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Russia Denies Talks Of A Gas Cartel

There are no plans for the creation of a natural gas cartel similar to the OPEC cartel in crude oil, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday. 

“There are no discussions to set up a (gas) cartel,” Novak told RT Arabic TV as quoted by Reuters

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is an organization of gas producers and exporters but it is not coordinating supply to the market the way OPEC does. Russia is a member of the GECF and its top energy official Novak said in the televised interview that the gas organization was “mostly about exchanging views.”  

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the halt of most of Russian pipeline gas supplies to Europe, the EU has turned to LNG imports and increased deliveries via offshore pipelines from Norway and North Africa to replace the Russian supply, which accounted for around one-third of all European gas imports before the war in Ukraine. 

The EU aims to ditch Russian gas by 2027. 

Having lost the European market, Russia has raised pipeline exports to China and its global LNG exports, which are neither sanctioned nor too shunned in gas-starved Europe. 

This year, the exports of Russian gas giant Gazprom to Europe have slumped and dragged its profits down. Gazprom has reported a massive drop in its first-half net profit as deliveries to Europe plunged compared to the same period in 2022 when Russia was still supplying pipeline gas to its European customers.  

The major drop in Gazprom’s gas deliveries to key customers was due to the halt of Russian pipeline gas exports to nearly all European countries.  

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Gazprom started to reduce supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany in June 2022, claiming an inability to service gas turbine maintenance outside Russia due to the Western sanctions against Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine. This was weeks before the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines at the end of September 2022, which definitively closed all pipeline gas routes of Russia’s gas to Germany. 

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 14 2023 said:
    Let me first dismiss right away the claim that OPEC is a cartel. A cartel is an association of manufacturers or suppliers restricting supply and competition for the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level. OPEC never once acted as such. After all it was created to confront the Western cartel of major oil companies known as “the Seven Sister” which was a real cartel and acted as one in every sense of the word. OPEC always had two major objectives: balancing the market and defending the national interests of its members.

    And while Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak denied any plans for the creation of an OPEC-like gas organization, major gas producers led by Russia should endeavour to establish one. This will benefit both the gas producers and the global gas market in terms of security of supplies, stability of the market and prices and the national interests of its members.

    OPEC is now looked upon with great respect and I might add fondness for keeping the global oil stable and preventing gluts or excessive rises in oil prices. This will exactly be the role of a Gas OPEC.

    The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) could easily be transformed into a gas OPEC with a constitution similar to the Oil OPEC and have it registered with the United Nations Organization exactly like OPEC's.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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