The International Energy Agency’s member governments hold enough crude oil to provide 4 million barrels a day from inventories to the market for a year, said David Fyfe, head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets unit.
Crude stockpiles held by governments of the group’s 28 member countries are about 1.6 billion barrels, Fyfe said at the International Petroleum Week conference in London today.
“Our organization is on fairly high alert, as it always is,” he said. “We’re in a state of constant readiness.”
Brent crude rose to more than $100 a barrel last month as the ouster of Tunisia’s president and protests in Egypt that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak sparked concern that unrest may disrupt supplies from the Middle East. Libya, the eighth-largest oil producer among those with quotas in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has become the focal point of region-wide protests.
OPEC is pursuing a “sensible” policy of gradual supply growth, Fyfe said today. A sustained price of $95 a barrel would be a burden on the economy, he said, adding that the market is “relatively well-supplied” with stockpiles at a “comfortable” level and demand growth slowing.