The geopolitics of gas: Qatar, Iran and Russia

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier visits LNG port in Doha, Qatar.
May 25, 2006: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) visited Qatar just as it became a leading LNG exporter, but his country prefers cheaper Russian gas (source: dpa)
  • Qatar is preparing but not yet ready to challenge Russia’s hold on the EU gas market
  • Iran’s return as a gas exporter may disrupt Qatari and Russian plans in Asia
  • Doha may consider more Russian investments to keep lines of communication open

Qatar’s foreign policy differs from that of other Sunni Gulf states in key respects. First, it is one of the world’s biggest exporters of natural gas, giving it a subtly different geopolitical and economic orientation than its oil-producing neighbors. Second, it has consistently supported Islamic militants, especially the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Libya. Third, its relations with Iran are less antagonistic.

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