Qatar To Exit OPEC In 2019

Qatar will officially exit OPEC on January 1, the country's energy minister, Saad al-Kaabi, said at a news conference in Doha on Monday.

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

Turkey and Qatar reached agreements on a wide range of issues, including cooperation in the areas of security and military during Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani's visit in Istanbul for the Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee meeting last week, the Arab Weekly reported on Friday.

Qatar is the world's largest LNG exporter and al-Kaabi says the country wants to increase its output from 77 million standard cubic feet daily to 110 million scuf.

Qatar produces only some 600,000 barrels of crude oil a day, making it OPEC's 11th biggest producer.

Qatar, the smallest member nation of OPEC, had joined the group in 1961.

Other complaints have centered on Qatar's support for the Arab Spring uprisings and its relationships with Iran - a country with which it shares a gas field in the Persian Gulf. "Time for Qatar to be one of the biggest players in a gas cartel", said another tweet. Its political stances, often supporting Islamists, have drawn the ire of its neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest exporter.

OPEC was founded in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, five major oil-producing countries.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June of 2017, in a dramatic move that was matched by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and others.

Indonesia suspended its OPEC membership in 2016 after the country's had become a few years earlier a net importer of oil. A Saudi-led coalition implemented a blockade on Qatar in June a year ago, severing diplomatic, trade and transport links as they accused Doha of funding extremist groups and being too close to Iran.

The Opec is a 15-nation strong organisation of countries that have rich oil reserves.

The small West Asian country has also been at loggerheads with its much bigger neighbour and de facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia.

While oil was never included in the list of hundreds of products each side has slapped with import tariffs, the positive sentiment generated by the trade truce seems to have put a bid under black gold.

This story has been corrected to show that the name of the minister is Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.

  • David Armstrong