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Qatar's "retreat" influence geometry?

祖鸿

On December 6, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held a meeting, and oil production cuts and multinational talks were the main agenda of the meeting. On the eve of the meeting, Qatar suddenly announced on the 3rd that the country decided to officially withdraw from OPEC in January next year. After the news came out, the international oil price immediately fell short-term, which triggered international public concern.

Retiring for general considerations

Qatar has been in OPEC for 57 years, and exit is not an easy decision. Qatar Energy Minister Saad said at a press conference in Doha.

We (in terms of oil) have no good potential and we are very realistic. Our potential is natural gas. Saad said that the move is to focus on natural gas extraction and LNG production, re-examine Qatar's position and contribution in the world energy landscape, decide to adjust the long-term strategy of energy development, and concentrate on consolidating Qatar's position as a leading natural gas producer. .

According to Reuters, Saad explained at the press conference that the withdrawal of OPEC is a strategic and technical change, a strategic decision, and said that it has notified OPEC earlier.

Cui Shoujun, a researcher at the National Development and Strategy Institute of Renmin University of China, said in an interview with this newspaper that it is not surprising that Qatar suddenly announced his withdrawal from OPEC. The reason for Qatar's withdrawal is not only the focus on natural gas, but the most important thing is to follow OPEC's quota is related.

Cui Shoujun analyzed, because OPEC is the Saudi-led organization, each country has a quota of oil production. Now Saudi Arabia begins to increase its oil production, resulting in a drop in international oil prices, which will directly affect Qatar's fiscal revenue. It is not affected by this quota.

The overall price of oil is not affected

As planned, from December 6th to 7th, OPEC members and other oil-producing countries including Russia will hold an OPEC meeting in Vienna to discuss issues related to production cuts. For this meeting, Qatar said that it will still attend and continue to fulfill the obligations of OPEC members until the official withdrawal on New Year's Day next year.

In 1961, Qatar joined OPEC, and its oil production is currently ranked 11th in the organization. Qatar's current crude oil production is maintained at an average of 610,000 barrels per day, accounting for about 1.95% of OPEC's total crude oil production, accounting for global crude oil. The output is about 0.64%. Qatar played an important role in the history of OPEC.

Cui Shoujun analysis believes that, from a realistic perspective, Qatar's decision has little effect on OPEC's extension of the production reduction agreement. Although the international oil price fluctuates in the short term, Qatar's actual crude oil production accounts for a small proportion of the global crude oil market. Even if Qatar withdraws from OPEC, it will not affect the international oil price and OPEC's production reduction plan.

Reuters quoted an OPEC source as saying that Qatar's retreat is symbolic. It is not a big oil producer, but it has played an important role in the history of OPEC.

International public opinion believes that the withdrawal of Qatar means that OPEC, the world's largest oil organization, is beginning to crack.

In this regard, Cui Shoujun said that psychologically speaking, since the establishment of OPEC in the past 57 years, Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to officially withdraw from OPEC. To some extent, OPEC's cohesiveness will be greatly reduced, affecting the unity among member states. Its demonstration effect should not be underestimated.

Energy landscape or shuffle

Industry sources pointed out that the withdrawal of Qatar may lead to the reshuffle of the international energy market.

In fact, in recent years, OPEC is being marginalized, and the key decision-making power of the international oil market has fallen into the hands of several major oil producers in the world. OPEC's oil discourse rights, especially oil pricing power, will further decline.

According to Reuters, in the context of the global economic slowdown and the increase in US oil supply, policy coordination between OPEC and Russia-based non-OPEC oil producers has not fully agreed.

Cui Shoujun analyzed that in recent years, the international crude oil market has been hit harder. First, at present, the share of international oil production controlled by OPEC is less than 40%. The impact of the development of shale gas and new energy in the United States on Saudi Arabia is very large. Second, from 2009 to 2016, the cost of solar photovoltaic power generation has dropped by 60%. Solar energy and petroleum have a certain degree of competition, especially in the field of power generation. Therefore, the decline in the cost of photovoltaic equipment, in fact, is to some extent to reduce the scarcity of oil, so that the substitutability of oil increases. Third, climate change, 194 countries around the world have joined the Paris climate agreement, committed to reducing the consumption of fossil energy. Due to environmental considerations, various countries have reached a consensus that fossil energy emissions are one of the main causes of global warming, so we must reduce the use and consumption of fossil energy in the energy consumption structure of countries around the world. The proportion will gradually increase.

Cui Shoujun believes that these factors will affect the supply and demand relationship in the international energy market, creating new downward pressure on oil prices, and OPEC's oil rights are in a downward trajectory. This trend is irreversible.

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