Qatar to leave OPEC in 2019, energy minister says

Andrew Cummings
December 3, 2018

Qatar is to leave OPEC next month in order for the Gulf state to focus on gas production, the country's new Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced in a surprise move on Monday.

Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Al-Kaabi said that Qatar chose to pull out this calendar year as to not be an OPEC member in 2019 and that it is not related to the blockade of Qatar by OPEC countries Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and non-OPEC countries Egypt and Bahrain.

"Qatar has chose to withdraw its membership form OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning", the minister said on Monday at a news conference.

Qatari is one of the cartel's smallest oil producers, but is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The decision was made after Qatar reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan its long-term strategy, al-Kaabi also said.

The organisation is dominated by oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which since June 2017 has led a bloc of countries in imposing a blockade on Qatar.

Opec and its allies, including Russian Federation, are expected to agree on a supply cut at this week's meeting in a bid to support crude prices that have slid nearly 30 per cent since October. "They are not a big producer, but have played a big part in it's (Opec) history", the source said.

Doha said it wants to increase LNG production from 77 to 110 million tonnes annually.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain started boycotting Qatar previous year, accusing Doha of funding militants across the Middle East and fostering ties with Iran, charges that Qatar denies.

In October, the oil price reached a four-year high of $86, but since then the price has dropped again to about $60 per barrel.

Qatar has been an OPEC member for 57 years. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott aims to impinge on its sovereignty. "It's a strategy decision".

Mordecai Ladan, the director, DPR, said the oil and gas industry seemed to be under a new threat, which he described as the renewed dislike and global war against fossil fuels and the quest for renewable and cleaner energy.

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