Qatari Emir Wants Gas Prices Tied to Oil


". . .comments came at the start of the one day meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum. . ."

Qatar's ruler urged natural gas producers on Wednesday to work toward linking gas prices with those of oil, voicing worries that crude's rally this year has not been mirrored in gas markets.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani's comments came at the start of the one day meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum—a group of 11 nations dubbed by some as the Gas OPEC whose members include gas heavyweights like Qatar, Iran and Russia.

The Qatari emir, whose tiny Persian Gulf nation sits atop the world's largest proven reserves of natural gas, said while oil prices have rebounded from their precipitous drop late last year, natural gas prices have not.

The "rise in the price of crude was not matched by a similar rise in gas prices," he said.

The gas forum, while meeting since 2001, was officially set up last year during a meeting in Moscow and will be headquartered in Doha, Qatar's capital. Its main aim is to better coordinate policy between the gas exporters.

Officials from several of the countries have said the gas nation group is not intended to mimic the role of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries—the 12 nation bloc that supplies over 35% of the world's crude oil.

But the gas nations are clearly concerned about low natural gas prices, which they say could curtail further investment in the sector—especially in new technology—and limit supply growth going forward.

On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Department may report the first decrease in gas stores this year, the latest point that that has happened in at least five years.

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