Qatar’s energy minister says country is pulling out of OPEC

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatar's minister of state for energy affairs, speaks during a news conference in Doha on Dec. 3.
(Anne Levasseur / AFP/Getty Images)

The tiny, energy-rich Gulf Arab nation of Qatar said Monday it will withdraw from OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in January.

Qatar’s minister of state for energy affairs, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, made the surprise announcement during a news conference in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Qatar is the world’s biggest exporter of liquid natural gas.

Qatar, a country of 2.6 million people where citizens make up just over 10% of the population, discovered the offshore North Field in 1971, the same year it became independent.


It took years for engineers to discover the field’s vast reserves, which shot Qatar to No. 3 in world rankings, behind Russia and Iran, with which it shares the North Field.