Don't fret over Egypt, IEA cautions

Feb. 1, 2011 at 10:45 AM
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VIENNA, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Global oil producers are urged to be sensitive to geopolitical issues but the crisis unfolding in Egypt isn't a major issue for oil markets, the IEA stressed.

The market price for Brent crude oil on Monday passed $100 per barrel for the first time in more than two years. The International Energy Agency said political unrest in Egypt is creating uncertainty in the energy markets but noted oil prices have risen steadily since at least September.

The IEA said oil and gas facilities in Egypt aren't susceptible to the political turmoil because most installations are far from major population centers.

Any disruption to the shipping lanes in the Suez Canal could have dramatic impacts on oil and natural gas markets, though the IEA said that doesn't appear likely. Though any Suez disruption would delay oil shipments, it wouldn't remove oil from the market.

Commercial stocks are "ample," the IEA said, noting member states collectively hold at least two months worth of emergency oil stocks.

"The IEA will continue to carefully monitor the oil and gas market and developments in the geopolitical situation, and is ready to take action necessary to maintain energy security, which is its core mission," the agency said in a statement.

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