Hamas-Sheltering Qatar Cashes In on Biden Natural Gas Pause

Qatar to expand natural gas production by 85 percent

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addresses the U.N. in September 2023. (Adam Gray/Getty Images)
March 5, 2024

President Joe Biden’s pause on liquefied natural gas production is already turning into a major financial windfall for Qatar, even as the Gulf regime undercuts the United States and its allies by funding terrorists and sheltering fugitive Hamas leaders.

Qatar, which is the third largest LNG exporter after the United States and Australia, announced last week that it is expanding its natural gas production by 85 percent. The news came weeks after the Biden administration announced that it would freeze new domestic LNG export permits, a policy that many political observers viewed as a concession to climate activists ahead of the presidential election.

Brenda Shaffer, a senior adviser for energy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Qatar’s liquefied natural gas expansion was likely spurred by Biden’s policy announcement, adding that Doha will "benefit financially" from the pause.

"Nature doesn't allow a vacuum. The United States is the biggest producer of natural gas in the world. To say that it’s going to put a pause or freeze for a few years, obviously [other countries] are going to pick up that market," she said.

Energy experts told the Washington Free Beacon that Biden’s LNG announcement is already pushing buyers away from the U.S. market and toward adversarial competitors.

"European and Asian buyers are now reconsidering their current commitments with U.S. companies and will take their business elsewhere to ensure security of energy supply," one former Department of Energy official told the Free Beacon.

"Predictably, weeks after the Biden administration’s de facto sanction on America’s LNG industry, Qatar has swooped in to capture the hundreds of billions of dollars in market share that the White House has left on the table," the former official said.

The LNG expansion by QatarEnergy, a state-owned company, could lead to the Gulf nation controlling up to 25 percent of the global market by 2030, according to Reuters.

The economic boost for Qatar follows years of anti-U.S. activities by Doha. The Gulf country has been sheltering the senior Hamas leaders who plotted the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, including Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh. Qatar is also one of the largest funders of Hamas and other Islamist groups across the Middle East, and the government has close relations with Iran.

The administration’s decision to pause LNG permits came after left-wing donors bankrolled an extensive lobbying campaign to cut off U.S. natural gas exports. Climate activist groups claimed the policy would help reduce climate emissions.

Biden’s climate envoy, John Podesta, was the main architect of the policy, the Free Beacon reported last month. The pause could boost current and former clients of Podesta’s brother, Washington power-lobbyist Tony Podesta, who has long represented foreign companies involved in the LNG industry.

Critics of the pause say it won’t slow down global production, predicting that rival LNG-exporting countries like Qatar and Russia will step in to fill the void.

"This announcement proves that the Biden pause has not limited the number of molecules coming to the market, it has just ensured that the molecules will come from places outside of the United States who do not share our environmental standards," said the former Department of Energy official.

Shaffer said the freeze is likely to lead to "some weakening of European sanctions on Russia, especially when it comes to gas."