Qatar pulls out of Opec to focus on gas production

Qatar is to quit the Opec after nearly 60 years of membership. Saad al-Kaabi, the country’s energy minister, said the decision was not linked to any political and economic boycott of Qatar imposed in June 2017 by Saudi Arabia.

Qatar is one of the cartel’s smallest oil producers, but is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Al-Kaabi said the Gulf state had reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally, including focusing on its gas industry. He also said that the move was a “strategy decision” as Qatar wants to ramp up liquefied natural gas production from 77m to 110m tonnes a year and also mentioned about Doha planning to build the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East.

The energy minister said that the decision to withdraw was not easy, and that Doha would abide by its global commitments like any other non-Opec oil producer.

Qatar pumps about 600,000 barrels a day, while Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter, produces 11m barrels.

Despite all this, Qatar will still take part in the Opec meeting in Vienna and will set oil policy for next year.