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Countries increasingly less reliant on MENA gas

The Middle East and North Africa is a gas-rich region, yet many countries there are becoming increasingly reliant on gas imports from elsewhere in the world. Robin Mills explains how this state of affairs has arisen and looks at what needs to be done, if the trend is to be reversed

In September 2009, the Express liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier loaded a cargo at Australia's North-West Shelf plant. There was nothing unusual in that, except the destination, which was not Japan, South Korea or China. Instead, the tanker steamed northwest, passing other LNG carriers on their way from Qatar to east Asia, and delivered its shipment at Kuwait's Mina Al Ahmadi terminal. The fact that Kuwait, one of the world's leading oil exporters, was importing gas was, in itself, interesting. Even more striking is that Kuwait is just 550km from Qatar, holder of the world's third-largest gas reserves, and even closer to Iran, with the world's largest reserves according to BP, yet it was

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