Russia has proposed a gas producing cartel idea from Iran along the lines of the oil producing cartel so natural has exporters can come under a banner to control output to keep prices at higher levels. The idea was first mooted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his presentation at the 2006 Shnghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit and at that time Moscow had discounted the idea.
In January this year, hosting the Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov, Iran proposed a gas co-operation like Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that could be floated by them bilaterally since they controlled over 50% of known natural gas reserves. Russian President Vladimir Putin not only welcomed this idea but also volunteered to raise it with Saudi Arabia and Qatar when he visits them earlier in February.
However, in expressing support for his idea, Putin averred that the natural gas
exporting nations "are not going to set up a cartel" but will "co-ordinate"
their "activities" to ensure that there are no conditionality attached to their
export affecting reliability of supply.
Over a year ago, Russia had disagreements with Ukraine and last December had
disagreed with Belarus over transit and price agreements. The European Union has
been demanding that Moscow ratify the Energy Charter so they would get free
access to Russian natural gas and oil reserves. Naturally, Russia has refused
the demand but in return is asking for unfettered access to retail energy market
in Europe. Newer EU members from the erstwhile Soviet block, particularly
Poland, have been calling for an "energy NATO" that could stop Moscow from
dominating conversations on energy.