Qatar to withdraw from OPEC

The small, gas-rich state of Qatar announced in a series of tweets that it will leave the oil cartel on January 1 after nearly 60 years of membership.

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 5:41 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 6:01 AM

OPEC is losing one of its oldest members.

The small, gas-rich state of Qatar said Monday that it will leave the oil cartel on January 1 after nearly 60 years. The country's state oil company, Qatar Petroleum, made the announcement in a series of tweets.

"The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production," Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the country's newly-appointed minister of state for energy affairs, was cited as saying in one of the tweets.

Qatar has been under a diplomatic and economic embargo by its Arab neighbors, including OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for the past 18 months. In response, Qatar has been increasing gas production, the mainstay of its economy.

OPEC has no role in the global market for natural gas. And Qatar made no reference to the dispute with other Gulf states in its announcement, emphasizing plans to cement its position as the world's leading supplier of gas. Its exports currently account for about 30% of global demand.

"Achieving our ambitious growth strategy will undoubtedly require focused efforts, commitment and dedication to maintain and strengthen Qatar's position as the leading natural gas producer," Al-Kaabi said.

Marginal OPEC producer

Qatar is a marginal player in OPEC when compared to some of the cartel's biggest producers, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It pumps about 600,000 barrels of oil a day out of more than 27 million from all OPEC members.

But the surprise move comes at a critical time for OPEC. Its members and other major producers are due to meet in Vienna this week to discuss cutting production to boost oil prices.

Concerns about oversupply have sent oil prices plunging. US crude futures hit a four-year high above $76 a barrel in early October. They are now trading at around $53 a barrel.

"The decision by Qatar to withdraw from OPEC does come as a surprise, but is unlikely to have a significant impact on the oil market," Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Peter Kierna said.

A setback for OPEC

Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to pull out of OPEC, which was founded in 1960. Other countries have come and gone — Indonesia left in 2009 before rejoining for less than a year in 2016. Gabon rejoined in 2016 after an absence of more than 20 years.

"It's a disappointment for OPEC because they've been trying to attract members," said Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy, a consultancy firm based in Dubai.

OPEC has recently been expanding in Africa, with Congo and Equatorial Guinea signing up.

"If you add those up, [the production] is equal to Qatar's so it's kind of lost the equivalent [output] of those new members," Mills added.

The 15 OPEC members collectively supply about 44% of the world's crude oil. The cartel aims to monitor the market and decide to raise or lower oil production in order to maintain stable prices and supply.

Qatar has been a member of OPEC since 1961. It said the organization was aware of its decision to withdraw.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56183

Reported Deaths: 2907
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10023420
Cuyahoga7571372
Hamilton5770197
Marion273038
Lucas2700302
Pickaway218841
Summit2110206
Montgomery193126
Mahoning1818231
Butler154744
Columbiana129560
Stark1091112
Lorain99767
Trumbull92565
Warren82321
Clark7659
Delaware55315
Belmont54422
Fairfield54316
Tuscarawas54110
Medina50832
Lake49218
Licking46612
Miami45531
Portage43258
Ashtabula43144
Wood41251
Geauga40042
Clermont3946
Wayne36051
Richland3325
Allen30840
Mercer2808
Greene2489
Darke24625
Erie23622
Holmes2263
Huron2112
Madison1938
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Washington13120
Putnam12715
Sandusky12714
Hardin12012
Ross1183
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton942
Monroe8817
Jefferson872
Union821
Muskingum811
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Williams692
Clinton680
Guernsey683
Lawrence680
Shelby654
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot586
Brown561
Defiance503
Athens491
Knox481
Fayette460
Highland441
Champaign391
Scioto380
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Perry321
Henry290
Adams231
Paulding230
Pike230
Jackson220
Vinton222
Gallia161
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Heat Continues Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events