Only Qatari 'Force Majeure' will hit supplies

Vol 20, PW 19 (15 Jun 17) Midstream & Downstream

Petronet-LNG is worrying about a potential blockade of Qatar as speculation runs wild that RasGas might declare 'Force Majeure' and be forced to halt supplies of 8.5m t/y long-term LNG to India.

WhatsApp messages flying about in the LNG community paint a dark and probably entirely fictional picture of a future in which Saudi Arabia invades Qatar in the last week of June after Ramadan. On a more sober note, a GAIL source points out that even though Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5 over charges of funding terrorism, "only a major escalation will affect the movement of LNG tankers." India no doubt would be severely affected: 50.4% of all LNG imports are from RasGas.

Not only would India be hit but so would Japan, South Korea, China, the UK, Spain, Italy, Belgium and several other countries that source LNG from Qatar. "Nothing can be said with certainty but such a situation is unlikely to arise," adds Petronet-LNG.

"There is too much at stake and too many countries involved for the situation to escalate." More, Petronet-LNG has a commercial contract with RasGas which stands regardless of any political developments. Even if trouble flares up, says a Gandhinagar source, countries across the world, including India, would intervene on Qatar's behalf to restore order.