Producers to discuss "gas OPEC", Iran says
Sunday April 27 2008

TEHRAN, April 27 (Reuters) - Representatives from natural gas producing countries meeting this week will discuss forming an OPEC-style grouping, an Iranian official said on Sunday, a move opposed by the United States and the European Union.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) meets on Monday in Tehran at the level of senior experts and deputy ministers.

"Regarding the gas OPEC, we have pursued that with the Russian side and other concerned countries and it will also be examined in (Monday's) meeting," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference.

Russia has the world's biggest gas reserves and is the biggest exporter. Iran has the second largest reserves but has been slow to develop exports, partly due to U.S. sanctions.

The United States and the European Union have said creating a body for gas, resembling the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, would endanger global energy security and make room for price manipulation.

Experts have said the gas forum is unlikely to become as influential as OPEC because gas deals are done on a long-term basis, rather than the spot system by which oil is traded.

Some gas contracts run for more than 25 years and they include formulas for smoothing out spikes in energy prices.

Gas producers such as Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela, Nigeria and Algeria meet as part of the GECF. Their gatherings have spurred speculation the club could form the basis for an OPEC-style group.

(Reporting by Hossein Jaseb; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by David Holmes)

Original article: Guardian
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