The Gulf state’s foreign minister said that Europe’s energy crisis cannot be limited to Russia-Ukraine tensions.
Qatar stressed that it will not be able to unilaterally replace Europe’s energy supply in the event of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, noting that energy security “requires a collective effort”, as Reuters reported on Tuesday.
“The volume of gas needed by the EU cannot be replaced by anyone unilaterally, without disturbing supplies to other regions around the world,” said Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi, following a virtual meeting with the EU’s Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson.
The president and CEO of QatarEnergy further reiterated the sentiments by saying that his country is willing to support its “partners around the world in times of need”, but “no single supplier would be able to provide more gas to Europe without having a knock-on effect globally.”
The statement came following talks between Qatari and US officials to potentially fill the gap in Europe’s fragile energy supply, should Russia invade Ukraine.
The mounting tensions between the two rivals raised particular concern over Europe’s energy supply, given that it receives 40% of its gas supplies from Russia or which almost a third of the shipments pass through Ukraine.
On the other hand, Qatar provides up to 5% of Europe’s liquified natural gas (LNG) supply, as most of its shipments go to Asian countries.
Commenting on the latest tensions, Al-Kaabi said that they “can be resolved diplomatically, so that all suppliers can work together to ensure energy security for the short- and long-terms”.
Energy security was featured amongst the issues discussed between Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during Monday’s meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington.
Whilst none of the statements that came out regarding the meetings made explicit mention of the Russia-Ukraine tensions, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Europe’s energy crisis cannot be limited the latest tensions.
“The issue requires collective action as there should be joint cooperation amongst energy exporting and consuming countries, and commercial institutions that manage the issue,” Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera during his Washington visit.
The Qatari diplomat said that the Gulf state “will not be part of a conflict or a political polarisation”.
“Keeping our contractual word is sacrosanct in Qatar,” said Al-Kaabi.
According to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics, Qatar was the world’s biggest LNG exporter last year, with gas supplies reaching 110.2 bcm (billion cubic metres). It was followed by Australia at 107.2 bcm, then the US at 96.3 bcm.
Additionally, Qatar has the LNG production capacity of up to 77 million mt/year (metric tonne per year), with further plans to ramp up this figure through its North Field expansion project—the largest in the world.
Through the expansion project, QatarEnergy is set to become the largest provider of natural gas by 2030.
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