GECF and Algeria hold high-level talks
A meeting was held between the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) and the newly-appointed Algerian Minister of Energy HE Abdelmadjid Attar and the President of the GECF Ministerial Meeting on the Forum’s development and other strategic matters.
HE Attar was appointed as the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria’s Minister of Energy on 23rd of June. He boasts a distinguished ministerial and industrial background, including as a former CEO of state-owned Sonatrach. Throughout 2020, Algeria is fulfilling the responsibility of the rotating Presidency of the GECF Ministerial Meeting.
In his opening address, the GECF Secretary General HE Yury Sentyurin thanked HE Attar for inviting the Secretariat to the meeting within the first month of assuming office, an act he termed “another evidence of Algeria’s unwavering support and high priority given to the GECF.”
Addressing HE Attar, Secretary General Sentyurin said: “Algeria is one of the founding Member Countries and a pillar of the GECF family. It’s a tall order to name the ways and means Algeria has contributed to the Forum’s development. Now, we are looking forward to navigating the changes in market realities, and look beyond current moment under your able leadership as the GECF Ministerial Meeting President,” while adding that HE Attar’s prudence guidance is what Algeria and all the natural gas producing community requires in these testing times of economic downturn, volatility, and uncertainty.
The President of the Ministerial Meeting received a detailed overview on the Forum’s work, including its insights and findings, current membership expansion drive, regular and special events, and its deliverables in light of the Decisions on Statements adopted at the GECF Summits, Ministerial Meeting Resolutions, Executive Board Summary of Decisions, Long-Term Strategy, and the 5-Year Working Plan. Comprehensive discussions also took place on the action plan of the Gas Research Institute, which is going to be located in Algeria.
Further, the GECF Head of Gas Market Analysis Department Ms Mahdjouba Belaifa and Head of Energy Economics and Forecasting Department Mr Dmitry Sokolov presented a concise introduction to the Algerian delegation of Short-Term and Long-Term Gas Market reviews, respectively.
Thanking HE Sentyurin and the staff of his Secretariat, HE Attar stated that the meeting was a great opportunity for him to discuss matters of paramount significance, made all the more important, given that Algeria is entrusted with the Presidency of the GECF Ministerial Meeting this year.
“The current pandemic has had a dramatic effect on lives, the economy, and energy markets. For gas, difficulties have accumulated since more than two years with over-investment in LNG facilities. The pandemic has exacerbated the crisis and the prices are now at a level that is no longer sustainable. I believe that the GECF should take this crisis as an opportunity to change and to become more useful for the interest of its members,” urged HE Attar.
“I remember when I was the CEO of Sonatrach, the same question kept coming back: why are gas exporting countries not cooperating like oil exporting countries. Well, part of the answer then was that most of the gas outside of the US was sold under long-term contracts with price indexed to oil, and destination clauses, and take-or-pay provision. Since then the gas market has dramatically evolved. There is more diversity of exporters. LNG trade has expanded, linking together regional gas markets, and there is a multiplicity of contractual arrangements from oil index based to hybrid contracts,” he observed.
The esteemed Minister of Energy also provided the Secretariat with valuable suggestions based on his vision of the future of the natural gas industry.
Both parties discussed the preparatory work for the forthcoming 22nd Ministerial Meeting, to be hosted by Algeria on 12 November 2020. Algeria will also be the host of the 7th GECF Summit of Heads of State and Government in 2023, as announced at the 5th GECF Summit in Equatorial Guinea.