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November 10, 2007
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Home / Issue Archive / 2007 / March #3 / Gas Exporting Countries Forum Convenes in Doha, Gas OPEC Discussions Possible

№ 3 (March 2007)

Gas Exporting Countries Forum Convenes in Doha, Gas OPEC Discussions Possible

The members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum are set to convene today in Doha, Qatar where the establishment of a gas cartel similar to OPEC could be discussed. As most parties remain skeptical, some bigger players of the global gas market such as Venezuela and Iran have both expressed interest in forming an organization of this kind. No immediate decision is expected, yet the talks could help the sides find common ground and meet the interest of forming a system to coordinate the global gas trade.

By Sergei Balashov: [email protected]

“We recognize the need to develop and integrate,” said deputy Chairman of Gosduma Vladimir Pekhtin, as reported by Regnum. “Russia is interested in establishing a system to coordinate gas producing countries; our major task is not establishing a gas OPEC, but to secure unconditional delivery of energy resources to our major consumers. As for a gas OPEC, this proposal requires a thorough examination so that the World’s major gas producers can weigh their positions on the issue,” he added. Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said earlier that Russia did not have the intention to regulate the market at the consumer’s expense, reported Reuters. "We do not, and will not, set ourselves the goal of ganging up on anybody. It would be destructive and it would make no sense at all," he said.  While Russian representatives at the Forum left the door open for reasonable negotiations, Khristenko’s counterpart from Egypt, which exports 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas annually, denounced the idea of a gas OPEC as ‘not a good one’, according to Mail&Guardian. “The World is not prepared for a new energy organization,” said Egyptian Energy Minister Sameh Fahmi, adding that “with the oil, you always know the price and you know the quotas; when it comes to gas, nobody has this information as no one declares the price of their exports.”Despite facing skepticism, the idea is openly supported by Iran, which exports 3.56 billion cu m, and Venezuela the producer of 27.2 billion cu m. “I believe it’s a very good idea as gas is the most important energy source in the World after oil…we need to defend our interests,” said Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez, as reported by Reuters. The agency also quoted the Iranian Energy Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh saying that “what we have heard from different ministers is that moving in that direction is what they would favor, but only time will tell how long it will take them.”The 15 members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which was established in 2001 in Tehran, control 72% of World’s gas reserves and 42% of production. The meeting in Doha is the organization’s 7th and the 3rd held in Qatar.
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Copyright © 2007 Eurasia Press (www.eurasiapress.com)