Qatar to withdraw from OPEC early 2019

The decision to withdraw from OPEC came after Qatar reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan its long-term strategy. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Qatar to withdraw from OPEC early 2019

  • The announcement comes ahead of the meeting by OPEC and its allies including Russia on Dec. 6-7 to discuss cutting supply
  • Qatar would still attend an OPEC meeting in Vienna this week

DOHA: Qatar is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019, Saad al-Kaabi, the country’s energy minister said on Monday.
The decision came after Qatar, one of OPEC’s smallest producers but the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan long-term strategy, including focusing on its gas industry, he said.
“Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership form OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning,” he told a news conference, adding that Qatar would still attend an OPEC meeting in Vienna this week.
The announcement comes ahead of the meeting by OPEC and its allies including Russia on Dec. 6-7 to discuss cutting supply.
The minister said the decision was not easy as Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years, but that the country’s impact on OPEC production decisions was small.
He stressed that Doha would continue to abide by all its commitments like any other non-OPEC oil producer.
The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s intent to focus its efforts on developing its natural gas industry, the minister said, as the Gulf Arab state moves to increase LNG production from 77 million to 110 million tons annually.

On Monday, the UAE's foreign minister Anwar Gargash tweeted that the decision by Qatar to withdraw highlighted how isolated Doha had become and that he expected Qatari media to launch a smear campaign on OPEC.

 


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 7 min 29 sec ago
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.