IEA says ready to act if oil market conditions require it

AFP, Thursday 29 Mar 2012

International Energy Agency voices concern over skyrocketing oil prices, says it's 'ready to act' in event of serious supply disruptions

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Thursday that it was concerned about oil prices hitting very high levels and is prepared to take action if market conditions merit it, given a fragile economic outlook.

"The IEA is closely monitoring market developments and will remain in close contact with member countries ... As we have mentioned many times, the IEA was created to respond to serious physical supply disruptions, and we remain ready to act if market conditions so warrant it," the agency said in a statement after a scheduled two-day meeting in Paris

"The oil market has been tightening in recent months, crude oil prices are very high again, and petrol prices have reached a record high level in some member countries," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in the statement.

"The International Energy Agency, like many others, is concerned by the impact of these high prices while the global economic recovery remains fragile."

Oil prices have fallen in recent days on speculation that major consumer nations – such as the United States, Britain and France – could tap into their strategic reserves to increase supply.

Such a move, which last took place during last year's uprising in Libya, is usually coordinated by the 28-member IEA.

On Thursday, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May, slumped $2.80 to $103.33 a barrel in late London trading.

Brent North Sea crude for May, meanwhile, fell $1.28 to $122.88.

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