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Qatar to exit OPEC in January to focus on gas production

Qatar to exit OPEC in January to focus on gas production”

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.

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.

Opec is expected to cut oil supply at this week's meeting.

The surprise announcement from Qatar's minister of state for energy affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, again throws into question the role of the cartel which had to turn to non-members to push through a production cut in 2016 after prices crashed below $30 U.S. a barrel.

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As Qatar's announcement to exit OPEC stirred up a storm in global energy market, Doha-based energy experts and audit firms held urgent internal meetings to take stock of the situation.

State oil producer Qatar Petroleum confirmed the decision and amplified Kaabi's remarks on its Twitter account, quoting him saying the pullout from OPEC is part of a "future strategy based on growth and expansion, both in its activities at home and overseas".

"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". "It's a strategy decision", he told reporters. Al-Kaabi said, Qatar also wants to raise its oil production from 4.8 million barrels of oil equivalent a day to 6.5 million barrels.

In June a year ago, the Saudis and other Middle Eastern countries started a boycott of Qatar, demanding, among other things, it close down the Al Jazeera news network.

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On a day-to-day basis, OPEC countries produce about 32 million barrels of oil per day, giving the organisation significant influence over both the number of barrels produced per day and the oil price as a whole.

Delegates at OPEC, which has 15 members including Qatar, sought to play down the impact. The tiny Gulf state exports over 77 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually, good for about 30% of global market share.

In another report by Legit.ng, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Monday, November 26, said Nigeria lost its most valued crude oil buyers, even as its erstwhile gas customers were now competing with it.

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