Economy

Qatar to quit global oil body Opec

Qatar to quit global oil body Opec

At the meeting, the producer group, along with non-OPEC member Russian Federation, is expected to announce cuts aimed at reining in a production overhang that has pulled down crude prices by around a third since October.

The analyst stressed that the tiny gas-rich state of Qatar accounts for a minuscule share of the total oil output by the OPEC countries.

"Riyadh made a series of demands aimed at reining in its ambitious smaller neighbor, including that Qatar close down the Al Jazeera news channel", as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports.

Qatar's wealth also has seen it take on a larger importance in worldwide politics.

It is locked in a diplomatic dispute with the group's de facto leader Saudi Arabia but said the move to leave OPEC was not driven by politics. They also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing the country's sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.

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Analysts are expecting OPEC to announce a supply cut of 1-1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) on December 6. A Saudi-led coalition implemented a blockade on Qatar in June past year, severing diplomatic, trade and transport links as they accused Doha of funding extremist groups and being too close to Iran.

The nation joined the organisation in 1961.

Counting Qatar, OPEC has 15 members, including Algeria, Angola, Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Qatar is OPEC's 11th biggest oil producer, accounting for less than 2 percent of oil output. Qatar could potentially do the same.

Key members such as Saudi Arabia have signalled they could support a cut in Opec production, to drive global prices back up.

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While the minister said the decision to quit had no relation to a Saudi-led blockade by neighbors Qatar has been subjected to for a year and a half now, tense relations with the biggest producer in the region must have had an effect on the final decision.

That's compared to an average of 861,000 per day from Saudi Arabia.

In September, Qatar announced it planned to boost gas production to 110 million tonnes per year by 2024. Most of Alberta's oil is exported to the United States. Benchmark Brent is trading at around US$62 a barrel, down from more than US$86 in October.

"A lot of people will politicize it", Al-Kaabi said.

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