Interview: Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada
What advantages does Qatar enjoy in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry?
MOHAMMED BIN SALEH AL SADA: The country is already the world’s largest producer and exporter of LNG, and is likely to remain one of the largest LNG producers for the foreseeable future. Qatar highly values its relationship with its customers. It has a long track record as a reliable LNG supplier and benefits from its first-mover cost advantage, as well as an efficient delivery mechanism backed by investments along the entire value chain: production, processing, export and receiving terminals serviced by the world’s largest fleet of LNG carriers. This helps Qatar remain the most competitive and reliable supplier, while also being dynamic and responsive to the market.
How is the supply and demand of energy sources projected to change in the coming years?
AL SADA: It is widely accepted by prominent energy analysts that global gas consumption will increase by over 50% between now and 2040. Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel and will remain the centrepiece of the energy equation. Within the natural gas segment, the LNG market is expected to grow even faster, at approximately 4.5% per annum in the same period. The market share of LNG in international gas trade is expected to grow from the current level of 33% to more than 50% by 2035, bringing its share to the same volume as piped gas. In the medium term, strong growth is expected to push total global LNG demand to about 314m tonnes per annum (tpa) by 2020. LNG supply is set for a substantial rise, and production capacity is expected to reach 400m tpa by 2020, as additional US and Australian supply enters the market. Therefore, despite the strong growth in demand, the market will experience oversupply over the next few years.
However, very few new LNG projects are to come on-line in the earlier part of the next decade and, as a result, the global LNG market will start to tighten, potentially facing a supply shortage beyond 2025. Qatar intends to remain a leading player in the future as well, meeting market demand – hence the recent directive to raise the country’s LNG production by 30% to reach 100m tpa and be fully operational by 2024.
What steps are the government taking towards developing the renewable energy segment?
AL SADA: The government believes that greenhouse gas emissions are a global challenge that can be mitigated by using fuels for power generation that emit less CO . Fossil fuels are expected to still account for 75% of the world’s energy mix in 2040, and gas will continue to be the fuel of choice. It is a very practical and potent energy source that acts as a bridge, allowing for a smooth transition to a lower-carbon future. Environmental protection is a key pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar is a signatory of the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change, and a number of public and private investments are driving developments in the solar energy sector. For example, we have the facilities to produce high-purity polysilicon for both the domestic and international market. Many buildings are equipped with solar panels, and one upcoming project is the development of a solar power project of up to 500 MW.
How can public-private partnerships contribute to the success of the energy sector?
AL SADA: The country aims to achieve sustainable development through the participation and growth of both the public and private sectors. Within the region, Qatar has been the first to deregulate and encourage private investment. Power generation and water production services were separated and privatised in the year 2000, when Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) was established. Since then, several additional integrated power and water facilities have been built by QEWC to accommodate the country’s increasing demand for power and water. These provide opportunities for private sector financiers and investors.
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