Qatar announces pullout from OPEC in 2019

Gladys Abbott
December 3, 2018

"Qatar has chose to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning", Kaabi said at a Doha press conference.

The tiny, energy-rich Gulf Arab nation of Qatar says it will withdraw from OPEC, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in January.

OPEC, which Qatar joined in 1961, was informed of the decision ahead of the announcement, he said.

He added, "Qatar has worked diligently during the past few years to develop a future strategy based on growth and expansion, both in its activities at home and overseas".

Al-Kaabi said the gulf state had reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally, including focusing on its gas industry.

"Qatar is proud in its global standing at the forefront of natural gas producers, and as the biggest exporter of [the liquid natural gas] LNG - the cleanest fossil fuel, which has given Qatar a strong and resilient economy".

The announcement comes days before the Opec summit in Vienna.

Qatar pulls out of Opec oil producers' cartel

Naeem Aslam, an analyst at online broker ThinkMarkets, said: "Qatar leaving Opec isn't great news for the oil market and the market participants haven't digested the full impact of this news".

One Opec source told Reuters the decision was more symbolic than anything else.

The announcement comes ahead of the meeting by Opec and its allies including Russian Federation on Dec 6-7 to discuss cutting supply. "They are not a big producer, but have played a big part in it's (Opec) history", the source said.

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

Al-Kaabi said that Qatar chose to pull out this calendar year as to not be an OPEC member in 2019.

Currently, Opec has 15 member countries: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Venezuela. "We will make a big splash in the oil and gas business soon", he said.

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