The small, gas-rich state of Qatar said Monday that it will leave the OPEC oil cartel on Jan. 1 after nearly 60 years. The move comes amid a deteriorating political situation between Qatar and its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, which have imposed a trade and travel embargo on the country since June last year over allegations that Qatar supports terrorism. The nation’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,” the country’s energy minister stated. Qatar is among the smallest oil producers in OPEC, but is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Qatar said it aimed to increase production from 77 million to 110 million tons each year.
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