Qatar sets sights on US energy market

Qatar's Minister of Energy Mohammed al-Sada speaks to the media in Doha

DOHA - Gas-rich Qatar is looking for opportunities to invest in the US energy market, the Gulf state's Energy Minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada said on Wednesday.
Sada said Qatar wanted to build on Doha's good ties with Washington and shrugged off fears about any protectionist policies under US President Donald Trump.
"We have an excellent relationship with the US on all fronts," Sada said on the fringes of a Qatari government-organised press trip in Doha.
He said US energy giants ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron Phillips were already working in Qatar.
"We built an excellent relationship and we invested in the US and we are looking for opportunities to invest in the US," he said.
Asked about the potential impact of Trump's presidency on international trade, Sada said he would adopt a wait-and-see approach.
"But we are sure that any policy coming up from the US will be supportive to their own country as well as the rest," said the minister, who is also the current OPEC president.
The tiny emirate is the world's biggest producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which has enabled it to generate much of its wealth.
But some say Qatar's position could be threatened by lower global energy prices and increased competition from other nations including the United States, one of Qatar's main competitors in the LNG market.
Sada said that his country was undaunted by other players in the market, however.
"We are not worried about the cycles of ups and downs in the LNG industry," he said.
"We have a huge amount of gas coming to the market but... gas demand is growing more than any other fossil fuel and it will continue growing."
Trade between Qatar and the United States is set to increase after Doha said it wanted to invest $35 billion in the United States by 2020.
Qatar last year bought an almost 10 percent stake in the company that owns New York's iconic Empire State Building.
A keen political ally of the United States, Qatar hosts around 10,000 American troops at the Al-Udeid air base.