Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Qatar announces Opec exit days before pivotal oil cuts meeting

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| 04 December, 2018, 00:18

Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said Qatar would withdraw from Opec, which it joined in 1961, in January.

In June previous year, the Saudis and other Middle Eastern countries started a boycott of Qatar, demanding, among other things, it close down the Al Jazeera news network. Moreover, OPEC only deals with crude oil, not the liquefied natural gas Qatar is better at producing, and the U.S.is a net exporter of liquefied natural gas anyway.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest exporter, along with Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut ties with Qatar and launched an economic boycott that included preventing Qatar Airways from using its airspace, closing its land border and blocking its ships from their ports.

Looking ahead, oil traders will eye a meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on December 6. "Time for Qatar to be one of the biggest players in a gas cartel", said another tweet.

However, they're about to become one member light, as Qatar have confirmed they are pulling out of the organisation - a decision that could see petrol prices rise in South Africa.

Qatar's exit coincides with pressure on Riyadh and specifically Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


Kaabi described the withdrawal from OPEC as purely a business move, saying Qatar wants to boost its natural gas production from 77 million tons yearly to 110 million tons.

Qatar is OPEC's 11th-biggest oil producer, accounting for less than 2 per cent of total output, so its departure may not have a significant impact on discussions this week to cut production in conjunction with allies including Russian Federation.

The Saudi-led axis accuses Doha of supporting terrorist groups in the region - allegations Qatar strenuously denies.

"I would like to reaffirm Qatar's pride in its global standing at the forefront of the natural gas producers, and the biggest LNG producer in the world, as the cleanest fossil fuel known to mankind", he said. The four nations have also pointed to Qatar's close relationship with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore gas field.

The price of U.S. crude oil, which has been falling since early October, has broken to the upside from a downward sloping channel on the daily chart, suggesting a further rally if it can hold above the channel resistance line at the USA close.

The news was confirmed by Qatari Energy Minister, Saad al-Kaabi.

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