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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Qatar-Iraq-Turkey-Europe natural gas pipeline: from dreams to reality

In 2022 Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup. Qatar is too small a country to organize the world cup. It is small both in terms of population and surface area. Its population is 850,000 while its surface area is 11,437 square kilometers. This small Gulf country has to prepare for an influx of about 1 million soccer fans, who will need accommodation, transportation and food. To be able to do this Qatar will have to make major investments in infrastructure and finance them.

Qatar is relying on being a major natural gas provider to fund its World Cup investments. In this context, it will be eager to boost its natural gas exports in the next 20 years. Qatar has the third-largest natural gas reserves after the Russian Federation and Iran. Qatar’s confirmed natural gas reserves were around 25.25 trillion cubic meters as of Jan. 1, 2009. This accounts for approximately 15 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves. A significant portion of its reserves are located in the massive North Field, a former marine field.

Qatar exports natural gas to Europe in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). It has developed new projects in order to improve the yield of LNG to natural gas transformation. The LNG method includes the costs of liquefaction of natural gas, its handling in liquid form via special tankers, and its eventual gasification. Additional calculations will be needed to assess whether it is more economical to use the LNG method or pipelines to export natural gas from the producer (Qatar) to consumers (the European Union).