UK media is reporting that Qatar’s influence over international energy flows is set to grow larger following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a series of deals to develop a new gasfield. According to a Financial Times report:
July 6, 2022 Qatar has built an outsized role in global commodity markets since it first began exporting liquefied natural gas more than two decades ago. Now, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a series of deals to develop a new gasfield, the Gulf state’s influence over international energy flows is set to grow even larger. QatarEnergy, its state-owned gas producer, has in recent weeks announced joint-venture agreements with five of the world’s biggest international oil companies to develop a vast $29bn project known as North Field East. The project aims to increase Qatar’s annual export capacity from 77mn tonnes to 110mn tonnes by 2026, helping it to overtake Australia as the second-biggest producer of the fuel behind the US. The deals with the UK’s Shell, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips of the US, France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni were years in the making and not a result of the rush for alternative energy supplies following Russia’s war in Ukraine. However, the fact that big western energy companies were so keen to join the project is a testament to Qatar’s growing importance as a gas superpower. “Entering Qatar is a major milestone for us,” Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi told the Financial Times.
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Among other things, Qatar has poured large sums of money into supporting Muslim Brotherhood projects in Europe. The country also employs large numbers of lobbyists to support its goals and uses Al Jazeera as its defacto media voice. In June, we reported on US officials involved in an ongoing investigation into illegal lobbying on behalf of Qatar. The Global Influence Operations Report recently reported that global demand for natural gas in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had positioned Qatar for a significant boost in its influence capacity.