More than 20 per cent of global LNG exports originate from a single port in Qatar. A major spill could cause the shutdown of export facilities and desalination plants on the coast for several days. 

The new paper is from a joint group of researchers at the University of Louvain, the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute.

In the presence of an oil spill, tankers cannot navigate through thick oil slicks in order to continue exports abroad. Qatar’s desalination plants, which rely on the intake of seawater, would also not be able to perform normal operations with a heavily polluted water source.

The researchers believe that such a shutdown could cause significant disruption in the global gas supply and cause an unprecedented water shortage for inhabitants of the Qatari Peninsula.

Qatar’s export capacity is expected to increase by approximately 64 per cent in the next...