Qatar to quit OPEC

US-China trade truce gives global stocks and oil a big lift

Qatar is to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries next month in order for the Gulf state to focus on gas production, Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced on Monday.

Qatar's energy minister said the decision to withdraw had not been not easy after 57 years of Opec membership, but noted that the country's impact on the cartel's production decisions was small.

OPEC and Russian Federation, who together produce about 40 percent of the world's oil, this week said they agreed on new oil production cuts to ensure oil price does not drop too much in the coming months.

The decision to withdraw was because of Qatar's plans to increase production, the minister said.

"We don't have great potential (in oil), we are very realistic".

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

"The nature of the animal as far as Opec is concerned is the bigger production capacity you have then the more weight you carry", Vandana Hari, founder and chief executive of Vanda Insights, told The National.

Oil prices surged about 5 per cent on Monday after the United States and China agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war, but Brent crude is still trading at around $62 a barrel, well below October's peak of more than $86.

"Qatar is proud in its worldwide standing at the forefront of natural gas producers, and as the biggest exporter of [the liquid natural gas] LNG - the cleanest fossil fuel, which has given Qatar a strong and resilient economy".

Al-Kaabi said that Qatar made a decision to pull out this calendar year as to not be an OPEC member in 2019.

"Qatar is proud in its worldwide 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", Qatar Petroleum also quoted Kaabi as saying. Doha also plans to build the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East.

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