MOSCOW, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Heads of some of the world's top energy states have called for joint measures to uphold the fundamental role of long-term gas contracts and support gas pricing based on oil products indexation, a latest move to fend off pressure from the European Union and North America.
In his opening speech at the 2nd summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) which was wrapped up Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the development of the gas market had been increasing supplies on the spot market for gas.
Meanwhile, it was "not a reason to reject long-term contracts, or take-or-pay principles," Putin said.
"Our priority is to provide stable deliveries to global markets in the long-term perspective," he added.
Indicating the EU policies on gas import as "illegal," the president proposed "more effective measures" to defend the interests of gas producers and suppliers on the international market.
He referred to the EU's Third Energy Package, a legislation for an internal gas and electricity market which came into force in September 2009. The package is aimed at further opening up the markets in the region by "ownership unbundling," which requires the separation of companies' generation and sale operations from their transmission networks.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, on his first visit to Moscow after taking office in April, urged the participants to further "evolve and unite."
He suggested the member countries work as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rather than a loose consultative body.
The GECF groups Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, with Kazakhstan, Iraq, the Netherlands and Norway as observers.
Maduro also called for a gas research institute and a gas project developing bank, which were main topics discussed at a ministerial meeting ahead of the summit.
In a declaration released on Monday, the countries said they would commit to fostering the consistent growth of natural gas usage, promoting the expansion of natural gas utilization in different sectors, and encouraging the GECF dialogue with all market players and stakeholders.
The two-day summit came as the "shale revolution" in North America had been changing the geography of gas supplies and increasing competition between gas and coal energy sources.
Meanwhile, Sergei Chizhov, head of the Russian Gas Union, told Xinhua that Russia might not follow the trend in the nearest future, but would focus on the diversification of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export.
"That is what Russia is doing, gradually liberalizing the LNG export and fading monopoly of the giant gas producer Gazprom."
"After all, production of natural gas is cheaper in Russia," he said, adding a great reservation of shale gas could guarantee the energy giant to catch up the flow when necessary.
The expert did not rule out GECF's future expansion as new gas exporting countries were emerging. Meanwhile, he believed the organization would probably function in a consultative way rather than a cartel.