Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Iran says OPEC players frustrated with Saudis, Russia

Doha Qatar Qatar has called time on almost 60 years within Opec as its relationship with Saudi Arabia unravels
Jodi Jackson | 04 December, 2018, 00:14

The surprise announcement from Qatar's minister of state for energy affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, again throws into question the role of the cartel which had to turn to non-members to push through a production cut in 2016 after prices crashed below $30 USA a barrel.

Qatar's Energy Minister Saad Sherida al Kaabi insisted during a press conference that the decision was not linked to the economic and travel blockade on Doha by OPEC's top producer and de facto leader Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's allies - the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

The move by the tiny, energy-rich kingdom comes days before Opec members and other big oil producers gather in Vienna for a meeting that in which Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia look set to clash over oil prices. Qatar has said the boycott is damaging for its national sovereignty and has denied the claims.

Qatar is the world's largest exporter of LPG.

He added that OPEC was told of the decision on Monday ahead of the announcement. Qatar wants to ramp up liquefied natural gas production from 77m to 110m tonnes a year.

OPEC's de facto leader and largest producer Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, and several other states cut ties with Qatar in June a year ago, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.

Delegates at Opec, which has 15 members including Qatar, sought to play down the impact.

Qatar's emir, Sheikh bin Hamad al-Thani.

Qatar is not the first OPEC member to quit the cartel that was founded in 1960 in Baghdad.

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

This double-header has already given the crude oil market a bit of impetus: The price of a barrel of oil has risen 5% since the weekend, and is expected to climb even further when OPEC meet to discuss these changes on Wednesday. A Saudi-led coalition implemented a blockade on Qatar in June a year ago, severing diplomatic, trade and transport links as they accused Doha of funding extremist groups and being too close to Iran. It joined back in 1961. Other members include Algeria, Angola, Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The Gulf state said it would focus on gas production.

The oil prices in October, reached a four-year high of $86, but since then the price has dropped to about $60 per barrel. "They debated 'what does the withdrawal mean to OPEC and global energy market and to Qatar?", market sources told The Peninsula.

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