IEA head concerned about tight oil market, but encouraged by Libya
Washington (Platts)--28Nov2011/249 pm EST/1949 GMT
International Energy Agency Director Maria van der Hoeven said Monday
that tight oil supplies continue to threaten the global economy, even as
Libyan production returns quicker than some expected.
Van der Hoeven, during an interview in Washington, said the rebuilding
of Libya's petroleum sector "looks as if it's going quite fast. This of
course is very interesting and reassuring."
She declined to give her expectations for OPEC's December 14 meeting,
and called it unwise to comment on escalating political tensions between
western countries and Iran.
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"Just wait for what they are going to decide, because it's up to them,"
she said of OPEC. "It's their job and they have to come to a decision."
Van der Hoeven said she would not comment on the issues because IEA is
not a political organization. "Of course we are acquiring data and assessing
and monitoring the situation and providing all kinds of information on that,
but that's it," she said.
Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist, was more willing to engage on the
Mideast producers. He said most Iranian oil exports go to Asia, and he does
not see the expanding western sanctions having a "major impact" on global
supply or prices.
Birol urged OPEC against calling for output cuts at next month's meeting
"Oil prices are uncomfortably high today, especially in the times of
economic recovery," Birol said after presenting IEA's World Energy Outlook at
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
"I hope to see that our colleagues in the producing countries would read
the market signals, such as the high oil import bills of the countries and
second the inflationary pressures in some countries and the growing trade
imbalances in some countries seriously and make their decisions accordingly,"
Earlier Monday, Van der Hoeven met privately with US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton to discuss findings in IEA's latest World Energy Outlook and
global efforts to improve energy efficiency, adopt renewable fuels, and to
increase poor communities' access to energy. Van der Hoeven said it was the
first time an IEA director met with a US secretary of state.
Van der Hoeven said growing US oil output from shale drilling also came
up with Clinton.
"It's very, very exciting to see how this has been developing in the
past year," she said. "It's driven by two things: the independence and energy
security, and the other driving factor is price. Price makes this kind of oil
exploration quite profitable."
--Meghan Gordon, email@example.com