Qatar oil minister Saad al-Kaabi. Photo: AFP
Qatar oil minister Saad al-Kaabi. Photo: AFP

Qatar announced on Monday that it will leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to shift focus to natural gas, which accounts for a much larger share of the country’s exports than does crude oil.

The decision comes amid deteriorating ties with Saudi Arabia, but the country’s oil minister said on Monday that the move to leave the bloc had nothing to do with efforts by the Saudis to isolate Qatar, according to The Financial Times.

OPEC is set to meet this week as oil-producing countries look to address falling oil prices, which jumped on Monday. Many analysts attributed the rally to the trade war truce between the US and China.

While Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, it is one of OPEC’s smallest producers of crude oil.

Qatar is one of the first members of OPEC and the first Middle Eastern nation ever to leave the group.

“This is a political move that serves us also economically,” one Qatari official was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying. “We don’t need OPEC or Riyadh or Russia to tell us what should or should not be done in the market.” He added that the country was banking its future on natural gas.

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