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Posts on social media are spreading the baseless claim that the ruler of Qatar has “threatened that if the bombing of Gaza does not stop, he will cut off the supply of gas to the world.” The country’s government gets most of its revenue from energy exports, and there’s no record of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani making such a threat.
When war broke out between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7, leaving more than 1,200 people dead in Israel, the Islamic state of Qatar issued a statement reiterating its support for Palestinian statehood and holding “Israel solely responsible for the ongoing escalation.”
The statement also called for de-escalation by all parties and urged restraint.
So, Qatar has played some part in seeking to stop the violence since the conflict began, but social media posts have exaggerated that role.
Social media posts have been spreading the false claim that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, has “threatened that if the bombing of Gaza does not stop, he will cut off the supply of gas to the world.”
There is no record of Al Thani making such a statement and the only evidence offered by those posting the claims is a short clip from a 2017 speech in which the emir referenced “the issue of Palestine,” according to a Google translation of the original Arabic. He did not say anything about stopping the export of natural gas in his speech, which was delivered six years before the war began.
For example, a post from a conspiracy-theory account on X, formerly known as Twitter, shared the video clip with the claim “BREAKING: Qatar is threatening to create a global gas shortage in support of Palestine. ‘If the bombing of Gaza doesn’t stop, we will stop gas supply of the world.'”
But, as we said, the video predates the war and doesn’t say anything about the export of natural gas.
It’s also worth noting that oil and natural gas exports are the backbone of Qatar’s economy, so it’s unlikely that the country would cut off its own source of income.
In 2021, earnings from Qatar’s hydrocarbon sector accounted for 81% of its total government revenues, the U.S. Energy Information Administration calculated in a March report using the most recent data available from the International Monetary Fund.
“The strength of Qatar’s hydrocarbon sector … underpins the strong performance of the economy,” the World Bank wrote in an April report on the country.
In another report on Qatar released in early October, the World Bank noted two major energy deals — one with China and the other with Bangladesh — saying, “These developments augur well for Qatar’s extended energy export prospects, with the likelihood of unveiling further energy contracts across Asia and Europe in the coming months.”
Indeed, within the last week Qatar signed two more deals — one with Shell in the Netherlands and the other with TotalEnergies in France — for 27-year agreements to supply gas. In the first half of this year, Qatar was the world’s third leading exporter of liquefied natural gas behind only the United States and Australia, according to the EIA.
Also, an anonymous Qatari official referred to the country’s liquified natural exports when he told Reuters, “such a statement has never been made and never would be. Qatar does not politicise its LNG supplies or any economic investment.”
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Press release. “Qatar Expresses Concern over the Developments in Gaza Strip and Calls for De-escalation.” 7 Oct 2023.
MacDonald, Fiona. “To Return Hostages Taken by Hamas, the US Calls Its Friend Qatar.” Bloomberg. Updated 18 Oct 2023.
Doha Forum (@DohaForum13). “Opening Speech by: H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar.” YouTube. 18 May 2017.
U.S. Energy Information Administration. Country Analysis Brief: Qatar. 28 Mar 2023.
International Monetary Fund. Qatar: Selected Issues. 21 Jun 2022.
World Bank. Macro Poverty Outlook: Qatar. Apr 2023.
World Bank. Macro Poverty Outlook: Qatar. Oct 2023.
Saba, Yousef. “Qatar supplies gas to Europe, vying with US to replace Russia supply.” Reuters. 18 Oct 2023.
Reuters. “Fact Check: Qatari emir’s 2017 speech misrepresented as gas threat.” 17 Oct 2023.