Officials with Qatar — the oil-rich Middle East country that serves as both as one of the world’s busiest commercial transportation hubs and host to the largest U.S. Air Force base on foreign soil — were welcomed to the city last Friday by Mayor Michael Nutter and regional business executives, as the Qatar officials visited the city to get a better view of economic investment opportunities here.
The Qatari delegation included Qatar Ambassador to the United States and Mexico Mohamed Bin Abdullah Al-Rumaihi, former Qatar Ambassador to the United States and current President and Executive Director of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council Patrick Nickolas Theros. Comcast President and CEO David Cohen joined the mayor in welcoming Al-Rumaihi to Philadelphia and talked up the many pluses of partnering with Philadelphia.
“Philadelphia has a tremendous diversity of opportunity,” Cohen said, mentioning the city’s vibrant diversity, along with the city’s strong educational, pharmaceutical and commercial standing. “We have a very significant transportation and distribution hub, and it’s also our airport, our highway system and our rail system. A very easy city to get to and have goods transported from.”
Theros spoke highly of the America-Qatar relationship, noting that it began in earnest following the exploitation of the Al-Shaheen oil field in the mid-90s, and that presently there are roughly 10,000 Americans working in Qatar.
According Offshore Technology.com, Al-Shaheen, massive as it is, is part of the even bigger Dukhan field, which is operated by Qatar Petroleum. Offshore production is mainly via Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements with foreign oil companies in partnership with Qatar Petroleum on behalf of the Government of Qatar. The block 5, Al-Shaheen oil field is operated by Maersk Oil Qatar AS, and producing 300,000 barrels per day.
“We have a real good relationship with Qatar,” Theros said. “And the next step is to get more small-to-medium-sized businesses involved.”
The Qatari delegation will spend several days here, visiting universities and businesses while taking in the city’s many art and hospitality venues. The delegation will also tour many of the city’s historical landmarks and other areas of cultural importance.
“I came here two times before to visit friends who receiving the treatment of the highest quality from some of your hospitals,” Al-Rumaihi said, while complementing the city’s architecture and overall layout. “The friendship between the United States of America and the State of Qatar is very concrete.”
Al-Rumaihi spoke of wanting to increase Qatar’s cultural awareness and increase its humanitarian standing in the world. Al-Rumaihi said that Qatar has helped in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and is currently in Haiti, assisting with that country’s ongoing rebuilding efforts after a series of debilitating earthquakes and hurricanes.
“Today, Qatar has a very active policy and very active diplomacy, especially in the Middle East, United Nations and the world. We want to be strong and be engaged,” Al-Rumaihi said. “This is the responsibility we have taken. We know that we have to pay the price sometimes by political engagement, but we came here her to invest.”