Qatar‘s current and future regional influence are strongly linked to its natural gas sector. With dependence on oil viewed as a strategic liability, Qatar’s forward-looking investments in LNG production and export technology give the country an advantage in an increasingly popular energy commodity. Also, because it cannot be undermined in price or supply guarantees by Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s LNG exports have given it considerable independence compared to its oil-dependent neighbors who are more likely to fall in line with Saudi views on most foreign policy issues.
Due to its significant LNG infrastructure investments and sizable natural gas reserves, Qatar will continue to be a key supplier of LNG for roughly the next 20 years. But with natural gas prices expected to peak within the next three to five years, Qatar faces both a shrinking profit margin and a more competitive market as regions such as North America are poised to become exporters themselves. Qatar will continue its attempts to mitigate some of these factors by encouraging its current customers to sign larger, longer-term deals — some up to 20 years — in an effort to lock in at current prices. Qatar has also been actively seeking to diversify its economy away from LNG and seek investments in alternative energy technology.