No plan to make OPEC-style gas cartel: PutinNovember 12th, 2008 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, Nov 12 (RIA Novosti) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has sought to allay fears over the possibility of Moscow joining an OPEC-style cartel of gas exporting countries, during his talks with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Nazif.A number of major gas producers have established the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), but have not yet adopted a charter.
The group, which already includes Venezuela, Iran, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and other countries, lacks a strict membership system. Norway has observer status.
The member countries currently control about 73 percent of the world’s gas reserves and 42 percent of its production.
“However, energy producers, as well as consumers, have the right to and must coordinate their decisions, exchange information, and do their best to ensure uninterrupted hydrocarbon supplies on global markets,” Putin said, adding that uninterrupted supplies and reasonable prices were the main objective of the grouping.
Russia, Iran, and Qatar - ranked first, second and third respectively in terms of global gas reserves - will hold gas cooperation talks in Doha Wednesday.
The “gas troika” agreed to boost coordination in the sphere at a meeting in Tehran in October.
A Russian government source said in late October that Russia had no plans to establish a natural gas cartel similar to OPEC, an idea first launched by Putin in 2001 when he was the president and was enthusiastically backed by Iran. Western states have opposed the cartel as a political weapon.
“We do not plan to create a natural gas cartel, or a gas OPEC, but welcome the integration of and coordination between gas producers,” the official said.