Qatar is looking for someone to buy its gas at the time of Corona


Doha – In a rare step, Doha was forced to attract buyers of its surplus liquefied gas after India canceled the largest importer of Qatari gas previously agreed shipments declaring the force majeure situation due to the repercussions of the new Corona virus, to deepen the crisis of the emirate’s small economy, which depends almost entirely on gas exports.

Three informed sources told Reuters on Thursday that Qatar Petroleum addressed in a rare move a number of buyers in Asia and Europe, exhibiting LNG shipments in the spot market.

The sources added that the exact exact quantities could not be confirmed, but the company offered the shipments either for download or delivery in April, depending on the site.

Two merchants said they had offered about a dozen shipments.

Qatar is India’s largest LNG supplier with an estimated capacity of 8.5 million tons annually, and the Qatar Gas unit of Qatar Petroleum is a long-term seller of LNG shipments.

Traders said they were likely forced to find buyers for their surplus shipments after India’s largest gas importer, Petronet, issued a notice to Qatar Gas to announce the Force Majeure event.

The sharp fall in gas demand in Europe, caused by closures that curbed industrial production, is also forcing LNG suppliers such as Qatar to search for alternative buyers.

Rebecca Chia, an analyst with Kepler Data, said the easy LNG tanker, which was supposed to head to Hazira, India on April 1 after loading a cargo from Qatar, was parked without work at the Ras Laffan port.

Traders said Qatar Petroleum recently sold two shipments to Thai PTT for delivery in May, at a price between 3.05 and 3.15 dollars per million British thermal units.

The prices of liquefied natural gas fell to an all-time low in Asia in January / January with low energy consumption in China, which recorded the cases of the spread of the Corona virus. Lower demand from China has undermined hopes that the world’s largest fuel consumer will absorb excess supplies to reduce coal dependence.

Informed sources revealed on February 17 that Qatar also postponed the selection of Western partners to expand the largest LNG project in the world, after analysts had originally questioned its economic viability in light of the collapse in gas prices.

With the spread of the Corona virus and its impact on the world’s toughest economies, especially in rentier states that depend on a single product such as Doha, Qatar gas exports are waiting for a total collapse, after the economy had already suffered before the crisis of the virus outbreak, huge losses due to the Quadruple boycott.

Qatar’s economic paralysis is likely to worsen with the collapse in real estate prices and sovereign institutions continue to pump tens of billions of dollars to counter liquidity squeeze and a wave of investor exodus from Doha.

Doha’s fortune is frozen until further notice

The map of world LNG producers has changed in recent years, which were led by Qatar, after many countries entered the market strongly in this area, including Australia, the United States and also Saudi Arabia.

With the beginning of an expanded spread of the Corona virus more broadly, the prices of liquefied natural gas fell to less than two dollars per million British thermal units, a decrease of more than 60 percent compared to an annual comparison, after the collapse of demand and oversupply of markets, until gas tankers roamed the sea without finding buyers.

In light of this, Doha continued to drown in the withdrawal of financial reserves, to cover up the budget deficit to show its extensive exhibition commitments in construction projects in preparation for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan revealed in late January that his country is looking to renegotiate the price in long-term contracts for LNG, which it buys from Qatar.

But Doha refused this in a move that revealed a clear misjudgment of the crisis in the world, to continue to review its ability to withstand despite the suspension of plans to increase gas production by 60 percent.

In response to the Indian request, the Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sharida Al-Kaabi said his country does not wish to renegotiate prices in long-term liquefied gas supply contracts with New Delhi.

As of Wednesday, Qatar recorded 537 cases of coronavirus, as the Ministry of Public Health announced 11 new cases of infection, placing it at the advanced level of the Gulf countries.

Parked without work in the port of Ras Laffan
LNG tankers are parked without work at the Ras Laffan port in Qatar

With the virus spreading further, the Qatari authorities were forced to take unprecedented decisions that they were refusing to implement in the past to reduce the repercussions of the crisis on its economy, which is already suffering a great collapse, despite attempts to cover it through patching procedures that did not succeed in erasing the effects of isolation that they have been living for three years.

And last Thursday, Doha announced that it would allow foreign workers working in the oil and gas sector to leave its lands without conditions on the visa, a step that has long been delayed in its implementation within the reform measures called for by international organizations, which confirms the depth of the emirate’s crisis, which is moaning because of an Arab quadruple boycott that has undermined most of its economic activities Since 2017.

The tweets of official officials in Qatar on Twitter reported last week that Doha had canceled the conditions for exit visas for an additional sector of its foreign workforce, including workers in the oil and gas industry.

According to the agency “Bloomberg” the American, the expatriate workers in Qatar face a tragic situation inside the quarantine in Doha, after the authorities imposed strict measures on the labor camps for two weeks, due to the outbreak of Corona, which led to the injury of hundreds of workers with the coronavirus in an attempt to contain its spread.

Energy-producing Qatar relies on about two million foreign workers in the bulk of its workforce, most of them from Asian countries.

Last week, the Philippine authorities revealed their surprise that Qatar Airways had laid off 200 Filipino employees without warning.

The Philippines’ attaché in Qatar, David Descanning, asked Doha to clarify the reason, noting that the workers were surprised by dispensing their service.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that the Corona virus threatens 33,000 jobs in the aviation sector in Qatar.

Qatar is investing most of its wealth generated from gas revenues worldwide, and since the beginning of the imposition of the Arab boycott it has had to sell a lot of them to mitigate its damages, but adopting the same solution now in light of the state of panic and the collapse of global financial markets due to the repercussions of the Corona virus and the drop in oil prices, this will be difficult Extremely.

The global gas price collapse crisis coincides with American producers rushing to increase LNG export capacity to spend a huge domestic surplus. Gas prices in the United States have fallen so much and for a long time that many companies producing shale gas are struggling to raise funds, and some are close to the brink of bankruptcy.

Observers expect a group of projects worldwide from Canada to Mozambique and Nigeria to lead to a larger surplus in supply during the current decade. And one of the sources said, “The companies have started to worry about all this gas discharging.”

With the increasing pessimistic view of the future of gas prices, Qatari expansion projects have become less attractive to international companies, which will force Doha to postpone projects and even cancel them so that its gas-dependent economy enters into a dark tunnel.

The outbreak of the Corona virus deepened the Doha crisis, which in recent years resorted to Ankara and Tehran to break its isolation, but these countries are also suffering a serious collapse in their economy due to their failure to contain the repercussions of the coronavirus and its spread, as Iran ranked third globally in the number of deaths and injuries while Turkey is preparing for the worst in The Turkish lira continued to decline and its crisis economy affected.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here