A Natural Gas OPEC?
Peak Energy Blogspot
The concept of a natural gas OPEC is becoming less far-fetched. On Apr. 25-27, a little-known, four-year-old organization called the Gas Exporting Countries Forum will meet in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Although the organization says it wants to promote cooperation with gas-consuming nations and "does not seek to control...pricing and supply," in past meetings members have discussed mutual efforts to capture a bigger share of the wealth generated by their own natural resources. That's exactly the line of inquiry that led to the formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries 45 years ago.
Natural gas meets one key requirement for price-fixing: a high degree of market concentration. In the last quarter of 2004 members of the forum accounted for 53% of the natural gas imported by the industrialized nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. That's in line with the 52% share of OECD oil imports that OPEC provided in the quarter, according to the International Energy Agency. The Trinidadian hosts list the countries invited as forum members as Algeria, Bolivia, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Many are OPEC members and thus know a thing or two about price-fixing. Norway, Argentina, and Equatorial Guinea have been invited to observe.Posted by Arthur Caldicott on 29 Dec 2005