After 57 years: Qatar to withdraw from OPEC, focus on gas exports

Published: December 4, 2018
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OPEC logo is pictured ahead of an informal meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). PHOTO: REURERS

OPEC logo is pictured ahead of an informal meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). PHOTO: REURERS

DOHA: Qatar said on Monday it was quitting Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 2019 but would attend the oil exporter group’s meeting this week, saying the decision meant Doha could focus on cementing its position as the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.

Doha, one of the smallest oil producers in OPEC, is locked in a diplomatic dispute with the group’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia but said the move to leave OPEC was not driven by politics.

Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad al-Kaabi told a news conference that Qatar, which he said had been a member of OPEC for 57 years, would still attend the group’s meeting on Thursday and Friday this week, and would abide by its commitments.

“Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning,” the minister said. “For me to put efforts and resources and time in an organisation that we are a very small player in and I don’t have a say in what happens … practically it does not work, so for us it’s better to focus on our big growth potential.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2018.

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