In a world now where several major economies may need huge quantities of gas delivered very quickly and with very little notice, Qatar, as the top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter occupies the same sort of ‘swing producer’ position in the global gas market that Saudi Arabia used to hold in the oil market. Given what is at stake for major industrialised nations in the West and in the East, there is little wonder that Qatar has been generally careful to tread a diplomatic path between the effective leaders of these two spheres of influence: the U.S., and China.