The state news agency reported the massive increase from 2021 according to data from the finance ministry indicating a “5462.5% increase compared to the surplus of 2021, which was less than QR 1.6 billion”.
The ministry said that the surplus for Q4 of 2022 was of QR 11.6 billion, compared to a deficit of QR 3.3 billion in the same quarter of 2021. Total revenues for the quarter came in at QR 65.1 billion, compared to QR 51.5 billion in the same period of last year. Oil and gas revenues were QR 59.3 billion, compared to QR 44.7 billion in the corresponding period of 2021.
As one of the world’s largest exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG), alongside Australia and the US, Qatar is also one of the world’s leading oil and gas producers. The country’s major asset is the offshore North Field, which is the world’s largest gas field which extends over 9,700 km² and is shared with Iran where it is known as South Pars.
Qatar has benefited from profits from soaring global oil and gas prices, being uniquely positioned to respond to rising demand for gas from Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Providing energy security to several countries, “oil and gas revenues surged 67% in the first half of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021” according to Reuters. The budget surplus in the first half of the year stood at 47.3 billion riyals, up from 4 billion riyals the same period the year before.
Estimates when the 2022 budget was first approved were of a deficit of QR 8.3 billion. Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari that they were a result of the expenses related to hosting the World Cup, including security and all events accompanying the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
A large surplus such as that recorded in 2022, had last been achieved in 2012 (QR 77 billion), 2013 (QR 106.3 billion), and 2014 (QR 108.6 billion riyals), “mainly due to the control over expenditures and the rise in revenues as oil prices recovered” according to the state news agency.
Reuters reported that Qatar forecasts a budget surplus of 29 billion riyals for 2023, “finance minister Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari was quoted as saying in December, which he attributed to an estimated 16.3% rise in revenue, thanks to rising average oil prices”.