Strategic Foresight visited Doha at the beginning of April 2014 for the Brookings Doha Energy Forum and bilateral meetings with senior representatives of institutions in Doha.
The Doha Energy Forum was convened by Dr Salman Shaikh, Director of the Brookings Doha Centre to facilitate discussion on future trends in energy markets and their implications for geo-politics and geo-economics. Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Dr Mohammad Hoosein Adeli, Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum and Governor Bill Richardson, former Secretary for Energy of the United States were the most important speakers at the forum.
The discussion at the Forum revealed that world wide energy consumption will increase by 50% from 2015 to 2035. Almost 90% of the growth is expected from emerging economies like China and India. The energy mix is likely to change with natural gas and shale gas occupying increasing shares of the energy market. There is still huge uncertainty about shale gas. While the United States is very bullish on using shale gas, China, which has reportedly the world’s largest shale reserves, is ambivalent.
The Doha Energy Forum also discussed the impact of the Ukraine crisis and US-Tehran rapprochement on energy flows in the short and medium term. In the long term, the melting of the Artic may lead to geo-political competition to control the northern energy reserves. If the uncertainty in EU-Russia relationship grows, the European countries may revive their interest in nuclear power. Also, Russia may develop better interest in exporting its oil and gas to China than to its western neighbours.
Strategic Foresight Group had bilateral meetings with several experts attending the Forum. The visit to Doha was also very useful to for in-depth discussions with some of the new and innovative international institutions established in Qatar such as the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Global Dryland Alliance, and Qatar Energy and Environmental Research Institute.
SFG also met with Mr Fahad Al Atiyah, Chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme. He explained that almost 100% of the water used in Qatar comes from desalination. As Qatar plans to have at least 40% of its food produced within the country in the next 30-40 years, its water policy is going to be extremely critical. SFG had bilateral meeting with Dr Abdulla Al Khulaifi, Minister for Labour and Social Affairs of Qatar and Director of the Higher Education Council.