Qatar’s emir will visit U.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 31 and discuss issues including how to ensure the stability of global energy supplies, the White House said.
The Biden administration has been talking with Qatar about possibly supplying Europe with more liquefied natural gas if a Russian invasion of Ukraine leads to shortages, people familiar with matter told Bloomberg News earlier this month. The meeting between Biden and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has been in the works for some time, a U.S. official said last week.
The Persian Gulf nation provides about 5% of Europe’s natural gas. It wouldn’t be able to significantly ramp up supplies of natural gas to Europe in the event of any disruption to Russian flows, people familiar with the situation have told Bloomberg this week.
Qatar is one of the world’s biggest producers of LNG, with about three-quarters of its exports sold to energy-poor Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. It is already pumping a full capacity.
Sheikh Tamim will also discuss Middle East security and Afghanistan with Biden, the White House said. The visit comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf, where Iranian-backed fighters in Yemen have attacked the United Arab Emirates with drones and missiles.