U.S. strives to put an end to Gas OPEC
The U.S. Congress has moved to prevent the formation of a so-called Gas OPEC. New legislation tries to prevent an alliance between leading suppliers such as Russia and Iran, which America fears would be used as a political weapon against the West.
Gas accounts for about one fifth of the fuel used globally. And while oil demands are expected to significantly slow over the next 25 years, gas is predicted to take a much bigger share of the energy market.
Oil OPEC ensures the stability of prices for its member states, gas prices are individually negotiated between buyer and producer. And its buyers, overwhelmingly from wealthy Western nations, usually have the upper hand.
Talks about the creation of a powerful Opec-style gas-producers group sends shivers down the spines of the United States and the European Union, which relies heavily on imports.
The founding fathers of any such group would be Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela and Algeria and if realized the alliance would control more than half of the world's known gas reserves and give Moscow powerful leverage.
But doubly, the move would put the leaders of these countries in a strong political standing.
At a recent meeting of the informal grouping called the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Doha Russia's Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said it had no plans to set up a cartel. But diplomats in Brussels never stop sweating over the EU's ultimate fear of becoming a hostage to Russia's energy policy.
And now this U.S. document is looking to put pay to the influence of any such alliance on the U.S. economy or its world standing.
The bill states that Russia repeatedly demonstrated its readiness to take an advantage of the role of the supplier of oil and gas for rendering political pressure upon other countries.
And with energy resources increasingly part of a new world order, a gas OPEC could prove to be a swift counterpunch to the West's economic and political might.