Qatar, the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, has reiterated its call for a fair gas price, saying that it would help achieve convergence between prices of crude oil and natural gas and end discrepancies.
Addressing the First Summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Doha, the Emir, Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, urged the participants not to give up their ‘just' demand for gas prices equivalent to those of oil and to explore all means to achieve this demand.
"We must act seriously to realise these interests without having a negative impact on the interests of consumers," the Emir said in his opening address, quoted by the Qatari daily The Peninsula Wednesday.
Shaikh Hamad said fossil fuels still represented the largest share of the energy mix consumed globally. This situation will probably continue for the foreseeable future.
"Hence, the increasing challenges facing this industry are not confined to meeting the growing demand for energy but they extend to include the environmental, social and economic aspects in both the exporting and importing countries," he said.
"These renewable and escalating challenges urge us to look for a variety of innovative solutions which are economically viable in a way that guarantees the interests of consumers and producers together."
The utilisation of hyd-rocarbon resources to achieve economic and social development, has a negative impact on the environment, but in contrast natural gas has a preferential advantage over all other types of fossil fuel since it is one of the cleanest energy sources, he said.
"This advantage has led in recent years to its increasingly widespread use in power generation, petrochemical and metallic industries, as well as in household consumption."
The Emir, however, noted that despite the advantage and widespread use of natural gas disparities between oil prices and gas prices remained.
The gas exporters' forum was established to protect their interests on the lines of protection and support given by various parties to coal and oil industries.
"Here we do not talk of controlling production but about other things such as upgrading and supporting the technologies that expand the areas of using gas, and advocating the use of gas at international and regional forums, influencing the laws that support gas exploitation, enacting laws that take into account the environmental advantages of gas, exchange of information on markets and technical and financial aid and promotion of new markets," the Emir said.
Shaikh Hamad said that increased LNG use has provided an ideal solution for the problem of lack of proximity between gas consuming markets and production areas, as is the case in the markets of East Asian countries, as well as the problem of heavy dependence on one source to fulfil consumption needs, as is the case in the European markets.
"Natural gas has also contributed to opening new markets in China and India, and increased the consumption of gas in Europe and elsewhere," the Emir said.
"In return, the rise in the significance of the role of LNG has necessitated a substantial increase in the volume of capital investments in all stages of its production, processing, and export, as well as a fundamental change in the nature of the contracts governing the operations of gas buying and selling. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the long-term strategic partnerships among all parties related to these stages," he said.
The synergy and collaboration of all members of this forum are essential for the realisation of its goals. Non-commitment on the part of some members will have a negative impact on the interests of all members, particularly the bigger ones. The Emir reassured gas consumers that the protection of exporters' interests does not mean that it would be at the expense of their interests.
"We call for constructive dialogue with them through consultations and exchange of information for the sake of developing gas and its usage for the benefit of all parties.
"It has been reported before that gas importers are members of a forum for the rich, and we have endeavoured as much as possible to change this by opening new markets.
"We do not want to hear that the Forum of Gas Exporters is a forum for major exporters. The forum not only welcomes but also encourages any gas exporter who wants to join," the Emir said.
Shaikh Hamad said that the National Vision of the State of Qatar 2030 was based on several pillars including the accomplishment of economic and social development.
"So we endeavour to develop our economy to be a diversified competitive economy and more consistent with the requirements for preserving and protecting the environment from pollution. This is what would be achieved by several means, including the optimal utilisation of natural gas as a clean energy source," the Emir said.
"We have no doubt in the ability of the members of this forum to protect their interests and pursue their important role in examining the ways of developing global markets, and to play an active role in developing mechanisms of operation of this market."