SEVERE WX : Special Weather Statement View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Qatar to withdraw from OPEC

The small, gas-rich state of Qatar announced in a series of tweets that it will leave the oil cartel on January 1 after nearly 60 years of membership.

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 4:43 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 5:01 AM

OPEC is losing one of its oldest members.

The small, gas-rich state of Qatar said Monday that it will leave the oil cartel on January 1 after nearly 60 years. The country's state oil company, Qatar Petroleum, made the announcement in a series of tweets.

"The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production," Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the country's newly-appointed minister of state for energy affairs, was cited as saying in one of the tweets.

Qatar has been under a diplomatic and economic embargo by its Arab neighbors, including OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for the past 18 months. In response, Qatar has been increasing gas production, the mainstay of its economy.

OPEC has no role in the global market for natural gas. And Qatar made no reference to the dispute with other Gulf states in its announcement, emphasizing plans to cement its position as the world's leading supplier of gas. Its exports currently account for about 30% of global demand.

"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," Al-Kaabi said.

Marginal OPEC producer

Qatar is a marginal player in OPEC when compared to some of the cartel's biggest producers, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It pumps about 600,000 barrels of oil a day out of more than 27 million from all OPEC members.

But the surprise move comes at a critical time for OPEC. Its members and other major producers are due to meet in Vienna this week to discuss cutting production to boost oil prices.

Concerns about oversupply have sent oil prices plunging. US crude futures hit a four-year high above $76 a barrel in early October. They are now trading at around $53 a barrel.

"The decision by Qatar to withdraw from OPEC does come as a surprise, but is unlikely to have a significant impact on the oil market," Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Peter Kierna said.

A setback for OPEC

Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to pull out of OPEC, which was founded in 1960. Other countries have come and gone — Indonesia left in 2009 before rejoining for less than a year in 2016. Gabon rejoined in 2016 after an absence of more than 20 years.

"It's a disappointment for OPEC because they've been trying to attract members," said Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy, a consultancy firm based in Dubai.

OPEC has recently been expanding in Africa, with Congo and Equatorial Guinea signing up.

"If you add those up, [the production] is equal to Qatar's so it's kind of lost the equivalent [output] of those new members," Mills added.

The 15 OPEC members collectively supply about 44% of the world's crude oil. The cartel aims to monitor the market and decide to raise or lower oil production in order to maintain stable prices and supply.

Qatar has been a member of OPEC since 1961. It said the organization was aware of its decision to withdraw.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
Mille Lacs215045
Le Sueur213516
Cass210524
Meeker201233
Waseca192816
Wabasha17413
Martin171726
Roseau166317
Hubbard150238
Redwood141027
Houston139814
Dodge13864
Renville138040
Chippewa132332
Cottonwood128918
Fillmore12646
Wadena120218
Rock111912
Aitkin111233
Sibley10947
Faribault108816
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99318
Pipestone96423
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
Pope7465
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68714
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66016
Wilkin6349
Koochiching60310
Lincoln4892
Big Stone4693
Unassigned44568
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4147
Kittson37320
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
Emmet111232
Union111023
Humboldt106619
Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
Palo Alto91711
Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
Worth6184
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4964
Ringgold44811
Audubon4218
Wayne41921
Adams2993
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
12° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 5°
Feels Like: 12°
Mason City
Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 9°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 3°
Feels Like: 7°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 2°
Feels Like: -1°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: -4°
Prepare for a chilly night
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events