Qatar is to leave Opec effective 1 January 2019 in a move that makes the widening fissures running through the group impossible to hide. Members have long pointed proudly to the group’s history of overcoming events as extreme as the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq conflict, and Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait as proof that the group transcends politics. Qatar’s withdrawal shatters that illusion.

Newly appointed Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi held a press conference on 3 December to announce Qatar’s decision. Mr Kaabi said the decision was taken in order that Qatar can focus on its ambitious plan to increase LNG production capacity from 77mn t/y to 110mn t/y by the end of 2023 and increase its international reserves (MEES, 28 September). “Based on that requirement, as well as the size of our oil production” the decision was made. (CONTINUED - 1577 WORDS)