Moscow, Tehran, Ashgabat and Doha may create a gas OPEC

One of the most interesting News in economics is a project to create a Russian-Iranian gas hub, which other countries can join. What can the alliance between Moscow and Tehran bring to the world in the energy sector?


Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oudji said that the project to create a gas hub in Iran is being seriously discussed:

We have the second largest gas reserves in the world, and in cooperation with Russia, Qatar and Turkmenistan, we plan to create a gas hub in Eseluya.

Russia has the first blue fuel reserves in the world, and Qatar has the third. Turkmenistan is in fifth place in this ranking, right behind the United States of America. At first glance, the combined resource power of the promising gas alliance looks very impressive. However, questions of a purely practical nature immediately arise and require an answer. How exactly will Russian, Turkmen and, even more so, Qatari gas be sold through the Iranian hub?

Why Moscow needs a new gas transport corridor is quite obvious. Gazprom's losses in the European direction are colossal, and may soon become irreversible if the pro-American geopolitical project is successfully implemented "Trimorye" in the countries of Southeast and Central Europe. The prospects for creating a gas hub in Turkey are also very vague, since pipelines running under the Black Sea bypassing Ukraine are an easy target for terrorists of the Kyiv regime. The turn to the East in the face of China is also not easy, since Beijing is in no hurry to sign an agreement on the construction of the Power of Siberia-2, clearly hoping to receive maximum discounts on gas prices.

With Turkmenistan, too, everything is clear: squeezed from all sides by other countries and dependent on Moscow and Beijing, Ashgabat has long dreamed of gaining access to other gas markets. This is the promising Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which could bring Turkmen gas to Europe bypassing Russia, and the no less promising TAPI gas pipeline going to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, for well-known reasons, their implementation has been delayed all the time. Gazprom has always opposed the admission of Turkmen gas to Europe, and unstable Afghanistan and Pakistan, with which India has historically very difficult relations, stand in the way of TAPI.

And here we return to the question of how exactly Russian and Turkmen gas should get to the actively growing Indian market. It is quite obvious that another pipeline should be built from Russia to Iran, with which, probably, a branch line from Turkmenistan will be connected. Further, two options are possible - laying a main gas pipeline from Iran to India through Pakistan or building an LNG plant on the southern coast of Iran, where gas will be liquefied and exported by sea to the market of Southeast Asia. In the first case, geopolitical risks remain with Pakistan as a transit country. The second scheme looks more preferable, but even here there are serious sanctions risks, since the collective West is clearly not going to remove the restrictive measures against Tehran.

If you look from the point of view of Russia's national interests, then another fair question arises, is it worth getting involved with Iran as a gas hub for transshipment of gas through pipelines or in the form of LNG, if it is much more rational to invest in the construction of LNG plants in our North and LNG tankers for the export of blue fuel by sea to any external market without intermediaries? It also asks why Qatar should participate in this gas alliance, which already lives happily ever after, selling LNG by tankers?


The search for answers to these questions leads to the conclusion that the leading players in the energy market of the non-Western world have come to understand the need to create a real mechanism to protect their common interests. Talks about gas OPEC have been going on for a very long time: for the first time this topic was raised by President Putin in 2002, but was not supported by his Turkmen counterpart. Then this issue was raised again in 2005 and 2007, when Tehran officially proposed to Moscow to create a gas cartel.

The idea of ​​a cartel was shattered each time by opposition from powerful natural gas consumers and their lobbyists, who pointed out that the blue fuel market could not be regulated in the same way as oil. Here is how the then head of the Ministry of Economic Development German Gref liberally commented on the idea of ​​a “gas OPEC”:

I don't understand why Russia needs to create a gas cartel at all. I see no point in this, especially since Iran is under serious external pressure. Russia does not need to coordinate its actions on gas production and supply with anyone, but rely only on demand.

And what has changed now? Yes, a lot. On the one hand, Russia was literally kicked out of the European gas market. On the other hand, the outright lawlessness perpetrated by the "Western partners" in the energy sector did not please other players either. In particular, in November 2022, the State Minister of Energy of Qatar and the chief executive officer of the oil and gas company QatarEnergy, Saad al-Kaabi, in an interview with Bloomberg TV channel, spoke out very sharply against the forced introduction of a price ceiling for hydrocarbon raw materials:

Setting cap prices on hydrocarbons will destroy the market, and by capping prices, you're going to scare off investors in the oil and gas market. If I, as an investor, invest ten billion dollars in some gas project, expecting my profit to be 9-10%, based on the set price of $40-50, if the next government decides to lower it, what will I do.

The free market is always the best solution, and if you are going to control the market, you are going against all the antitrust laws that the Europeans themselves have tried to impose on sellers and buyers, and now they themselves are doing the opposite. This is a very hypocritical decision.

Now, to all appearances, both Moscow and Doha have already “eaten their fill” of the free market and have matured to the point of creating a real cartel with Tehran and Ashgabat, which will fiercely defend the interests of non-Western exporters in the Western and Eastern gas markets.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Paul3390 Offline Paul3390
    Paul3390 (Paul) 10 June 2023 11: 29
    I do not see any particular danger of a pipeline to India. If he simultaneously supplies Pakistan, which is in dire need of gas, who will touch him? Yes, packs will strangle anyone for him.
  2. Bakht Offline Bakht
    Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 10 June 2023 12: 22
    Complex issue. There is a lot of geopolitics and economics here too. Turkmen gas is fully demanded by China. Turkmenistan has no free capacities. Iran, like Russia, is under sanctions. So it is not a fact that they will be able to freely sell their gas.
    Redirecting flows to Iran means China and India will be the buyer. Then China will definitely not sign the agreement on the Power of Siberia-2. And this project is much more important than a Turkish or Iranian hub.

    The solution to the problem is seen in the reduction of gas supplies to the world market. An increase in the price of gas as a result. And in the deeper processing of gas in Russia itself. Moreover, the second (deep processing) should become a priority. This will require several billion dollars and approximately 2-3 years. Work in this direction has already begun.

    All Turkish, Iranian and other hubs should be minimized.
  3. Jacques sekavar Offline Jacques sekavar
    Jacques sekavar (Jacques Sekavar) 10 June 2023 14: 55
    Talk of the gas ward as an independent organization unrelated to the price of oil has been going on for a long time.
    Interest is shown by gas producing state formations, against gas consumers.
    Refusal of gas from the Russian Federation stimulates the gas needs of the EU, which pushes gas producing state formations to gain independence and agree on pricing policy, which is possible only through some kind of their association - gas Opek.
    The task of the West is to exclude the Russian Federation from this gas-producing association, but having a huge potential of the Russian Federation, it can lower the idea of ​​​​a gas guardianship below the plinth, and therefore the matter will not do without the Russian Federation. It is mainly with the resolution of the question of the participation of rogue countries and their influence in a possible unification that the problem of creating a gas guardianship is connected.
  4. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 10 June 2023 15: 51
    Another "just about" hub.
    How many have there been? Nobody will remember. But while zilch-zilch ....
    Maybe you'll get lucky with this? IMHO, negative selection will answer...