Qatar announces it is withdrawing from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) effective January 1, 2019.
Minister of State for Energy Affairs, H E Saad Sherida Al Kaabi announced Qatar’s withdrawal from OPEC at a press conference in Doha and said the organization was informed.
“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 minister said.
He added, “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.”
The minister said the decision was not easy as Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years, but that the country’s impact on OPEC production decisions was small. He stressed that Doha would continue to abide by all its commitments like any other non-OPEC oil producer.
Qatar would continue to produce oil and seek deals in countries including Latin America’s top oil producer Brazil, said Al Kaabi.
But gas production would remain the top priority for Qatar, which is the world’s the biggest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG).
“We don’t have great potential (in oil), we are very realistic,” said Kaabi, who described himself as “Mr Gas” during the conference. “Our potential is gas.
“I think it’s inefficient to focus on something that’s not your core business and something that’s not going to benefit you long-term.”
The minister also said, “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.”
He added that Qatar is proud in its international standing at the forefront of natural gas producers, and as the biggest exporter of LNG – the cleanest fossil fuel, which has given Qatar a strong and resilient economy.
Inputs from AFP/Reuters