutive year of incremental growth and the third-largest annual increase ever, behind only 2010 and 2017.
This year’s global LNG supply, on the other hand, is estimated to increase by 33 MT to a record 358 MT per annum, according to a new report from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Reports say the global LNG trade will maintain this upward trajectory for years together, leaving enough room for a swift absorption of Qatar’s increased output.
Qatar currently accounts for more than 25 percent of the global LNG supply and for over a decade has been the world’s leading supplier of LNG.
In 2017, the country exported 18.4 billion cubic metres of natural gas to the UAE and Oman through the Dolphin pipeline and 103.4 bn cubic metres of LNG via shipping overseas.
This represents 26.3 percent of the global total of 393.9 bn cu metres of LNG exported by all gas-producing countries combined for that year.
The LNG report suggests that Qatar is in an advantageous position as big gas importers such as China and South Korea are forecast to ship in more LNG in the coming years.
The report said China and South Korea, both of which have strong LNG trade ties with Qatar, returned as the drivers of LNG import demand in 2018.
They showed an incremental growth of 12 and 4.2 MT in their imports in 2017, respectively, with growth of 15.8 and 6.4 MT in 2018.
Their combined incremental growth of 22.2 MT in 2018 represented nearly 80 percent of the increase in net trade, the report said. This builds on what had already been an impressive 50 percent in 2017.
The 15.8 MT of incremental import growth in China was the largest ever for a single market, surpassing a mark that was also set by China only in 2017.
“Growth in international LNG trade during 2019 is likely to be driven by the same set of markets as in 2018. Import demand growth is expected to be driven by markets across Asia, including China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh,” the report said.
Also, two new markets began receiving LNG supply in 2018 — Bangladesh and Panama, it added.
Qatar’s energy policy was increasingly focused on gas, the discovery of which has propelled the country into the top ranks of international hydrocarbons producers and established the country as the world’s richest by per capita income.
According to the World Bank, in 2017 Qatar’s gross national income per capita was $128,050, compared to $74,410 for the UAE and $60,200 for the US.
Qatar is working to increase its output of gas-to-liquids (GTL) products, including naphtha, with the government aiming to increase exports of the liquid by 3m tonnes per year, up from just under 500,000 tonnes in 2016, the Oxford Business Group (OBG) said in a recent report.
“The country is on pace to meet this target due to its Pearl GTL plant operated by Shell, the largest of its kind in the world with a daily capacity of 140,000 barrels of GTL products including gasoil, kerosene, naphtha, paraffin and base oils for lubricants,” it said.
Qatar is also home to Oryx GTL, a joint venture between QP (51 percent) and Sasol of South Africa (49 percent) that began production in 2006.
The Oryx plant uses natural gas treated at Ras Laffan Industrial City and converts it into low-sulphur diesel, naphtha and LPG.
The Oryx plant has a daily capacity of 32,441 bpd. In September 2018 Oryx GTL made its first direct delivery to Germany when 8.2m litres were bought by the German company HGM Energy.
Although Qatar’s main export commodity is not crude, the country’s GDP and balance of payments have been affected by fluctuations in global oil markets since the price collapse starting in mid-2014, when prices fell from $115 per barrel in June 2014 to under $35 at the end of February 2016.
According to the World Bank in 2014 Qatar’s GDP was $206.2 billion, falling to $161.7 billion in 2015 and $151.7 billion in 2016.
Data from Qatar’s Planning and Statistics Authority reflects this, showing the mining and quarrying sector, which includes hydrocarbons production, contracted from QR403 billion in 2013 to QR196 billion in 2017 at current prices.

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