A landmark summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has opened in the Iranian capital Tehran with the participation of the heads of nine member 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. 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.
The summit is expected to provide member states with an opportunity to consult and exchange views on the most important issues concerning them in the framework of the GECF.
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.
Iran 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.