As is the case for Qatar's Middle Eastern neighbours, oil and natural gas are crucial components of it’s trade revenues. Eighty-five percent of Qatar's export earnings are derived from these industries and reinvested into imports such as food and machinery to sustain Qatar’s rapidly growing economy. High oil prices in particular, ensures Qatar operates with a trade surplus.
However, Qatar's reliance on oil is unsustainable. Qatar’s oil reserves are expected to run dry by 2023 and the Qatari government has since focused it's attention to developing the natural gas industry. Increased Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production in particular has driven Qatar’s rapid growth in recent times.
Massive expansion projects are still in the pipeline. Once completed, Qatar’s LNG production is expected to grow exponentially. Despite already being the world’s largest LNG exporter, Qatar aims to more than double its current output of LNG by the end of 2011.
Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster is also likely to increase in Qatar’s LNG exports. Japan is Qatar’s largest export partner, consuming more than 25 percent of Qatar’s total LNG output, and more LNG will be required to meet it's energy needs due to reduced capabilities of Japan's nuclear power plants.
Qatar Import and Export Indicators and Statistics at a Glance
Total value of exports: US$57.82 billion (2010 estimate)
Primary exports - commodities: liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Primary export partners: Japan (34.68 percent of total exports), South Korea (22.44 percent), Singapore (10.03 percent), India (4.86 percent)
Total value of imports: US$23.38 billion (2010 estimate)
Primary imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
Primary import partners: US (13.43 percent of total imports), Italy (8.34 percent), South Korea (8.33 percent), Japan (8.04 percent), Germany (7.31 percent), France (6.26 percent), UK (5.59 percent), China (5 percent), UAE (4.67 percent), Saudi Arabia (3.96 percent)
Oil exports: 753,000 bbl/day
Natural gas exports: 56.78 billion cu m