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Russia's foreign minister Tuesday said Russia and Iran had no plans to create a "gas OPEC"
Russia's foreign minister Tuesday said Russia and Iran had no plans to create a "gas OPEC," and criticized a Polish proposal to establish an "energy NATO." Iran proposed at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit last week to set up a joint gas-industry venture with Russia that the media quickly dubbed a "gas OPEC," drawing an analogy with the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries that works to regulate global oil prices. "There are no plans to create a 'gas OPEC,'" Sergei Lavrov told reporters. "I have not heard of such plans." The analogy was also prompted by an Iranian proposal that the two countries fix global gas prices together. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier said Iran had proposed starting a JV that would allow the two countries to join efforts in exploration and production. "There is no talk of a 'gas OPEC.' The proposal was to set up a joint venture to work together on some deposits in both countries," Putin said. But Lavrov said he had heard of a proposal to establish an 'energy NATO,' but criticized the idea, saying it nurtured confrontation. Poland proposed in February establishing an alliance that would act in concert to respond to energy crises, and said NATO should serve as the basis of such an alliance. The proposal reflects growing concerns over instability in many oil-rich countries, including Iraq, and European anxieties about increasing energy dependence on Russia. Europe has been worried about its energy security since Russia briefly cut off gas supplies to neighboring Ukraine in early 2006 over a price row, leading to dips in supply to other consumers in Europe. Lavrov said Russia would remain a reliable supplier to Europe. Russia has put energy security high on the agenda of an upcoming summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations it will host in July.
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