Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman reaffirmed his opposition Tuesday to the creation of an OPEC-like organization for natural gas, saying it would pose problems for both producing and consuming countries.

"When you have anticompetitive activity, it generally leads to problems for both consuming nations as well as the supplying nations," Bodman was quoted by wire service UPI as saying. The energy secretary was the keynote speaker at an energy conference sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC.

Bodman's remarks came a day after the 14 members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, meeting in Doha, Qatar, decided to set up a commission to explore the possibility of forming an exporters' group mirroring the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (see Daily GPI, April 10). The proposed panel, which would be comprised of the deputy energy ministers from major gas-producing nations, is expected to report its findings at the group's next meeting in Russia in 2008. The commission would be headed by Russia, the world's largest gas exporter.

Bodman, according to UPI, said he did not know yet if the gas bloc was anticompetitive in nature. "I don't know what they are yet," but he noted there was cause for concern when "you see all the suppliers gathering together in one place at the same time," the wire service reported.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum was founded in 2001 to unite the countries that together control more than 70% of the world's natural gas reserves. Some of the major gas-producing countries that are members of the forum include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Qatar, Algeria, Malaysia, Norway, Nigeria, Oman, Turkmenistan, Brunei and Indonesia..

The Bush administration strongly opposes the creation of a gas cartel.

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