Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that he does not reject the idea of creating an "OPEC-style" gas cartel, according to news reaching here from Doha.
"We do not reject the idea of creating a gas cartel," Putin was quoted as saying, adding that the proposal put forward by Iran last month "requires more study."
"Do we need it (a gas cartel)? Will we create it? This is a separate issue. But gas producers should coordinate their activities," Putin said.
The Russian president, on a visit to Qatar, his second leg of a Middle East tour, made the remarks after talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
As for cooperation between Russia and Qatar, two of the world's largest producers of natural gas, Putin said the two gas-rich countries are not competing in the market as the gas markets of Russia and Qatar are "separated".
He added that Qatar, the world's third largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran, was of special interest to Russia.
Meanwhile, Putin said his country will send a delegation to attend a conference of gas producers to be held in Qatar this April, during which details of setting up a possible gas alliance would be mulled.
The Qatari Emir, for his part, said that the difference between Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a gas cartel is that OPEC can raise or cut the price, but gas contracts are made for long terms.
On Jan. 28, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
proposed that Iran and Russia create a gas cartel in talks with Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov during his visit to Tehran.