A major gas pipeline from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates, Dolphin, experienced an outage for several days last month and Qatar filled the gap with additional liquefied gas supplies, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters news agency.
Qatar has been under a political boycott and economic blockade by its neighbours, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, who accuse Doha of supporting terrorism.
Qatar denies the claim.
In June 2017, then-chief executive of state-run Qatar Petroleum (QP) said Qatar would not cut gas supplies to the UAE despite the dispute between the two nations.
Saad Sherida al-Kaabi told Al Jazeera Arabic’s Liqa al-Yaum (Today’s Meeting show) that although there was a “force majeure” clause in the Dolphin pipeline agreement – which pumps around 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day to the UAE – Qatar would not stop supplies to its “brothers”.
“The siege we have today is a force majeure and we could close the gas pipeline to the UAE,” said Al-Kaabi, who is now Qatar’s energy minister.
“But if we cut the gas, it does great harm to the UAE and the people of the UAE, who are considered like brothers … we decided not to cut the gas now,” Al-Kaabi added in the 2017 interview.
According to Al-Kaabi, a shutdown of the 364km Dolphin pipeline, which links Qatar’s giant North Field with the UAE and Oman, would cause major disruptions to the UAE’s energy needs.
The Dolphin pipeline supplies 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Qatar’s North Field to customers in the UAE.
The project is owned by Dolphin Energy Limited, which in turn is owned by the UAE’s Mubadala with 51 percent, Total with 24.5 percent and Occidental with 24.5 percent.
The pipeline encountered a major failure in Qatar’s territory in mid-April resulting in a shutdown of all of its facilities for several days, the source told Reuters.
The shutdown caused significant curtailment of gas supplies to the UAE, the source said, and state energy giant Qatar Petroleum helped Dolphin by shipping repair materials.
It also backed up gas supplies by shipping LNG to the UAE.
QP, the Qatar government and Dolphin Energy did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comments.
The four blockading nations severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting “extremism” and aligning with their regional rival Iran – charges that Qatar has repeatedly denied.
The bloc of nations cut off sea and air links with Qatar and ordered Qatari nationals to leave their countries within 14 days.
Qatar Airways, one of the biggest regional carriers, was forced to take long detours after it was barred from using Saudi, UAE and Egyptian airspace.
The air, sea and land restrictions imposed by its three Gulf neighbours have not so far affected maritime routes for Qatari LNG vessels, which can pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
Most of Qatar’s almost 80 million tonnes of annual LNG supplies are shipped in tankers, mainly to Japan, South Korea and India, as well as to several European countries.