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Russia, Iran and Qatar announce cartel that will control 60% of world’s gas supplies

Terry Macalister, The Guardian
Western concerns about global energy markets hit new heights last night when Russia, Iran and Qatar said they were forming an Opec-style gas cartel.

The move by the three countries, which control 60% of the world’s gas reserves, was met with immediate opposition from the European commission, which fears the group could drive up prices.

Alexey Miller, chairman of Russia’s Gazprom, said they were forming a “big gas troika” and warned that the era of cheap hydrocarbons had come to an end.

“We are united by the world’s largest gas reserves, common strategic interests and, which is of great importance, high cooperation potential in tripartite projects,” he explained. “We have agreed to hold regular – three to four times a year – meetings of the gas G3 to discuss the crucial issues of mutual interest.”…
(22 October 2008)

Gas cartel could have a significant impact on Europe

Carl Mortished, The Times
As the secretary-general of Opec flew into Moscow yesterday to talk about oil, Alexei Miller, the chairman of Gazprom, was jetting out of Tehran after concluding talks about gas with Iran and Qatar.

We need not worry that Russia is about to join the oily club. Today’s visit by Abdullah al-Badri is a formality, but the talk of a gas cartel is a different matter. A combination of leading gas exporters, no matter how tentative, could pose a serious economic threat to Europe. We should first discount the hoopla from Gholam Hossein Nozari, the Iranian Oil Minister, who proclaimed yesterday that the talks between Russia, Iran and Qatar had reached “a consensus to set up a gas Opec”.

No such thing is likely – we can forget any notion of horse-trading gas production quotas — but what we can expect, and what we ought to fear, is the exchange of information about prices, development schedules and investment plans. Mr Miller said as much: “We have agreed to hold regular — three or four times per year — meetings of the ‘big gas troika’ to discuss key issues of gas market developments.”

If European steel, cement or chemical companies exchanged such information, they could expect colossal fines and the imprisonment of their directors. The point is that the information is vital for a nascent industry that is constantly in fear of price wars and market collapses…
(22 October 2008)

Natural gas cartel would fail in bid for OPEC-like impact

Deborah Yedlin, Calgary Herald
It’s not enough that oil prices are subject to the vague inner workings of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries, but if things go according to plan, a natural gas-focused organization is in the process of being established.

Key energy officials from Qatar, Russia and Iran met Tuesday to discuss this very subject. This is significant because these countries are the three largest in the world in terms of natural gas reserves.

The obvious question from this news is what impact could it have on natural gas markets, especially in North America.

To understand how it might unfold, a few facts need to be established.

The first is that natural gas has yet to become a global commodity, though it is slowly headed in that direction.

This means that any fears about an initiative like a natural gas cartel involving Russia and any number of producers based in the Middle East delaying the development of North American natural gas initiatives such as the Mackenzie Valley pipeline or the Alaska pipeline are unfounded…
(22 October 2008)