Qatar quits Opec ahead of oil cartel crunch talks

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Qatar is leaving the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, the first Gulf country to pull out since joining more than half a century ago.

Qatar says it will withdraw from the OPEC group of major oil-producing nations in January.

Qatar is the 11th-biggest oil producer in OPEC, pumping 610,000 barrels a day in October, less than 2 per cent of the group total 33.3 million.

Oil prices soared around 5 per cent on Monday after the United States and China agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war, and ahead of a meeting this week by producer club OPEC that is expected to result in a supply cut. Moscow has become more influential in setting oil policy alongside Saudi Arabia, which is the largest producer within the cartel, and its de facto leader.

OPEC members, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and fellow Arab states Bahrain and Egypt, have imposed a political and economic boycott on Qatar since June 2017.

The decision was announced on Monday by the country's Energy Minister, Saad al-Kaabi.

At that meet, OPEC will decide whether to reduce its production output further to mitigate against rising oil supplies.

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After a 30% drop since October, crude prices had a respite with 5% surge Monday following positive news that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia had agreed to cut production and that the United States and China had reached a 90-day trade-war truce.

As Qatar's announcement to exit OPEC stirred up a storm in global energy market, Doha-based energy experts and audit firms held urgent internal meetings to take stock of the situation. OPEC nations like Ecuador, Gabon and Indonesia have either withdrawn or suspended their membership in the past, only later to rejoin.

"The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production", Qatar's energy minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said in one of the tweets announcing the abrupt decision.

The Saudi-led axis accuses Doha of supporting terrorist groups in the region - allegations Qatar strenuously denies. Prices in Omani crude also reflected a change, with the Dubai Mercantile Exchange reporting that Omani crude oil had increased by $2.05 to reach $61.42.

In another report by Legit.ng, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Monday, November 26, said Nigeria lost its most valued crude oil buyers, even as its erstwhile gas customers were now competing with it.

Markets were also buoyed by Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta deciding to cut production by 8.7 percent to support prices.

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