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15:15 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Oman joins 'gas OPEC' - Russian energy minister

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Oman has joined the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, an intergovernmental organization of the world's leading gas exporters, following a decision made at the forum's ministerial meeting, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Sunday.

Oman has joined the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, an intergovernmental organization of the world's leading gas exporters, following a decision made at the forum's ministerial meeting, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Sunday.

"Today a decision has been made on admitting Oman to the organization. Requests for admission from several other countries are currently under consideration," Shmatko said.

Shmatko said the forum's ministerial meeting also spoke for the need to expand its powers and areas of activity and pay attention to new technologies, deepen analytical and expert work.

In this way, "the forum is acquiring necessary institutionalization and a larger number of countries are willing to join it. The forum has become an effective platform to discuss very diverse issues of the gas market development," he said.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum, a gas equivalent of the oil cartel OPEC, which controls over 70 percent of the world's natural gas reserves and more than 80 percent of the liquefied natural gas production, was founded in 2001 in Tehran.

The forum was legally established on December 2008 in Moscow where energy ministers of its member countries adopted the forum's charter and signed an intergovernmental agreement.

The forum comprises Algeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Equatorial Guinea, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Netherlands, Norway and Kazakhstan have the status of observers.