Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE) - Minister of State for Energy Affairs, His Excellency Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi has announced that Qatar will withdraw from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on January 1 next year.

The Minister announced Qatar's withdrawal from OPEC at a press conference in Doha and said that the organization had been informed.

‘The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons in the coming years,’ the minister said.

He added, ‘Qatar has worked diligently during the past few years to develop a future strategy based on growth and expansion, both in its activities at home and abroad.’

The minister also said, ‘Achieving our ambitious growth strategy will undoubtedly require focused efforts, commitment and dedication to maintain and strengthen Qatar’s position as the leading natural gas producer.’

He added that Qatar is proud in its international standing at the forefront of natural gas producers, and as the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) - the cleanest fossil fuel, which has given Qatar a strong and resilient economy. While Qatar is one of OPEC's smallest oil producers, especially when compared to the likes of de facto leader Saudi Arabia, it is one of the world's largest producers of (LNG).

The move comes just before the next OPEC meeting on Thursday.

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