Moscow to form the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.
The new cartel will include the world’s leading five natural gas producers, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela and Algeria, which control two thirds of the world’s reserves and 42% of total production. Russia, Iran and Venezuela are firmly in the anti-West camp.
“Gas OPEC” will be headquartered in the Qatari capital of Doha, which beat off a challenge from Russia’s St Petersburg and Iran’s Tehran.
In his address, seen as a warning to consumer countries, in particular the West, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that the era of cheap natural gas is ending soon. Russia, the world’s largest gas producer, is increasingly at loggerheads with the West and will likely lean on the cartel to raise natural gas prices.
Russia has been a prime mover for launching the cartel which started off as an informal forum in 2001.
The recent plunge in oil prices and Russia’s fast deteriorating economic conditions appear to have spurred the members to formalise the group in the hope that they might be able to raise natural gas prices on the world market.