Oil surges on trade truce and expected supply cuts

Oil prices in 2018 OPEC oil production

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain started boycotting Qatar past year, accusing Doha of funding militants across the Middle East and fostering ties with Iran, charges that Qatar denies. Instead, when Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman went to the back-foot over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh appeared to soften its stance on Qatar.

But Doha is an influential player in the global LNG market with annual production of 77-million tonnes a year, based on its huge reserves of the fuel in the Gulf.

They also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing off the small country's sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.

The document containing the demands by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain also asked Qatar to sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on December 6 to decide output policy.

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Qatar is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019, Saad al-Kaabi, the country's energy minister said on Monday.

Qatar is the 11th-biggest oil producer in OPEC, pumping 610,000 barrels a day in October, less than 2 percent of the group total 33.3 million.

Qatar's oil production is only around 600,000 bpd, while it is the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

On June 9, 2017, Qatar strongly dismissed allegations of supporting terrorism after the Saudi regime and its allies blacklisted dozens of individuals and entities purportedly associated with Doha.

The decision to withdraw was because of Qatar's plans to increase production, the minister said.

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The nation joined the organisation in 1961.

The withdrawal comes as other non-Opec countries such as Russian Federation have gained more clout alongside Saudi Arabia in setting oil policy.

Qatar, OPEC's 11th-largest oil member by production, shocked market watchers on Monday with the announcement it would quit OPEC, adding additional bite to proceedings ahead of a meeting scheduled for Thursday in Vienna.

With drilling activity still high, most analysts expect US oil production to rise further in 2019.

Qatar has been locked in a diplomatic dispute with Opec's de facto leader Saudi Arabia for several months. It traded at just over $61 a barrel Monday.

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