Qatar energy chief says oil and gas trade should be depoliticized

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Saad al-Kaabi, the head of Qatar’s state-run energy company, said on Monday all oil and gas trade should be depoliticized, calling for policies to move away from sanctions and anti-free market agreements.

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The comments by Kaabi, who is also Qatar’s minister of state for energy, come ahead of a Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) meeting in Egypt and echo the views of many industry players who fear a G7 price cap on Russian oil could paralyze the trade worldwide.

“The State of Qatar and QatarEnergy urge all governments and multilateral institutions to craft policies which depoliticize the exchange of fuel commodities in the form of sanctions or anti-free market agreements,” Kaabi said in a statement.

QatarEnergy is one of the world’s top liqueified natural gas (LNG) exporters.

The Group of Seven countries agreed last month to cap Russian oil sales at an enforced low price by Dec. 5. The European Commission also last week proposed its latest set of emergency measures to tackle high energy prices, but steered clear of an immediate cap on gas prices as EU countries remain split over the idea.

More than 15 EU countries, including Italy, Poland, Greece and Belgium, have called for an EU gas price cap, but disagree on its design. Germany and the Netherlands warn capping gas prices could leave countries struggling to attract fuel from global markets during a winter with scarce Russian supply.

Kaabi also said governments should condemn, “the sabotage and military attacks on energy infrastructure or power grids.”

Russia stepped up its aerial attacks on Ukraine this month with missiles and drones targeting major cities and energy infrastructure.

Ukraine’s energy minister has said at least half of Ukraine’s thermal generation capacity was hit.

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