Natural gas exporters will convene at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Algeria on Monday. The 11 member nations of the Gas Exporting Countries control 60% of the global natural gas export market and 42% of the world's natural gas reserves. The The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) was established in Tehran, Iran, in 2001.
Ahead of the meeting Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil has expressed a desire to form an OPEC like cartel for the natural gas industry that would control natural gas output in an effort to curtail global oversupply. This proposal is being met with resistance from several member nations, including Qatar who is now the world's largest exporter of LNG.
Shukri Ghanem, the head of the Libyan National Oil, does not expect any type of OPEC style cartel to emerge from the meetings. Mr. Ghanem cites "intrinsic differences" between the oil and natural gas markets that would make organized production curtailment difficult. The majority of the natural gas supply is sold under long term contracts which are indexed to the price of oil. This fact, coupled with the regional nature of natural gas pipelines, provides significant impediments to production and supply control.