Qatar announced that it will withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ( OPEC ) in January, in a rebuke to the oil cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia, while the boycott against the Qatar government by the kingdom continues, and a decisive meeting of the organization in this week.

This decision could make Qatar the first Middle East nation to leave the cartel since its founding in 1960. He again puts politics into an organization that has long insisted it is not partisan, stealing headlines just as the cartel deliberates production cuts to halt a drop in world crude oil prices.

“The leaders of Qatar are no longer interested in remaining an active part of an organization that largely rejects it,” the Eurasia Group said in an analysis. “The two individuals in which the markets are centered are the energy czar of Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Falih and the Russian Alexander Novak. Qatar’s energy officials are not consulted, at least not enough, and their leaders are no longer an active part of the organization’s machinery. ”

The announcement was made by the energy minister of the small Persian Gulf country, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, at a press conference in the capital, Doha. Qatar produces only about 600 thousand barrels of crude a day, which makes it the eleventh largest producer of OPEC. The loss of production, less than 2% of OPEC’s total supply per day, will not greatly affect the cartel’s position in the market.

Anas Alhajji, an oil analyst, said Qatar’s decision “has no impact on the market, whether they are inside or outside” the oil organization.

Through a statement, OPEC indicated that it respects Qatar’s decision. “Each member country has the sovereign right to withdraw from the Organization and this does not require the approval of the OPEC Conference. The Organization respects the decision made by the State of Qatar. “

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