Arab states set to play major role in global gas market
Arab states are set to play a major role in the fast-growing global gas market as they have done in the oil sector
over the past three decades, given their enormous gas reserves and possible new discoveries that could more than
double such wealth.
The UAE, its partners in the six-nation GCC and other members of the 21-nation Arab League sit atop 40 tcm of natural gas, nearly a quarter of the total world reserves, according to the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). But such reserves are recoverable as undiscovered gas wealth is estimated at nearly 44 tcm, the Kuwaiti-based Organisation said.
"Despite the vast quantities of natural gas being consumed locally, the Arab countries' discovered and undiscovered
gas reserves will enable producers to play an important role in the international market," said OAPEC's secretary
general Abdul Aziz Turki in the bulletin. "Gas can be exported by pipeline, or in the form of liquefied gas, or
converted into electricity that can be distributed through power grids... the huge investments made in developing
their reserves over the past 30 years have resulted in a threefold expansion and this will ensure a continuation of
their vital role in the global gas map."
But Turki stressed Arab states need to step up cooperation with other countries to benefit from their experience in the gas industry and at the same time market their gas output. He cited multi-billion dollar joint projects involving LNG in Qatar and Oman, where several international firms are participating with funds and technology.
The world's oil superpower, Saudi Arabia, whose gas wealth has yet to be tapped, is also on the verge of launching
one of the biggest gas contracts in the Middle East's history in collaboration with global companies as part of the
so-called Gas Initiative pushed by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz during a visit to the US five years ago.
"We hope that the various branches of the natural gas industry will receive the local and international attention they deserve, that tangible efforts will be exerted, and that ties of Arab and international cooperation can be forged in fulfilment of such attention," Turki said.