26 Oct 2022 14:25

GECF calls for cooperation to protect gas infrastructure from attacks

MOSCOW. Oct 26 (Interfax) - The 24th Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Cairo condemned attacks on international gas infrastructure.

The meeting "emphasized the importance of critical energy infrastructure (both national and international) for the free flow of gas and stable functioning of global gas markets and condemns any deliberate attacks to damage such infrastructure," the GECF said in a communique following the meeting on October 25.

Ministers "reemphasized the crucial need for security of supply and security of demand, and for collaboration to protect critical gas infrastructure and enhance resilience to natural disasters, technological incidents, and man-made threats, such as malicious use of information and communication technologies," it said.

The Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 offshore pipelines were damaged by explosions in September.

The meeting also emphasized the GECF objective of supporting the permanent sovereignty of its member countries over their natural resources and their ability to independently plan and manage the sustainable, efficient, and environmentally conscious development, use, and conservation of natural gas resources for the benefit of their people, including through cooperation with neighboring countries without restrictions.

It also reiterated the importance of cooperation and coordination between Member Countries and reaffirmed its support for genuine and strengthened dialogue between producers, consumers, and other relevant stakeholders with the objective to ensure the security of demand and the security of supply, as well as open, transparent, unhindered, and non-discriminatory gas markets.

Ministers "discussed at length the multidimensional crisis that encompasses the economy, energy, trade, health, environment, and geopolitics. It noted with concern the rising risks stemming from gloomy economic prospects, inflation unseen in decades, tightening financial conditions, and supply-chain disruptions. The escalating geopolitical tensions coupled with the economic restrictions imposed on some countries have made the prospects even more uncertain."

"Natural gas markets are undergoing dramatic changes in terms of physical flows, market functioning, contractual arrangements, and investment. It observed that while gas hubs experience extreme volatility, long-term gas contract prices are more stable and predictable. It expressed great concern with regard to the attempts to alter the price discovery and risk management functions of markets, and to impose politically-driven price caps. It underlined that such artificial intervention in market functioning can only aggravate market tightness, discourage investment, and be detrimental to producers and consumers alike," the communique said.

Ministers noted the "huge level of investment required to satisfy growing world energy demand. It underscored the importance of timely investment for market stability, and the crucial need for unhindered flow of financial resources and access to technology in a non-discriminatory manner."

The meeting was attended by the energy ministers and top officials from members Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela, as well as from observers Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Malaysia, Mozambique, and the UAE. The minister in charge of energy of Papua New Guinea attended the meeting as a guest, as well as a high-level official from Mauritania.