MOSCOW, March 25 (UPI) -- A natural gas cartel for major producers would create stability in the energy sector, the Russian prime minister said during a meeting with Qatari officials.
Russia, Iran and other leading natural gas producers had their first ministerial meetings for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran in 2001. It was established as a forum to boost cooperation among member states similar to its oil counterpart, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during a Moscow meeting with officials from GECF member Qatar that the consortium would be an effective tool to coordinate the natural gas markets, Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti.
"Everybody will benefit from using this mechanism, both producers and consumers, as well as transit states," said Putin.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said operations of the GECF could go into full swing this year.
The 15-member GECF agreed at its December ministerial meeting in Doha, the ninth since the organization was formed in 2001, that it needs to expand strategic cooperation.
The group also elected its first secretary-general, Leonid Bokhanovsky, vice president of Russian pipeline builder OAO Stroytransgaz.