Qatar’s withdrawal from OPEC not a game changer

Oil&Gas Materials 3 December 2018 16:07 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.3

By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:

Qatar’s decision to pull out of the oil cartel, OPEC, is unlikely to have a major impact on global energy markets but it further cements the country’s feud with Saudi Arabia and its allies, said Capital Economics.

The experience since the blockade was imposed in mid-2017 is that, while certain sectors such as tourism will continue to suffer, there is unlikely to be a significant effect on Qatar’s economy at an aggregate level, according to the report of the UK-based consulting company.

Qatar’s Energy Minister, Saad al-Kaabi, has announced that the country will leave OPEC with effect from 1st January 2019. Mr. al-Kaabi pinned the decision on the country’s desire to focus on investing in its LNG capacity and that, as a small oil producer, it had little influence over OPEC policy.

“The move is highly symbolic – Qatar has been a member of OPEC since 1961. But we doubt that it will have a major bearing on global energy markets. While Qatar is the world’s largest LNG producer, it is a small player in the oil market – it produces just 600,000 bpd, making it the fifth smallest OPEC member,” said the company.

And in any case, Qatar will still comply with output deals between major oil producers, Capital Economics believes.

“Looking ahead, we think that economic growth in Qatar will stay sluggish compared with the standards of the past decade. But that will most likely reflect other issues, such as the need for a prolonged period of deleveraging following the past decade’s credit boom and the backdrop of low global energy prices, rather than the legacy of the blockade.”

Saad al-Kaabi said Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership form OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC.

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.


Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn