Qatar’s energy minister warned on Tuesday that “the worst (was) yet to come” for oil and gas shortages in Europe, saying that a warm winter had prevented greater difficulties in recent months.
The wealthy Gulf emirate, among the world’s top gas exporters, is seeking to conclude long-term supply contracts with European States, most of which have long resisted despite their frantic search for alternatives to Russian hydrocarbons.
“The only thing that saved humanity and Europe this year was a warm winter and the slowdown in the economy,” Qatar’s energy minister, Saad Al-Kaabi, told an energy forum in Doha.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Europeans feared a gas shortage because of sanctions against Moscow and rising prices on world markets.
“If the economy starts churning back up in 2024 and you have just a regular winter, I think the worst is yet to come,” the Qatari minister estimated.
“If (European leaders have) a proper plan and sit down with producers, and oil and gas companies are not demonised, reality will kick in and we’ll have a sensible solution,” he said.