The small, gas-rich state of Qatar said Monday that it will leave the oil cartel on January 1 after nearly 60 years of membership. The country’s state oil company, Qatar Petroleum, made the announcement in a series of tweets.
“The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production,” Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the country’s minister of state for energy affairs, was cited as saying in one of the tweets.
OPEC members collectively supply about 44% of the world’s crude oil. The cartel aims to monitor the market and decide to raise or lower oil production in order to maintain stable prices and supply.