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Qatar Introduces Hefty Fine for Oil Product Smuggling

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has issued a new law envisaging fines of up to 1 million rials (US$275,000) and a prison sentence of up to 10 years for smuggling oil products.

Oil product, in the law, includes everything that is produced in a refinery, including jet fuel, gasoline, lubricants, and more, the Peninsula daily reports. According to Qatari legislation, these cannot be sold or resold without a license that allocates a certain oil product quota for producers.

Producers who abuse their quota by selling it or using it improperly also face a fine of up to 500,000 rials (US$137,300) and a prison sentence of up to three years.

Qatar has been active lately in updating its oil production and export policies. Local media recently reported that the emirate is considering setting up a new company to take care of marketing the country’s oil productions internationally.

Currently, this is being done by independent company Tasweeq, which buys the oil and gas products from local refiners and then resells them. Under the new plan, this will pass into the hands of state-owned Qatar Petroleum in view of rising fuel production and consequently rising exports.

The move could be seen as a lifeline for Qatar Petroleum, which has been hit hard by the oil price rout and has since 2014 undergone a major restructuring including asset sales and the divestment of its foreign investment unit.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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