The State of Qatars unrelenting support for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has massively facilitated its work, HE Secretary General of the GECF, Eng. Mohamed Hamel, told Qatar News Agency (QNA).

When the GECF was established as a fully-fledged international organisation in 2008, the State of Qatar, a founding member country, was chosen to host the GECF premises and has continuously provided great support to facilitate its activities, he said in an interview, hailing Doha's infrastructure and services.

His Excellency, the fourth Secretary General who assumed office in 2022, also extended his thanks to the State of Qatar, under the leadership of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and to HE Minister of State for Energy Affairs Eng. Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi, for his unwavering support. He also congratulated Qatar for claiming the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 title.

Highlighting the success of the 6th GECF Summit in Doha in 2022, His Excellency said the upcoming 7th GECF Summit of Heads of State and Government, scheduled to take place in Algiers, the Peoples Democratic Republic of Algeria, on March 2, 2024, will convene at a critical time, with energy challenges topping the world priorities.

His Excellency highlighted the challenges that include achieving a balance between universal energy access and social and economic development while ensuring energy security, affordability and sustainability at the same time. He noted that addressing these challenges will involve various aspects such as geopolitics, economic growth, energy policies, investment, technology, energy transitions, and environmental conservation.

The 7th GECF Summit will issue the Algiers Declaration, which is being prepared by a high-level ad hoc working group of member countries representatives, chaired by Algeria, His Excellency said.

His Excellency explained that the Forum is the only intergovernmental organisation focused on natural gas, adding that it has expanded its membership to 19 countries after the accession of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Republic of Mozambique in the past two years. It sealed cooperation agreements with several organizations, including the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), the International Energy Forum (IEF), the International Gas Union (IGU), and the African Energy Commission (AFREC).

Part of this is QatarEnergy's huge investment to meet the growing global LNG demand while cutting global greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint via improving energy efficiency, phasing out routine flaring and methane emissions, and developing significant carbon capture and storage capacities, His Excellency told QNA.

Commenting on global LNG prices, His Excellency said they are set according to multiple mechanisms, including linking them to oil and petroleum products and other standards determined in gas hubs or over-the-counter transactions.

His Excellency added that global natural gas pricing is set by supply & demand dynamics, economic growth, storage levels, weather conditions, geopolitical developments, and competition with alternative sources such as coal, especially in the electricity sector.

Highlighting the importance of long-term LNG deals, HE Hamel recalled a 1969 deal between Algeria's national state-owned oil company SONATRACH and El Paso Corporation, as the first LNG long-term contract, to fund the development of LNG plants. The agreement paved the way for long-term gas sell and purchase agreements to become a major LNG feature.

With roughly 70 percent of traded LNG being under long-term contracts in 2023, and five new deals in January, LNG exporters and importers have reaffirmed their preference for this growing contracting trend to secure gas demand and funding, and avoid price fluctuations, especially with energy security re-emerging as a top global priority since 2021, His Excellency concluded. (QNA)
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