Tehran will not export its gas to Qatar to be liquified in the Arab country's plants, Iran's satellite Press TV quoted Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari as saying on Tuesday.
Nozari made the remarks when referring to planned cooperation among Iran, Russian and Qatar in exploiting their abundant gas reserves.
"Iran agrees that Qatar and Russia will invest in South Pars gas field and LNG be produced in Iran on partnership basis," he said.
"We have agreed to set up a joint company to develop projects in the three countries or any other place in the world, but we do not accept that Iran's gas will be exported to Qatar to be turned into liquified natural gas (LNG)," Press TV quoted Nozari as saying.
Nozari's remarks came as a response to Russian daily Kommersant's report that "Russia's Gazprom, Qatar Liquefied Gas Company Ltd. and National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) aim to set up a venture to produce gas from Iran's South Pars field and liquefy itin a gas plant in Qatar's Ras Laffan Province."
Senior energy officials from Iran, Qatar and Russia, three major gas exporting countries, met in Qatar's capital Doha on Wednesday for advancing the talks on gas cooperation, the first tripartite meeting was already held in October this year in Tehran.
According to Iran's official IRNA news agency, in their first meeting, the three countries discussed ways to expand the gas fields, to carry out strategic cooperation among them in regional and international gas markets and "assist each other in the target markets in light of geopolitical and geographical considerations."
"The three countries with largest amount of natural gas reserves will earnestly pursue the formation of an organization of gas exporting countries," Nozari said.
Officials of the three countries discussed means to set up a center for financial affairs of the three-nation cooperation in Doha, Qatar, a technical center in Tehran and a market survey center in Moscow, Russia.
The three countries have rich natural gas reserves, accounting for 56 percent of the world's total, among them Russia has 26 percent, Iran has 16 percent, and Qatar has 14 percent.
Both Russia and Qatar are major gas exporters, but Iran, despite its huge reserves, is a net importer.
However, Iran wants to turn into a major player in the gas market and proposes to develop a formal organization akin to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Europe and the United States have warned against such a gas exporting body, saying it could pose a danger to global energy security and create room for price manipulation.