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Abstract

Qatar's position in the oil and gas market has changed dramatically since the discovery of oil in the Dukhan field in January 1940. Following its independence in 1971, the Qatari economy has been radically transformed as a result of the discovery of the South Pars/North Dome condensate-gas field in 1971. The discovery of the natural gas field and its subsequent exploitation rapidly made Qatar one of the wealthiest countries in the world (World Bank 2013). Given the transnational characteristics of the South Pars/North Dome field (shared between Iran and Qatar), under the leadership of former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar began playing a leading international role in global energy markets and gas governance institutions. Qatar's international position in energy markets was furthered by former minister of foreign affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani since 1992. Qatar's economic prosperity is directly linked to the sustainability of the wealth generated from natural gas revenues. As such, Qatar has sought to further its leadership role in natural gas governance institutions. This project aims to analyse the role of Qatar as a critical player in emerging global energy governance architectures. The international relations literature on energy governance hastended to focus on the role of the state and markets in the governance of specific energy sector commodities, like oil or natural gas (Lesage, Van deGraaf and Westphal, 2010; Victor, Hults and Thurber, 2012). Other strands in the literature (Goldthau, 2012; Goldthau and Witte, 2010; Van de Graaf, 2013; Victor and Yueh, 2010) have highlighted the growing importance of international institutions and fora (e.g., the International Energy Agency or the G20) in constructing an emerging global energy governance architecture, though these institutions need not be energy commodity specific. In building upon these theoretical approaches, our project attempts to provide more concrete evidence on how specific players (or countries) exercise their influence at a systemic level, particularly in terms of the governance of energy sector commodities within international institutions. In our research project, we offer a case study of Qatar's growing importance in international energy fora, focusing on its involvement in international institutions dealing with natural gas. International institutions and fora relevant to this research include the International Energy Forum's (IEF) natural gas dialogue, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), the International Gas Union (IGU) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP). Unlike the International Energy Agency (IEA) which has received significant scholarly attention in recent years, international institutions focused specifically on natural gas have not been systematically analysed to date despite their important role in collecting and providing industry information, promoting the development of technologies, setting internationally accepted standards, advocating common policy positions and supporting all aspects of governing the industry's upstream and downstream operations. The reason for this lack of industry-related information provision and the voicing of common policy positions is due to the emerging nature of natural gas governance institutions. Scholarly attention to global energy governance institutions has identified the fragmented nature of inter-state energy governance institutions (Leal-Arcas and Filis forthcoming, Dubash and Florini 2011). As the international regime on natural gas grows in importance in global energy dialogue settings, we anticipate that there will be an increasing formalisation of institutional coordination in wide-wide information and advocacy for specific policy coordination outputs. Further, membership in these institutions and fora is significantly broader than membership in the IEA, which is restricted to members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operationand Development (OECD). Even in that particular instance, membership of the OECD does not automatically guarantee membership in the IEA. Member countries of the IEA must demonstrate that as a net oil importer, the country has reserves of crude oil and/or product equivalent to 90 days of the prior year's average net oil imports, that the country has a demand restraint programme for reducing national oil consumption by up to 10%, legislation and organization necessary to operate on a national basis, coordinated emergency response measures, legislation and measures in place to ensure that all oil companies operating under its jurisdiction report information as is necessary (International Energy Agency 2013). In contrast, membership in the IEF, the IGU and the OGP -which straddle the producer-consumer country divide- is more diffuse, thus making them fruitful cases to analyse Qatar's relationship with other major players in international gas markets and assess its evolving role in emerging global energy governance architectures. At a macro level, the proposed project is innovative because it will be the first effort to analyze Qatar's growing influence in global energy governance institutions dealing with natural gas. Moreover, the project is innovative because it adapts a well-known methodological technique in computational sociology (i.e., social network analysis) to a wider application in international relations research. This methodological technique is used because it will best help us understand the power relations between actors in a global setting. In addition, the research will utilize two other cutting-edge methodological tools used in interdisciplinary social science research, namely multi-value qualitative comparative analysis (mvQCA) and fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). These two techniques will enable us to identify multiple sets of covariate combinations that consistently are associated with a particular output value, specifically as they pertain to the causal factors leading to the emergence of key international relations actors in the global energy governance environment. At a micro level, our research project will offer a detailed timeline to explain Qatar's ascendency in global energy governance, visualizing the development of Qatar's influence over time as well as revealing important insights into the density and strength of the actor network itself. In turn, this will enable predictions about the sustainability, impact and future of Qatar's engagement. By analysing Qatar's participation in energy governance institutions, the proposed research project engages directly with the Qatar National Research Strategy (2012) goals and objectives dealing with the international affairs (SAH 3.1) and public policy, governance and regulation (SAH 3.2). Moreover, in addressing Qatar's growing role in the natural gas markets we would be contributing towards the expanded demand for natural gas objective (EE 1.3).

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHAOP1867
2016-03-21
2019-11-14
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