Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Qatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019

Qatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019

Qatar said its decision was not driven by politics but in an apparent swipe at Riyadh, Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad al-Kaabi said: "We are not saying we are going to get out of the oil business but it is controlled by an organisation managed by a country". Qatar is the world's biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas.

The announcement comes just days before a crucial meeting between the cartel's members and its non-OPEC allies.

The Opec is estimated to now account for almost half of the global oil production and so has a major say in oil prices. "Our potential is gas", said Mr al-Kaabi.

In June 2017, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar in a political dispute that continues to this day.

Oil prices have fallen more than 25 per cent since climbing to a four-year peak in early October, amid intensifying concerns of oversupply and worries over slowing economic growth.

Qatar is the world's biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG), producing nearly 30 percent of the world's natural gas.

Qatar, who has been a member of OPEC for 57 years, said that it would still abide by its commitments to the group.

"The symbolism is profound", said Helima Croft, commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets LLC and a former analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.

In June of previous year, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain collectively severed ties with Doha and imposed an embargo - by air land and sea - on the Gulf state.

Its biggest contributor, Saudi Arabia, now extracts 11 million per day.

He said he still planned to play a full part at a meeting due later this week. They imposed a trade and travel embargo on Qatar over allegations that it supports terrorism. "If you aren't on board with a tough decision like to reduce, and Qatar was never in that position since it is a relatively small producer", she said, then you have no sway.

He said Qatar would still look to expand its oil investments overseas and would "make a big splash in the oil and gas business".

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.60 per barrel at 0032 GMT, up $1.67 per barrel, or 3.2 percent from their last close, it said.

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