Leading gas exporting countries agreed on Thursday to hold their first summit in Qatar next year as they reiterated calls for gas prices to be in parity with oil.
The announcement came after a one-day ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in the Qatari capital attended by the top three world producers -- Russia, Iran and Qatar.
No other details were forthcoming about the summit's timing or agenda, but the ministers expressed concern in a GECF statement about low gas prices that "risk investment in new fields and gas infrastructure".
"I wish we could control gas prices, [but] who can control the price of oil or of gold?" Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah Al-Attiyah was quoted as saying after the meeting.
The ministers appointed Egyptian Energy Minister Sameh Fahmy as the new president of the gas forum and decided to hold their next meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh on 2 June next year.
They vowed to work closely in a bid to develop a stable and transparent gas market.
But the energy minister of Russia, the world's largest producer that sits on about 30 per cent of global natural gas reserves, expressed opposition to any production restrictions to boost prices.
"Achieving a fair price for natural gas does not mean imposing restrictions on gas production. Seeking a fair price does not mean quotas on natural gas production," Sergei Shmatko told reporters.
"It's much more important to develop mechanisms of cooperation between producers, transit countries and consumers," he said.