Qatar Exits the OPEC

Lindsey Ingrey, Global and Domestic News Editor

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The OPEC, or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a union of oil producing countries which regulates the amount of oil each member country produces in order to stabilize oil markets worldwide. Founded in September of 1960, the OPEC gave power to its member nations, notably during the Oil Embargo of 1973, which drastically limited the US’s access to oil and caused a financial panic.

Dolphin Gas Project, Qatar
Photo from Offshore Technology

 

A small fish in a large sea of oil-producing countries, Qatar produces less than 2% of the OPEC crude oil annually. Qatar is switching its focus from oil to natural gas. As of today, it provides around 30% of global natural gas needs and would like to see that number increase. In a statement to the press, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs, said, “I would like to reaffirm Qatar’s pride in its international standing at the forefront of natural gas producers, and as the biggest exporter of LNG.”

In recent years, the US has emerged as a massive oil producer and recently began to outcompete Russia and even Saudi Arabia. This has caused the OPEC’s influence to wane, and Qatar leaving, though symbolic of oil’s declining influence as more countries turn to alternatives like natural gas, nuclear, or renewables, will not do much to change the OPEC’s crumbling circumstance.