Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Idea of 'gas OPEC' gains currency




Idea of 'gas OPEC' gains currency

Idea of 'gas OPEC' gains currency

9-gas---qatar1.jpg
9-gas---qatar1.jpg

AFP

An undated handout picture shows the Al-Shamal gas field north of Qatar. Qatar is among a number of natural gas-producing countries considering the formation of an OPEC-style cartel that has gas importing countries worried.

Moves are afoot to set up an OPEC-style cartel for gas but even though the proposal seems a long way from reality just yet, consumers are concerned that exporters will gain a free-hand to set prices.

The world's top gas exporters currently have the Gas Exporting Countries Forum or GECF as their informal platform for dialogue.

It was set up in 2001 and comprises around 15 gas-rich countries, including Iran, Russia, Qatar, Venezuela and Algeria, who control 73 percent of the world's gas reserves and 42 percent of gas production.

Nevertheless, "there is a desire" among exporting countries "to have something more concrete," said Iranian energy official, Javad Yarjani, speaking on the sidelines of an international energy forum in Rome last month.

An executive of the Iranian National Oil Company, Akbar Torkan, said that "in the next 20 years, oil's share of fossil fuels will decrease while gas' share will increase. It is therefore necessary to focus more on gas."

Claude Mandil, former head of the International Energy Agency, suggested the GECF could even set up its own secretariat along the same lines as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at a meeting to be held in Moscow in June.

Qatar's Energy Minister Abdallah al-Attiyah had suggested in January that a "gas OPEC" could be set up at the next meeting of the GEFC.

Nevertheless, the idea is not finding many friends among consumer countries, who fear it would only allow gas exporters the same leeway as OPEC has on oil.

While OPEC abandoned its price range for a barrel of oil in 2005, it still has a system of quotas, which it can change in response to market conditions.

The head of the Libya's National Oil Corporation, Shokri Ghanem, sought to downplay such fears, insisting that gas exporters did not want to set up a cartel.

Instead, they wanted a "structure for cooperation and the exchange of information," much along the same lines as the OPEC's research and analysis centre, he said.

Iranian delegate Yarjani insisted that such an organization would not run against the interests of consumers because there was a great deal of interdependence between exporters and consumers of gas.

IEA chief Nobuo Tanaka said that "if gas exporters want to set up an organization, we can't prevent them."

British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said he did not like the idea of a gas OPEC.

"We support open markets. We think that there should be competition. We need transparency, we need to know where we stand. We don't want another cartel."

He continued: "Cartels are there to fix things, often to the detriment of economies and the consumer. We think this is a foolish proposition."

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Police arrest 29 Chinese for kidnapping in capital

    Phnom Penh Military Police arrested 29 Chinese nationals on kidnapping charges on Wednesday. The suspects are said to have abducted three other Chinese nationals from a hotel in Chaktomuk commune, Daun Penh district. The operation took place on Wednesday and was led by two deputy commanders –

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia