Qatar to withdraw from OPEC

Qatar will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Gulf nation’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi announced.

The decision to quit the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for a significant percentage of the world’s oil production was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the state oil company, on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference in the capital Doha, al-Kaabi said: “The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years.”

Qatar is the first Gulf country to leave the bloc of oil-producing countries.

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis said that Qatar made the decision just days ahead of a December 6 OPEC meeting.

“They say it has nothing to do with the blockade on Qatar and that they have been thinking about it for several months now,” Bellis said, referring to a diplomatic blockade on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates ( UAE ), Egypt and Bahrain.

“They also said that if you want to withdraw from OPEC it had to be done before the end of the year,” she added. “They said they wanted to do this now and be transparent ahead of a December 6 OPEC meeting.”

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