Doha, Dec 3 : Qatar on Monday announced that it would leave the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from the start of the new year and concentrate on developing and raising its natural gas output to 110 million tonnes from 77 million tonnes a year.
At a news conference, Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Petroleum (QP) Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi said Qatar informed its decision to OPEC earlier in the day.
Qatar was among one of the founding members of the OPEC and has been in the cartel for he last 57 years.
He said the withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's intent to focus efforts on its natural gas industry and strengthen the country's position as a reliable and trustworthy energy supplier across the globe. "It has become clear to us that achieving our ambitious strategy will undoubtedly require focused efforts, commitment, and dedication to maintain and strengthen Qatar's position as the leading LNG producer.
Therefore, based on that requirement, as well as the size of our oil production the State of Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC," Qatar news agency quoted Al Kaabi as saying. He pointed out that the State of Qatar will attend OPEC next meeting, scheduled to be held later this month, as the last meeting to be attended as an OPEC member.
Al Kaabi also stressed Qatar's position as the biggest exporter of LNG and said that in the next few months it would announce "several major international partnerships."
"Our objective in this strategy was to remain focused on our core business and activities in Qatar, and to enhance Qatar's international standing as the world's leading natural gas producer," Al Kaabi said.
Regarding the repercussions of Qatar's decision to exit from OPEC, Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi said that Qatar's oil production is not huge and therefore the oil market will not be affected, stressing that that Qatar will be committed to the decisions taken by OPEC until the end of its membership.
While denying the decision to be a political one, al kaabi said that the decision was only for technical reasons related to Qatar's future strategy towards the energy sector, adding he sees the price of oil between $70 and $80 a barrel.
Al Kaabi also said that the objectives of establishing the Gas Exporting Countries Forum GECF is different from OPEC, underlying that it is not among the Forum's goals to determine the quantities of production for the participating countries, expressing at the same time the State of Qatar's satisfaction for the current role of the Forum and its functions.
Al Kaabi noted that the decision to withdraw from OPEC reflects Qatar's desire to focus its efforts on plans to raise its production capability from 4.8 million barrels oil equivalent per day to 6.5 million barrels during the next decade. In this regard, he explained that Qatar Petroleum will undertake projects to increase production without the need to borrow, given the availability of the necessary liquidity for the establishment of expansion projects, noting that by the middle of next year, Qatar Petroleum will announce the names of its foreign partners in these projects. Moreover, he also revealed that a petrochemical complex that will include ethane cracker will be established in Ras Laffan, expecting that details of the project and QP's partners will be disclosed during the first quarter of next year.
In the field of investments, he said that Qatar Petroleum is considering entering into partnerships to produce natural gas in the United States, and it may become one of the exporters of liquefied natural gas from the United States through its project Golden Pass LNG Terminal.
As for the prices of natural gas and the impact of shale gas on them, Al Kaabi said that one of the options currently offered is the entry of Qatar Petroleum into investments related to shale gas, adding that it will take a decision in this regard during the coming period.(UNI)