Qatar's Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi on Monday announced his country will leave the OPEC next month in order for the Gulf state to focus on gas production.
He added, "Qatar has worked diligently during the past few years to develop a future strategy based on growth and expansion, both in its activities at home and overseas".
The decision to quit the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for nearly half of the world's oil production was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the country's state oil company.
CNBC reports that the announcement is coming days before a crucial meeting between the influential energy-rich country and its allies.
The announcement comes ahead of the meeting by Opec and its allies including Russian Federation on Dec 6-7 to discuss cutting supply.
He said geopolitics was not factor in the decision. "They are not a big producer, but have played a big part in it's (Opec) history", the source said.
Al-Kaabi said that Qatar made a decision to pull out this calendar year as to not be an OPEC member in 2019.
"Basically, Qataris have brought the biggest weapon out and it only means more instability between the Qatari and Saudi relationship", Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, told The National. Yes, for now, there is optimism that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are committed to keep the supply under control.
Qatar, a country of 2.6 million people, discovered the offshore North Field in 1971, the same year it became independent. It is expected to boost its annual LNG output from 77 million to 110 million tons.
Apart from petroleum, Qatar's other energy resources include natural gas.
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.