The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the deputy premier of his government, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiya, celebrated this week the fact that Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production now stands at 77 million tons a year.
This level of production, according to the head of France’s Total, Christophe de Margerie, represents more than twice the consumption level of France, which has 65 million people. Qatar, along with Iran, represents the world’s second-largest reserve of LNG after Russia. But the difference between Qatar and Iran is that the former developed this clean energy source over 18 years, turning the small Gulf state into not only a world center for energy exports and various industries, but also an international site for cultural and sporting activities, such as the 2022 World Cup. Thanks to its natural resource wealth and the vision of its Emir and government, this small state has been able to create a significant position for itself on the world scene, in all fields.
Meanwhile, its neighbor Iran, which has similar reserves of LNG and a population of 70 million, now imports huge quantities of gas from Turkmenistan, for domestic consumption. Iran has a huge natural gas field that is an extension of Qatar’s North Field, but it has preferred to export revolution rather than pay attention to its people and natural wealth and use it to serve its large population, which is looking for a safe and secure life, and not one of confrontation with its neighbors and the world.
It is noticeable that a few hours after Qatar celebrated its LNG production level hitting 77 million tons a year, the Iranian National Press Agency released a statement that all stages of developing the South Pars gas field would begin work in April 2014. The head of the Pars Oil & Gas Company said Iran’s exploitation of natural gas would be equivalent to Qatar’s production in three years’ time.
A rational person would find it difficult to believe that a country like Iran, which is subject to strict economic sanctions that forbid any international company from dealing with it, will be able to match Qatar’s achievement after its constant efforts and the cooperation of all international giants in the field of exploration, production and factory construction.
Qatar is small, peaceful and rich, while Iran is big and rich, but its regime has chosen confrontation instead of benefiting from the country’s natural wealth to improve the lives of its people.
In any event, all oil and gas experts in international firms say that in 10 or 15 years’ time, the supply of LNG in the world will drop. A leading executive of an international oil firm says gas and petroleum will continue to be important sources of energy for a long time, but they are insufficient to cover the world’s consumption of energy. This is why there should be thinking about searching for additional energy sources. It is expected that oil and energy prices in general will remain high over the long term and that huge quantities of gas will be available in the world. Although shale oil in the United States is now available in large amounts, the use of natural gas as a clean and plentiful energy has a promising future, according to international firms. Industrial countries dream of reducing carbon emissions to protect the environment, but this will not come about only by developing alternative energies, because they represent a very small share of the total. LNG and natural gas in general are a promising clean energy for the future. The countries that do not delay in exploiting this resource, such as Qatar, are on the right path, while the Iranian regime, which imports gas, is wasting its natural wealth!