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Qatar to leave OPEC in 2019, energy minister says

Qatar to leave OPEC in 2019, energy minister says

Qatar produces only some 600,000 barrels of crude oil a day, making it OPEC's 11th biggest producer.

Oil also received support from an announcement by the Canadian province of Alberta that it would force producers to cut output by 8.7 percent, or 325,000 barrels per day (bpd), to deal with a pipeline bottleneck that has led to crude building up in storage.

The Gulf state's energy minister Saad al-Kaabi told a news conference in Doha it wanted to focus efforts on bolstering its dominance in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Naeem Aslam, an analyst at online broker ThinkMarkets, said: "Qatar leaving Opec isn't great news for the oil market and the market participants haven't digested the full impact of this news.

Our potential is gas", al-Kaabi said.

Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Russia have reached an agreement to reduce output although there are no hard figures yet, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the G20 Saturday.

"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".

The decision was "technical and strategic" and had "nothing to do with the blockade", he said. Benchmark Brent is trading at around US$62 a barrel, down from more than US$86 in October.




The decision was announced on Monday by the country's Energy Minister, Saad al-Kaabi.

This step by Qatar is an attempt to give more value to gas, which is usually costed against oil when companies make capital and operating expenditure decisions.

But Doha is an influential player in the global LNG market with annual production of 77 million tonnes per year, based on its huge reserves of the fuel in the Gulf.

"Its oil production has been steady with limited prospects for increases".

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain started boycotting Qatar a year ago, accusing Doha of funding militants across the Middle East and fostering ties with Iran, charges that Qatar denies. Qatar has said the boycott is damaging for its national sovereignty and has denied the claims.

"This shows that it will become more complicated to run things (at OPEC)".

Later that month, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera television network and downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha. Indonesia rejoined the organization in 2016 after an absence of almost eight years.

Qatar is a minnow in oil and a giant in natural gas.

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