Qatar, a small country that will get richer thanks to the war in Ukraine

Bulsha:- With a population of less than three million people, Qatar has become an important country for Europe to replace energy imports from Russia.

Together with Australia, this small country in the Middle East is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has the potential to become a commercial ally for the European Union countries, where nearly 40% of its gas needs come from Russia.

Europe's energy dependence on Russia was not a big problem until the Kremlin decided to attack Ukraine in February, putting commercial relations between the two sides on the brink of collapse.

Europe has already embarked on a long-term deal to increase gas imports from other countries, but this is not a sufficient solution to offset the potential costs of stopping Russian gas imports.

Germany's Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, recently called for unprecedented steps to reduce dependence and counter what he sees as "the Kremlin's "energy blackmail."

Germany has not been able to receive LNG ships from other countries as it will need to build facilities to process it, a plan that may take three to five years, according to government calculations.

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Despite the logistical difficulties and given the urgency of the situation, Habeck said: "We have to try impractical steps."

And, Germany adopted a policy of using a floating LNG terminal, which is capable of receiving gas products from places as far away as the US or Qatar.

This is how Qatar entered the negotiating table well-positioned during the Ukraine war, at a time when Qatar was already making significant investments to boost gas production and infrastructure.

"There is certainly an opportunity for Qatar," Karen Young, senior research fellow and director of the economics and energy program at the think tank Middle East Institute, in Washington D.C., told BBC Mundo.

Expansion plan
Qatar has plans to increase its export capacity by about 60% by 2027 before the war starts. The medium-term opportunity to supply LNG to Europe "would be a boon, both economically if a deal is reached at current prices, and politically," he said.

As a semi-constitutional monarchy with the emir as the head of state, and the prime minister as the head of government, Qatar does not have to go through a complicated decision-making process or get political support from various parties.

The country's political system has been regarded by Western organizations as an "authoritarian regime", a description the Qatari government has rejected.

Amnesty International has condemned the practice it considers "exploitation and abuse" of migrant workers.

Qatar Ambition
LNG is refrigerated gas and has a higher selling price than natural gas. The biggest plus of LNG is that it is easier to transport.

This liquefied gas can be loaded onto ships and does not require the construction of a large gas pipeline network with a long term investment of millions of dollars.

In 2019, Qatar announced plans to increase LNG exports by 64% by 2027, an ambition to expand its business.

Under the plan, state-owned Qatargas has reached an agreement to increase production in the North Field area, a giant offshore platform that extends into Iranian waters and one of the world's largest natural gas reserves.

The expansion will enable Qatar to increase its LNG production capacity from 77 million to 110 million tonnes by 2025, as demand for the product continues to increase.

It is not only Germany that has approached Qatar to secure additional LNG imports. Several neighboring countries also do the same.

The urgency for obtaining new sources of energy has become more pressing and pressing in recent weeks, after Russia cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in the midst of the war.

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