Qatar's decision to opt out of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) is timely and a step in the right direction as it will ensure Doha a proper positioning in the global gas market, according to a senior official of Amwal.
"I believe this action is at the right time, given Qatar’s strategy to concentrate on gas production, and its recently approved expansion plan in the North Field, as this move will allow Qatar to concentrate on its gas strategy and not get distracted by global oil policies," Amwal head of asset management Talal F Samhouri told Gulf Times.
Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs HE Saad Sherida al-Kaabi on Monday said Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from the Opec, effective from January 1, 2019.
Qatar Petroleum (QP) has already announced plans to increase its liquefied natural gas (LNG) production to 110mn tonnes per annum in the coming years from the existing 77mn tonnes.
“It (the decision to come out of Opec) will allow the market to give Qatar the proper positioning as the largest exporter of gas in the world, and not tie it to oil," Samhouri said.
A report from the Gas Exporting Countries Forum had forecasted that global gas demand is expected to grow faster than primary energy demand in 2015-40, the bulk of which will come from Asia, North America and Middle East.
Global credit rating agency Moody’s vice president Alexander Perjessy said it do not expect Qatar's decision to leave Opec to have any credit implications for the sovereign.
"Qatar’s reliance on LNG means that Opec’s decisions on oil supply and their implications for oil prices will continue to have an indirect impact on Qatar’s government and export revenue. For Qatar to no longer be part of these decisions will not change the sensitivity of its credit metrics to oil price fluctuations," he said.
In the history of Opec only three countries ever left the grouping but two of them came back and Indonesia remained out of the Opec despite being an oil producer, but given that its net oil importing country, it did not make sense for that country to be in Opec, according to Samhouri.
He said it’s the best interest of Opec members to reduce oil production, given the oversupply currently in the market, and to give some space for the US shale producers in the market without negatively affecting prices.