Qatar Will Pull Out Of OPEC, As Rift With Saudi Arabia Deepens

Qatar is the world's largest exporter of LNG

Image Qatar is the world's largest exporter of LNG

Secretary General of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Latif bin Rashid al-Zayani is reportedly going to visit Doha to invite Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to attend the next summit of the regional grouping in Dammam city in Saudi Arabia this month.

President Donald Trump repeatedly has criticized both OPEC and US ally Saudi Arabia over rising oil prices in recent weeks, demanding a production increase to drive down USA gasoline prices.

"It could signal a historic turning point of the organisation towards Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States", Reuters quoted Algeria's former energy minister and OPEC chairman, Chakib Khelil, while commenting on Qatar's move. In November, Qatar also provided fuel for Gaza's only power plant.

Saad al Kaabi explains Qatar's decision to leave OPEC at a news conference in Doha
Image Saad al Kaabi explains Qatar's decision to leave OPEC at a news conference in Doha

The Gulf state's energy minister Saad al-Kaabi told a news conference in Doha it wanted to focus efforts on bolstering its dominance in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Speaking at a press conference, Saad al-Kaabi said the decision comes after Qatar reviewed ways in which it could improve its global standing and plan its long-term strategy. But losing a long-standing member undermines a bid to show a united front before a meeting that is expected to back a supply cut to shore up crude prices down nearly 30% since an October peak.

Describing reactions to the decision in the business world, Kenyon reports that prices jumped in early trading Monday, with analysts citing hopes for easing trade tensions between the US and China, along with Qatar's withdrawal from OPEC.

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Qatar says it will quit the OPEC cartel of oil producers on January 1 after 57 years of membership.

The group that initiated the blockade, which also includes Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain, accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups and being too close to Iran.

Qatar was the first nation outside of its founding members to join the cartel, entering its ranks in 1961.

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OPEC is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 nations that, along with Russian Federation, accounts for nearly half of the world's oil production.

While oil was never included in the list of hundreds of products each side has slapped with import tariffs, the positive sentiment generated by the trade truce seems to have put a bid under black gold.

While there was no announcement on how much would be cut and for how long, the pact between the world's two biggest crude exporters was cheered Monday by oil traders, with Brent jumping $2.60 to $62.06 and West Texas Intermediate up $2.42 to $53.35. It was $61.30 a barrel in trading Monday, while the benchmark North American contract fraded for $52.60 US.

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