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Qatar leaves Opec oil group to focus on gas

03 December 2018
Qatar leaves Opec oil group to focus on gas

"Our potential is gas", said Kaabi.

Saad al-Kaabi, then-chief executive of Qatar Petroleum, gestures as he speaks to reporters in Doha on July 4, 2017.

A spokesman for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to comment.

Turkey and Qatar reached agreements on a wide range of issues, including cooperation in the areas of security and military during Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani's visit in Istanbul for the Turkey-Qatar High Strategic Committee meeting last week, the Arab Weekly reported on Friday.

Qatar was the first country to join OPEC after the five founding nations - Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela - formed the group in 1960.

Officials in Doha claim this is not behind their reason to leave OPEC, however, Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad al-Kaabi made a less than veiled swipe at the boycotters during the announcement.

"We don't have great potential [in oil], we are very realistic". Qatar wants to ramp up liquefied natural gas production from 77m to 110m tonnes a year.

He said he still planned to play a full part at a meeting due later this week.

Opec members are widely expected to cut production, after seeing oil price tumble this autumn.

He said geopolitics was not factor in the decision.

Relations between Riyadh and Doha are at an all-time low as a result of the crisis, which has seen Saudi-led countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and being too close to Iran. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott aims to impinge on its sovereignty.

"Achieving our ambitious strategy will undoubtedly require focused efforts, commitment and dedication to maintain and strengthen Qatar's position as the leading LNG producer", Al-Kaabi said in a statement. "I assure you this purely was a decision on what's right for Qatar long term".

"The symbolism is profound", said Helima Croft, commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets LLC and a former analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mordecai Ladan, the director, DPR, said the oil and gas industry seemed to be under a new threat, which he described as the renewed dislike and global war against fossil fuels and the quest for renewable and cleaner energy.