'Gas Opec' loses appeal; Iran, Russia oppose idea

MADRID - The proposal for a “gas Opec” that would group the world’s biggest gas exporters as a group took several knocks this week at a leading energy conference as key producers backed away from the idea.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 3 Jul 2008, 11:41 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:41 PM

“To begin with, I think putting the word “gas Opec’ was a mistake,” Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari told delegates at the World Petroleum Congress yesterday.

“It was not supposed to be any organisation of that sort. It was supposed to be a forum for different exporting countries to cooperate.”

On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told delegates: “We don’t want to speak about a group that would set prices with gas quotas. Absolutely not.”

He said the idea was not to have a group like Opec, adding “we don’t talk about such a structure.”

Both officials stressed that the idea was for gas exporters to meet together to simply share information and ideas about technology.

“I think it is no problem to have a forum for gas exporting countries and this forum is going to be for cooperation on technical experience to be exchanged between members and nothing else,” Nozari said through a translator.

The idea for a 'gas Opec,' first put forward by Iran, gained momentum in 2006 when Europe’s two main natural gas suppliers, Gazprom and Algeria’s Sonatrach, signed a partnership accord. It appeared to gain political backing from former Russia president Vladimir Putin who called it an “interesting proposition” and from Algerian leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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