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Qatar Begins 2019 with Departure from OPEC

Levon Termendzhyan

The equity owner of Viscon USA, a clean air company responsible for manufacturing and distributing the Viscon fuel additive, Levon Termendzhyan has been working in the energy industry for more than 30 years. A member of the San Francisco Global Trade Council, Levon Termendzhyan is well-connected to the energy markets in several countries, including Qatar.

On January 1, 2019, Qatar left the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to focus on its production of natural gas. The decision to leave the group was announced by Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, the country’s energy minister, before OPEC’s annual meeting in December. Kaabi also announced that Qatar plans on boosting its annual gas production from 77 million tons to 110 million tons.

Qatar joined OPEC in 1961, a year after the group was created. Despite its long involvement in the group, the country had the smallest production numbers of any Middle Eastern country and only accounted for about 1.8 percent of the group’s total production. Since it accounted for such a small part of OPEC’s overall production, the exit of Qatar will likely have minimal impact on the world oil market.
The departure of Qatar is not believed to be indicative of problems within OPEC. The country was the first Middle Eastern country to leave the group, but Iran’s oil minister mentioned that OPEC has had problems before. Some experts also believe this departure is based on political issues, since Saudi Arabia, a country with which Qatar has had problems with in the past, is OPEC’s largest oil producer.

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