The UAE has become the 12th country to join the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), a Tehran-based organisation comprising the world’s leading natural gas producers.

The country’s accession was ratified by the cabinet in a meeting chaired by UAE vice-president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on 16 May, according to state-run Emirates News Agency (Wam).

The GECF “fosters the concept of mutuality of interests” between its member countries which, excluding the UAE, control more than 70 per cent of the world’s natural gas reserves and 85 per cent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production.

Since the establishment of the GECF, it has been used as platform to discuss the possibility of forming a gas cartel equivalent to Opec.

The UAE has become the sixth Middle East country to join the GECF after Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Libya, and Qatar. The other member countries are Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

Although it is a major producer of gas, the UAE imports gas from Qatar and by LNG shipments to supply its domestic demand.