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إدارة الموقع

Algeria’s Messages Behind Hosting the 7th GECF Summit

Mohamed Moslem / English version: Dalila Henache
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Algeria’s Messages Behind Hosting the 7th GECF Summit

Through its success in hosting the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Algeria presented its credentials as an influential player in gas diplomacy, which turned into a trump card for producing and exporting countries in defending their interests, in light of a global context fraught with the struggle to supply gas, which has become an obsession for the Western countries in particular, especially in light of the exclusion of the end of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

This success lies in the remarkable participation of the leaders of the major countries that control the production and export of gas in the global energy market. Just as the quality of the participation of member states in the “Gas Exporting Countries Forum” revealed the diversity of the axes in which Algerian diplomacy is active, it also demonstrated Algeria’s weight among its counterparts in this forum, which was established in 2011.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum includes 12 countries: Algeria, Qatar, Russia, Iran, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and the United Arab Emirates. Along with seven other countries associated with it, it controls about 70% of proven gas reserves and 51% of global exports of liquefied natural gas, which makes it an influential force in the global energy market, if it agrees on one direction.

Ten countries participated in the 7th GECF summit in Algeria at the first level of representation, that is, with presidents, princes and kings, such as Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani, who are major gas producers and exporters, in addition to the Iraki President Abdullatif Jamal Rachid, and Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who is visiting Algeria for the second time in less than two weeks, after he visited Tindouf (southern Algeria) to inaugurate the opening of the land crossing and the free trade zone between the two countries “Tindouf-Zouerate”.

The Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohammed el-Menfi, Tunisian President Kais Saied, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and Bolivian President Luis Arce, while Russia sent Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov, and the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek al-Moulla, and on behalf of the Nigerian President, the Minister of Petroleum Energy, Ekperikpe Ekpo, as well as the Energy Ministers of Angola, Azerbaijan, the Sultanate of Oman, Trinidad and Tobago, and Equatorial Guinea. The quality of representation indicates the nature of these countries’ relations with Algeria.

In the opening address of the ministers’ meeting, the Minister of Energy, Mohamed Arkab, summarized the goal of the Algeria GECF Summit, that “it ruled out going to a state of polarization between producers and consumers, and preferred a continuous and serious dialogue between the two parties to build a common future vision that recognizes the growing role of natural gas in the global energy as a sustainable and competitive source capable of ensuring energy security”.

As for the geopolitical dimension, Geoff D. Porter, an American expert specializing in energy issues in North Africa, believes that Algeria wants to send a message to the world that it is “an important international diplomatic player. It wants to show that it can bring together Iran, Qatar, and Russia in Algeria and is a neutral interlocutor who can bring together countries with different orientations.”

Despite the attempt of some major gas-importing countries to downplay the importance of gas in the medium and long term, and to praise renewable energies as an alternative to fossil energy, in an attempt to pressurise exporting countries, the annual report of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum regarding global gas expectation “GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050, which was published last Thursday, confirmed that natural gas “is destined to remain indispensable for decades.”

The report asserted that “by 2050, demand for natural gas is expected to rise by a staggering 34%, significantly increasing its share of the global energy mix, from the current 23% to 26%,” an analysis consistent with that provided by the IEA which said that global gas demand is expected to witness “strong growth” in 2024 compared to 2023, supported by expectations of cold temperatures and lower prices.

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