Qatar Ambitions Soar After OPEC Exit With $20 Billion US Expansion

After Qatar's historic and unprecedented early December announcement that the small, gas-rich Gulf state will exit OPEC effective Jan. 1 following nearly 60 years of membership, Qatar Petroleum CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi announced over the weekend that the state-owned oil and gas company plans to invest more than $20bn in the US oil and gas sector

As reported by Reuters on Sunday, al-Kaabi’s main concern appears to be over its long term plans in the United States, specifically its majority stake of the Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas. He cited current proposed “NOPEC” legislation, or No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, which aims to enable the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices. A decision over staying the course for its Golden Pass LNG project expansion is expected "within weeks".

And this comes at a time when President Trump has been unrelenting in his criticisms of OPEC, blaming the organization for increasing the price of oil while leaning on the Saudis to produce more to help him drive oil prices even lower.

Qatar's exit has been telegraphed as a huge blow to rival GCC state Saudi Arabia — de facto leader of the global oil cartel — after the kingdom led its GCC partners in waging economic and diplomatic warfare against Qatar (a complete blockade to be precise) since an open rift in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and boosting Iran.

Especially since the Oct. 2 Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and slow drip of Turkish media leaks revealing the shocking details,the Qataris see Riyadh as unduly leveraged by the White House, accelerating production to appease Trump. However, we should note that Qatar has been spinning its exit from OPEC has having no political overtones.

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