Wall Street Journal reports that Russia and Iran, who jointly own almost 1/2 of the earth's natural-gas resources, are contemplating forming an OPEC-like cartel -- a move that could unsettle energy markets. NG accounts for a growing share of global energy use, but thus far producer nations haven't worked together to influence markets. Speaking yesterday at his annual press conference in the Kremlin, Russian President Putin called the notion, suggested by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "an interesting idea." But he downplayed the price-fixing rationale for any alliance, saying, "We do not intend to set up a cartel, but I think it's right to coordinate our activities." The idea threatens European nations, who get about 1/4 of their NG from Russia, more than U.S. consumers who get most of theirs from within North America. Russia's interest in pooling its gas supply is unusual considering it never even joined OPEC, despite being the world's #2 oil exporter.
Sources: Wall Street Journal
Commentary: A Depression in Natural Gas Prices May Prove Bullish For China • Gambling on Natural Gas • Russian Government Muscling In on Anglo-Russian Gas Field Venture • Chesapeake is a Natural Pick in Natural Gas
Stocks/ETFs to watch: ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), BG Group plc (NYSEMKT:BRG), Magellan Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE:MMP), Plains All American Pipeline L.P. (NYSE:PAA), TEPPCO Partners L.P. (TPP), Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:LNG), Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), COOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX), Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK)
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