Qatar says it will withdraw from the OPEC group of major oil-producing nations in January.
The Gulf state’s energy minister Saad al-Kaabi told a news conference in Doha it wanted to focus efforts on bolstering its dominance in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
He argued that as a nation producing 600,000 barrels of oil per day, Qatar was among the smallest players in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Its biggest contributor, Saudi Arabia, currently extracts 11 million per day.
Mr al-Kaabi dismissed any suggestion the decision was the result of the diplomatic spat between Qatar and many of its Gulf neighbours within OPEC over terrorism that has seen them impose travels bans on Doha and restrict trade.
“I assure you this purely was a decision on what’s right for Qatar long term. It’s a strategy decision”, he told reporters.
He said he still planned to play a full part at a meeting due later this week.
“For me to put efforts and resources and time in an organisation that we are a very small player in and I don’t have a say in what happens … practically it does not work, so for us it’s better to focus on our big growth potential,” he added.
The meeting of OPEC members and Russia on Thursday is expected to agree production cuts to shore up prices following a recent collapse.
US oil and Brent crude have tumbled almost 30% since October amid fears of a renewed supply glut as the global economy suffers amid the trade war between the US and China.
However, Brent prices were up 5% early on Monday at over $62 a barrel as the market gave its first reaction to the suspension of further tariffs pending peace talks between the world’s two largest economies.
Mr al-Kaabi said Qatar was planning to ramp up its LNG operations as demand grows thanks to its less harmful environmental impact when compared to oil.
It is seeking to raise production from a current 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes by 2024.