Oil shock: Qatar pulls out of OPEC

Oil shock: Qatar pulls out of OPEC

Qatar announces it is withdrawing from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) effective January 1, 2019.

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.

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

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 minister said the withdrawal reflects his country's desire to focus on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons in coming years.

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He said geopolitics was not factor in the decision.

Qatar has spend the last year-and-a-half battling attempts by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (both of them are members of the Opec) to isolate it in the Middle East.

The decision came after Qatar, one of Opec's smallest producers but the world's largest liquefied natural gas exporter, reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan long-term strategy, including focusing on its gas industry, he said.

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.

It took years for engineers to discover the gas field's vast reserves, which shot Qatar to No. 3 in world rankings, behind Russian Federation and Iran, with which it shares the North Field.

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