From Vladimir Socor on Eurasia Daily Monitor:
Convening in Doha, Qatar on April 9, the Gas-Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) has taken a first step toward creating an exporters’ cartel at the intergovernmental level. However, the Western gas-exporting countries — Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands — oppose this initiative, as does Azerbaijan; while Qatar’s ultimate position seems uncertain (it had to show even-handedness as host and chair of this meeting). The Central Asian gas-exporting countries may be corralled against their will into an anti-Western cartel via Russia, unless the West gives Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan another choice. In deliberations behind closed doors, GECF decided unanimously to set up a High-Level Group that would develop a common methodology on the formation of gas export prices and conduct research on consumer markets. The High-Level Group, consisting of deputy ministers or departmental directors, shall discuss relevant proposals from member governments in six meetings during the remainder of 2007, then present its results for possible decisions at GECF’s meeting next year.