On Dec. 3, a week-long rumor finally saw the light of day.
I had heard it prior to my departure for Singapore last week, and it had at the time been the substance of some talk on its potential importance – if true – during our meetings.
Well, it is no longer just a rumor.
On Monday morning, Qatari Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi announced that the Persian Gulf state was leaving OPEC, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
Qatar is a minor oil producer, averaging some 600,000 barrels a day, putting it at the bottom of the OPEC ladder along with Ecuador.
However, it is a major natural gas producer and the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
But there is a more important reason why the Qatari departure from OPEC is likely to shift the regional tensions into a higher gear.
And it's not about oil.