Why is Qatar leaving OPEC?

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Qatar will officially exit OPEC on January 1, the country's energy minister, Saad al-Kaabi, said at a news conference in Doha on Monday.

The surprise announcement comes just days ahead of a pivotal meeting, as OPEC members and allies weigh joint production cuts to stabilize a market that suffered its worst month in more than a decade.

This step by Qatar is an attempt to give more value to gas, which is usually costed against oil when companies make capital and operating expenditure decisions.

Although contributing only a fraction of OPEC's overall production, Qatar's decision also throws into question the viability of the cartel.

Qatar is the world's biggest exporter of liquid natural gas.

In June 2017, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar in a political dispute that continues to this day. OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers will hold a ministerial meeting December 6-7.

Qatar produces only about 600,000 barrels of crude oil a day, making it OPEC's 11th biggest producer.

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Qatar may be a small producer but the impact of any member leaving OPEC at this time reflects growing feeling of discomfort among members in how decisions are being managed, said another expert.

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

OPEC and Russian Federation announced over the weekend that they had agreed on new cuts in oil production to ensure the commodity's price did not drop too far in the coming months.

Moreover, the Canadian province of Alberta has said it will force producers to cut output by 8.7% while a statement by Qatar that it will leave OPEC has had little impact as its crude production is low even though it is the biggest world exporter of liquified natural gas.

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

These countries, which also include large economies such as China and India, account for 75 percent of Iran's energy export. The boycotters accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and Iran, a regional rival of Saudi Arabia. Indonesia rejoined the organization in 2016 after an absence of almost eight years.

"Oil prices surged about 5% on Monday after the United States and China agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war, but Brent crude is still trading at around $62 a barrel, well below October's peak of more than $86". The announcement was made by the Gulf state's new energy minister, Saad al-Kaabi, on Monday.

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