Qatar, currently the world's number one exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), recently announced that it will increase production from 77 million tonnes of natural gas to 100 million tonnes a year by 2024.
With proven gas reserves of almost 26 trillion cubic metres, the peninsula is home to the world's third-largest reserves of gas after Russia and Iran. The majority of Qatar's natural gas is located offshore in the North Field which is shared with Iran. Gas has helped transform Qatar into one of the richest countries in the world, and at current prices, the announced increase in production would translate to revenues of around $30bn.
Corporate energy giants like ExxonMobil, Shell and Total are already lobbying the government to take part in the expansion.
So what does Qatar's ambitious natural gas expansion plan mean for the LNG market and the world's future energy supply?
"The demand for LNG is expanding ... it has been said that towards 2025 in the first half of the next decade, supplies of LNG might be short and that's exactly what Qatar is banking upon. Announcing a major expansion of its export capacity, they [Qatar] aim at coming onto the market at the moment when supply might be relatively short," says
Professor Giacomo Luciani from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
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