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Plans afoot to establish “gas troika”

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Energy heavyweights Iran, Qatar and Russia are set to hold another round of talks on the formation of cartel on the lines of the OPEC.

Representatives of the three countries are meeting on Wednesday in Doha “to discuss the creation of a Supreme Technical Committee,” reported Iran’s Mehr News Agency.

The meeting follows talks last month in Tehran where they countries affirmed their decision to form an OPEC-style gas grouping, said Iranian media reports.

Iran’s Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari, Qatar’s Abdulla Bin Hamad al-Attiya and Russia’s Gazprom chief Alexei Miller had participated in that meeting. Russia has said the “big gas troika,” which includes the three countries as key members, should join up to form a permanent body, and hold regular discussions.

Major gas producers — Algeria, Indonesia, Libya and Venezuela — are also expected to join the group. Russia, Iran and Qatar together hold nearly 55 per cent of the world’s gas reserves.

Analysts point out Russia and Iran have renewed their interest in a gas-OPEC following the steep decline in oil prices.

The formation of a cartel has acquired urgency to enable coordinated action to prevent gas prices also from nose-diving.

On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow: “Russia’s agreement with Iran and Qatar to establish a gas troika is an effort by gas producers to boost cooperation and stabilise prices in the global market.”

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