The Implications of Russia-led Gas Cartel
Power and Interest News Report writes:
Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela, and other members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (G.E.C.F.) met in Doha on April 9 amidst Western fears that Moscow may encourage the birth of a “gas O.P.E.C.” Western decision-makers fear that such a new organization could give producers of natural gas an advantage over consumers.
Russia (the world’s leading producer and exporter of natural gas) as well as Iran and Qatar (the two Middle Eastern powers with the largest gas reserves) have repeatedly denied that a gas cartel is under construction. Moreover, energy analysts agree that the natural gas market is still very different from that of oil, and that a “gas O.P.E.C.” would not be easy to establish.
…Nevertheless, the idea of a gas cartel resembling O.P.E.C. cannot be dismissed. Russian, Iranian, and Qatari denials of such plans can be interpreted as a series of declarations aimed at easing U.S. and European concerns over the eventual creation of a “gas O.P.E.C.” As usual in political and strategic issues, actions are far more important than words. In spite of such denials, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela and the other G.E.C.F. members are evaluating the pros and cons of setting up the gas cartel.