Energy Minister urges Gaza ceasefire to end Red Sea insecurity

Ras Laffan, Qatar: Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs HE Eng. Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi on Monday called for a ceasefire in Gaza to end insecurity in the Red Sea which has disrupted hydrocarbon deliveries in the vital shipping route. The minister, who is also the chief executive of state-owned hydrocarbon giant QatarEnergy, said the “root of the problem” in the Red Sea, “is the Israeli invasion of Gaza”. “Hopefully there is a ceasefire soon that will stop that so that the economic impact on the entire world stops,” he told a news conference at a ground breaking ceremony for a mega petrochemical plant on Qatar’s northeast coast.

The Houthis have said the attacks have targeted vessels linked to Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. Many companies, including QatarEnergy, have chosen to divert their vessels thousands of kilometres (miles) around the southern tip of Africa to avoid the Red Sea. “It’s going to add cost, it’s going to add time, and it’s also good to add constraint on actual deliveries,” the Minister said, referring to the diversions. “It may not be felt in (the) short term, but if it’s long term, then it will actually hamper movement… if you take a full year, the net volume that actually is transferred,” he added.