Qatar has announced it is pulling out of the Opec oil producers’ cartel, just days before the group meets in Vienna.
The Gulf state, which joined Opec in 1961, said it would leave the cartel in January and would focus on gas production.
Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has been boycotted by some Arab neighbours over allegations that it funds terrorism.
Opec is expected to cut oil supply at this week’s meeting.
Explaining Qatar’s decision, Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said: “We don’t have great potential (in oil), we are very realistic. Our potential is gas.”
He said geopolitics was not factor in the decision.
Since June 2017, Qatar has been cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia, over its alleged support for terrorism.
Qatar is Opec’s 11th biggest oil producer – which is to say it’s one of the smallest producers in the cartel, clocking in at less than 2% of the group’s output.
While its departure might not mean much for Opec’s influence over the oil market, it is important to see the decision within the broader geopolitical climate here in the Middle East.
Opec’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia has been leading a regional blockade on Qatar that has seen trade and travel links severed since June 2017.