The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held their first technical meeting with gas exporting countries via videoconference on Monday, OPEC announced in a statement.
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo met with his counterpart Yury Sentyurin of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
The main agenda item of the technical meeting of the OPEC-GECF energy dialogue was the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global economy and on oil and natural gas markets.
GECF Secretary General Sentyurin underlined the significant decline in demand for both oil and natural gas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and added: "Maybe now it’s high time that the gas and oil industry implements the knowledge and solutions of the oil industry."
Due to coronavirus-related quarantine measures around the world, both crude oil and natural gas prices have been historically low in the first half of 2020 due to low economic activities, weak energy demand, and with the glut of supply in both oil and gas markets.
A fall in crude oil prices usually causes a ripple effect in natural gas price declines within six months. But, this time, the gas market is also in trouble, and major gas producers may in the near future follow OPEC's strategy to lower production to support prices.
After coronavirus quarantines pushed crude oil prices in April to their lowest levels since 1999 due to weak global oil demand, OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing countries agreed to lower their total oil production by 9.7 million barrels per day until the end of June, and later extended that until the end of July 31, to support prices.
Sentyurin said that he sees OPEC as a model for GECF activities and added that the GECF has "benefitted from an ever-strengthening exchange between officers of the two organizations."
"Exchanges were also held on medium- and long-term energy market assumptions and perspectives, and technical collaboration on data and statistics," the statement said.
The meeting came after OPEC and GECF signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding in October 2019 on the sidelines of Russia Energy Week.
By Ovunc Kutlu