Six Arab countries — Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Yemen and Libya — have broken diplomatic ties with Qatar, citing the country’s alleged backing of Islamic State (IS), the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, and the need to maintain their own national security. Qatar has called the decision ‘unjustified’ and with ‘no basis in fact’. It was not yet clear if the dispute would have any impact on LNG shipment within the region, with both Egypt and the UAE taking regular cargoes from Qatar.
Qatar meets almost a third of global LNG demand. Egypt has imported an average 857,000 cubic meters per month of LNG from Qatar since January 2016, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Shipowners’ P&I Club reported that vessels were not being permitted entry into the UAE from Qatar, nor were vessels currently within the UAE being granted outwards clearance to Qatar. Flights between the two countries were said to be similarly affected. Shipowners said that Qatari ports were working routinely for the time being, and that there had not yet been any formal announcement in this regard from the Qatari Authorities.