Qatar is to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries next month in order for the Gulf state to focus on gas production, Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced on Monday.
The state petroleum agency that reported the news said that the body had been informed of the move.
The Minister said the decision was not easy as Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years, but that the country's impact on OPEC production decisions was small.
"Qatar has chose to withdraw its membership form OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning", he told a news conference, adding that Qatar would still attend an OPEC meeting in Vienna this week.
He said geopolitics was not factor in the decision.
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"The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar's desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tons per year to 110 million tons in the coming years", Kaabi said.
OPEC and Russian Federation, who together produce about 40 percent of the world's oil, said earlier this week they agreed on new oil production cuts to ensure oil price does not drop too much in the coming months.
Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada made the surprise announcement during a news conference in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday.
The Opec is a 15-nation strong organisation of countries that have rich oil reserves.
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