Qatar is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019, the country’s energy minister Saad al-Kaabi announced on Monday.
The decision to withdraw from OPEC came after Qatar reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan its long-term strategy, al-Kaabi told a news conference.
He said the withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's aim to increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes a year to 110 million tons in the coming years.
Here’s all you need to know
- Qatar’s energy minister said the decision to pull out of OPEC is a “technical and strategic” change, and was not politically motivated, reported Reuters.
- The announcement comes ahead of the meeting by OPEC and its allies including Russia on December 6-7 to discuss output cuts.
- Qatar is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), producing almost 30 per cent of the world’s natural gas.
- Most of the LNG comes from two major gas and oil fields, one of which is shared with Iran.
- Qatar’s oil production is only around 600,000 bpd. It is one of OPEC’s smallest oil producers, especially when compared to the likes of Saudi Arabia.
- Qatar has been at loggerheads with its neighbour and de facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia.
- Qatar is the first country to leave the bloc.
- Qatar joined OPEC in 1961, one year after the organisation’s establishment.
- Since June 2017, Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states have cut trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Doha had strongly denied Saudi Arabia’s accusations and said it has taken more counter-terrorism measures than some of its neighbours.
(With inputs from agencies)