Iran to chair major gas summit ahead of sanctions removal

TEHRAN, Nov. 23 (Shana) – With few days before sanctions against Iran are to be lifted, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will open the Third Summit Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) on Monday.
Seven from the eight foreign heads of state and government of the 19-member body are already in the capital to attend the event, the first summit level meeting in Iran after the nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) was agreed with P5+1 group of world powers last July in Vienna, Shana reported.
Presidents of Iraq, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Bolivia, Nigeria, and Venezuela and prime minister of Algeria are in Tehran, and Russian president is due to arrive for the summit which is scheduled to open in the afternoon.

Also secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and secretary general of the International Energy Forum (IEF) are already in Tehran amid preparations of the summit’s convention.
In the meantime, Iranian officials along with the Secretariat of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) finished final touches on the arrangements to convene the inter-governmental body’s summit.

According to reports, the heads of state and government of GECF member countries are going to issue the Tehran Declaration on the forum’s outlook regarding the gas market industry and also send a message to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris next week.
Previous GECF gas summits were held in Qatar in 2011 and in Moscow in 2013. In the run-up to the summit, the ministerial and expert-level meetings were held in the last two days in Tehran preparing the documents for the approval of the forum’s leaders.

The meetings were attended by ministers from Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela as well as Iraq, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, and Peru as observers.
The ministerial events discussed the global gas market report presented by the Secretariat including recent developments in the world economy, natural gas demand, challenges and competition from other fuel sources and other exporters. The report also discussed the position of GECF on the global gas trade by pipeline and LNG, and the important role of GECF in gas supply. The development of conventional and unconventional natural gas supply and evolution of natural gas price trends was also discussed in the Secretariat’s report.

The ministers also discussed the impact of environmental commitment and the COP 21, and its implication on energy policies and demand for gas, according to the final report of the ministerial meeting.
GECF Secretary General Mohammad Hossein Adeli, who was re-elected for a second two-year term, presented the report of the two TEC meetings held during 2015, the progress report about the completion of the Global Gas Model as well as the Outlook and the perspective of the market up to 2040 and the market trends in the medium and long terms. A progress report about development and preparation of the long term strategy was also submitted to the Ministers.

The Ministerial Meeting reiterated the need for common understanding and collective action among GECF Member countries to address common challenges in the gas industry, in particular, developments in the energy market with a focus on the supply and demand.
The meeting approved the Republic of Azerbaijan as the new Observer Member of the GECF.

Leading up to the 17th Ministerial Meeting, the Forum had two high-level meetings in Tehran to finalize arrangements for the Summit, the 4th Meeting of High-Level Ad Hoc Group for the 3rd Gas Summit and an Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting Chaired by Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, minister of petroleum of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
GECF is the gathering of the world’s leading gas producers that provides a framework for exchange of experience, views, information and data, as well as coordination in gas related developments among member countries.

It consists of 19 main and observer members with its permanent secretariat based in Doha, Qatar.
Russia, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and the United Arab Emirates, are main members of the gas exporting body. Observer countries are the Netherlands, Iraq, Oman, Azerbaijan, Peru, Kazakhstan and Norway.

GECF members account for 42 percent of global gas output, 70 percent of global gas reserves, 40 percent of pipe gas transmission, and 65 percent of global trade of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).