Qatar, known as the State of Qatar, is located halfway along the western coast of the Gulf and covers an area of 11,437 sq km and is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the South.
The Kingdom of Bahrain lies to the North West, United Arab Emirates lies to the south-east and Iran to the north of Qatar. A significant part of the country is composed of dry, barren plains covered with sand with the west and north of the peninsula consisting mostly of limestone outcrops.
The highest point, Qurayn Abu al-Bawl, is 103 meters above sea level projecting northward about 160 km into the Gulf. Qatar is home to an “inland sea” in the south-east of the country, an internationally renowned geographic feature where a bay, almost cut off from the sea, is surrounded by towering sand dunes. The coastal areas consist mainly of salt flats.
Qatar receives only limited rainfall, averaging around 75 mm annually, with long and humid summers, while the winters are mild. In summer, the daytime temperature can reach between moderate 35 and high as 50°C (122°F).
According to the April 2009 estimates, the total population is 1.6m in Qatar of which about 400,000 are Qataries. 75.7% of the population is male and 24.3% is female – a disparity largely due to the number of migrant workers. 46% of the county’s population lives in Doha, the capital city, but there are growing populations in the smaller coastal cities. Major towns include Al-Wakrah, Umm Slal, Al- Khor, Dukhan, Al-Shamal and Mesaieed. Approximately 80 km north-east of Doha lies Halul Island, with an area of only 1.4 km, which contains a number of crude-oil storage tanks and pumping stations.
The cornerstone of Qatar’s economy is its abundance of hydrocarbon. Oil and Gas reserves provide a solid foundation to the Qatari economy, with proven oil reserves at the end of 2007 amounting to 25.7bn barrels. At an average production os 776,000 barrel a day (bpd), these reserves should last for around 90 years and the government remains committes to finding new ones.
Qatar’s natural gas reserves are more substantial. The North gas field was discovered in 1971 and is currently the world’s largest known non-associated gas field. It spans over 6,000 sq km and proven reserves are estimated at 902 trillion cu ft (tcf) – the equivalent of 162bn barrels of oil sufficient to planned gas production for 200 years.
The majority of the country’s oil and gas resources are owned and operated by the state-owned company Qatar Petroleum (QP) in partnership with major international energy companies. The country’s vast reserves of natural gas are exported in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG). Qatar is also developing several gas-to-liquids (GTL) ventures for the production of clean liquid fuels. The Oryx GTL plant began production in early 2006 and further projects are in the planning stages.