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Oman oil minister expects retaliation for Qatar's OPEC withdrawal

Vienna — Oman's oil minister has expressed his dismay at Qatar's sudden decision to withdraw from OPEC and warned the Gulf state may face retaliation from other members.

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"I was surprised," said Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi in an interview in Vienna with S&P Global Platts on Monday.

"Qatar was a very active member of OPEC."

Qatar announced on Monday that it plans to withdraw from the oil producing group, which controls about a third of world supply. Oman is not a member of OPEC but has joined the group of producers led by Russia aligning themselves to its market management strategy.

Al Rumhi warned that Qatar could face retaliation for its withdrawal from some members, citing its hosting of the gas exporting countries forum in Doha.

"A number of countries could pull out because of Qatar's position," said Al Rumhi. "I can tell you for sure the UAE will pull out of that organization, I don't think they will continue, and who knows other countries like Algeria that are members of OPEC."

UAE energy ministry officials weren't immediately available for comment.

Qatar is currently locked in a bitter diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which is about to hand over the rotating presidency of OPEC.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of disappointed faces. The Saudis, Emiratis and Egypt who have an issue with Qatar and are trying to isolate it, in this move Qatar is isolating itself, it doesn't match," said Al Rumhi. "I would think Qatar would look for an opportunity to integrate itself, but maybe there are some other factors."

--Miriam Malek, miriam.malek@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@spglobal.com