Category: Analysis

President Trump Gives a Warm Welcome to Qatar’s Amir

On July 8th, 2019,  the Emir of Qatar, H. H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and other high-ranking cabinet officials, such as Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended a dinner hosted by Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Treasury, at the Treasury Department in honor of the Emir’s official visit to the U.S. The dinner was also presided by President Donald Trump.

At the dinner, Secretary Mnuchin acclaimed Qatar’s strategic partnership and efforts in the fight against terrorist financing by stating the following:

 

”I am pleased that you have joined us in the Middle East region to open the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center.  We are sharing intelligence and operational capabilities to ensure that our financial system is not used by those seeking violence… Our governments continue to work together on your counter-terror financing legislation, and we are grateful for your country’s commitment to uphold the U.N. counter-terror obligations.”

Furthermore, during the dinner, President Trump praised US-Qatar military-to-military strategic relations and cooperation by adding the following:

 

“I know everything is going to be very positive. You’ve been a great ally, and you’ve helped us with a magnificent military installation and military airport, the likes of which people haven’t seen in a long while.”

Instead, on July 9th, 2019, President Trump hosted  H. H. Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the White House for a bilateral meeting. At the White House, the President and the Emir discussed regional security in the Gulf region and their economic and military partnerships.

 

During the meeting, H. H. Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani highlighted and emphasized the close ties between respective countries by stating that:

“…our economic partnership has been more than $185 billion, and we’re planning to double this number…We have a lot of investments in the U.S.  We trust the economy here.  We do a lot in the infrastructure, and we’re planning to do more investments.”

 

Subsequently, the two leaders signed a commitment which includes, among other things, the purchase of Boeing Airplanes, the agreement between Chevron-Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Qatar Petroleum on petrochemical development in Qatar.

The Emir’s visit and the signing of the agreement illustrated the strength and vibrancy of bilateral and diplomatic ties between Qatar and the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer in Qatar

The Qatari government has been investing in tourism through the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC). QNTC has created several programs to promote tourism and increase the number of visitors to Qatar. This summer, a wide variety of programs and promotions are being offered to welcome tourists during the summer season. This summer’s program, called ‘Summer in Qatar’, runs from June 4 to August 16.

 

“This year’s summer season promises to attract visitors from across the globe showcasing Qatar as a destination for its unparalleled hospitality and authentic experiences”-Akbar Al Baker, Secretary-General of QNTC and GCEO of Qatar Airways.

 

QNTC has partnered with companies in both the public and private sectors to deliver the program. Partnerships with companies from the travel and hospitality industries provide discounts to tourists. Qatar Airways has been offering 25% discount on flights to Doha from more than 160 destinations worldwide. The promotion lasts until August 16. Furthermore, a wide variety of hotels offer promotions of up to 25% throughout the summer.

 

‘Summer in Qatar’ offers a large variety of programs, including indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment. Tourists can attend concerts by both international and Arab artists, or watch performances and comedy shows.

 

Visitors can also tour Doha, or go on adventures in the surrounding area. Indoor and outdoor theme parks also offer fun for the whole family. There are many opportunities for indoor entertainment, including a wide range of museums and exhibitions that promote the art of Qatar and the surrounding region. Shopping malls also provide entertainment, activities and retail discounts.

 

 

(Image Source: Flickr)

 

 

 

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Food Security in Qatar

June 5, 2019 marked two years since regional neighbors severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, as well as imposed a trade embargo. Even though Qatar ranks first among Arab countries and 22nd in the world in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI), Qatar has had to strengthen its food security.

 

With all food supplies and access to medicine from these four Gulf states cut off, Qatar had to develop new trade routes and expand trade with regional neighbors. Doha also opened a multibillion-dollar port, making it a new transport hub in the Gulf region.

 

Companies such as Baladna and Mazzraty, Qatar’s largest livestock farm and Qatar’s largest poultry farm respectively, have expanded exponentially due to the blockade.

 

Baladna received an order of thousands of cows just weeks after the implementation of the blockade. Baladna now not only supplies Qatar with over half of its milk, it also exports to multiple nearby countries.

 

Agrico has developed a new system to keep greenhouse conditions cool enough to grow fruits and vegetables year-round, even in the harsh Gulf climate. The polycarbon greenhouses and growing system have helped fruit and vegetable outputs more than triple.

 

Qatar has implemented a strategic food security project in its efforts to become self-sufficient. Two years ago, Qatar only produced about 15% of its dairy and poultry but is now completely self-sufficient. Qatar’s food security goes beyond domestic milk and poultry. Fruit and vegetable outputs are up 20% to roughly 66 tons per year. This number is projected to increase by 30-60% next year with more farms opening. Qatar also produces roughly 85% of its grains and 75% of its fish, both of which are increasing.

 

 

 

 

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QAI – FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 BRIEF

On 15 May 2019, the Qatar-America Institute hosted a representative of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), a Qatari entity mandated to deliver the infrastructure and legacy programs for the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar, who shared relevant information about the mega-event set to take place in November and December 2022.

The SC is tasked with delivering the proposed tournament venues and projects for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – the first to be held in the Arab world – while ensuring its preparations align with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

For the FIFA World Cup™ in 2022, there will be a total of eight stadiums, all being built within a 55km radius, making it the first compact FIFA World Cup™ in the modern era. Each stadium will fulfill multiple purposes, not just sporting; community-based workshops were held to address and express the needs of local constituencies in the surrounding areas. The aim was to maximize benefits by realizing and integrating local demands as the stadiums are being completed to ensure they are used long after the last ball has been kicked in 2022.

 

This strategy will foster local development, promote and increase social cohesion, avoid bureaucratic mismanagement of resources duplication, and decrease the likelihood of disenchantment or skepticism from the local population towards the perceived benefits of hosting a sporting mega-event such as the FIFA World Cup™.

 

A concrete example of this strategy can be seen with the construction and completion of the new state-of-the-art Doha Metro Red Line South. The Red Line runs from Lusail to Al Wakra and connects Hamad International Airport with Doha.

 

The Doha Metro project will serve a dual purpose. Firstly, it will offer sustainable and accessible transportation to tournament venues and Qatari attractions for the 1.5 million fans Qatar expects in 2022, and secondly it will enhance accessibility and connectivity among the eight municipalities that make up Qatar. Therefore, the FIFA World Cup™ will act as an opportunity for Qatar to showcase its position as a primary international destination for sports, while also acting as a catalyst for the modernization of the country’s infrastructure.

 

Another noteworthy characteristic of the eight stadiums for the FIFA World Cup™ is that they are being built according to a criterion that incorporates sustainability and efficiency. For instance, the under-construction Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will be a clear example of such commitment and, furthermore, demonstrate the country’s degree of technological sophistication. Like a Lego set, the stadium will be fully demountable, and is being built via the assembly of repurposed shipping containers that were used to transport materials to Qatar. Thus, once the tournament ends on 18 December 2022, state-of-the-art software will be employed to assist the disassembly of the structure. The various parts and components will be re-allocated to create both sporting and non-sporting facilities in Qatar. Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will be the first fully demountable tournament venue in FIFA World Cup™ history.

 

The completed Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah City, which was launched on 16 May, and will be one of the eight venues for the FIFA World Cup 2022™. Al Janoub Stadium was designed by Zaha Hadid and AECOM Architects. The arena has a capacity of 40,000 and boasts a fully retractable roof. It also features innovative internal cooling technology for the benefit of both supporters and athletes. This sophisticated technology will allow local residents to enjoy the stadium all year round. Once the FIFA World Cup 2022™ is over, half of the stadium’s capacity will be removed and allocated for foreign and/or external development or sports projects. All of which further illustrating Qatar’s commitment to sustainability and development.

 

During the briefing, the SC representative noted Qatar’s recently implemented reforms for workers’ welfare, all of which reflect the commitment to respecting the standards of hosting the tournament and to improve the welfare of the country’s expatriate workforce.

 

This was emphasized by the following policy decisions: Qatar’s unilateral decision to sign a three-year technical cooperation agreement with the United Nations’ International Labor Organization to promote labor laws, increase government officials’ capacity to implement them and ensure recruitment practices are in-line with best international practices. Additionally, the Amiri’s promulgation of Law No. 13 of 2017, which established a judge-led Labor Dispute Resolution Committee, and Law No. 15 of 2017, which limited working hours and secured paid leave, and the creation of a Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund to ensure workers are paid overdue wages are just a few of the other significant reforms made.

 

Most notably, the SC pledged to allocate between $40-50 million (USD) to write off the debts that supply-chain migrant workers may have incurred as a consequence of unscrupulous non-affiliated recruiters in key labor markets. The recruitment and placement industry, which is a global phenomenon, is a $464.3  billion industry that affects more than 150 million migrant workers. The SC’s pledge will transform the lives of those affected by these illegal practices.

 

The SC representative also discussed safety and security preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022™ and INTERPOL’s Project Stadia, which was established by INTERPOL in 2012 and funded by Qatar.  The aim of Project Stadia is to create a Centre of Excellence to help INTERPOL member countries in the planning and executing policing and security preparations for major sporting events. The ten-year project will contribute to policing and security arrangements for the FIFA World Cup 2022™ in Qatar and will leave a lasting legacy for the world’s law enforcement community.

 

Lastly, the representative emphasized the existing degree of U.S.-Qatar economic ties in relation to the mega-event. Qatar has worked with over 30 U.S. organizations across a range of industries to date, all of which have been involved in some of the country’s most important tournament projects.

 

Turner International, CH2M, Jacobs and AECOM have been integral to a number of construction projects. CISCO, Oracle and Amazon have been working with Qatar on everything from IT to networking to cybersecurity solutions, all to ensure 2022 will be the most connected tournament ever, for fans and businesses. Leading U.S. universities including Georgetown and Northwestern and tech giant Facebook have been helping support Qatar’s innovation legacy programs. Overall, $10 billion will be invested in American services and expertise for the upcoming tournament in 2022.

 

 

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2022 World Cup: Chance To Build Global Legacy

On May 20th, 2019, Fatma Al Nuaimi, the Communications Director for Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), held an interview with Goal about the pioneering features of the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

 

                                                                                Fatima Al-Nuaimi

To clarify, the SC is an institutional entity mandated to oversee, monitor and deliver all the projects for and relevant to the mega-event. In-tandem, this body actualizes various legacy programs: it uses the mega-event as a catalyst for social and economic development, thus complimenting the objectives enumerated in Qatar National Vision 2030.

 

Fatma Al Nuaimi asserted that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be an innovative one: there will be tangible and intangible benefits.

 

 

Firstly, Fatma Al Nuaimi detailed a concrete tangible benefit or advancement with the new cooling technology that was installed in Al Wakrah stadium. In fact, the SC representative stated the following:

We have been successful in making innovations in two fields. Firstly, the cooling technology – as one will witness when the weather is hot outside. But inside the stadium, during the match, the atmosphere and experience will be very pleasant.

 

Furthermore, the representative mentioned the long-term benefits of this technology by stating the following:

“The cooling technology and the cooling helmets for the workers are innovations that the state of Qatar has invested in. These are something which can be a legacy for countries who have the same atmosphere and climate for mega-events, sporting or otherwise they want to host even beyond the 2022 World Cup. This could be a transfer of knowledge that we could give out”

 

                                                                                                                                               The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy provides cooling apparel to World Cup Workers

 

This example of technological innovation clearly illustrates Qatar’s capacity to employ sophisticated technologies and demonstrates the country’s commitment to sustainable development via technological transfers to external entities or countries. For the intangible benefits, thus, legacy programs,  the SC launched Challenge 22 and Generation Amazing. In essence, these initiatives serve the purpose to attract and engage regional/local  entrepreneurs and talents in order to integrate them in the preparations for the World Cup.

 

The SC representative detailed the following on Challenge 22 initiative:

In Challenge 22, people submitted their ideas and the winning idea got a grant of USD 100,000. From that, they would be working towards commercialization and as a commitment, we would be contracting them as our suppliers. That would help improve the profile of the companies and they could be set up and continue beyond the World Cup.”

 

                                                                                                 Fan celebrating during the Amir Cup Finale 2019

Lastly, the SC representative shed light on the Josoor Institute, which was established in December of 2013. The institute aims to provide short courses and diplomas pertinent to delivering mega-events. Most importantly, the institute is linked with internationally acclaimed institutions, such as Georgetown University and the University of Liverpool. Most recently, Bocconi School of Management, which offers FIFA Masters programs, affiliated itself with Josoor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Qatar Eliminates All Remnants of the Kafala System

Qatar has been under intense scrutiny as it undergoes preparations of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Amid the preparations, calls for Qatar to update and strengthen its labor conditions and employment laws have been at the forefront. Since the announcement, Qatar has introduced a series of labor reforms since its selection as the 2022 World Cup host, with the event setting in motion a huge construction program that employs thousands of foreign workers.

Some of those reforms have been the removal of the Kafala system for the majority of workers (although some workers were still required to gain approval from their employers to leave the country), formally establishing a minimum wage for migrant workers (750 riyals | $206), and the implementation of a Wage Protection System (WPS), among various other reforms.

 

In an effort to alleviate additional concerns held by international rights groups that those reforms did not go far enough, the state of Qatar facilitated in opening an office of the United Nations’, International Labor Organization. Earlier this year, Qatar reiterated its commitment to implementing labor reforms following the release of an Amnesty International report. The report, titled “Reality Check,” concludes that the 2022 World Cup host needs to do more to combat labor abuse.

 

The Government Communications Office (GCO) of Qatar responded in a statement saying that:

From the outset, we have said that we understood labor reform would be a journey and not an end in itself. We have publicly stated, and restate here, our commitment to labor reform so that Qatar would have a suitable labor system that is fair to employers and employees alike…Far from seeing time as running out, the government of the State of Qatar understands further change is needed and we remain committed to developing these changes as quickly as possible, while ensuring they are effective and appropriate for our labor market conditions.

 

The GCO stressed that the State of Qatar will continue to engage and work with foreign governments, both international and multilateral organizations, and NGOs, to ensure that its labor code meets international standards. In response to the criticism and as a testament to its commitment to labor reforms, the state will now proceed to permanently abolish the controversial exit visa system for all foreign workers by the end of 2019.

 

The head of the agency’s office in Doha, Houtan Homayounpour stated,

“Last year, the exit visa was eliminated for the majority of workers, this year, that will be extended to all remaining categories of workers,”

 

In September 2018, Qatar approved legislation that would eliminate the “kafala” system that required foreign workers obtain permission from their employers to leave the country. The reform came into effect In October for majority of workers but for a select 5% of a company’s workforce — reportedly those in the most senior positions. Mr. Homayounpour said the system “will officially be eliminated” by the end of 2019 and no worker will be required to obtain permission to leave the country.

 

 

 

 

 

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BU Law School & QU Law School Launch Inaugural Counter Terrorist Financing Course

In October of last year, Qatar University’s College of Law entered into an agreement with Boston University Law School to develop a joint-program that would train students and officials in how to combat the threat of terrorist financing. The program, “Counter Terrorist Financing,” will aim to further develop and refine the institutional capacity of Qatari organizations.

 

Boston University School of Law Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig stated that “A partnership with Qatar University College of Law to develop a customized training program gives us a unique opportunity to support the country’s efforts to fight terrorist financing.

 

The courses on counter-terrorist financing will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of Qatari prosecutors, government ministry officials, and financial services professionals that are responsible for stemming the flow of illegal funds to terrorist organizations.

 

The courses will be led by Boston University academics and faculty that specialize in national security, anti-money laundering, Financial technology, and financial regulations, in conjunction with Qatar University College of Law’s faculty.

 

The two organizations will develop class simulations and case studies that are based on experiences dealing with real-world threats. The program will also feature experts from the US Treasury department, the US Department of State, and the FBI. The programs inaugural course will feature 11 Qataris from the legal, financial, and governmental sectors. Topics that will be addressed will be strengthening institutional capacity to counter cyber-attacks and the usage of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing.

 

In addition to Boston University;s diverse faculty coming from the university’s other schools, such as the Hariri Institute for Computing, The Pardee School of Global Studies, and the Cyber Security, Law, and Society Alliance, the following government officials will also be participating in the program.

 

Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Department of the Treasury

Michael Madon, former deputy assistant secretary, US Department of the Treasury

Adam Isles, former deputy chief of staff, US Department of Homeland Security

Jason Blazakis, former director of the Office of Counterterrorism Finance & Designations, Bureau of Counterterrorism, US Department of State

Debra LePrevotte, former supervisory special agent, FBI International Corruption Unit

Kate Eyerman, former director of the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, Middle East/North Africa, US Department of the Treasury

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Qatar Completes 6th Session of Municipal Elections

 

On April 16th, Qatar held its sixth session of elections for the Central Municipal Council. The most recent round of elections featured a total of 85 candidates, aiming to represent a total of twenty-seven out of twenty-nine districts. Two of the districts had already been decided through acclimation (unanimous consent). It was estimated that the participation rate in this election reached 50%. In order to participate in the elections, voters must fulfill three main conditions – be 18 years or older, born in Qatar or have been nationalized for 15+ years, and possess no criminal record. However, if one is a member of the military or law enforcement, they are not eligible to vote.

 

During this election season, several women faced off against men vying for council seats. Many candidates ran public campaigns, employing social media, advertisements, and other means to gain votes during a highly competitive election. The participation of women, in a mostly conservative society, marks a stark difference between Qatar and its regional neighbors. Since 1999, the year in which the first election for the municipal council was held, women in Qatari society have been further integrated into governing and building the nation.

 

In the most recent round of election, two women won seats on the 29-member municipal council. The first, Fatima al-Kuwari, represents the 9th district, which covers Al- Thumama, Ras Bufontas (North), and Mesaimeer (North). Fatima initially ran an unsuccessful first attempt in 2011. However, in 2015, Fatima was able to win the majority of her constituents’ votes. Fatima al-Kuwari is also represented among Qatar-America Institute’s, Zubara Council, where she serves as an advisor on Qatari affairs.

 

The second candidate that won her district, for the third time, is Sheikha al-Jafari, who represents the 8th district that covers the ad Dawhah municipality. She stated in an interview that “There was a large turnout by women and the number of female voters in my constituency exceeded the number of males, which indicates their political awareness…I wish there were more women but I tell them do not despair and continue to fight.”

 

The remaining women that were unable to gain a seat on the council were Aisha Saqer Saleh Mohammed al-Kaabi (district 18), Fatima bin Yousef al-Ghaza (district 10), and Maryam al-Humaidi (district 25).

 

The municipal council will be responsible for maintaining municipal affairs, dictating priorities of maintenance and construction of infrastructure, and overall adherence to Qatar’s legal system. Furthermore, members of the municipal council must be well informed and are mandated to examine proposals and legislation in order to provide effective policy proposals to the executive branch of Qatar’s government. Council members are also mandated to give time to their constituents and provide a forum for them to address any grievances.

 

 

 

 

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Qatar Forges Ahead With North Field Expansion Project

– In 2017, Qatar Petroleum (QP) announced plans to raise LNG production capacity from 77 million tonnes to 110 million tonnes per year.

 

– In April 2017, QP declared a new expansion/development project of the North Field.

 

– On November 14th, 2018, the IMF released the findings of its visit to Qatar. The IMF stated the following: “The near- to- medium-term outlook for the Qatari economy is benefiting from increased oil prices and prudent macroeconomic policies. We anticipate overall real GDP growth of 3.1 percent in 2019, with still robust non-hydrocarbon growth and recovery in oil and gas production. Over the course of 2020-2023, real GDP growth of about 2.7 percent annually is projected, underpinned by still significant public infrastructure spending, expansion of liquid natural gas production, and the hosting of 2022 World Cup”.

 

– QP selected Japan’s Chiyoda Corp for the front-end engineering and design of the onshore facilities of the North Field expansion project. Furthermore, it awarded McDermott a contract for the offshore engineering work.

 

– On April 15th, 2019, QP issued a tender package for the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) of four liquified natural gas (LNG) mega-trains of its North Field Expansion (NFE) project. The completion of the NFE will boost Qatar’s GDP growth.

 

 

North Field Expansion (NFE) project

On April 15th, 2019, Qatar and McDermott International, a Houston, Texas, based multinational engineering, procurement, construction and installation company, signed a contract worth $50 to $250 million.

The contract stipulates that McDermott will provide engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of four liquified natural gas (LNG) mega-trains as part of country’s North Field Expansion objective, which will increase Qatar’s LNG production from 77mm tonnes per annum (Mta) to 110mta by 2024. The EPCI of the four mega-LNG trains will be equipped with gas and liquid treating facilities, ethane and liquified petroleum gas production and fractionation, a helium plant, and utilities infrastructure to support the processing units.

McDermott International has planned to deploy its project management and engineering teams in Doha in order to monitor and fulfill the terms of the contract. Works are expected to begin immediately. Following the tender package, Qatar’s Minister of Energy, HE Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, stated the following: “I am pleased to announce that further contract awards related to the project will be announced shortly”. This illustrates Qatar’s commitment and plans to further expand extraction and production capacity of the North Field.

The North Field, which is located off the north-east shore of the Qatar peninsula, is one of the largest non-associated natural gas fields in the world. It has been estimated that the North Field hosts more than 900 trillion standard feet (tscf) of reserves. Previously, Qatar awarded a different contract to McDermott for the fabrication and installation of eight NFE offshore jackets, and the early site works for the onshore project to the joint venture between Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and Teyseer Trading and Contracting Company. This project was entrusted to Qatargas, a subsidiary of QP.

 

 

Cover Image Source: Reuters (REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon/File Photo)

 

 

 

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Umm Al Houl Power Plant: Water & Energy Security in Qatar

Overview

– The Umm Al Houl Power Plant is an unprecedented water security and energy project located 10 miles south of Doha, Qatar. Construction on the water desalination and power generation plant began in 2015, and the plant became fully operational in March 2018.

The plant was built by Qatar Electricity and Water Company, Mitsubishi Corporation- Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) operating as a consortium, Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Foundation.

 

– The project aims to bolster Qatar’s water and energy efficiency, attract foreign investment, and spur economic development; key objectives of Qatar’s Vision 2030.

 

– Umm Al Houl Power Plant is one of the largest water desalination and power generation plants in the region. The plant generates 2,520 megawatt of power and 136.5 million gallons of drinking water per day, which meets 30% of Qatar’s need for power and 40% of its desalinated water [1] [2].

 

– Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) owns 60% of the Umm Al Houl Power Plant, Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Foundation own 5% each, and Mitsubishi-Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) owns the remaining 30% as a consortium [1].

 

Introduction

As a small state with limited access to natural freshwater resources, Qatar’s water and energy security is a vital component of its national security. Qatar’s population of 2.6 million people rely on an integrated water and power generation scheme to ensure access to drinking water and electricity. As Qatar’s population grows at an annual rate of 2.7%, Qatar’s desalinization capacity will receive a manifold boost by the completion of Umm Al Houl Power Plant.

The $4.6 billion Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project that was completed in 2018 will also augment Qatar’s water security by acting as a strategic buffer in the event of disruption to desalinization capacity.

Now one of the Gulf region’s largest water desalinization and electricity power plants, Umm Al Houl Power Plant is Capable of generating 2,520 megawatt of power and 136.5 million gallons of drinking water per day, satisfying 30% of Qatar’s need for power and 40% of its need for desalinated water.

Construction of the plant began in 2015, and the plant went online in March 2018. The plant was built by Qatar Electricity and Water Company, Mitsubishi Corporation- Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) operating as a consortium, Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Foundation.

Umm Al Houl Power Plant is a key part of Qatar’s National Vision 2030. The project supports strategic goals of creating infrastructure to support economic development. It aims to develop the electricity and water utility sectors and increase foreign and local investments in both. The project site was chosen based on the availability of infrastructure, particularly water and gas pipelines and the salinity of the water near it.

 

Work on the $4.7 billion Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project began in 2015, with the initial phases that were slated to be done in 2016/17.

Strategic Water Reserve:

The Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project, which is the largest of its kind in the world, has a total water storage capacity of about 1,500 million gallons, a 155% increase from the current water storage capacity of 900 million gallons [3]. The current phase of the project will ensure water security until at least 2026, followed by future stages that will meet water demand after 2036 by adding additional reservoirs. In its current phase of completion, the project extends the strategic water stock in Qatar’s water network from 2 to 7 days which will increase the capacity of water storage by 10 times.

 

Umm Al Houl Power Plant Operations

Umm Al Houl Power Plant generates electricity utilizing combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and desalinizes water utilizing both reverse osmosis (RO) technology and multiple stage flash (MSF) technology (See Figure 3 for a comparison of water production technologies).

In 2014, Qatar General Electricity & Water Authority identified that Qatar faced a potential shortfall of power and water production in the short to medium term, 2016 for water and 2017 for power. This projection drove urgent demand for Umm Al Houl Power Plant.

The plant now produces 2,520 Mega Watts of electricity and 136 million gallons of water per day. This is a 22% increase in the current electricity output and a 25% increase in water production.

Careful attention was given to environmental concerns during the planning and construction phases of the project. Extensive marine surveys undertaken at the site considered water quality, in-situ habitats and flora/fauna and sediment quality. All laboratory testing was undertaken at a nationally accredited laboratory using internationally standardized testing methodologies [1].

Umm Al Houl Power Plant marks the first instance of large-scale reverse osmosis (RO) to desalinate water for drinking in Qatar. RO technology utilizes methods that are proven to emit substantially less CO2 into the atmosphere. The system uses minimal power during the filtration process, making it a green system that conserves energy and the surrounding environment [4].

 

__________________

[1] Umm Al Houl Independent Water and Power Plant Environmental Impact Assessment

[2] Gulf Times: “Amir opens Umm Al Houl Power Plant”

[3] Peninsula Qatar: “Amir inaugurates Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project”

[4] Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination: “Carbon footprint of water reuse and desalination: a review of greenhouse gas emissions and estimation tools”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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