The State of Qatar: Encouraging an environment for investment and enterprise
Rex W. Tillerson
Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation
Business & Investment in Qatar Forum
New York, New York
April 6, 2011
On behalf of ExxonMobil, it is my pleasure to participate in the first Business and Investment in Qatar Forum held in the United States. I want to begin by extending my thanks to His Excellency the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs for inviting me to speak to you today.
The purpose of this Forum is to tell the story behind Qatar’s growth, and to encourage more U.S. businesses to explore the possibilities and opportunities in this extraordinary nation.
Qatar promotes investment, innovation, free trade, open competition and access to resources that will continue to bring long-term economic development to Qatar and much-needed energy to the world’s growing economies.
Few nations in the world offer a more dynamic business environment than the State of Qatar. And even fewer have leaders who are more farsighted in reform, who are more focused on anticipating the needs of their citizens at a time of tremendous change, and who are working harder to expand education and opportunity for men and for women.
Thanks to the vision of the Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar has become an example for the world.
At ExxonMobil, we are proud to support the Emir’s vision and to be part of the bright future being built in – and by – the State of Qatar.
I need not remind this audience that we meet at a time when the world needs to learn from leaders and nations who create economic growth, and expand individual prosperity, through sound public policy, disciplined investment, and technological innovation.
Many countries around the world continue to confront the challenges posed by the global recession. Nations are seeking ways to spur economic growth and job creation. And in many parts of the world, the specter of inflation and rapidly rising commodity prices are threatening to put new pressures on governments and economies.
Keys to Economic Growth
Despite the challenges facing the world, we at ExxonMobil remain confident about the future – in part because in places such as Qatar, we have seen how government and business can work productively together to create economic growth and opportunities.
Other nations share many of the same attributes as Qatar. They are blessed with abundant natural resources, favorable climate conditions, and easy access to export and import trading routes.
But Qatar has taken these attributes and transformed its nation, its people, and its future in ways that others have failed to do. What’s the difference? It begins with visionary leadership.
When governments put in place sound, stable, market-oriented policies, they unleash human ingenuity, cooperation, and entrepreneurship. This in turn creates an environment that allows businesses to be creative, to take risks, and to grow.
We have seen how governments that uphold the rule of law make it possible to forge strong partnerships and pursue projects that are mutually beneficial. We have seen how governments that maintain a level playing field can support long-term planning and investment. And we have seen how government policies that promote free trade can encourage international cooperation and help ensure the most efficient flow of goods and services.
Finally, we know that when the essential conditions for private investment are put in place, then the conditions for a stable society are also put in place – creating a future where all members of local society benefit.
Example of Qatar
In Qatar, we have seen the impact of these principles exemplified in the vision, discipline, and wisdom of the Qatari leaders.
ExxonMobil is proud to be Qatar’s largest U.S. foreign investor – with more than $16 billion invested to date. Qatar’s sound policies have led to sustained growth and to capital projects that are transforming markets. The most impressive example has been the development of Qatar’s North Field.
In the early 1990s, Qatar faced the challenge of developing the world’s largest non-associated gas resource, which many, at that time, saw as being located too far from traditional LNG markets. However, the leaders of Qatar sought partners who could develop technologies and innovative commercial arrangements that would turn Qatar’s location from a disadvantage into a global competitive advantage.
ExxonMobil recognized an historic opportunity in Qatar from its leadership and business environment.
We believed that we would be able to complement the strengths of Qatar Petroleum and create a model for partnerships between national and international companies. By working together in this positive business climate, we have been allowed to pursue long-term, innovative solutions that neither of us could have accomplished alone.
Over the past two decades, as a result of the work by the State of Qatar and its partners, Qatar’s liquefied natural gas production has increased to 77 million tons per year, an energy supply equivalent to more than 5 million barrels per day of oil, natural gas, and associated liquids. Qatar is now positioned as the world’s largest supplier of LNG – diversifying the global energy portfolio and strengthening energy security in Europe, Asia, and beyond.
In the process of developing its resource endowment, Qatar has made – and continues to make – a major contribution to the historic shift that is underway toward the greater use of natural gas worldwide.
By the year 2030, natural gas is expected to provide more than 25 percent of the world’s electricity generation needs.
And by increasing supplies of cleaner burning natural gas, Qatar is helping to meet the world’s growing energy demand, while also mitigating the associated environmental impacts, including the potential risks posed by climate change.
We at ExxonMobil, have expressed the view for sometime that that increased use of natural gas will be a significant element to meeting this dual energy challenge of energy supply and environmental impacts in the coming decades.
Qatar’s Bright Future
For those attending this conference from outside the energy industry, it is important to understand that the development of the North Field is only part of much broader Qatari goals.
In 2008, the Emir presented to his people the Qatar National Vision 2030 – a plan to transform his country into a knowledge-based economy, an educational leader and a global technology pioneer. This commitment to the future is demonstrated by three particularly visible and significant projects – the creation of Qatar’s Education City by the Qatar Foundation, the establishment of the Qatar Science and Technology Park, and the construction of the world-class Sidra Hospital complex.
ExxonMobil has been proud to support the Emir’s vision with our business investments and corporate citizenship efforts.
In the months and years ahead, the world will have other opportunities to see this national vision in action.
This December, Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern nation to host the World Petroleum Congress. ExxonMobil is a proud sponsor of the Congress, and I look forward to participating.
In the year 2022, Qatar will host the FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Qatar’s planning and preparations have already garnered international attention and praise, and the additional development and construction that will come in the lead-up to the World Cup will continue to highlight opportunities for long-term investments, further strengthening Qatar’s role as an international business and investment hub.
Over the next two days of this Forum, I encourage my U.S. colleagues from business and government to learn more about Qatar, its policy leadership, and the extraordinary business potential the State will offer for decades to come.
Again, thank you, for the opportunity to address this important Forum – and thank you all for your very kind attention.