Monday, 13 January, 2020

GECF Summit Kicks off in Tehran

The third summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) under chairmanship of President Hassan Rouhani opened in Tehran Monday afternoon attended by nine heads of states.

Presidents of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Iraq, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Turkmenistan as well as the Algerian prime minister are the key participants.

This is the third summit of GECF countries, coming in the midst of changing dynamics in the global gas market and an imminent removal of US-led sanctions on Iran, PRESS TV reports.

Previous GECF summits were held in Qatar in 2011 and in Moscow in 2013.

GECF is currently comprised of 18 member countries, including 12 main and 6 observer members. Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela are the forum’s main members.

Kazakhstan, Iraq, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman and Peru are observer members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

It will also allow GECF member countries to discuss at the highest level developments, trends, and policies related to energy, in general, and natural gas, in particular, and also to reaffirm their continued support for the objectives of the forum.

Iran possesses the world’s largest proven gas reserves, with a potential to become a top producer.

“Naturally, Iran with more than 33 trillion cubic meters of gas which it possesses will become a major player in the world gas trade,” Deputy Petroleum Minister Amir-Hossein Zamaninia said last Monday.

The country is currently among the world’s biggest gas producers with more than 173 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year but much of it goes to domestic consumption.

Officials say Iran must double production to 1.3 bcm a day by 2020 under its development plan, putting the country among the ranks of major gas exporters.

Iran says ready for bigger role in gas market

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the country is prepared to play a bigger role in the supply of natural gas to global markets, Press TV reported.

Rouhani, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) summit in Tehran, emphasized that Iran has huge potentials in protecting the security of energy supplies thanks to its vast natural gas resources.

Nevertheless, he said, the US-led sanctions that have been imposed on Iran’s energy sector over the past few years have prevented the country from fully exploiting its potentials.

“We believe that this situation will quickly change in light of the recent agreement over the Iranian nuclear energy program with the P5+1 countries,” Rouhani told the summit.

“The preparations for major changes to this status have been taken from the very start of the current Iranian government.”

The Iranian president further emphasized that any step to expedite an increase in Iran’s production of natural gas will enable the country to pursue its gas export schemes through pipelines or as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Rouhani also said the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) provides an opportunity to explore different avenues to boost the collective interests of member states.

He said the Forum has been established to protect the interests of all member states.

The Iranian president said that the GECF is also meant to facilitate cooperation among member states in several technical aspects of the industry such as exploration, production and trade of natural gas.

Rouhani further emphasized the need for the GECF to devise coordinated policies to increase the share of natural gas in the global energy basket and also promote the position of this crucial fuel in energy markets across the world.

This, he said, is specifically necessary given that the consumption of natural gas is expected to witness a significant surge over the next decades.


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