Saudi Arabia’s dispute with Qatar is said to date back to 1995 and stems from the country’s success in liquefied natural gas (LNG) production. LNG has given Qatar greater independence from Riyadh and has aligned Doha with Saudi Arabia’s arch-enemy Iran.
The LNG revolution made Qatar one of the world’s richest nations with an annual per-capita income of $130,000. The country also became the largest exporter of LNG.
“Qatar used to be a kind of Saudi vassal state, but it used the autonomy that its gas wealth created to carve out an independent role for itself,” said Jim Krane, energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, in Houston, Texas told Bloomberg.
“The rest of the region has been looking for an opportunity to clip Qatar’s wings,” he added.
LNG wealth has allowed Qatar to form foreign policy, independent from the Saudis.
“You can question why Qatar has been unwilling to supply its neighboring countries, making them gas poor, There probably was an expectation that Qatar would sell gas to them at a discount price,” Steven Wright, Ph.D. Associate Professor at Qatar University told Bloomberg.
Qatar’s Foreign minister said on Tuesday Doha was ready for mediation efforts to ease the Gulf rift.
Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah has announced he will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to mediate an end to the feud.