Qatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019

Qatar will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi announced on Monday. The decision to quit the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for almost half of the world’s oil production was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the country’s state oil company.

Speaking at a news conference in Doha, al-Kaabi said, “the withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons in the coming years.”

The announcement came several days before a December 6 OPEC meeting.

Al-Kaabi said that Qatar decided to pull out this calendar year as to not be an OPEC member in 2019 and that it is not related to the blockade of Qatar by OPEC countries Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and non-OPEC countries Egypt and Bahrain.

“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 abroad,” he added.

“Achieving our ambitious growth strategy will undoubtedly require focused efforts, commitment and dedication to maintain and strengthen Qatar’s position as the leading natural gas producer.”

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

It shares the world’s largest known natural gas field, the North Field, with Iran

In September, the country announced it would increase its production of natural gas from adding a fourth production line to raise capacity from the North Field to 110 million tonnes a year.

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