New Delhi: 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 decision to quit the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for about 40 percent of the world’s oil production was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the country’s state oil company.
دولة قطر تعلن انسحابها من عضوية منظمة الدول المصدرة للبترول “أوبك” اعتباراً من الأول من يناير 2019.
— Qatar Petroleum (@qatarpetroleum) December 3, 2018
Speaking at a news conference in Doha, Al-Kaabi said: “The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years.”
Qatar’s Al-Kaabi also said the decision was not linked to the 18-month political and economic boycott of Doha.
Qatar joined OPEC in 1961, one year after the organisation’s establishment
The minister said the decision was not easy as Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years, but that the country’s impact on OPEC production decisions was small.
Since June 2017, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia — along with three other Arab states — has cut trade and transport ties with Qatar. Qatar has been accused of supporting terrorism and their regional rival, Iran.
Qatar joined OPEC in 1961, one year after the organisation’s establishment.
Earlier this week, OPEC and Russia, who together produce about 40 per cent of the world’s oil, said they agreed on new oil production cuts to ensure the oil price does not drop too much in the coming months.