Qatar has recently passed Lichtenstein to occupy the position as the world's wealthiest nation. Despite claims from tourist sites that the country owes its economic fame to the 19th century pearl industry, the true source of Qatar's fortunes lies under its windswept sands.
Qatar, it is estimated, has the largest non-associated
(i.e., not found with oil) natural gas fields in the world.
The primary company charged with excavating and exporting
the natural gas, is Qatar's domestic
Qatargas which, despite being
partially owned by foreign investors, serves to fill the
country's coffers. Established in 1984, just 10 years after
Qatar nationalized its energy resources, Qatargas pioneered
the technique of creating liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the
Middle East. Today, Qatargas is the largest producer of
LNG on the planet.
Natural gas has substantially contributed to building Qatar's national identity. From the futuristic skyline of Doha to the extravagant lifestyle of the average Qatari citizen, Qatar continues to rely heavily on the fortunes it extracts from its sands. Without natural gas, Qatar's deserts would once again turn into an unprofitable problem. The country desperately continues to seek solutions for this future inevitability through land reclamation projects and the Qatarization program, which aims to replace the expatriate workforce with citizens of Qatar. For the moment; however, things have never looked better for the small peninsular nation.
For more information, see the US Energy Information Administration's page on Qatar.
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