The objectives of the GECF, clearly defined in the Statute, shall be to support the sovereign rights of member countries over their natural gas resources and their abilities to independently plan and manage the sustainable, efficient and environmentally conscious development, use and conservation of natural gas resources for the benefit of their peoples. These objectives will be promoted through the exchange of experience, views, information, and coordination in, inter alia, the following interrelated topics:
Worldwide gas exploration and production trends;
Present and anticipate supply-demand balance for gas;
Worldwide gas exploration, production and transportation technologies;
The structure and development of the gas markets (regional and global);
Transport of gas: pipelines and LNG carriers;
Interrelationship of gas with oil products, coal, and other energy sources;
Technologies and approaches for sustainable environmental management, taking into account environmental constraints, national regulations and multilateral agreements on environment and their impact on volume and sustainability of gas consumption;
Techniques and approaches for maximizing the contribution of natural gas resources, at all stages of the value chain, to the promotion of sustainable economies and human resources development in Member countries.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum was originally established as a Forum on May 19-20, 2001 by the governments of Algeria, Brunei, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Turkmenistan and Norway (Observer) during the 1st Ministerial Meeting held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Agreement on the functioning of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum and the Statute of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum were signed by 11 countries (Algeria, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela) at the 7th Ministerial Meeting held in Moscow, Russian Federation, on December 23, 2008, thus transforming the Forum into a full-frame international governmental organization; nevertheless, in the name of the organization the word "Forum" was kept to reflect its open and democratic nature.
The decision-making process in the GECF is transparent and open. In the Ministerial Meeting and in the Executive Board, each member has one vote, regardless of their production, exporting or reserves level or any other factor. All resolutions of the Ministerial Meeting other than on procedural matters require the unanimous agreement of all members, whereas the procedural matters in the Ministerial Meeting and the decisions of the Executive Board are undertaken on the basis of simple majority of votes of attending Members.
As it is stipulated in the GECF Statute, our organization is open to every gas-exporting country that shares the common interests and objectives of the Forum’s Statute. Once a country officially expresses interest in becoming part of the organization, the Ministerial Meeting decides on the application for membership and issues a Resolution.
Now we are conducting talks at official and unofficial levels with a number of potential States. We are convinced that the more gas-exporters join the GECF, the more representative and solid our voice will sound in the world arena, and be better heard by major stakeholders across various gas markets.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum currently consists of 20 world's leading natural gas producing and exporting countries, spread across four continents.
The Member Countries are: Algeria, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. There are also nine Observer Members: Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway, Peru, and United Arab Emirates.
With the current number of Members the GECF has a strong position on the world gas market and among international energy organizations. Its potential rests on the enormous natural gas reserves of the Member countries all together accumulating 71% of the world proven natural gas reserves, 44% its marketed production, 57% of LNG exports and 53% of pipeline trade of the source.
The organization structure of the GECF is very compact and consists of three levels:
The top level is represented by the Ministerial Meeting, which is the supreme governing body of the Forum. The Ministerial Meeting consists of delegations representing the Member countries. All decisions of the Ministerial Meeting have to be adopted in a form of resolutions. The Ministerial Meeting is held once a year. The Ministerial Meeting is headed by a President appointed in accordance with the Statute of the GECF, with an Alternate President.
The next level is represented by the Executive Board. It is composed of members nominated by each country of the Forum. The Executive Board meeting must be held at least twice a year. The Ministers appoint a Chairman and an Alternate Chairman of the Executive Board.
And finally, there is the Secretariat which carries out the executive function of the Forum in accordance with the provisions of the Statute under the direction of the Executive Board and the mandates of the Ministerial Meeting. This governing body of the Forum is headed by a Secretary General elected by the Ministerial Meeting. The incumbent Secretary General is HE Yury Sentyurin.