With Europe worried about its gas supplies amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Qatar will host a summit of top natural gas exporters including Russia, organisers said Tuesday.
The United States has sought the help of its close ally Qatar in providing emergency supplies if pipelines to Western Europe are cut, according to US officials.
Organisers did not immediately confirm whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would attend the biannual Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) summit on February 22.
Russia, Iran and Qatar are key members of the forum, which will also hold two days of ministerial meetings.
Read more: Qatar to capture Europe gas market amid Ukraine crisis
The United States and Australia, two other leading exporters, are not part of the group.
US President Joe Biden vowed on Monday, during a meeting with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, to shut the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe if Moscow launches an invasion of Ukraine.
The massive new pipeline has been completed, but has yet to begin funnelling natural gas to Germany, a route tying energy-hungry Europe ever closer to Russia.
Biden scours globe to send Europe gas if Russia hits Ukraine — The White House has approached gas producers including Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya and companies operating in Algeria about increasing output should hostilities break out https://t.co/tRyLwN1PiU
— Alfons López Tena 🦇 (@alfonslopeztena) February 3, 2022
The European Union has also been seeking alternatives to Russian gas in case of an energy crisis.
European Union energy commissioner Kadri Simson visited Azerbaijan, an observer member of the gas forum, on Friday in an effort to diversify the continent’s energy sources.
Earlier this month, Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister, told the EU his country could not rescue Europe alone if Russia turned off gas supplies, but was ready to help “in times of need”.
Read more: Germany signals it could halt gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine
The GECF says its 11 members and seven associate countries account for 70 percent of proven gas reserves and 51 percent of global liquefied natural gas exports.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk