Oil Report

Russia may delay gas export nations summit -paper

MOSCOW, May 22 (Reuters) - Russia wants to delay the annual summit of gas export countries, often dubbed the gas OPEC, to October from June because it has just appointed a new government, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Kommersant business daily quoted Valery Yazev, a lawmaker and the main lobbyist of gas monopoly Gazprom GAZP.MM in parliament, as saying Russia also wanted to fine-tune its position as to what goals the new organisation should pursue.

Yazev was not immediately available for comment.

An energy ministry spokesman said he was unaware of any delay: “The meeting has been provisionally set for June. No final decision has been taken.”

The meeting was widely expected to turn the informal union of gas export nations, such as Russia, Iran, Qatar and Venezuela into a more formal organisation with a charter, but differences have emerged as to what goals it should pursue.

Iran has said it supported the idea of production coordination with the aim of influencing prices, similar to the functions of OPEC. That idea shocked key consumers in Europe.

Russia has in turn said no cartel was in prospect and the new body will only serve the goals of coordinating long-term production and consumption.

Russia’s government was reshuffled this month after Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in as president and his predecessor Vladimir Putin took over as prime minister. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, editing by Will Waterman)