Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy and industry minister, center, speaks to reporters ahead of the 174th Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna. (Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg)

Qatar Says It Plans to Withdraw From OPEC to Focus on Gas Output

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar will withdraw from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries from Jan. 1, Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said in Doha.

  • The decision to withdraw is “technical” and country intends to focus on natural gas production; it will not be bound by OPEC’s agreements after exit from the group, Al-Kaabi said at a press conference in Doha.
Qatar Says It Plans to Withdraw From OPEC to Focus on Gas Output

Key Insights

  • The decision comes as OPEC prepares to meet this week to review its output and just after Saudi Arabia and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to manage production to balance the oil market.
  • Walking away from OPEC’s production controls could mean Qatar may increase output after leaving the group, undermining efforts to support prices.
  • Qatar is the 11th-biggest oil producer in OPEC, pumping 610,000 barrels a day in October, less than 2 percent of the group total 33.3 million.
  • It’s the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Market Reaction

  • Brent crude for February settlement slightly pared gains, but still traded up 4.7% at $62.28 a barrel at 2:39 p.m. in Singapore.

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  • "Exiting OPEC will not affect the organization," Al-Kaabi said, adding he sees the price of oil between $70 and $80 a barrel.

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