How would you describe the impact that the drop in oil prices has had on the State of Qatar's energy policy?
The State of Qatar's energy policy is dynamic and resilient, guided by the wise vision of HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar. Qatar has ably countered the negative impact of the low oil prices through its appropriate fiscal and monetary policies. Our resilient energy policy has intensified the usage of all applicable means for increasing efficiency of production while focusing on cost reduction and increasing the competitiveness of Qatari hydrocarbon products without sacrificing our efficiency and production. In addition, our energy policy has also focused on rationalization of the local demand for energy and reducing inefficient demand, which puts extra strain on the budget. Our long-term energy policy and our investment decisions have been well thought-out, having evolved as a part of an organic growth with the best collaborators, state-of-the-art technology, and best practices, in a clear and transparent manner
With the US, Australia, and Iran all expected to boost natural gas production and exports in the years to come, how will this impact Qatar's natural gas production levels and what are your expectations in the mid term?
The upcoming LNG projects in Australia and North America will add to the surplus in the market in the coming years and put pressure on prices, making it difficult to justify further investments in developing new natural gas resources. However, increase in demand for gas is more than any other fossil fuel and may even accelerate because of environmental gains. As far as Qatar is concerned, its LNG supply will continue to remain competitive and reliable, backed by its first-mover cost advantage and supported by efficient delivery mechanisms covering the entire value chain from production and processing to exporting and receiving terminals, serviced by world's largest fleet of 85 dedicated LNG carriers.
One of the four pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030 is to diversify the country's economy, and within this to develop the country's industrial potential. In what ways does Qatar's continued hydrocarbon production support this objective?
Qatar has prospered by utilizing its hydrocarbon resources to sustain its prosperity over the long term by wise management of exhaustible resources to ensure that future generations inherit ample means to meet their aspirations. These resources can be leveraged to make sustainable development a reality. Converting these natural assets into financial wealth provides a means to invest in world-class infrastructure by building efficient delivery mechanisms for public services, creating a highly skilled and productive labor force, and supporting the development of entrepreneurship and innovation capabilities. These achievements would in turn provide a broader platform for the diversification of Qatar's economy and its positioning as a regional hub for knowledge and for high-value industrial and service activities.
What specific sectors of industry are of primary importance to development?
Qatar aims to develop a knowledge-based economy characterized by innovation, entrepreneurship, excellence in education, world-class infrastructure, and the efficient delivery of public services. For the purpose of suitable economic diversification, Qatar is looking at these sectors of the industry and services, which are of primary importance, and maintains their competitiveness through competitive advantages derived from hydrocarbon industries. I must mention that Qatar plans to enable the private sector to play an essential role in achieving sustainable development. Training and support for entrepreneurs is a basic precondition for enabling the private sector to carry out its required role.