OPEC-style gas cartel meeting postponed: Gazprom

Business Materials 1 November 2008 16:10 (UTC +04:00)

Efforts by Russia and other other countries to form an OPEC-style cartel for natural gas have run into difficulties, the German newspaper Die Welt said Saturday, reported dpa.

A spokesman for Russia's state-controlled energy company Gazprom told the daily a meeting of natural gas exporting countries planned for Moscow this month, had been postponed until 2009.

All members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum had agreed to the delay, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov was quoted as saying.

The Moscow talks had been expected to launch a gas cartel that would determine supply and influence prices, they way the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) does for oil.

The European Union, which depends on Russia for nearly half its natural gas imports, fears such a cartel would put consumers at a disadvantage.

Kuprianov said the meeting had been postponed to give participants more time to prepare a common approach on gas exports. The gathering, scheduled for November 17-18, could take place in early January, he said.

One of the sticking points is apparently where the new organization will have its headquarters. Moscow and the Qatar capital of Doha are among the favourites, Die Welt said.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum last met in Doha in April 2007. It links 14 countries - among them Russia, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Egypt and Libya.