Posted on April 22, 2020

Qatar’s economic policy is built on a robust system, and a stimulus scheme of USD20.6 billion over the coming three years is expected to absorb the shock of what is happening worldwide, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, the country’s former Minister of Energy and Industry, has said in an online seminar at Qatar Foundation.

“We expect that next year our economy will exceed 3 percent growth, and I think the service sector particularly will rebound ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” His Excellency Dr. Al-Sada told the latest edition of the Al Maerifa virtual lecture series at Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university. “Our unemployment is nearly zero – which is unheard of in most of the countries – and so I feel our economy will manage.

From the very early stages of this pandemic, Qatar took the policy of “no regret”, according to His Excellency Dr Al-Sada His Excellency Al-Sada – who is also Chairman of the Joint Advisory Board of TAMUQ and a member of the Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation – and this policy meant the government was swift in taking measures by perceiving the COVID-19 pandemic to be extremely serious. The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management was established, and “all resources, including human and financial, were mobilized”, he told the lecture, also pointing to the fact that the latest credit ratings indicate the stability of the Qatari economy, with assessments by both Standard & Poor and Moody's providing confidence that it is solid and able to withstand shocks.

The dominant role of the hydrocarbon sector is reflected in Qatari GDP. Qatar is the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), accounting for one-third of global LNG exports. And at the current rate of production, its proven natural gas reserves would last for an estimated 130 years, according to Moody’s. With the oil and gas industry being the movers and shakers of economies worldwide, His Excellency Dr. Al-Sada says that “salvaging the world’s oil and gas industry is very important in order to salvage the global economy and mitigate the worldwide impact of the recession, and, in fact, trying to stop it from going further into a depression.”

Addressing how the current coronavirus crisis will have short- and long-term effects on gas development, His Excellency Dr. Al-Sada said: “Don't look at what is happening today. Today is very unusual. “We look at it long-term, and that will be the balancing of the supply and demand. I think it will occur sometime around 2024 or 2025, because the curve of the consumption and demand is increasing more than any other form of energy.” Qatar recently announced the LNG expansion project, where capacity is expected to be increased by 64 percent by 2027.  “Gas, in particular, will have an excellent future,” said His Excellency Dr. Al-Sada. “I looked at eight top forecasts from very renowned organizations, and they unanimously agree that the demand in gas will grow more than any other form of fuels.”

Qatar has launched drilling for the first phase of the North Field expansion, which is expected to add approximately 64 percent to present capacity.