The Economy of Qatar

The Economy of Qatar Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010


Oil constitutes more than 30% of Qatar Gross Domestic Product (GDP), approximately 80% of export earnings, and 66% of government revenues. Proved oil reserves of 3.7 billion barrels should ensure continued output at the prevailing levels for 23 years. Oil has given Qatar a per capita GDP comparable to that of the leading West European industrial countries. Qatar's reserves of natural gas exceed 7 trillion cubic meters, which is more than 5% of the world total reserves, third largest in the world. Production and export of natural gas are becoming increasingly important. Long-term goals consider the development of offshore petroleum and the diversification of the economy. In 2000, Qatar posted its highest ever trade surplus of $6 billion, due basically to high oil prices and increased natural gas exports.

Oil and natural gas

The utilization of oil and natural gas along with a group of affiliated and complementary industries constitutes the backbone of the Qatari economy.

The government has pursued a policy of full control, ownership and wise utilization of the country's hydrocarbon resources in the service of national aspirations. In attempting to realize the policy, the government has sponsored development plans and studies relating to the best use of oil revenues. The establishment of economically viable projects and a solid oil-related industrial base has been the aim.

Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC)

The Qatar General Petroleum Corporation undertakes exploration and production activities through two divisions:

Onshore -- This division is responsible for production in a single large oil-field, consisting of four major hydrocarbon reservoirs -- three oil bearing and one containing non-associated gas.

Offshore -- This division is in charge of oil production in offshore oil fields located within the country's territorial waters.

There is also an oil-field, Bunduq, which straddles the marine boundary between Qatar and the UAE and which is owned by both countries in equal shares.

QGPC supervises a number of local industries based on the utilization of gas an oil as well as a number of investments abroad. The company also sponsors programmes of training for Qatari employees locally and abroad. A special training and development department has been set up.

The North Gas Field

Discovered in 1971 in water from 15 to 17 meters deep located north east of the Qatar peninsula, it covers a surface area of about 6000 square kilometres. Its reserves are estimated at about 500 trillion cubic feet and in considered the largest single concentration of natural gas on earth. This discovery propelled Qatar into the top five countries in terms of biggest gas reserves in the world.

Basic economic information

Market Exchange Rate:

1 US Dollar (USD) = 3.39490 Qatari Rial (QAR) (November 2001).

Inflation Rate at Consumer Prices

2.3% (estimation of 2000).

Labour Force by Economic Sector of Activity (1999)

Agriculture 1.5%, Industry and Services 98.5%.

Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

US $ 10.0 billion (2000).

Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate

3% (estimation of 2000).

Gross Domestic Product Per Capita (1998)

US $ 17,658.


Crude oil production and refining, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement.

Agricultural – products

Fruits, vegetables, poultry, dairy products, beef, fish.

Human Development Indicator (HDI), UNDP figures 1999

Qatar is ranked 41among the 174 countries selected in the Human Development Report 1999 of the UNDP.

Major Trading Partners

IMPORTS UK, France, Japan, US, Italy, EXPORTS Japan, Singapore, South Korea, US, UAE.

Major Export Products

Petroleum products 2/3, fertilizers, steel.

Major Import Products

Machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals.

Merchandise Exports (1999)

US $ 6.7 billion.

Merchandise Imports (1999)

US $ 5.5 billion.

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