Russia, Iran and Qatar have made the first serious moves toward forming an OPEC-style natural gas cartel.
The idea is likely to worry Western consumer nations.
At a meeting in the Iranian capital, Tehran, the world’s three biggest gas powers announced closer cooperation on exploration and production.
Iran has said it wants an organisation that could control prices and supply.
For the moment, Alexei Miller, the boss of the Russian gas exporter Gazprom is talking only about a Gas Troika.
He said: “Taking into account that Russia, Iran and Qatar possess three fifths of the world’s gas reserves, we decided to keep in regular and close touch with each other in the future.”
There is concern in the United States and throughout the European Union, which depends on Russia for nearly half of its natural gas needs.
However experts said that because of the nature of the industry, a natural gas cartel that resembled OPEC would be difficult to achieve.