Qatar dominates fragmented Middle East LNG growth amid global competition


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Gerald Kepes

President, Competitive Energy Strategies, LLC


June 27, 2023

Bottom Line:

Future Middle East and North Africa liquefied natural gas (LNG) is really a story about Qatar’s LNG program. Qatar LNG could be as much as 70% of MENA LNG exports by 2025, increasing thereafter. In the 2030s, MENA LNG will be almost exclusively Qatar LNG, with much of North Africa a graveyard for liquefaction trains.

The abrupt departure of Russian pipeline gas from most European markets in 2022-2023 created opportunities for LNG producers globally. But mostly the opportunity is for spot cargoes and shorter-term contracts (less than 10 years). European states want price stability but are uncertain regarding needs past 10 years due to the pace of the energy transition.

Longer term, Russia’s LNG exports will not be a competitive threat to MENA (Qatar) LNG expansion due to the reaction to the continued invasion of Ukraine. Coal demand in China, India and other Asian markets is the biggest challenge to Qatar’s LNG expansion, less so the continued rise of US LNG. As long as Qatar LNG maintains access to finance and technology, and offers equity access to Chinese and other Asian partners, it will be competitively advantaged. 

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