West Asian politics is an important topic in International Relations. India’s traditionally strong relations with West Asian countries along with “Look West Policy” under Man Mohan Singh which was further given a push under the present government makes it highly relevant. Any geo-political tussle, foreign intervention, religious strife, oil politics will necessarily have an impact on India. Such questions are a huge possibility in mains.
Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC
Placing it in syllabus
Regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- OPEC-Composition & Functions
- Qatar moved out of OPEC
- The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
- The five Founding Members were later joined by ten other Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia suspended its membership in November 2016; Libya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973); Angola (2007); Gabon (1975); Equatorial Guinea (2017); and Congo (2018).
- OPEC’s headquarter is in Vienna, Austria.
- OPEC’s objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
- Functions of OPEC
- Review the status of the international oil market and the forecasts for the future in order to agree upon appropriate actions which will promote price stability in the oil market.
- Decisions about matching oil production to expected demand are taken at the meeting of the OPEC conference.
- Provides research and administrative support to the secretariat body who disseminates news and information to the world at large.
Why Qatar moved out of OPEC
- The Gulf state is the first Middle East nation to quit the oil cartel, saying it wants to concentrate on gas production and that the move is not political. ( in September, Qatar announced its plans to boost gas production to 110 million tonnes a year by 2024.)
- Qatar’s decision to pull out of OPEC is part of the country’s strategy to stay focused on core business and enhance its international standing as the world’s leading natural gas producer.
- Natural gas is far more important than oil to Qatar’s economy, because Qatar has less oil sources compared to gas (It only holds around 2% of the world’s global oil reserves, according to the CIA World Fact book).
- Some analysts saw Qatar’s withdrawal as a “political decision to oppose Saudi Arabia”, which alongside the U.S. and Russia is the biggest producer in OPEC.
Test yourself : Mould your thoughts
Critically analyze the recent Saudi Arabia – Qatar tussle. Discuss its implications on West Asian politics and also India.