Energy Outlook R&D Special Edition

Qatar’s Ambitious Quest to Build an Energy R&D Hub

BY SEAN EVERS, MANAGING PARTNER, GULF INTELLIGENCE

  • April-01-2013
Qatar’s Ambitious Quest to Build an Energy R&D Hub

Technological advances hav e always been at the heart of the global energy industry, allowing it to open up new frontiers in the quest for undiscovered hydrocarbon resources and boosting efficiencies in their recovery.

Experimental hydraulic fracturing, which was first used to extract natural gas from limestone in the U.S. in 1947, is a case in point. It may have taken decades, but ongoing advances in the technology, also known as ‘fracking’, have allowed the tapping of oil and gas reserves that otherwise would have been uneconomical to develop, potentially opening up billions of barrels of oil and cubic feet of gas for extraction and production in the U.S., and around the globe. Driving this kind of innovation and building an energy R&D hub with global reach sits at the core of Qatar’s national strategy. No doubt, it’s an ambitious goal. But then so were the plans that Doha devised in the 1990s as it sought to maximize its most valuable resource, the North Field. Today, Qatar is the world’s top LNG exporter and an energy hub in its own right.
There’s no shortage of challenges that need tackling. Whether it’s addressing environmental issues, advancing alternative and renewable energies or boosting efficiencies in conventional oil and gas – driving innovation by investing in R&D will be fundamental. And Qatar may well play a bigger a role in it.