Cartel Time: “Gas OPEC” May Appear

The member states of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which include Russia, plan to convert the forum into one organized on the same principles as OPEC. The charter for the new organization may be presented at the forum’s seventh session, which will take place in Moscow in June. This became known after a high-level forum meeting in Cairo yesterday. Iran proposed a new charter of the same type last year that corresponded closely to the OPEC charter. Any move of that type will face strong opposition from the United States and European Union.

Sources say that the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Economic Development and Trade oppose the move, arguing that there is no advantage to be gained from it and political repercussions are possible. Final conciliation of the new charter will be made at a high-level session the day before the general forum meeting in Moscow. The exact date of that meeting has not been set yet.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum was founded in Tehran in 2001. The group has no charter, fixed list of members or office at present. Algeria, Bolivia, Brunei, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela are permanent participants in the forum. Turkmenistan has taken part in some meetings and Norway is considered an observer. The purpose of the forum is to promote understanding and dialog between gas producers and consumers, and governments and industries connected with energy, as well as research and the creation of a transparent market for natural gas.