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Travel Information Briefing and Visitors Procedures

Welcome to Qatar

On behalf of the management of QNFS, we are pleased to welcome you to Doha, Qatar; a very dry, hot, arid but beautiful place to work and live. We have provided the following useful information to help you plan your travels to Doha which, we are confident, will contribute to a safe, successful and pleasant visit, or assignment.

Letters of Invitation / Visa Procedures

Before traveling to Qatar, it is necessary that all visitors should obtain a visa.  There are two types of visas available: Business and Visitor visas.  Business visa need to be arranged prior to any travel to Qatar.  If for whatever reason travel is deemed urgent, a visitor visa can be purchased on arrival at the airport.  However, it must be noted that it is illegal to perform any work related activities while traveling on a visitor visa. 

Visitors who overstay their visa's validity, even for one day, will be subject to a penalty.

Commercial Flights to Doha

Visitors have the choice of a multitude of carriers flying on a daily basis into Doha from all over the world.  The majority of carriers fly initially to Dubai; and from Dubai it is a very short one hour flight to Doha using Qatar Airlines.

Immigration Control / Customs

Upon arrival in Qatar, visitors are required to show their passports and valid visas to the Immigration Control representative.  It is very important that the visitor hand carry a copy of the business visa that was issued to them prior to travelling to Qatar.

 Please Note: There are no additional charges for business visa, except for the initial administration fee.  If you are asked for a payment at the airport, simply remind them that you are holding a business visa and show to them the copy.

Ground Transportation

A taxi services is readily available and are safe and secure and will take you to your hotel as requested.

Local Currency

The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QAR), which divides into 100 dirhams. The Riyal exchange rate is pegged to the US Dollar at QR 3.65. Money and traveller cheques can be exchanged at banks, the airport and exchange dealers.

To avoid additional charges it is best to take Traveller Cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling. The main bank branches are on Grand Hamad Street in Doha.

Banks are open Saturday to Thursday, 8am to 1pm and some are open into the evening. ATMs are available on the main streets of the cities and towns, at banks and in shopping malls and most shops, hotels and restaurants accept international credit cards.

Hotels

Suitable hotels are as follows:

 

Hotel Address Contact Details
Ritz Carlton PO Box 23400
Doha, Qataro
+974-4484-8000
Four Seasons The Corniche
Doha, Qatar
+974-4494-8888
Inter Continental PO Box 6822
Doha, Qatar
+974-4484-4035
Sheraton Doha Al Corniche Street,
PO Box 6000,
Doha, Qatar
+974-4485-4444
Marriott Ras Abu Aboud Street,
P.O. Box 1911,
Doha, Qatar
+974-4429-8809
W - Hotel Al Buhaira St
Ad Dawhah 19573
Doha, Qatar
+974-4453-5353
Ramada C Ring Rd,
Ad Dawhah, Ad Dawhah,
Doha, Qatar
+974-441-7417
La Cigale 60 Suhaim Bin Hamad
Street, Al Sadd Area
Doha, Qatar
+974-4428-8888
Gloria Safilia Street,
Doha, Qatar
+974-4423-6666
Movenpick Doha Qatar, Doha, Ad
Dawhah 1254,
Doha, Qatar
+974 9974-4291
Millenium Po Box 24249 Jawaan
Street,Al Sadd,
Doha, Qatar
+974-4424-7777
Mercure Musheireb Street,
Doha, Qatar
+974-4446-2222
Al Sharq PO Box 26662
Doha, Qatar
+974-4425-6666


Embassies

Contact details for several embassies are listed below:

Embassy Address Contact Details
Embassy of Lebanon Al Haditha Area 63
United Nation Street Villa No 5
P.O. Box: 2411
Doha Qatar
Tel: +974-4493-3330
Fax: +974-4493-3331
Email:
Embassy of Philippines Villa # 7 A1 Eithar Street
Saha 2, West Bay Area
P.O. Box 24900
Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974-4483-1585 / 2560
Fax: +974-4483-1595
Email:
South Africa Embassy Al Dafna street 523,
House 91
PO Box 24744
Tel: +974-4485-7111
Fax: +974-4483-5961
Email:

/
U.S. Embassy in Doha Al-Luqta district
22nd February Street
Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974-4488-4101 ext 6500
Fax: +974-4488-4298
Email:

Web:

Hours: Sat-Sun-Tues-Wed 1100 - 1300
Embassy of Indonesia Al-Maahed Street
Al Salata Al Jadeeda
(P.O.BOX 22375)
Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974-4465-7945, 4466-4981
Fax: +974-4465-7610
Email:

Web:

Hours: Sunday - Thursday
08:30 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 16:30
Embassy of India No. 6, Al Jaleel Street
Al Hilal Area
P.O. Box 2788
 
Tel: +974-4467-2021, 467-4660
Fax: +974-4467-0448
Email:

Web:
Embassy of United Kingdom West Bay, off Wahda St
near Rainbow roundabout
P.O.Box 3, Doha
Tel: +974-4496-2000
Fax: +974-4496-2086

Sightseeing

Qatar has several great sightseeing attractions, including:
 

  • Souq Waqif
  • Qatar National Museum
  • Gold Souq
  • Camel Races
  • Weaponry Museum
  • Qatar Museum of Islamic Art
  • Dhows and Fishing

A useful internet websites about Qatar is:

Vaccinations and Diseases

Depending on itinerary, personal risk factors, and the length of a visit, visitors may be advised to consider a vaccination against hepatitis A and B, typhoid and measles.  Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.  It is recommended to make advance planning of vaccination since in some instances quite a long period of time should pass to get a strong immune response.  Visitors need to consult their personal physician and/or Company Medical Department to get vaccination recommendations.

Many diseases, including hepatitis A and typhoid fever, are transmitted by unsanitary food handling procedures and contaminated water.  Food and beverage precautions are essential in order to reduce chance of illness.  If you experience the effects of food and/or water-borne deceases, medical attention must be sort within the first 24 to 36 hours of symptoms starting.

Tap water is generally safe to drink in major cities, but water quality is variable in rural areas.  If in doubt, do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected.  We would suggest using bottled water for normal consumption.  Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been thoroughly washed, peeled or cooked.  Avoid unpasteurized milk and any products that might have been made from unpasteurized milk, such as ice cream.  We suggest to always avoid food and beverages obtained from street vendors.

Medical Facilities

Good modern medical care and medicines are available in Doha, although only basic or no medical care may be available in Qatar's smaller cities or outlying areas. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation elsewhere can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.

The following facilities are recommended by SOS:

 

Hospital Address Contact Details
Al Emadi Hospital Al Hilal West
Behind Al Saker Petrol Station.
Doha 5804
+974 4466.6009 # 1170
Dr Osama Hasanein Head of Insurance
(International SOS assigned POC)
Hamad General Hospital Al Rayyan Road +974 4447 9318
+974 44391013
+974 44391015

 

It is worth noting that the following facilities are also highly recommended:

Hospital Address Contact Details
Doha Clinic Hospital New Al-Mirqab Street
Al Sadd
Doha - Qatar
Tel: +974.4438.4333
Emergency: +974. 4435.5999
Fax: +974. 4432.7303
Email:

Web:
AL Ahli Hospital Ahmed Bin Ali st,
Wadi Al Sail
Doha - Qatar
Tel: +974.4489.8000
Fax: +974.4489.8989
Email:

Web:
 

Security

The crime rate in Qatar is generally low.  A large police presence is apparent to travelers throughout the country. Incidents of violence are rare but have occurred more frequently as Doha's population and economic pressures on expatriate workers have increased substantially during the past few years. Local and third-country-national young men have been known to verbally and physically harass unaccompanied, expatriate women.  Reports of petty theft have been growing, including ATM and credit card theft, purse snatching and pick pocketing.

Visitors in Qatar are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events and take appropriate steps to bolster their personal security at all times.  Travelers are cautioned not to leave valuables such as cash, jewelry, and electronic items unsecured in hotel rooms or unattended in public places.

IIncidents involving insults or obscene language/gestures often result in arrest, overnight imprisonment and/or fines whether the incident occurs between private parties or involves officers of the law.  Insulting someone in public is considered a punishable offense.  Drunk driving, public intoxication and other alcohol-related offenses are treated with severity and will result in arrest, heavy fines, imprisonment, including expulsion from the country.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Qatar are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines prior to expulsion from the country.  Homosexual activity is considered to be a criminal offense, and those convicted may be sentenced to lashings, a prison sentence, and/or deportation.

Qatari customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning importation into Qatar of items such as alcohol, narcotics, pork products, weapons or weapons-related material (hand-cuffs, knives, laser sights, laser pointers, etc), or anything deemed pornographic or sexually-related by Qatari authorities.  While importation of religious material for personal use is acceptable, importation of religious material for the purpose of proselytizing is not.
 

Security Tips

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime, exercise the same precautions that you would in any large city and follow these tips:

  • Safety begins when you pack. Leave unnecessary credit cards and anything you would hate to loose at home.
  • Do not bring any alcohol in your luggage.
  • Avoid partaking in verbal insults or obscene language/gestures
  • Avoid public road rage.
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • If you have been the victim of a crime, immediately contact the local authorities.
  • Keep your hotel door locked at all times.
  • Do not open the door to persons unknown to you.
  • Meet visitors in the lobby.
  • Do not leave money and other valuables in your hotel room while you are out. Use the hotel safe.
  • Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room. Know how to report a fire. Be sure you know where the nearest fire exit and an alternate are positioned. Note - check that these escape routes are capable of emergency access e.g. they are not locked or blocked (it has been known). Count the doors between your room and the nearest exit - this could be a life-saver if you have to crawl through a smoke-filled corridor.
  • If during an emergency and you decide to leave the room to get out of the building, take the hotel door key with you, you may have to return to the room at some point and you can't get back in you could be in trouble.
  • Always prepare a grab bag to take with you in case you have to leave hotel in an emergency, this should include your room key, passport, key contact numbers, mobile phone any medication needed etc. Prepare this prior to going to sleep as you will not have time after alarms are sounded.

 

Emergency Contacts Telephone
QTEL Directory Enquiry 111 / 180
Fire / Ambulance / Police 999
Hamad Hospital +974-4439-4444
Traffic Department +974-4489-0666


Public Holidays

The following are official Qatari holidays:

National Day: 18th December
Eid Al-Fitr: At the first day of Shawwal for four (3) days
Eid Al-Adha: Starts at 9th of Zilhijjah for five (3) days

Visitors should note that the weekend in Qatar for all industries is not the same as that observed in the Western world. The weekend in Qatar, in most cases is only one (1) day, which is on a Friday.  In some industries and Government there may be a two (2) day weekend, which will then be Friday and Saturday.

If you are planning a trip around the official holidays it is useful to check on workdays with the host company.

General Information about Qatar

Area: 11,437 sq. kilometers
Population: > 907,922 (June 2007 estimate)
Ethnic groups: Arabs 40%, Pakistani 18%, Indian 18%, Iranian 10%, Others 14%
Religions: Islam is the official religion of the country and Shariah (Islamic Law) is the main source of its legislation.
Languages: Arabic is the official language in Qatar, and English is widely spoken.
Local time: GMT + 3 hours. No daylight saving
Capital: Doha
Currency: The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is divided into 100 dirhams. The exchange parity has been set at the fixed rate of US$ = 3.65QR's.
Major Cities: Doha, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Dukan, Al Shamal, Mesaieed, Ras Lafan


Geographical Location

Located in the Middle East, Qatar is a peninsula projecting into the Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula along a 60km border. Saudi Arabia is to the west, Qatar faces Iran across the Gulf to the east. It is south of Iraq and north of the United Arab Emirates. Its area is 11,437 sq km (4,427 sq miles), about the size of Switzerland.

Its territory comprises a number of islands including Halul, Sheraouh, Al-Ashat and others. The terrain is flat with some low-rising limestone outcrops in Dukhan area in the west and Jabal Fiwairit in the north. It is characterized by a variety of geographical phenomena including many coves, inlets, depressions and surface rainwater-draining basins known as Riyadh (the gardens), which are found mainly in the north and central part of the peninsula.

There are two land border points at Abu Samra and Sauda Nathil, and two sea port border points at Doha port and Mesaieed port. The main point of entry into the country is through Doha International Airport. Qatar is an important port in the Gulf. With the expansion and growth of its oil and gas industry, the port and the country are increasing their international importance.

 

History of Qatar

Qatar has a rich and vibrant history - a history that can be traced back as far as 4000 BCE.

As early as the 5th Century BCE, the Greek geographer Ptolemy identified a region on his map of the Arab world called "Qataraa," It is believed to refer to the Qatari town of Al-Zubara. The town acquired the fame of being one of the most important trading ports in the Gulf region in ancient times.

Much of Qatar's history pivots on its relationship with the sea and desert. Tribes that settled on the coastal areas regarded the sea as the source of life, with its abundance of fish and pearls, while the Bedouins that traveled the desert plains reared camels and sheep.

The Al-Thani family history can be traced back to the 18th Century when they moved to Qatar from the Gebrin Oasis in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula. The Al-Thani name is derived from the family's ancestor, Thani Bin Mohamed, who ruled the country in the early 19th Century.

After its first export of oil in 1949, Qatar went through an immense transformation that led to its rapid development.

Qatar was a British protectorate and claimed its independence on 3 September 1971. In the same year it joined the Arab League and the United Nations.

HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the current ruler of Qatar, came to power on 27 June 1995. HH The Emir Sheikh Hamad brought a modern and positive approach to government that transformed the country into an ideal host for major sporting events and international conferences, as well as a luxurious tourist destination.

The move towards a modern society included holding municipal elections in 1999, where men and women were both voters and candidates - a first in the region.

 

Culture and Tradition

Bedouin culture remains an important element in the lives of Qatari people. They draw on their relationship with the open desert to provide harmony and unity, balancing religious traditions with modern living. Many aspects of Bedouin culture remain in modern daily life. Qataris often entertain in Bedouin tents, either on a trip in the desert or simply erected outside their homes. Falconry, too, is still a vibrant part of Qatari life.

Islam in Qatar guides not only religious beliefs, but also plays a pivotal role in the daily lives of Qataris. Mosques, located all over the country, welcome worshippers for their prayers.

Qatari culture is filled with wonderful poetry and song, while weavers are known for their stunning art. Tools made from wood and gazelle horn are used by weavers who work with sheep, goat and camel wool to create rugs, tents and cushions.

Qataris wear their traditional dress in their daily lives. For men, this is a long white shirt that reaches their ankles, called a thobe, and is worn over short trousers. A head covering, the gutra, is secured with four black tasseled cords which have been braided. Women wear an abayah, a long black flowing dress over their clothes and are mostly veiled.

For special events and traditional celebrations, Qataris wear ceremonial clothing. Women's dresses are richly colored and decorated with elaborate embroidery in both gold and silver. Although Arabic is the official language of Qatar, English is widely used throughout the country.

 

Arabic Dishes, Rules and Etiquette

Qataris pride themselves on their hospitality, and food and drink is an important part of this. When visiting houses, accept at least some of the pro-offered and drink, even if it is extremely sweet: if you refuse hospitality you may offend your hosts.

Many people in Qatar don't use knives and forks when eating traditional food, preferring to use their right hand - the left hand should not be used for eating, or indeed for shaking hand, as it is reserved for more demeaning tasks. Of course, the hand should be clean and the nails cut short. Polite Qataris will only use three, or perhaps four, of their fingers to pick up the food. Alternatively, they may use bread to scoop up the food.

When speaking to Qataris about their food, it is quickly obvious that they have a sweet tooth. Many of the dishes they eat use sugar, and many Qataris believe in consuming a spoonful of honey morning and night. Dates are a very important food, and can be consumed at any time of the day. A visitor should always be offered dates, and if you have any dealings with Qataris you probably will be. The importance of these dates can not be over-emphasized. This abundant fruit can be eaten at any time of day, and is served to guests as a mark of hospitality. Even today, business is often conducted only after dates have been offered. Despite it sweetness, the date is full of vitamins and a good source of energy. Dates are considered especially important during Ramadan and will be eaten at the breaking of the fast.

Rice is also considered a staple food, and in olden days was brought into Qatar by trading caravans. Seafood has always been incredibly abundant: so much so that at times large quantities of fish were shipped abroad for use as fertilizer. Seafood obviously played a huge role in the subsistence of the Qatari family. However, it was so cheap and available that families were often embarrassed to serve it if they had guests.

Those who lived in the desert relied heavily on camels and camel milk. Young camel in particular is considered an especial delicacy. Bedouin also ate a special bread, which was mixed with dates and cooked in hot sand.

Breakfast in Qatar is normally early: Qataris get up well before the average Westerner both to pray and to start an early working day. Originally breakfast could be a heavy affair, meant to see a person through the long working day and might consist of milk, coffee or tea, olives, bread, cheese, eggs, or yogurt and dishes such as Balaleet, a bed of noodles cooked with sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron and served with an omelet on top. Houmous is popular nowadays, although traditionally Qataris would eat Michee - similar to Houmous, but made without Tahina.

Nowadays, most Qataris take a light breakfast. However, a Qatari may order a breakfast to work to share with his colleagues, especially when he or she has something to celebrate. These breakfasts often take the form of different types of breads, some filled with meat or Laban - a creamy milk product which tastes similar to youghurt. One of our favourite dishes is zatar pies - Arabic bread baked with liberal quantities of thyme.

Lunch is normally taken at twelve thirty or one o'clock, during the afternoon break. Rice is often served with spicy meat or fish. Dinner in the past was normally light, although not at times of fasting, when the appetite is of course whetted by a day without food or drink. A favourite dish is Matchboush, which is meat cooked until it is incredibly tender, and served with spices and rice. Harrees, which many women hate cooking because of the long hours required, is made with soaked split wheat and meat, and must be cooked for several hours - just how long depends on who you are talking to. While these dishes are not always to Westerners' tastes, one that most will like is Om Ali (mother of Ali).

Nowadays, unfortunately, many Qataris seemed to have adopted the American style of eating KFC, MacDonald's and other fastfood restaurants are now popular throghout Doha. Heavy marketing takes place at Ramadan: in image opposite shows Burger King represents the Islamic Moon as a giant burger to encourage Muslims to break their fast in one of their outlets.

Perhaps as a result of this new obsession with fast food. Qatar now has huge problems with diabetes. Some residents refuse to accept that a high rate of diabetes can be linked to diet: I have been told quite firmly that the main cause of diabetes is thinking too much.

Pork is illegal in Qatar, and observant Muslims will not drink alcohol. The meat they eat must be Halal: the name of God must be uttered at the moment the animal is killed (normally by slitting its throat) and as much blood as possible should be drained out of the animals body before it dies.

You can buy small plates of traditional Qatar food in Souq Waqif, and many restaurants will serve some of the standard Qatari dishes.

 

Restaurants in Qatar

With the influx of expats, there is also a huge range of restaurants, and there are probably more Indian and Turkish eateries than Arab ones. The standard Indian cafe is extremely cheap and will serve briyani rice, curry, grilled chicken and sometimes freshly cooked bread cooked on a hot stove in front of you. Briyani rice with yoghurt, mutton or chicken and a salad (normally cucumbers, lettuce and raw shallots) will set you back no more than 7 or 8 riyals. There are also some more expensive Indian restaurants, with a larger choice of food.

At Turkish restaurants you should start your meal with a Meze: salads, hummus, olives, vine leaves stuffed with sweet rice and more, all eaten with fresh Turkish bread. You can follow this with kebab, pide (Turkish pizza) or hamour (local fish), or at some restaurants you can take your pick from the food displayed.

Every major hotel has several restaurants to choose from, and many Western expats will prefer these because they can drink.

 

Falconry

These birds of prey were used originally by Bedouins to hunt, providing an important addition to their diets. In Qatar today, the tradition of falconry remains a major sporting activity during the hunting season from October to March. During the off-season, owners and falcons continue with training exercises. A falcon's incredible eyesight allows it to lock onto its prey. Falcons can fly at speeds of over 100km per hour and dive at twice that rate. An important bond is created between owners and falcons, and the birds are treated with great care and respect.

 

The Importance of Cultural Awareness

Bedouin culture places enormous importance on hospitality and the welcoming of strangers, and this is reflected in the warm welcome tourists and expatriates receive in Qatar today.

But Qatari culture also encompasses many important traditions regarding dress, body language and personal behavior in public and it is important for visitors to be aware of these customs to avoid causing unnecessary offence.

Photographs - Never take pictures of local men or women without their permission. Also note that photographing military installations, police officers and government buildings is strictly forbidden.

Public displays of affection - It is important to note that regardless of nationality, public displays of affection are not permitted. It is best to keep bodily contact to a minimum. This includes hand-holding between males and females and other forms of intimacy.

Handshakes - If you are a male and you are introduced to a female it is best to wait and see if a hand is extended to you first. If it is not, do not extend your hand, but greet the woman verbally.

Body language - Do not sit in a way that shows the soles of your feet or shoes; it is considered very insulting. Also, Qataris perform their ablutions with their left hand, so it is not polite to wave, shake hands or pass money or other items to a Qatari with your left hand.

Dress - Regular clothing should be conservative and not revealing. It is your responsibility to show respect to the traditions of both Qataris and Muslims. Sleeveless tops, shorts and mini-skirts may be suitable at the beach, at hotel resorts or while exercising indoors, but this type of dress is generally discouraged at work and in public places. Women are advised to wear clothing that is not too tight, too short or see-through. Men can generally dress as they do in their home country. Knee-length shorts are acceptable.

Alcohol and drugs - There are severe fines for consuming alcohol other than on licensed premises. Drinking and driving is a serious offence, and Qatar applies a zero tolerance attitude towards driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

Population and Demography

In Qatari tradition the groups of related families form a clan that is a part of a larger tribe, and tribes are large extended families. Each tribe has distinct customs, speech and dress but with time it has converged into the modern society that we see today. Still the ties within tribes and families remain very strong, Qataris hold family values very dear to their hearts.

In the past some of the tribes were nomadic and lived in the desert but today many have moved to the cities and hold good positions in the private and government sector. As a tradition Qataris marry within the tribe and it is a matter of family and business.

Ethnic groups: Arab 40%, Pakistani 18%, Indian 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%

 

Oil & Gas

Despite efforts to diversify, the Oil and Gas sector is still very much the backbone of the Qatari economy. Oil was discovered in 1939 and commercial exploitation started 10 years later with the onshore Dukhan field. State owned QP (Qatar Petroleum) was established in 1974 to oversee all aspects of the sector. Since 1995, some US $30 billion has been invested in the Oil & Gas development. The country is pumping enormous sums of money in the exploration and production of natural gas. Nearly $100 billion should be invested by the end of this decade. Of which $15 billion will be invested in LNG expansion schemes, $60 billion for the North Field Development project and a further $15 billion for LNG tankers.

Qatar's economy was in a downturn in the mid-1990s. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' quotas on crude oil production, the lower price for oil, and the generally unpromising outlook on international markets reduced oil earnings. In turn, the Qatari Government's spending plans had to be cut to match lower income. The resulting local business climate caused many firms to lay off expatriate staff. With the economy recovering in the late 1990s expatriate populations, particularly from Arab countries and South Asia, grew again.

Foreign oil companies have been encouraged to invest in the oil exploration under production-sharing agreements (EPSA's). The onshore Dukhan field, located along the west coats of the peninsula, is Qatar's largest producing oilfield. QP also operates the offshore field Bul Hanine and Maydan Mahzam. A number of foreign oil companies operate elsewhere on the basis of EPSA agreements Id al-Shargi (Occidental Petroleum) from the North Dome and from the South Dome, Al-Shaheen (Maersk Oil), Al-Rayyan (Andarko), and Al-Khalij (Total).

Qatar exports almost all of its oil production to Asia, with Japan by far its largest customer followed by Singapore, South Korea, Thailand & Taiwan. The country has two refineries.

Oil fields of Qatar are projected to be almost entirely depleted by 2023. However, large natural gas reserves have been located off Qatar's northeast coast. Qatar's proved reserves of gas are the second largest in the world, exceeding 7 trillion cubic metres and Qatar has the largest single gas field in the world. The economy was boosted in 1991 by the completion of the $1.5-billion Phase I of the North Field gas development. In 1996, the Qatar gas project began exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Qatar has permitted substantial foreign investment in the development of its gas fields during the last decade and became the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in 2007 with a capacity of more than 31 million metric tons per annum. By 2010, Qatar will account for one-third of the world's LNG supply.  

 

The North Gas Field

Discovered in 1971, in water from 15 to 17 meters deep, located north east of the Qatar peninsula, it covers a surface area of about 6000 square kilometres. Its reserves are estimated at about 500 trillion cubic feet and are considered the largest single concentration of natural gas on the earth.

 

Further phases of North Field gas development costing billions of dollars are in various stages of planning and development, and agreements have been concluded in 2000 and 2001 with U.A.E., Bahrain, and Kuwait to expand gas via pipelines to these markets. Qatar exports gas to Korea, India, and China via ships (LNG), and plans are currently underway to supply European and US markets.

Qatar's heavy industrial projects, based in Messaieed and Ras Laffan, include a refinery with a 50,000 b/d capacity, a fertilizer plant for urea and ammonia, a steel plant, and a petrochemical plant. All these industries use gas for fuel. Most are joint ventures between European and Japanese firms and the state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP). The U.S. is the major equipment supplier for Qatar's oil and gas industry, and U.S. companies play a major role in the North Field gas development and related energy and water infrastructure development.

 

Climate

The summer (June through September) is characterized by intense heat and alternating dryness and humidity, with temperatures exceeding 55°C. Temperatures are moderate from November through May, although in winter temperatures may fall to 17°C.