Qatar on Monday announced that it intends to withdraw from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after nearly 60 years of membership in order to focus on its plans to increase natural gas production.
The planned January 1, 2019, withdrawal was announced at a press conference here earlier in the day and confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the state-owned corporation responsible for oil and gas activities, on Twitter.
“The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production,” tweeted Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the country’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs.
He said that OPEC had been informed of the decision, Efe news reported.
Qatar has been a member of OPEC since 1961. It said the organization was aware of its decision to withdraw.
Al-Kaabi said the withdrawal decision reflected Qatar’s aim to increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes a year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years.