Qatar slams UK’s energy vulnerability as new £10bn deal set to replace Russian gas and oil

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Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani at Downing Street, with the Emir signing a £10billion commitment to investing in Britain’s trade, defence and energy. Qatar is a leading supplier of fuel to the UK, particularly through large shipments of liquefied natural gas tankers to Britain’s three LNG terminals.

With the country having the world’s third most abundant natural gas reserves, Qatar could play a crucial role in ending the energy crisis and slashing reliance on Russia.

While Doha has said that it is willing to help the UK is tackling its cost of living crisis, the country has also humiliated the UK and other western countries for “demonising oil and gas companies”.

Speaking to Sky News, Qatar’s energy minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi argued Europe’s energy crisis has been driven by years of labelling fossil fuel producers as “bad guys” and pushing to rapidly end the production of oil and gas.

He also noted that the current crisis is a “much deeper issue” than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year, which drove up wholesale gas prices to record levels.

The minister, who is also the president and CEO of State-owned Qatar Petroleum, highlighted that in recent years, investment in gas productions had been falling.

He said: “There was a build-up of countries pushing for the [energy] transition in a hard way.

“[They pushed for] net-zero, moving to renewables, doing away with fossil fuels and demonising the oil and gas companies, [calling them] the bad guys.

“And [as a result] you don’t have enough investment in the oil and gas sector.”

With Ofgem’s recent announcement that the energy price cap will increase to £2,800 this winter, the UK is desperately scrambling to end a way to end the energy crisis, which is pushing households into fuel poverty.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be working on a new package of measures aimed at supporting the households hardest hit by energy price rises.

Some Whitehall insiders believe the announcement could come as early as tomorrow with the Commons due to rise for the Whitsun Recess tomorrow afternoon but early next month is also being considered.

Qatar’s energy minister noted that while Britain was “in better shape than a lot of other countries” there was little the country could do to bring the price down in the near term.

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He added: “Unfortunately, it’s a little bit painful because it will take time [and the price is] amplified by the Ukraine issue.

“But we’re absolutely ready [to help]. The UK is a very important country for us in Europe, and we will definitely do our best.”

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