The three countries, which between them control the world’s largest gas reserves, have struggled to agree on the structure of the cartel, according to one energy executive close to the talks.

“There is no real consensus between these countries about how a new phase of the organisation would be developed or structured,” says the Tehran-based executive. “Qatar is wary of being associated with the price manipulation that goes along with a cartel, and Iran and Russia realise more work needs to be done before it can be progressed.”

A working group involving members of the forum held a meeting in Moscow on 4 June but a formal gathering of the top gas producers scheduled for this month in the Russian capital has been delayed until October.

Other gas-producing countries expected to attend the October meeting include Egypt, the UAE, Libya, Algeria and Venezuela.

Russia says it wants to include the adoption of an international agreement on gas pricing, along with the establishment of a gas supply network, at the meeting.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum was formed in Tehran in 2001. The Moscow meeting was originally aimed at reaching agreement on the charter and the membership structure of the cartel, naming the secretariat and appointing a secretary general.