Iran Sees Consensus to Set up Gas OPEC

A05031524.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- World gas powers Iran, Russia and Qatar pledged on Tuesday to strengthen cooperation and Tehran said there was a consensus to form an OPEC-style grouping.

Iran’s Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said on Tuesday there was a consensus to set up a gas OPEC, speaking after tripartite talks with his Qatari counterpart and the head of Russia’s Gazprom.

“We have made major decisions,” Nozari told a news conference, saying the three sides would form a committee of senior officials.

“There is a demand to form this gas OPEC and there is a consensus to set up gas OPEC,” he said.

Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller told the same news conference, “We have decided to be in close contact and we can say that today a major gas troika was formed.”

Russia, Iran and Qatar are ranked the first, second and third biggest holders of natural gas reserves in the world.

“Surely this gathering of gas exporting countries is to give assurances over gas supply to the world,” Miller said.

Some analysts say any gas OPEC could be expected to share insights on upstream contract terms with investments rather than act on restricting gas supply as the oil cartel OPEC does.

Major gas exporters have met informally for several years at the annual Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

Iran wants to turn the forum into a more formal organization akin to OPEC, the 13-member grouping which makes output decisions that can sway the global oil price.

“This conference is a turning point to expand cooperation between Iran, Qatar and Russia,” Nozari said. “A committee will be formed from senior officials from the three countries.”

Miller said the committee would “review projects and implement joint projects. This will range from exploration, refining and selling gas”.

He said gas officials from the three countries would meet in Moscow, Tehran, Doha.

Qatar Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said, “God willing, in the next meeting of the gas exporting countries, they will affirm the establishment of the organization.”

Russia, the world’s largest gas exporter, has hinted at its interest in the creation of an OPEC-style gas group, working with Iran, Qatar, Venezuela, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Libya.

Russia’s former president and current prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has said the “gas OPEC” idea is interesting, but requires deep analysis.

The gathering in Tehran appeared to be the most significant step toward the formation of such a group since Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, first raised the idea in January 2007.

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