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
For more information, see the US Energy Information Administration's page on Qatar.