Qatar pulls out of Opec to focus on gas production

Eileen GuzmanDec 03, 2018

Al-Kaabi, who is heading Qatar's Opec delegation, said the decision was not political but related to the country's long-term strategy and plans to develop its gas industry and increase LNG output to 110 million tonnes by 2024.

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.

The announcement came ahead of December 6 meeting of OPEC.

Qatar is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) as of January 2019, Saad al-Kaabi, the country's energy minister said on Monday.

Al-Kaabi said that Qatar made a decision 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, a country of 2.6 million people, discovered the offshore North Field in 1971, the same year it became independent.

One Opec source told Reuters the decision was more symbolic than anything else. "If you aren't on board with a tough decision like to reduce, and Qatar was never in that position since it is a relatively small producer", she said, then you have no sway.

"In light of such efforts and plans, and in our pursuit to strengthen Qatar's position as a reliable and trustworthy energy supplier across the globe, we had to take steps to review Qatar's role and contributions on the worldwide energy scene", al-Kaabi said in a statement. Basically, Qataris have brought the biggest weapon out and it only means more instability between the Qatari and Saudi relationship.

"For now, there is optimism that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are committed to keep the supply under control".

Apart from petroleum, Qatar's other energy resources include natural gas.

He added that Qatar would still continue to produce oil but would concentrate on gas production, where it is the biggest exporter of liquified natural gas in the world.

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