Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Natural gas reserves becoming growing force in geopolitics

Natural gas reserves, like global oil reserves, are fast becoming a growing force in global geopolitics. For this reason, Russia's entrance in February 2009, as explained by Vladimir Socor, as a significant supplier of both oil and gas to Asian countries, including China, is noteworthy. This is because following the April 2007 meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) or OPEC-style cartel ("gas OPEC"), in Doha, Qatar, the supply of the global gas market is becoming an increasingly growing force in geopolitics.

The 2001 founding of GECF is for purpose of maintaining stability or security of the global gas supply. The April 2007 meeting of GECF is important because there are twenty-two countries in attendance, which boast more than 70 percent of global gas reserves. In 2005, estimates show world gas consumption at about 2.75 trillion cubic meters, and about 6.9 percent of this consumption is for natural gas (LNG). According to estimates from the International Energy Agency, world demand for LNG will increase from about 246 billion cubic meters in 2007 to about 476 billion cubic meters by 2010.

On April 6, 2007, Viktor Khristenko, Russian Minister of Industry and Energy, announces, "The OPEC was a reaction to the appearance of the global oil market. However, a global gas market will form no earlier than 10-15 years from now, and an organization of gas exporters will hardly emerge before that." Leaders supporting formation of a "gas OPEC" are many, mostly illiberal countries, such as Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, with others such as then Russian President Vladimir Putin, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa AL-Thani and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika voicing interest or support.
Many Western countries and some non-Western countries such as Egypt oppose the formation of an OPEC-style cartel or "gas OPEC" for gas exporting countries, which intends to control the essential sources of global energy.


Socor, Vladimir. 2009. Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol. 6, Issue 34.

Killion, Ulric. 2007. Modern Chinese Rules of Order: Paradox of Law and Economics 177.

"What political game does "Gas OPEC" play?, Apr. 12, 2007, People's Daily.

Egypt opposed to "gas OPEC", Apr. 9, 2007, Xinhua.

"Gas OPEC" not to be formed within 15 years, says Russian Official, April 7, 2007, Xinhua.

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