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Gas Powers Dramatic Qatar Economic Growth

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK.KW) said gross domestic product in Qatar – which has the third largest gas reserves on the planet – is estimated to have grown 18% in real terms last year, “an extremely fast pace by any standard.”

In nominal terms, GDP jumped 44% to 372 billion riyals ($102 billion) in 2008 from $70 billion the previous year, said the bank, basing its estimates on unofficial figures.

“The gas sector (almost) doubled in size in 2008, partly on higher energy prices, but also on the continued increase in output volumes,” NBK said.

But the bank, which releases regular research notes on the six Gulf monarchies, said the outlook was not so bright for the OPEC member’s energy- dependent economy.

“If oil prices remain at current levels, that is below their 2008 averages, Qatar could see little, if not negative, nominal growth this year as the price effect drags down GDP,” NBK said.

According to the latest available figures, Qatar’s economy grew a nominal 33.3% in 2005.

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