Qatar to withdraw from OPEC from January 1, 2019

The move mirrors the strategic shift in the fossil fuel industry from dirty polluting crude to liquefied natural gas.

On Monday, Qatar’s energy minister Saad al-Kaabi stated, Qatar will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 1, 2019.

Although Qatar is the smallest producer of crude in OPEC, it is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The development comes as Qatar is reviewing its long term strategy as well as ways to enhance its role internationally, said Saad al-Kaabi.

“Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership form OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning,” said Saad al-Kaabi to a news conference.

Incidentally, Qatar will attend the OPEC meeting in Vienna scheduled for this week.

Significantly, Saad al-Kaabi made it lucid that despite the move, Doha will continue to abide by all its commitments, like any other non-OPEC producer.

The strategic move come midst Qatar’s intent to focus its resources on developing its natural gas industry, a much cleaner form of fuel in comparison to crude oil. Qatar is aiming to increase its LNG production from 77 million to 110 million tonnes, annually.

Saad al-Kaabi made it clear that the decision to withdraw from OPEC was not linked to the economic and polical boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

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