Qatar withdrawal from OPEC, a strong message to Saudi Arabia: Pak economist

Islamabad, Dec 6, IRNA -- Senior Pakistani economic analyst says Qatar by deciding to quit the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is trying to send a strong message to Saudi Arabia that it can disrupt the oil market.

In an interview with IRNA, Abid Hasan, who has served as operations adviser at the World Bank, said the decision of Qatar is merely of political nature.

Former Member, Pakistan Economic Advisory Committee and Federal Board of Revenue Tax Reforms Group said the decision is related to what is happening in the GCC and rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Newspaper columnist was of the opinion that Qatar may be trying to send a message to Saudi Arabia that by being out of the OPEC they can disrupt the oil market.

To a question the economist said that as Qatar is not a major oil producer so the decision would not have much impact on oil prices.

Former WB official, however, believed that other OPEC suppliers would be a bit worried that Qatar oil pricing could lead to a drop in overall oil prices.

Abid Hasan added that Qatar does not want to be bound by the OPEC and wants flexibility on oil prices. “May be they think that it’s not worth while to be part of the OPEC,” said the economic expert.

Qatar said it will leave the organization from the beginning of January 2019 and will announce its decision to OPEC.

Headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of 15 nations, founded in Baghdad in 1960 by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela).

The stated mission of the organization is to 'coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.'

Earlier Qatar's Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi dismissed the notion that the move was driven by Doha's ongoing feud with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has led a land, sea and air blockade against Qatar since June 2017.
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