Qatar announced Monday that it would pull out of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in January, while the Persian Gulf State continues to face prolonged regional conflict with the United States. Saudi Arabia, his rival.
This decision comes amidst a quarrel of more than a year between Qatar and its neighbors. Led by Saudi Arabia, a coalition of Arab Gulf states broke relations with Qatar and imposed an economic blockade, accusing the government of supporting Iran's terrorism. But Qatar said its withdrawal from OPEC was not related to the political conflict, Reuters reported.
Compared to Saudi Arabia, which produces 11 million barrels of oil a day, Qatar produces only 600,000 tons. But the exit of Qatar will end 57 years of OPEC membership and mark the first withdrawal of a Middle East country from this organization.
Qatar's energy minister, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, said Monday at a press conference that the country was leaving the oil cartel to focus on projects aimed at increasing its gas production more than 40% natural in the coming years. In a series of tweets quoting Kaabi, the national oil company has announced plans to expand and increase natural gas production from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons. "Achieving our ambitious growth strategy will undoubtedly require concentrated effort, commitment and dedication to maintain and strengthen Qatar's position as the largest producer of natural gas," Kaabi said.
Qatar is already the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and, according to the Associated Press, Kaabi said the country also wanted to increase its oil production.
The regional boycott attracted to the United States. But President Trump has issued contradictory statements about Qatar. He first approved allegations that the country would be a "sponsor of terrorism" last year, but he then called the Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a "great friend "during his visit to Washington in April. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the leaders of the Persian Gulf to resolve the conflict, highlighting their common goal of facing Iran, the Trump administration's top foreign policy objective.
In recent months, US drivers have felt the effects of rising gasoline prices. Trump has attacked OPEC throughout the year to limit its production. He has long lobbied OPEC for it to lower oil prices and used Twitter to criticize the organization. After peaking in October at $ 86 a barrel, Brent's benchmark crude trades at over $ 61. OPEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Group members are scheduled to meet later this week to discuss potential production cuts.