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Qatar to withdraw from OPEC as of Jan 2019: minister

03 December 2018

Qatar's exit from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will become official on January 1, 2019, Kaabi said at a news conference in Doha Monday.

Al-Kaabi said the country "does not have great potential in oil, we are very realistic", AFP reported.

The Qataris are the smallest of the group's oil producers, extracting 600,000 bpd, but the largest natural gas producer in the world.

Qatar pulls out of Opec oil producers' cartel

More recently, the group and several allies including Russian Federation agreed in late 2016 to cut production by about 1.8 million barrels a day to reduce a global glut of crude that had depressed prices from more than $100 a barrel to less than $30.

Kaabi said that OPEC, which Qatar joined in 1961, was told of the decision on Monday ahead of the announcement.

Qatar supplied about 2 percent of annual OPEC output. "I assure you this purely was a decision on what's right for Qatar long term".

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Add in natural gas, supplied to its neighbours by pipeline and globally as LNG, and the nation's output rises to 4.8 million barrels a day, with plans to expand that to 6.5 million, according to Al-Kaabi. However, the current state of affairs won't make the country's position worse, as Qatar is "isolated anyway".

He didn't mention the political backdrop to the decision: dire relations with Saudi Arabia, which has led a blockade against his country since 2017; and a rhetorical onslaught from U.S. President Donald Trump against the cartel.

Qatar's decision to leave OPEC has been described as a "surprise" by Ashley Kelty, an oil and gas research analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe.

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Qatar was put under an economic embargo by some neighbouring countries, including Saudi Arabia, who cited Qatar's alleged support for terrorism as the main reason for their actions.

"Oil prices surged about 5% on Monday after the United States and China agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war, but Brent crude is still trading at around $62 a barrel, well below October's peak of more than $86". Qatar has said the boycott is damaging for its national sovereignty and has denied the claims.

In September, Qatar announced it planned to boost gas production to 110 million tonnes per year by 2024.

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Describing reactions to the decision in the business world, Kenyon reports that prices jumped in early trading Monday, with analysts citing hopes for easing trade tensions between the USA and China, along with Qatar's withdrawal from OPEC.

Qatar to withdraw from OPEC as of Jan 2019: minister