Iran General NewsRussia dismisses 'gas OPEC' plans

Russia dismisses ‘gas OPEC’ plans

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AFP: Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko on Friday dismissed the idea that gas exporting countries would announce the creation of “gas OPEC” cartel at a meeting in Qatar next week. MOSCOW, April 6, 2007 (AFP) – Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko on Friday dismissed the idea that gas exporting countries would announce the creation of “gas OPEC” cartel at a meeting in Qatar next week.

Leading producers are to meet in Doha on Monday at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum amid reports they have been working on the idea of a club to control prices.

“Are we going to sign up to a (gas) price policy? Of course not,” Khristenko told a news conference here.

He said that Russia had no intention of taking part in a “gas OPEC,” despite suggestions easlier this year from Russian President Vladimir Putin that the idea should be examined.

“We have not had, we have not and we will not have such an objective of taking part in such a relationship against anyone,” he said.

The idea of a “gas OPEC” has caused concern in consuming countries and the issue is expected to figure at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

Khristenko said the meeting on Monday would be about “how to make the functioning of the Forum more effective” and “reinforcing cooperation” between the 15 members, including the biggest gas producers Algeria, Iran, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela.

The 12-member OPEC group, formed in 1960 and the supplier of more than a third of world oil, seeks to control prices of crude by manipulating the output of its members.

Analysts say that the creation of a “gas OPEC” would be extremely difficult because gas is sold in long-term supply contracts with a set pricing method, often stretching over 20 years.

“The gas market is quite different to the oil market,” said the head of the International Energy Agency, Claude Mandil, on Thursday.

“I don’t see how it could be possible to transpose to the gas market the mechanism that OPEC has achieved in the oil market, so I am not very concerned,” he added.

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