Qatar to leave OPEC in 2019, energy minister says

Ivan Schwartz
December 3, 2018

Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said Qatar would withdraw from Opec, which it joined in 1961, in January.

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

Saad al-Kaabi said the country's impact on OPEC production decisions would be small, as the tiny Gulf state doesn't produce as much crude as other members.

"Qatar has chose to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019", Kaabi said at a press conference in Doha.

But gas production would remain the top priority for Qatar, which is the world's the biggest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG).

According to the energy minister, the decision is not connected to the political and economic boycott of Qatar pushed by its powerful neighbor Saudi Arabia since June 2017 and supported by three other Arab nations.

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OPEC and Russian Federation, who together produce about 40 percent of the world's oil, said earlier this week they agreed on new oil production cuts to ensure oil price does not drop too much in the coming months.

"We don't have great potential (in oil), we are very realistic", said Kaabi, who described himself as "Mr Gas" during the conference.

One Opec source told Reuters the decision was more symbolic than anything else.

Now Qatar will be able to produce at whatever level it wants, she said, "but I wouldn't see it as a threat to Opec's efforts to cut their production because [Qatar] is not capable on its own of flooding the market".

The oil prices in October, reached a four-year high of $86, but since then the price has dropped to about $60 per barrel. "A lot of people will politicise it", Al-Kaabi said.

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. He said Qatar Petroleum planned to raise its production capability from 4.8 million barrels oil equivalent per day to 6.5 million barrels in the next decade.

Other reports by GizPress

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