Qatar's Foreign Policy Priorities during the Global Energy Markets Evolution

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-9-108-117
N. Kozhanov (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), Profsoyuznaya Str., 23, Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 05.03.2021.


Using elements of the ‘small state’ theory, the article examines relations between Qatar’s foreign policy priorities and existing challenges to Doha’s presence at the natural gas markets caused by the impact of the US shale revolution, beginning of the global energy transition, and COVID 19 pandemic. These factors shifted the critical emphasis in the concept of the Persian Gulf energy security. The oversupply of gas that has been existing in the markets since 2019 and the emergence of new leaders in the list of leading LNG exporting countries in recent years significantly changed the situation in the markets in favor of consumers, who can now diversify their sources of supply. Under these circumstances, the sustainability of gas exports from the Gulf countries is no longer a factor of supply security, but an element of demand security: while LNG consumers have access to alternative suppliers, it is Qatar that has to fight for its place in the market, ensuring a stable demand for its main export product. This, in turn, forces Doha to re-adjust its relations with both the consumer countries and main rivals at the LNG market. Under the new circumstances, Qatar’s main challenge remains unchanged: it has to maintain sufficient financial revenues received from the LNG exports to ensure its more active and independent foreign policy that differs it from other so-called “small states”. Yet, to achieve this, Qatar is following the traditional strategy of small states: it hedges its risks through forming multilevel coalitions and alliances with both consumers and exporters of natural gas. 


Qatar, small states, shale oil revolution, energy security, the Persian Gulf


  1. Almezaini K., Rickli J. Theories of Small States’ Foreign and Security Policies and the Gulf States. The Small Gulf States. Foreign and Security Policies before abd after the Arab Spring. Almezaini K., Rickli J., eds. New York, Routledge, 2017, pp. 8-31.
  2. Walt S.M. The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1990. 336 p.
  3. Miller R. Qatar, Energy Security, and Strategic Vision in a Small State. Journal of Arabian Studies, 2020, no. 10.1, pp. 122-138.
  4. Skriba A. The Balancing of Small and Medium-Sized Nations. International Trends, 2014, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 88-100. (In Russ.)
  5. Belfer M. Small State, Dangerous Regions. A Strategic Assessment of Bahrain. Frankfurt, Peter Land, 2014. 412 p.
  6. Kamrava M. Qatar: Small State, Big Politics. New York, Cornell University Press, 2013. 222 p.
  7. Melkumyan E.S. The Persian Gulf Region in the World Policy: Past and Present. Vestnik of Lobachevsky University of Nizhni Novgorod, 2015, no. 3, pp. 82-89. (In Russ.)
  8. Ulrichsen K. Qatar and the Arab Spring. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014. 256 p.
  9. Miller B. When and How Regions Become Peaceful: Potential Theoretical Pathways to Peace. International Studies Review, 2005, vol. 7, iss. 2, pp. 229-267.
  10. Ingram J. Qatar Trade: Surplus Dips in 2019 as LNG Pricing Pressure Augurs Worse to Come. The Middle East Economic Survey, 2020, January 31. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  11. Planning and Statistics Authority of Qatar. Qatar Economic Outlook. 2020–2022. Doha, Planning and Statistic Authority of Qatar, 2019. 80 p.
  12. Cochrane P. Supertanker State: How Qatar is Gambling its Future on Global Gas Dominance. The Middle East Eye, 2020, July 2. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  13. Dargin J. Qatar’s Natural Gas: The Foreign-Policy Driver. The Middle East Policy, 2007, vol. XIV, no. 3, pp. 136-142.
  14. Çavuşoğlu E. From Rise to Crisis: The Qatari Leadership. Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2020, no. 1 (7), pp. 81-109.
  15. Piet R., Wright S. The Dynamics of Energy Geopolitics in the Gulf and Qatar’s Foreign Relations with East Asia. Lester L., ed. Energy Relations and Policy Making in Asia. Singapore, Palgrave, 2016, pp. 161-181.
  16. Ingram J. Qatar 2018 Revenue Surge Finances Renewed Checkbook Diplomacy. The Middle East Economic Survey, 2019, February 1. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  17. Gaza Deal Signals that Qatar’s Subtle Influence Continues in Israel. The Gulf States Newsletter, 2020, September 3, vol. 44, iss. 1109. Available at: (accessed 05.07.2021).
  18. Kudrin A., Pikh S. Qatar’s Energy Policy: The Strategy of Supplies to the European and Asian Markets. TEK Rossii, 2016, no. 7, pp. 14-19. (In Russ.)
  19. Troubled Waters: GCC Internal Schism in the Spotlight Again. The Middle East Economic Survey, 2017, June 9. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  20. GIIGNL. Annual Report. 2020. Paris, International Group of Liquified Natural Gas Importers, 2020. 64 p.
  21. Cockayne J. Korea LNG: Volumes Slump. The Middle East Economic Survey, 2020, July 17. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  22. Korea 1H20 LNG Imports: Qatar Volumes Fall 24% as Australia Closes Gap to Top Supplier. The Middle East Economic Survey, 2020, July 17. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  23. Ingram J. Kuwait Risks Exhausting Financial Reserves. The Middle East Economic Survey, 2020, May 15. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  24. Bousso R. Qatar Petroleum to Slash Spending by 30%. Reuters, 2020, May 21. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  25. Podymov A., Chichkin A. Qatar of Gas. Voyennoye Obozreniye, 03.06.2020. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  26. Mosis S. Qatari expansion: Build it and they will come? The Petroleum Economist, 2020, September 8. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  27. Qatar is Ready to Crush Competitors with Cheap Gas. EADaily, 17.03.2021. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  28. Fulwood M., Lambert M., eds. Emerging Asia LNG Demand. Oxford, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, 2020. 20 p.
  29. Malaysia Eyes More Qatari Investments. The Gulf Times, 2019, December 12. Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  30. Qatar Found the Week Points of Gazprom in Europe. EADaily, 01.10.2020. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 15.06.2021).
  31. GIIGNL. Annual Report. 2021. Paris, International Group of Liquified Natural Gas Importers, 2021. 20 p.
  32. Tamimi N. Navigating Uncertainty: Qatar Response to the Global Gas Boom. Doha, Doha Brookings Center, 2015. 20 p.

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Kozhanov N. Qatar's Foreign Policy Priorities during the Global Energy Markets Evolution. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2021, vol. 65, No 9, pp. 108-117.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment

Current Issue
2022, vol. 66, No. 1

Topical Themes of the Issue:

  • The Chinese Phenomenon of Economic Growth 
  • The Sino-US Conflict in the Light of History of International Relations 
  • The Post-Trump US Policy in Mena Region and the Interests of the Russian Federation
  • Phenomenon of Direct Investments that are not Associated with “Classic” TNCs
View This Issue (2022, vol. 66, No. 1)
Submit an Article
Dear Authors!

Please note that in order to ensure stability of work of the editorial office and the possibility of planning the filling of the actual headings of the journal, articles and other materials received by the editorial office after July 1 will most likely be published next year. If you plan to publish your article in the current year the material should be submitted to the editorial office no later than July 1 of the current year.

Dear Authors!

In order to avoid the multiplicity of copyright profiles and to unambiguously identify your works in the international and domestic databases of scientific citation while submitting manuscripts to our journal please specify your ORCID.

Dear Readers!  
Please note that the full-text versions of each issue of the journal are opened on our website after 6 months from the date of publication. Work on deepening the open full-text archive is in progress. As of the end of 2021, all articles and materials published in the journal since January 2008 are freely available.

Dear colleagues, authors and readers!
We kindly request you to turn to editor-in-chief and executive secretary directly concerning reviewing scientific publications in our journal. Only editor-in-chief takes decision on order and publication the reviews!

Dear Readers!
This is to inform the researchers of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations that electronic versions of the IV issue of 2020 and I issue of 2021 of French magazine Politique étrangère are now available. Those who are interested, please personally address to the editorial staff of MEMO Journal (room 18-17) with an electronic media.

In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“World Energy Sector after Pandemic”. We plan to publish articles presenting in-depth analysis of influence of Pandemic on the global energy sector and forecasts of further developments in its various branches.

“Civilization processes of modern development” is a new rubric opened by MEMO Journal in 2020. It will be devoted to the analysis of the influence of civilizational factors and inter-civilizational interactions on the political and socio-economic development of the world at whole, regions and countries.

“Africa today and tomorrow”The rubric devoted to contemporary issues of Africa which is attracting growing interest of the world's leading actors. We plan to publish the articles analyzing the status of statehood, socio-economic and political development of the countries of Black continent, as well as the integration processes between them.


"World Eсonomy and International Relations" announces a contest for the best joint academic publications of domestic and foreign researchers and experts in topical issues of the world economy and international relations. The winners will be selected according to the results of peer reviewing and discussion at the Editorial Board. The articles will be published in priority order.


The print version of “World Economy and International Relations” journal is distributed by advance subscription only, and is not offered for retail sale. To subscribe please address to any post office in Russia by referring to the Federal Postal Service Union Catalogue, section “ARSMI”, the journal index is 70542. The subscription may be made for the whole subscription period or starting from any nearest available month for desired number of issues.

To purchase the full-text electronic version of the journal’s issue/article please address to the WEB portal of Scientific electronic library or URL:

In journal
2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 |

The author’s opinions may not coincide with the position of editorial