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Qatar to withdraw from OPEC as of January 2019: minister

Reuters  |  DOHA 

By Eric Knecht

(Reuters) - is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019, Saad al-Kaabi, the country's said on Monday.

The decision came after Qatar, one of OPEC's smallest producers but the world's largest liquefied natural gas exporter, reviewed ways to enhance its role internationally and plan long-term strategy, including focusing on its gas industry, he said.

"has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning," he told a conference, adding that would still attend an OPEC meeting in this week.

The announcement comes ahead of the meeting by OPEC and its allies including on Dec. 6-7 to discuss cutting supply.

The 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.

He stressed that would continue to abide by all its commitments like any other non-OPEC

The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's intent to focus its efforts on developing its natural gas industry, the said, as the Gulf Arab state moves to increase LNG production from 77 million to 110 million tonnes annually.

He said the decision was not linked to a political and economic boycott of Qatar imposed since June 2017 by OPEC's de facto leader and three other Arab states.

(Reporting by Eric Knecht; Writing by and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Michael Georgy)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 12:20 IST