Five countries are expected to enter into the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in 2010, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko has said.

In his words, six countries have already made such a decision. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum is now operating, the Prime Tass economic news agency said, adding that the organisation has been officially registered.

Shmatko is confident that the Gas Exporting Countries Forum will play a key role in the sphere of liquefied natural gas (LNG), because the organisation’s member countries are the biggest LNG producers.

The Russian energy minister thinks that the Forum will coordinate LNG flows on the global market.

Algeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Equatorial Guinea are members of the organisation.

Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and Norway take part in meetings of the organisation as observers.

On December 9, 2009, Russia’s candidate Leonid Bokhanovsky was elected secretary general of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum during a meeting in Doha (Qatart).

Russia is the world’s leader in terms of its natural gas reserves. It holds 32 percent of the overall international gas reserves.

Russia is followed by Iran with 15 percent of global gas reserves and Qatar with seven percent.

The budget of the organisation will be slightly more than six million U.S. dollars in 2010, Prime Tass said.