Qatar to quit Saudi-dominated OPEC in 2019

Qatar to quit Saudi-dominated OPEC in 2019

Qatar's Energy Minister Saad Sherida al Kaabi insisted during a press conference that the decision was not linked to the economic and travel blockade on Doha by OPEC's top producer and de facto leader Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's allies - the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Also adding the bid tone are expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC member Russian Federation would announce supply cuts this week to rein in supply overhang.

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. However, Qatar has denied all the claims. Oil prices surged on Monday after the United States and China agreed a 90-day truce in their trade war at a weekend meeting of the G20 nations in Argentina.

"They are not a big producer, but have played a big part in [Opec's] history", one Opec source said.

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

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Qatar, the smallest member nation of OPEC, had joined the group in 1961.

A taxi passes by a building with an image of emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha.

Oil prices jumped almost four percent on Monday after the United States and China agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade dispute and Canada's Alberta province ordered a production cut, while exporter group OPEC looked set to reduce supply.

"I would like to reaffirm Qatar's pride in its worldwide standing at the forefront of the natural gas producers, and the biggest LNG producer in the world, as the cleanest fossil fuel known to mankind", he said. A Saudi-led coalition implemented a blockade on Qatar in June previous year, severing diplomatic, trade and transport links as they accused Doha of funding extremist groups and being too close to Iran.

These countries, which also include large economies such as China and India, account for 75 percent of Iran's energy export.

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It marks the first time a Mideast nation has left the cartel since its founding in 1960.

"Quitting OPEC is largely symbolic for Qatar", he told Bloomberg.

Oil prices have fallen from a four-year high above $86 a barrel in early October on concerns over excess supply.

Oman's Al Rumhi warned that Qatar could face retaliation for its withdrawal from OPEC from countries that could withdraw from the Doha-based Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

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