Qatar Announces Exit from OPEC, Prepares Second Cash Payment to Hamas

Adjust Comment Print gathers that the Qatar's energy minister, Saad al-Kaabi, who spoke at a news conference, said the country would be withdrawing from OPEC on January 1, 2019.

"Qatar has chose to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning", Kaabi told a Doha press conference. Since then, Saudi Arabia has maintained a boycott against Qatar, a country that has sometimes pursued its own foreign policy goals against the will of its fellow Sunni states.

Qatar's Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said the small Persian Gulf country will leave OPEC because it wants to focus on natural gas - a sector in which Qatar is a world leader.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Thursday to decide output. However, it is one of the world's biggest natural gas producers and recently signed a... Counting both its production of crude and condensate - a form of ultra-light oil - the nation pumps about 1 million barrels a day, less than a 10th of Saudi Arabia's output.

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The news this morning that Qatar is planning to pull out of Opec is unlikely to have a major effect on the price of oil.

Qatar's exit coincides with pressure on Riyadh and specifically Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Kaabi said gas production would remain the top priority for Qatar, which is the world's the biggest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG).

"A lot of people will politicize it", Al-Kaabi said.

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There's also been a shift in the way energy exports are shared from Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain started boycotting Qatar a year ago, accusing Doha of funding militants across the Middle East and fostering ties with Iran, charges that Qatar denies.

The analyst stressed that the tiny gas-rich state of Qatar accounts for a minuscule share of the total oil output by the OPEC countries. They imposed a trade and travel embargo on Qatar over allegations that it supports terrorism. OPEC nations like Ecuador, Gabon and Indonesia have either withdrawn or suspended their membership in the past, only later to rejoin.

After a 30% drop since October, crude prices had a respite with 5% surge Monday following positive news that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia had agreed to cut production and that the USA and China had reached a 90-day trade-war truce.

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