The Gas Exporting Countries Forum is an international governmental organization, offering a platform for the exchange of best practices and information between its member countries. The Forum was established as an intergovernmental, international organization on 23 December 2008 in Moscow. Twelve countries are permanent GECF members, while seven countries have observer status. The objectives of the Forum are to protect the sovereign right of member countries to access their natural gas reserves and their ability to independently plan for and secure their sustainable and effective development, taking the environmental impact into account, and to exploit and maintain those natural gas reserves for the benefit of their people. The organizations member countries control 70% of the worlds proven natural gas reserves, 45% of its production, 64% of pipeline exports and 54% of LPG exports.