Ministers from the world's biggest producers of natural gas, at their first meeting in two years, have decided to establish a group of experts to study how to strengthen the group.
The word from high-level delegates at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Doha on Monday is that progress towards a "gas Opec" will take time.
Viktor Khristenko, Russia's energy minister, whose country has the world's largest gas reserves and will head the committee, said he saw no need for the imminent formation of a gas cartel along the lines of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
Chakib Khelil, Algeria's energy and mines minister, said: "In the long term we are moving towards a gas Opec. It will take a long time."
But gas customers in America and Europe are already concerned that if a gas cartel is formed, they will be subjected to higher prices and reduced supplies.
The study group will look at pricing, infrastructure and the relationship between producers and consumers, ministers said.
It will report back to the gas forum's next ministerial meeting in Moscow next year.
The energy minister of Qatar, host to Monday's meeting and home to the world's third-largest gas reserves, placed the emphasis on improved dialogue between producers and consumers.
Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said: "We should work towards greater co-operation to stabilise the market, to give confidence to our consumers.
"We should send a very positive statement to our customers that we are with you, not against you."
Al-Attiyah took exception to use of the term cartel, saying he preferred club or group.
"I hate the word cartel," he said.
Russia also rejected the implication that producers would collaborate at consumer expense.
Before Monday's meeting, Khristenko said: "We do not, and will not, set ourselves the goal of ganging up on anybody. It would be destructive and it would make no sense at all."
Since its formation in 2001, the gas producers' forum, whose nations control more than 70 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves, has been viewed by analysts as a talking shop.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16