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Gas forum kicks off in Cairo

Qatar and Russia may be looking to cooperate more on energy matters.
Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla (C) speaks during the opening session of the 24th ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 25, 2022.

Egypt hosted the annual Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Cairo today. 

What is it: The Gas Exporting Countries Forum consists of 19 member states that collectively account for more than 70% of the world’s natural gas reserves. It is based in Doha. Qatar, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Iran, Libya and Russia are members, among others. 

What happened: Some important developments took place at this year’s meeting. Egyptian Energy Minister Tarek El-Molla held talks yesterday with his Qatari counterpart Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi. The two pledged to further cooperate on energy matters, the Egyptian news outlet Asharq Al-Awsat reported. 

Kaabi also held talks with Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov in Cairo today. They discussed bilateral energy relations and other unspecified issues, the official Qatar News Agency reported. 

Why it matters: Egypt-Qatar relations have been gradually improving since their rapprochement last year that ended the Qatar diplomatic crisis. Qatar is increasing its investments in Egypt, much to the delight of the Egyptian government. 

Kaabi’s meeting with his Russian counterpart comes as Gulf states are increasing their oil-related cooperation with Russia. OPEC and Russia recently agreed to cut oil production, which angered the Biden administration

At the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Kaabi notably said it would be “almost impossible” to replace Russian gas. 

Know more: Gas producers in the Middle East are bullish on the future of the fuel, despite increased investment in renewable energy.

"The main takeaway from today is that natural gas is set to play a pivotal role as an enabler of the energy transition,” said the forum’s Secretary-General Mohamed Hamel, according to a press release. 

The Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made similar remarks at the United Nations last month. 

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