Market volatility a major challenge to gas producers, says Al-Sada

HE al-Sada chairs the 16th Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum
HE al-Sada chairs the 16th Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum

HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada on Tuesday said the major challenge facing gas producers was the “increasing volatility” of the energy market and urged the GECF member countries to be fully alert to the situation.

Chairing the 16th Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Doha, he said the price volatility was driven by a variety of reasons including economic and geopolitical elements, which may adversely affect market stability.

“We need to be alert and keep monitoring the expected challenges of the gas industry due to this probability of an energy glut in the market,” al-Sada said.

The GECF, al-Sada said was a “platform for cooperation”. Its existence and the successes achieved so far were a reflection of its members’ determination to co-operate.

“Yet, our mutual understanding and co-operation has to grow further, especially in facing the future challenges,” the minister stressed.

Al-Sada hoped the benefits of co-operation and collaboration among the GECF member countries would be reflected on the global gas industry in a way that contributed to realising the interests of all concerned parties.

“We assure once again our continuous support in strengthening the gas forum,” al-Sada said.

Earlier, speaking to reporters al-Sada said Opec and individual producer countries were closely watching oil prices following their latest decline on Tuesday, but he added the market would “settle eventually”.

Asked if Opec stood by its decision to keep its output target of 30mn barrels per day (bpd) despite the fall of Brent crude futures to $59 a barrel, the minister said the producer group was “watching the market” closely.

The development of oil prices was being studied by individual countries, he said.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to cut production at a November 27 meeting and major Gulf Opec members have since shown no sign of reversing course.

“We need to watch market closely, but it will settle eventually,” al-Sada said.

“Opec is watching the market closely and the development of oil prices is being studied by individual countries and the secretariat,” he added.

Oil fell to close to $59 a barrel for the first time since May 2009 on Tuesday, extending a six-month selloff as slowing Chinese factory activity and weakening emerging-market currencies added to concerns about demand.

The ministerial meeting discussed the global gas market report presented by the Secretary General, which covered the latest developments in the energy market in general and in the gas market in particular, including short-term trends in supply and demand for natural gas worldwide and in specific regions and countries, the evolution of LNG trade across the regions, developments of the gas prices. They assessed the complexity and dynamics of the global natural gas market in the short, medium and long term.

The meeting was attended by ministers from Algeria, Iran, Libya, Qatar, Russia and UAE and heads of delegations from Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Nigeria, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela as well as Netherlands, Norway and Oman as observers.