Next: global gas cartel?

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is meeting in Doha, Qatar, to discuss the possibility of forming a body that would represent gas producers and exporters in the global market, with some leaders calling for a cartel that would function as the gas equivalent of OPEC.

Russia, the world’s largest gas seller, will reportedly lead the study group on the proposal. The idea is also said to have the support of Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Bolivia.

Said Bolivian energy minister Carlos Villegas: “At the moment, gas markets are regional. But the trend is towards a global market. So we have to be prepared to face this global market. I think the process of reflection of the forum has allowed us to identify the most important areas of common ground: prices, costs, production and exports.”

Western gas exporters Canada, Norway and the Netherlands are said to be against the proposal. The US, not a GECF member, has already voiced oppsition. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told Reuters: “When you see all the suppliers gathering together in one place at the same time, or many of the suppliers, one has to worry about it.” (Energy Business Review, Kommersant, April 10)

See our last post on the struggle for control of the world’s hydrocarbons.