Gas-rich nations agree 'forum'

Iran, Russia and Qatar stop short of forming Opec-style bloc to control prices.

    Qatar, Iran, and Russia agreed to work towards a joint understanding on gas delivery [AFP]

    Miller said he would meet the two ministers in Moscow in three to four months and that a technical commission would be formed in the interim period.

    'Common vision'

    Nozari said the three countries had reached an agreement towards the formation of a new gas organisation.

    "Our three countries have reached a consensus on forming a common gas organisation ... on accelerating its implementation and on preparing its statutes," he said.

    But Miller said the new troika must work within the auspices of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which was formed in Tehran in 2001.

    Meanwhile, Attiyah said that only that there was a "common vision concerning a gas exporters' organisation".

    Unlike Opec, the GECF does not seek to control prices on international markets as it does not have the authority to dictate the output of its members.

    Analysts say it would be difficult to form a gas version of Opec as the two commodities are delivered in different ways.

    Gas exports require the construction of pipelines and contracts are signed over long time periods, while oil exports are generally based on short delivery timescales.

    Russia and Qatar are both major gas exporters but US-led sanctions on Iran have limited its ability to invest in new production, prompting Tehran to import gas for the domestic market.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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