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Editorial comment

The highly anticipated global football tournament, the FIFA World Cup 2022, is well underway in Qatar, despite a series of controversies surrounding the choice of the Gulf state as host. A string of human rights issues, the impact of extreme temperatures on players, and suspected corruption in the bidding process, have all fuelled the debate on whether the tournament should have been allowed to go ahead in the Middle Eastern country. Furthermore, concerns have been raised over the treatment of migrant workers who have been tasked with exhaustive work, including the construction of seven new stadiums and the rehabilitation of an eighth.

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Qatar ranks 13th in the world for oil reserves, with 25 244 000 000 bbl, and 14th in the world for oil production, producing 1 987 193 bpd. The country also has the world’s third-largest proven natural gas reserves, and projects are ongoing to maintain its position as a key industry player. Sembcorp Marine, for example, recently completed work for two offshore wellhead platforms for Qatar’s largest offshore oilfield, Al Shaheen.

According to GlobalData, Qatar’s economy is forecast to grow at a pace of 4.6% in 2022 compared to 1.5% in 2021.1 Ratings agency Moody’s has also changed Qatar’s credit outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’, as a result of high energy prices, a high level of per-capita income, and vast hydrocarbon reserves with minimal extraction cost.2 The surge in oil and LNG prices in recent years has generated a large revenue windfall for Qatar, leading to a fiscal surplus of around 9.5% of GDP in 2022.2

Tourism and tourist spending, ticket revenue, and an estimated 1 million visitors to the country during the World Cup can also only be a positive sign for the country’s economy, however, undoubtedly human rights concerns and the controversy surrounding the host nation has, for many, tainted one of the most celebrated tournaments in the history of the sport.

To read more about the opportunities and challenges facing the upstream sector in the MENA region, take a look at our regional report on P.10.



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