The global LNG market could be in for a shake-up in the wake of a break in diplomatic relations between Qatar and other Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states earlier this week.

GCC members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE severed ties with neighbouring Qatar on Monday on the grounds that Doha was getting too politically close to Shia Muslim Iran, which is seen as a regional nemesis in the Gulf Sunni Muslim states, and providing political and financial support to radical Islamist groups whose ideologies challenge the conservative Islam observed by the Gulf Sunni regimes.

Egypt also broke diplomatic ties with Qatar, with which it has been at odds for several years. Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood government that came to power after the 2011 revolution and backed Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the Egyptian army in 2013.

The Gulf states have closed their ports and airspace to Qatar in an effort to isolate the country and there are questions as to whether Egypt will attempt to block Qatari tankers carrying crude or LNG through the Suez Canal.

The UAE has barred any Qatari-flagged ships or vessels travelling to or from Qatar from using the port of Fujairah, which many ships use as a bunkering station and which could pose a serious problem for regional shipping.

Bahrain has put its ports and territorial waters off limits to all navigation to and from Qatar and Saudi Arabia has barred its ports from receiving any Qatari-flagged or owned vessels.

For its part, Iran is reported to be implementing measures that will guarantee that Qatar does not experience any shortages of supplies.

Also Turkey, which is Sunni Muslim but which has its own Islamic interpretation on events in the region, has expressed its support for Qatar, which could in turn lead to problems between Ankara and Cairo and the Gulf states.

Qatar’s different approach to the region has created tensions between the GCC partners for some time. The Qatari television station Al Jazeera has frequently broadcast stories that have not been received well by the Saudis or other Gulf Arab states, and while private Qatari citizens are not alone among Gulf Arabs who provide funding for radical Islamic groups, including Islamic State and Hamas, Qatar is being singled out as the main culprit for such activity.

Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of LNG. It shipped 78 million tonnes during 2016, some of which went to the UAE, Jordan and Egypt, which obtained some 60% of its LNG imports from Qatar in 2016, and Dubai received 40% of its LNG from Qatar last year.

Furthermore, Qatar ships 2 bcf (56.6 mcm) per day to the UAE and Oman via the Dolphin gas pipeline. It remains unclear if these gas deliveries will be affected by the diplomatic row. If so, it would create shortages in Egypt and the UAE and resonate in LNG markets, where prices have been depressed thanks to low oil prices.

There is concern about whether the diplomatic split will have an impact on OPEC’s agreement to limit oil production in the face of a glutted market.

Qatar is seen as being instrumental in getting Iran to participate in the plan, which was put into effect in January this year and which was recently extended to March 2018 amid concerns that the restrictions placed on output by OPEC and non-OPEC producers will be insufficient during that time to reduce oil stocks.

In the meantime, another GCC member, Kuwait, has been attempting to mediate in the situation. Kuwait has advised Qatar to focus on easing the tension and to take no steps that would escalate the dispute.