What Are The Biggest Industries In Qatar?

Qatar is heavily reliant on natural gas and crude oil production. Editorial credit: James's travel and photos / Shutterstock.com
Qatar is heavily reliant on natural gas and crude oil production. Editorial credit: James's travel and photos / Shutterstock.com

Qatar is an independent nation situated in the Western region of Asia. Although it is primarily covered by desert landscape, the country is endowed with rich oil and gas deposits among other natural resources. Qatar is among the world’s richest economies. On the Human Development Index, Qatar ranks highly and tops the list among Arab nations. The country’s economy relies heavily on Oil and natural gas as principal revenue sources. Up to 70% of government income is generated from oil and gas sales. Qatar is working to reduce its reliance on oil and gas. In the past few years, it has developed other industries such as ammonia, tourism, finance, hydrocarbons, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel industry, cement, and commercial ship repair.

Major Industries in Qater

Natural Gas

Natural gas in the country is a significant contributor to the national income. Qatar is home to some of the largest gas fields in the world. The country’s natural gas reserves are estimated to make up 14% of all deposits of natural gas in the world. Qatar is a world leader in the export of natural gas. As the country exports natural gas, natural gas contributes 79% of the energy needs in the country, which is produced domestically. Qatar Gas is the company charged with extraction and exporting natural gas. In 1984, the company innovated ways of converting natural gas into Liquefied Natural gas. Ever since Qatar Gas Company has been the world’s leading producer of Liquefied Natural Gas. The natural gas industry has transformed Qatar’s economy from an impoverished nation to a high-income country.

Crude Oil

Qatar is among the world’s leading producers of oil. The country is a member of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC). The crude oil industry is a critical driver in Qatar’s economy. Oil and gas production provides more than 60% of government revenue. Oil exploration began in 1939. The discovery of oil in Qatar brought increased revenue into the country and improved the living standards of its citizens. Qatar Petroleum is the company in charge of extraction, production, and storage of oil resources in the country. Qatar’s oil production is projected to decline in the next few years as oil levels diminish. It is estimated that by 2023, the oil fields will have little oil left. As a result, Qatar is diversifying into other income generating industries to replace oil production.

Steel Industry

Qatar has a vibrant steel industry. Qatar steel company began operating in 1974, and it started producing steel in 1978. Currently, it produces hot bricked iron, steel bars, steel coils, and steel billets. Most of the steel products are exported to neighboring Gulf nations. In 2008, Qatar Steel Company was ranked among the leading four steel manufacturers in the Middle East.

Financial Industry

The financial industry is a big sector in Qatar’s economy. It is comprised of banking, insurance, Islamic finance, real estate, and capital markets. The financial industry is one of the fastest growing industries supported by oil and gas revenues, infrastructure spending, and high-income individuals. However, some of the challenges in the sector are liquidity problems and lack of investor confidence. In 2008, Qatar’s financial industry was able to withstand the financial crisis that swept through international markets.

Commercial Ship Repair

Qatar has a successful ship repair industry. The existence of world-class ship repair facilities in Qatar has cemented the country’s position as a key player in the global maritime industry. Its largest shipyard, The Milaha Shipyard is the leading such facility in the Gulf region. The shipyard has been operating since 1978. In the 40 years, the facility has been operating, over 7,000 ships have been repaired. Some of the vessels that have been repaired at the yard are passenger ferries, cargo ship, yachts, and coast guard vessels among others. As the global shipping industry continues to expand, Qatar’s shipyard will maintain steady growth as well.

Growing Industries in Qatar

Fertilizer Industry

The fertilizer industry in Qatar is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. Qatar’s government began to invest heavily in the sector at the start of the 21st century. The fertilizer industry started as a way of diversifying from the oil and gas industries. Qatar produces the second largest amount of fertilizer in the Gulf nations. Some of the fertilizer products manufactured in the country are ammonia, urea, and urea formaldehyde. Qatar is the dominant producer of urea in the Gulf region accounting for 37% of urea produced in the area. The fertilizer industry continues to grow at an average annual rate of 9.4%.

Petrochemical Industry

Qatar’s petrochemical industry deals in the production of chemicals such as ethylene, sulfur, polythene, and gasoline. It is a significant income generator for Qatar providing as much as $8 billion annually. The industry is estimated to grow at 6% per annum in the next decade. Nonetheless, the industry faces stiff competition from petrochemicals produced in neighboring nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Qatar Petrochemical Company is the world’s top producer of low-density polyethylene.

Hospitality and Tourism Industry

The hospitality industry in Qatar has great potential to thrive. Qatar’s government has invested heavily in the sector as an alternative income source from the oil industry. In 2008, the Qatar government invested $17 billion in infrastructure projects, hotel facilities, and cultural facilities in an attempt to grow the tourism and hospitality industry. The industry is comprised of hotels, restaurants, cultural sites, sporting facilities, and education centers.

Agriculture and Fisheries

Qatar’s agricultural and fisheries industry are rapidly growing. The sharp growth has been attributed to technological developments in the field. Despite the country’s arid climate and desert landscape, modern farming techniques have enabled the country to produce agricultural products commercially. Qatar has extensive coastal land where commercial fishing is conducted.

Qatar’s Reliance on the Oil and Gas Industries

Qatar’s economy largely depends on its crude oil and gas industry. The two sectors generate more than half of the nation’s annual revenue. The government has worked to diversify the country’s economy by heavily investing in alternative sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture. Given that the oil deposits are estimated to dry out by 2023, it is important to cushion the economy in case of revenue loss from the oil sector.


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