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IEA watching oil markets closely

June 15, 2011 at 6:43 AM   |   Comments

PARIS, June 15 (UPI) -- The International Energy Agency is ready to take action if more oil is needed on the global energy market, the agency's director said from Paris.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries left their regular meeting last week without agreements to raise production levels to meet an expected rise in oil demand.

Officials say they are worried tight markets and high energy prices could wipe out modest post-recession economic gains.

IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka told The Wall Street Journal that his agency was "still assessing" the market situation before making any decisions.

The IEA can act to convince its members to take emergency action regarding oil. U.S. President Barack Obama had said he would consider tapping into strategic reserves if energy prices remained elevated.

Tanaka's agency said in May it was ready to use all of its resources in the event OPEC didn't come through. He told the Journal he "stands ready to act."

Saudi Arabia has said it could take unilateral action and increase its production to meet rising oil demands.

Gunther Oettinger, Europe's energy commissioner, said he plans to speak with OPEC ministers in Vienna later this month.

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