Qatar oil minister says times are still tough
Abdullah al-Attiyah predicts a tough year for Qatar's energy sector
Qatar’s oil minister has said that the global recession has still not ended and that the slump in demand for hydrocarbons will continue to hit his country’s energy exports.
Speaking at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum being held in Doha, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah predicted that the market would remain challenging for the foreseeable future.
"The fallout from the economic crisis does not only hit financial institutions but other sectors, such as oil and gas," Attiyah is reported by news agency AFP as saying.
"The last quarter of 2008 was difficult for the energy industry and all the indicators show that this year it will witness a tough period as well," he added.
Oil prices on world markets tumbled to about 32 dollars a barrel in December from an all-time high of 147 dollars last July before recovering to 72 dollars on Tuesday.
Attiyah added that demand for gas would still grow although exporters had to think about how to overcome the problems the slump in demand had brought.
"The current economic crisis, which was not expected and was unprecedented, has prompted a revision of strategies to counter the possible impact of these challenges," Attiyah is reported by AFP as saying.
Qatar has the world’s third largest reserves of natural gas and is the world’s number one exporter of LNG.