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December 03, 2018 @ 12:59 +03:00
Qatar said on Monday it was quitting 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 the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, 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 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. One OPEC source told Reuters the decision was more symbolic than anything else. “They are not a big producer, but have played a big part in it’s (OPEC) history,” the source said.
Qatar has oil output of only 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared with the 11 million bpd produced by Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest oil producer and world’s biggest exporter. But Doha is an influential player in the global LNG market with annual production of 77 million tonnes per year, based on its huge reserves of the fuel in the Gulf.
Oil prices surged about 5 percent 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.