Monday, April 28, 2008
Gas exporters to meet in Tehran on April 28
MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) - An alliance of the world's leading gas producers will hold a ministerial meeting in Tehran on April 28, the head of Russia's Gas Society said on Thursday. "The Gas Exporting Countries Forum will hold a ministerial meeting in Iran's capital on April 28, where the charter of the so-called gas 'OPEC' will be discussed," Valery Yazev said. He said there were two draft charters, a 'tough' one designed by Iran, and Russia's 'more delicate' version. Iran has proposed to regulate the functioning and principles of a gas equivalent of OPEC, while Russia's draft envisages fixing gas pricing mechanisms and gas transit routs. "We should build an alliance of gas producers to formulate fair trading rules," Yazev said. "Gas prices will not change, because they depend on the competitive situation with other energy prices," he said in an attempt to alleviate opponents' fears that a gas cartel will change radically the situation on the global markets. The idea of establishing a gas OPEC was put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin and has always been supported by Iranian officials. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) first held a meeting in Tehran in 2001. The organization has not yet adopted a charter and lacks a strict membership system. However, it involves Venezuela, Iran, Libya, the UAE and Russia, and a number of other countries. Norway has the status of an observer.