The world is awash with contradicting news, you wake up every morning to find variety of news hitting the headlines. As you browse through the news pages, you find news on the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Paris ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations and how it has extended to France’s neighboring countries, among other news.
Surprisingly, the most highlighted news which hit the headlines yesterday (Monday) was about the intention of the State of Qatar to exit the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Without a doubt, no one saw this coming.
Naturally, Qatar’s decision to exit OPEC is a sovereign decision which is respected. However, I would like to talk about possible reasons behind this decision.
We should remember that Qatar’s exit from OPEC will not have any impact on the organization itself despite being one of the active members, given that Qatar depends mainly on its natural gas. This is what Qatari Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi was quoted as saying by several media platforms.
There are many analyses on Qatar’s move to quit OPEC. Some of these analyses might be rational, and some could be overlooked to avoid political sensitivity. There is a possibility that some countries are known to overstep organizational laws and regulations, while others use their influence in the organization to gain favorable share or to promote certain interests which are not shared by all members.
Others even go to the extent of selling their surplus oil illegally in the black market. I am not accusing this or that country. I am not exonerating this or that country – every possibility is on the table.
OPEC is just like any other international organization which needs development in terms of performance, administration and relations among members, and also between major oil producers outside the organization such as Russia and United States of America.
Everyone is aware of the challenges and troubles that some OPEC members are facing, such as instability and lack of security in Libya which goes back since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime.
Also, the political and economic turmoil in Venezuela which has been suffering since the drop of oil prices a few years ago.
This is in addition to Iran and its political and economic challenges, Saudi Arabia which has been engaged in war in Yemen for several years, and many other challenges which could affect the cohesion of OPEC members and its overall performance.
The next OPEC meeting will be the last for Qatar before it officially exits in 2019. Despite its limited impact, Qatar’s move could prompt others to follow suit. Nonetheless, critics might think that Qatar’s exit will give it flexibility in selling its oil in a manner suitable to the country and without fulfilling conditions, although this could not be the main reason why Qatar decided to exit given the other countries have clear violations in this regard.
The reason behind this sudden exit could be Qatar’s move to reorganize its priorities or another reason. This is why sovereign decisions should be respected.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi
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