The oil market has enough supply and there is no need for the release of emergency inventories for the moment, the head of the International Energy Agency said.
“We don’t have a serious disruption of supply,” Maria van der Hoeven, head of the Paris-based energy adviser, said today in an interview in Stavanger, Norway. “The market is sufficiently well supplied and when there is the collective action needed as there was last year, it can only be when we are talking about a serious disruption of supply.”
The IEA’s 28-member countries made available 60 million barrels of crude and oil products in June 2011 after Libyan output was disrupted by an armed uprising against Muammar Qaddafi. Brent crude prices peaked last year at about $127 a barrel in mid-April and briefly fell below $105 in late June. Oil traded at $112.14 a barrel in London today after gaining almost 26 percent since the end of June.
Rising gasoline prices and production cuts tied to Tropical Storm Isaac churning through the Gulf of Mexico have boosted speculation the U.S. will announce a release from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The IEA also made supplies available when Hurricane Katrina struck rigs and refineries in 2005.
U.S. authorities haven’t contacted the IEA on the use of emergency supplies, Hoeven said.
White House spokesmen have said the administration is monitoring oil markets and that a release is among the actions being considered if prices were to rise or supply was disrupted. Yesterday, spokesman Clark Stevens said that there was no new announcement though “all options are on the table.”