Energy expert Yasser Tageldin said in interview with Arabi21 website that the GCC crisis may jeopardize energy security in the region should Qatar withhold its gas supplies to the UAE over their latest rift.
Tageldin, the former chairman of the Energy Committee in the Egyptian Engineers Association, said that Qatar may decide to respond to the withdrawal of Gulf ambassadors from its territories by exploiting the gas needs of its neighbors. Abu Dhabi relies entirely on Qatari gas imports for its local needs through Dolphin Company which has a “limited contract” with Qatar to supply gas from Ras Lavan area to Al-Taweela Port from where gas is transported to both the UAE and Oman. Tageldin pointed out that the Dolphin contract is with the company rather than the Abu Dhabi government, which grants Doha more space for blackmailing UAE.
Such decision, however, may result in punitive fines imposed against Qatar by Dolphin, which leaves it to Qataris to decide whether financial losses could be acceptable in return for pressure on Abu Dhabi.
Regarding UAE’s options in the case of a Qatari move, Tageldin said they would be limited. In that case, he explained, the UAE would have to import gas from Iran, its closes neighbor and the biggest gas producer in the region. Such option would be problematic for the UAE, due to its strained relations with Iran, which occupies three Emirati islands. Furthermore, another obstacle would be the lack of proper infrastructure required for the transportation of gas from Iran to UAE, whereas Qatar owns the largest gas pump in the world, located in Ras Lavan, from which it supplies the UAE with its gas needs.