Wanted: self-starter ready to grasp “gas OPEC” challenge

July 1, 2009

It can take years for organisations to get organised, if indeed they ever do. The oil producers’ club OPEC was founded in 1960, but only became a force to be reckoned with in the 1970s when the Arab oil embargo cut off supplies to the world’s biggest energy consumer the United States and oil prices rocketed.
The much less high profile Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum, which dates back to 2001, is still struggling to get its statutes in order.
Since last December it has had a charter. It has also commissioned reports and held irregular meetings.
The latest gathering took place this week in the sandy and very hot Qatari capital and agreed little. Notably, it failed to decide on one stand-out item on the modest agenda: who should be the group’s secretary general?
So far the only country to have submitted a candidate is Iran.
In the gas exporters’ club, Iran is the second biggest reserve holder after Russia, but on occasions has reneged on its export commitments, so it’s perhaps understandable the GECF decided to extend the application period.
Candidates now have until October to submit their C.V.s and the GECF should agree a secretary general at its next ministerial meeting, which takes place in December — in theory. Before this week’s session, the GECF had last meet last December after repeated rescheduling.


Consensus has never been one of Opec’s strongpoints, the only occasion when there actually is consensus is when Opec needs to raise the price per barrel.


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