Business

DOHA – Qatar will withdraw from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January, the country’s energy minister announced on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference, Saad al-Kaabi said the decision comes after Qatar reviewed ways in which it could improve its global standing and plan its long-term strategy, according to Anadolu news agency.

Qatar has been an OPEC member since 1961. The Gulf state produces 650,000 barrels of oil per day and comes as the world’s number-one exporter of liquefied natural gas.

“The decision to withdraw from OPEC is purely technical and strategic and has nothing to do with political reasons,” al-Kaabi said, in reference to a Saudi-led blockade on Qatar.

In June of last year, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain collectively severed ties with Doha and imposed an embargo, by air land and sea, on the Gulf state.