Doha: The energy minister Saad aI-Kabi declared today that Qatar is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019. He said that this decision made after Qatar, one of OPEC’s smallest producers but the world largest liquefied natural gas exporter, reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan long-term strategy, including focusing in its gas industry.

He also added that “ Qatar has finalized the decision to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning” but apart from that Qatar will still attend an OPEC meeting in Vienna this week.”

During the meeting with OPEC, the announcement comes ahead and its allies including Russia on Dec 6-7 to discuss cutting supply.

“The decision was not easy as Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years, but that the country impact on OPEC production decisions was small,” said the minister.

The minister said while expressing his decision that the withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s intent to focus its efforts on developing its natural gas industry, as Gulf Arab state moves to increase LNG production from 77 million to 110 million tonnes annually.

He also said that the decision was not linked to a political and economic boycott of Qatar imposed since June 2017 by OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states.

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