EU debt crisis a factor on oil prices

Jan. 25, 2012 at 8:20 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Though the European debt crisis could add volatility to the energy market, there's no expectation of another global recession, a report said.

Delegates with the International Energy Agency, International Energy Forum and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries were hosts for a symposium on energy outlook in Riyadh this week.

In a brief statement, the agencies said their "experts reviewed uncertainties affecting the short-, medium- and long-term markets, including the impact of income levels and prices on demand." The statement offered few specifics.

Oil prices held more or less steady in recent days despite pressure on Iran, which has threatened to choke off much of the world's oil passing through shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz.

The IEA said it wouldn't react to the Iranian situation unless there were disruptions in global oil supplies. OPEC last year did nothing to counter economic concerns over the shortage of oil out of war-torn Libya, though the IEA called on member states to release strategic petroleum reserves to offset market disruptions.

The IEF, in a summary paper prepared before the symposium, said it expected the European debt crisis to "weigh heavily" on oil prices, adding there was a "general uncertainty" on the overall prospects for the global economy. OPEC offered a similar sentiment in its monthly report for January.

The IEF said, however, there was "no assumption of double-dip recession" expected for 2012.

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