An article by: Ahmed Moustafa

The Summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Algeria in March 2024 is a crucial event for the global energy industry, bringing together leaders and experts to discuss key issues, challenges, and opportunities in the gas market. The agenda includes the growing demand for natural gas and its environmental impact, aiming to find sustainable solutions for responsible extraction and use of this valuable resource. The fluctuating price of natural gas is another important issue, as it directly impacts the economies of gas-producing and exporting countries. Leaders will explore ways to stabilize gas prices and ensure fair trade practices. Discussions will also focus on diversifying gas export markets and developing new markets to reduce reliance on major consumers. The summit in Algeria aims to promote cooperation and knowledge exchange between gas-producing and exporting countries, focusing on renewables and efficient transportation and storage. As the world transitions to cleaner energy sources, natural gas remains a crucial part of the global energy mix. Leaders from these countries can shape the future of the gas industry for global producers and consumers.

What is the number of Gas-Producing and Exporting Countries

The World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solutions database lists 29 countries as net exporters of natural gas, including major players like Russia, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, the United States, and Canada, as well as smaller producers like Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago. However, experts argue that this number does not accurately reflect the true gas-producing and exporting countries, including Norway and the United Kingdom. African countries like Mozambique and Tanzania are developing their natural gas reserves and infrastructure, potentially increasing the number of gas-producing and exporting nations. Russia is the largest gas producer and exporter, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the world’s total gas exports. Geopolitical factors, such as tensions between Russia and Ukraine, have impacted gas exports, prompting European countries to diversify their gas imports. Gas’s role as a transitional fuel also boosts gas production and exports.

Which are the Gas Exporting Countries that form GECF

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is an intergovernmental organization established in 2001 to promote cooperation and coordination among 11 member countries in the natural gas sector, including Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela, which collectively hold over 70% of global gas reserves. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum  (GECF) aims to maintain global natural gas market stability through close cooperation, promote natural gas use as a clean energy source, and safeguard member countries’ interests in international gas trade. It provides technical and financial support to member countries for gas industry development, contributing to their economies’ growth and prosperity. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) facilitates dialogue and cooperation between gas-exporting countries and other stakeholders in the natural gas industry, enabling informed decisions for their economies. It has also taken steps to promote sustainable development and address environmental concerns related to natural gas production and consumption, promoting natural gas as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.

How much is the current global production of natural gas in 2023 and the producing countries’ shares thereof

The International Energy Agency preliminary data estimated that global natural gas production has reached 4,108 billion cubic meters in 2023, a significant increase from the 3,912 bcm produced in 2018. The top five major producers are USA, Russia, Iran, Canada and China which account for over 60% of global natural gas production by 2023. The Middle East and North Africa region is expected to see a substantial increase in production due to investments in gas infrastructure and growing gas exports. Europe is projected to see a decline in natural gas production due to its shift towards renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction efforts. Africa is also expected to see a moderate increase in natural gas production.

The environmental impact of gas production and consumption worldwide

Gas production and consumption contribute significantly to the global environmental crisis, despite being considered a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. Extraction from underground reserves can cause severe environmental damage, including land and habitat destruction, contamination of groundwater, and earthquakes. Fracking, a technique used to extract gas from shale rock formations, has been linked to earthquakes and increased methane levels. Gas transportation via pipelines negatively impacts local ecosystems and wildlife. Burning gas for energy production intensifies the greenhouse effect, causing global warming and climate change. To address this, governments, industries, and individuals must invest in renewable energy technologies, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and implement stricter regulations.

The fluctuating price of natural gas has a direct impact on the economies of gas-exporting countries

The price of natural gas has been fluctuating significantly in recent years, affecting countries producing and exporting gas. This is due to supply-demand imbalances, geopolitical tensions, technological advancements, and environmental concerns. Natural gas revenue is crucial for countries’ GDP and government budgets. High demand leads to increased prices, reinforcing infrastructure and social programs, while decreased demand can lead to decreased prices. The price also affects investments in natural gas industries, influencing governments’ budgets and affecting consumer purchasing power. Fluctuations in natural gas prices can lead to inflation and affect consumer purchasing power globally.

Gas technologies and AI and their potential to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of gas production and consumption

Gas technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the production and consumption of natural gas. As energy demand increases and climate change concerns grow, there is a need for more efficient and sustainable methods. Gas technologies and AI can enhance efficiency in natural gas extraction by analyzing data, identifying optimal locations, monitoring wells, and predicting hazards. They can also improve gas-fired power plants’ efficiency, reduce emissions, and optimize gas distribution through pipelines. Renewable natural gas production requires precise control and monitoring systems, which can be optimized by integrating AI. Additionally, gas technologies and AI can play a significant role in smart energy grids, managing energy distribution and storage, and reducing the need for fossil fuel backup plants.

The Gas Summit in Algeria is a platform for networking and collaboration among gas-exporting countries

The Gas Summit in Algeria, also known as the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), is an annual event that brings together top leaders and experts from gas-producing and exporting countries. It aims to promote dialogue, cooperation, and innovation in the gas industry, addressing common challenges and exchanging ideas. The summit is attended by 12 of the world’s leading gas-producing countries, including Russia, Iran, and Qatar, which represent over 70% of the world’s proven gas reserves. It also allows member countries to showcase their strengths, form new investment opportunities, and promote fair market practices. The summit has recently emphasized research and development in the gas industry, focusing on knowledge-sharing and technological advancements to improve production processes and reduce environmental impact.

GECF Summit in Algeria may resort to gold or BRICS currencies to sell their gas for de-dollarization

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is considering alternative methods for selling natural gas, such as gold or BRICS currencies, to reduce dependence on the US dollar. This would provide stability and flexibility for gas-producing countries while protecting against dollar fluctuations. Gold, a safe-haven asset, is preferred by GECF member countries, while BRICS countries promote de-dollarization and currency use in international trade. This would allow GEPC member countries more control over natural gas pricing and trading while strengthening economic and political ties with emerging economies. However, this shift would require careful planning, coordination, and potential challenges like finding a suitable pricing mechanism and addressing US allies’ resistance.

GECF also may decide to use gas as a strategic tool for a ceasefire in Gasa, if possible

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) could use gas as a strategic tool to bring about a ceasefire in the Gasa region. Gas, particularly natural gas, has significant potential as an energy resource, but its diplomatic potential has been overlooked. By offering gas supplies to both sides of the conflict, GECF could create a sense of mutual dependence, increase the chances of a lasting ceasefire agreement, and build trust between conflicting parties. Additionally, GECF could offer technical and economic support to develop and improve gas infrastructure, creating more jobs and economic opportunities for the local population.


In conclusion, The number of gas-exporting countries is constantly changing due to political tensions, technological advancements, and global energy demand. With 29 net exporters, the number is expected to increase in the coming years. Gas exporting and producing countries are key players in the global natural gas market, ensuring a stable and sustainable future. However, gas production and consumption have significant environmental impacts, contributing to climate change, air and water pollution, and biodiversity loss. The Gas Summit in Algeria promotes fair market practices and sustainable growth in the global gas industry.

Director of the Center for Asia Studies

Ahmed Moustafa