As Oil Plunges, the Real OPEC Meeting Will Be at Next Week's G20
For the oil market, it looks like the real OPEC meeting will come a week ahead of schedule. The cartel is set to meet on Dec. 6 in Vienna, but days earlier the key decision makers are set to gather on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in a meeting that may well decide the direction of oil prices in 2019. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle)
© Anne Levasseur/AFP/Getty Images Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatar's minister of state for energy affairs, announced the country would withdraw from OPEC in a press conference in Doha, Qatar on Monday.
The gas-rich nation of Qatar on Monday said it is withdrawing from OPEC at the start of next year.
The head of the country's energy ministry said it plans to focus its energy investments on further developing its natural gas resources.
"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," Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said at a press conference in Doha, according toexcerpts shared on Twitter by the state oil and gas company, Qatar Petroleum.
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OPEC is the first Middle East country to withdraw from the cartel since it was formed in 1960. The move comes as Saudi Arabia was expected to announce production cuts when OPEC meets in Vienna this week in a bid to shore up prices.
However, the decision may more reflect a desire to irritate the kingdom than to protest the anticipated production cuts. Qatar remains under diplomatic and economic embargo by OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as other nations, which have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and – perhaps more importantly to Saudi Arabia – aligning too closely with the kingdom's rival, Iran.
Qatar's oil production at the same time pales in comparison to its natural gas output – which is not regulated by OPEC. Qatar produces close to a third of global supply. Its oil production is much smaller, generating about 600,000 of the 33 million barrels that OPEC's 15 members produce each day. Saudi Arabia, the cartel's leading member, alone produces about 10.7 million barrels per day.
Hence, Qatar's withdrawal is unlikely to have a major effect on oil markets. But it may still come as "a disappointment for OPEC because they've been trying to attract members," Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy, a consulting firm based in Dubai, toldCNN
Indonesia in 2016 was the last country to depart OPEC. It had previously withdrawn from the cartel in 2009.
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Saudi Arabia hosts GCC summit amid Qatar tensions, Khashoggi crisis.
The Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) annual summit was set to open in Riyadh on Sunday, with regional unity imperiled by a bitter row with Qatar and the host, Saudi Arabia, facing a diplomatic crisis over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The one-day annual gathering of leaders from the six member states is expected to focus on security issues, including the Yemen war and Iran's regional activities, and may touch on oil politics and a protracted boycott of Qatar by some of its neighbors. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle)