Qatar to pull out of OPEC amid Saudi boycott of capitol city
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES >> The Arab nation of Qatar announced Monday it will withdraw from OPEC in January, a rebuke of the Saudi-dominated cartel as the kingdom’s boycott of Qatar continues unabated.
The surprise declaration could make Qatar the first Middle East nation to leave the cartel since its founding in 1960. It again injects politics into an organization that long has insisted it is nonpartisan.
Although contributing only a fraction of OPEC’s overall production, Qatar’s decision puts the viability of the cartel in question. Once muscular enough to grind America to a halt with its 1970s oil embargo, OPEC needed non-members like Russia to push through a production cut in 2016 after prices crashed below $30 a barrel.
In June 2017, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar. They say the crisis stems from Qatar’s support for extremist groups in the region, charges denied by the nation.