— Qatar Dumps OPEC in January 2019, To Focus On Gas Production
Qatar is to leave OPEC next month – after nearly 60 years of membership of the oil cartel – in order for the Gulf state to focus on gas production, Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced on Monday, December 3, 2018.
“Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019, and this decision was communicated to Opec this morning.”” Kaabi said at a Doha press conference.
According to him, 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.
“We don’t have great potential [in oil], we are very realistic. Our potential is gas.”
Kaabi said that OPEC, which Qatar joined in 1961, was told of the decision on Monday ahead of the announcement.
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.
Qatar is one of the cartel’s smallest oil producers, but is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
Meanwhile, Opec members are widely expected to cut production, after seeing the oil price tumble this autumn. Brent crude slid to below $60 a barrel last week, from $86 in October, while US crude fell below $50 a barrel.
However, oil prices surged on Monday after the US and China agreed a 90-day truce in their trade war at a weekend meeting of the G20 nations in Argentina.