Gas Exporting Countries Forum
Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)
Members (blue) and observers (orange) of the Gas-Exporting Countries Forum.
|-||Secretary General||Mohammad Hossein Adeli|
|-||Forum||May 19–20, 2001|
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is an intergovernmental organization of 11 of the world's leading natural gas producers made up of Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. GECF members together control over 70% of the world's natural gas reserves, 38% of the pipeline trade and 85% of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) production. The three largest reserve-holders in the GECF – Russia, Iran and Qatar – together hold about 57% of global gas reserves.
The GECF was established in Tehran, Iran, in 2001. Until the seventh ministerial meeting in Moscow, Russia, it operated without charter and fixed membership structure. The seventh ministerial meeting, held on 23 December 2008 in Moscow, adapted the organization's charter. At the same time, it was decided to set up an Executive Office and a Secretariat in Doha, Qatar. On the eighth ministerial meeting in June 2009, energy minister of Qatar Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah was elected as the chairman (president) of the GECF and Algerian energy minister Chakib Khelil was elected as vice-chairman. On the ninth ministerial meeting in December 2009, the vice-president of Russian energy engineering and construction company Stroytransgaz Leonid Bokhanovsky was elected as Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the thirteenth ministerial meeting in December 2011. In 2013, GECF ministers elected Iran’s candidate Mohammad-Hossein Adeli, a former head of central bank and diplomat, as the new Secretary-General of the forum for the next two years.
The objectives of the GECF are:
- to foster the concept of mutuality of interests by favoring dialogue between producers, between producers and consumers and between governments and energy-related industries;
- to provide a platform to promote study and exchange of views;
- to promote a stable and transparent energy market.
The highest body of the GECF is a ministerial meeting. In between of ministerial meetings, the work is organized through the Secretariat, headquartered in Doha, Qatar. The 2009 chairman of the GECF was Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah and the vice chairman was Chakib Khelil. The Secretary-General is Leonid Bokhanovsky.
The GECF has had ministerial meetings since 2001:
|Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||2005|
|Doha, Qatar||2009 (June)|
|Doha, Qatar||2009 (December)|
|Oran, Algeria||2010 (April)|
|Doha, Qatar||2010 (December)|
|Cairo, Egypt||2011 (June)|
|Doha, Qatar||2011 (November)|
Holding the GECF's summit was decided at the 10th ministerial meeting in Oran in 2010. The first GECF's summit was held in Doha on 15 November 2011, under patronage of Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, following the thirteenth ministerial meeting held at the same place on 13 November 2011. Two main issues which were discussed at the summit, were natural gas prices and a common approach to the natural gas market. It was agreed on the summit that the price of gas used to generate electricity is too low and the gap between prices for gas and crude oil need to be narrowed. The linking of gas prices to the oil price was considered. However, the GECF will not set output limits for its members. The summit issued "Doha Declaration", which said that GECF members "recognized the importance of long-term gas contracts to achieve a balanced risk sharing mechanism between producers and consumers." and
"acknowledge the need to reach a fair price for natural gas based on gas to oil/oil products prices indexation with the objective of an oil and gas price convergence ..." Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made a statement calling the summit "an important event, which marked a new stage in the development of the global energy sector and the gas sector in particular."
Russia has expressed its readiness to host the second summit of GECF.
The members are Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. Kazakhstan, Norway and the Netherlands are observers. Other countries like Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen have participated at different meetings. Yemen and Angola are interested to become members of the organization. The full membership will be granted by the approval of at least three quarters of all members.
(July 2012 est.)
|Trinidad and Tobago||South America||2008||1,226,383||5,128|
Since the establishment of the GECF in 2001 there has always been speculation that some of the world's largest producers of natural gas, in particular Russia and Iran, intend to create a gas cartel equivalent to OPEC which would set quotas and prices. The idea of a gas OPEC was first floated by then Russian President Vladimir Putin and backed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev in 2002. In May 2006 Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev threatened that Russia would create "an alliance of gas suppliers that will be more influential than OPEC" if Russia did not get its way in energy negotiations with Europe. Iranian officials have explicitly expressed strong support for a gas cartel and held official talks with Russia. Cartel speculation was again raised when the ministers met on 9 April 2007. The 6th Ministerial Meeting of the GECF established an expert group, chaired by Russia, to study how to strengthen the GECF. According to the Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil, this mean that in the long term the GECF will move toward becoming a gas OPEC. On 11 December 2009, Russia's Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko stated: "Today we can speak about gas OPEC as a fully fledged international organization. By a unanimous decision a Russian national was elected its secretary general. This is to show that member countries expect Russia to use its political weight to promote it."
Creation of the "Gas OPEC" was one of the topics of the first GECF's summit. However, some GECF's members are concerned over the gas exports to be politicized.
- GECF Members & Observers GECF
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- Ayesha Daya, Robert Tuttle (2009-06-30). "Gas Producers Count on Oil-Linked Contracts in Qatar". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Anatoly Medetsky (2009-07-01). "Russia Fails to Offer Gas Candidate". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Five facts about Russian head of gas grouping". Reuters. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
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- "Iran's Oil Minister Appointed GECF Head". Mees. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
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- "Gas Exporters Seek 'High' Prices as They Cooperate on Supply, Projects". Bloomberg. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
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- "Medvedev welcomes 1st GESF summit in Doha". Voice of Russia. TASS. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- "Russia ready to host 2nd GECF summit". Voice of Russia. TASS. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
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- "Russia, Iran in talks to create natural gas organization". CNN. 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- "Gas producers 'to discuss cartel'". BBC. 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- Barbara Lewis, Simon Webb (2007-04-09). "Gas club seeks more clout, but not yet an OPEC". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- "Shmatko predicts strong role of GECF". RT. 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
- Fedoruk, Vladimir (2011-11-14). "A gas OPEC to dominate GECF summit in Doha, Russia not present". Voice of Russia. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- Hallouche, Hadi (June 2006). The Gas Exporting Countries Forum: Is it really a Gas OPEC in the Making? (PDF). Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. ISBN 978-1-901795-50-9. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- Socor, Vladimir (2008). "A Russian-led "OPEC for Gas"? Design, Implications, Countermeasures" (PDF). Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review (Foreign Policy Research Center) (20). ISSN 1392-5504. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- Flynn, Chris; Dyer, Erin (2008). "The Creation of a Gas Cartel v The Commoditisation of Gas" (PDF). The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Gas Regulation 2008. Global Legal Group. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2008-12-26.