PARIS (Reuters) -The International Energy Agency (IEA) could release more oil from stocks to ease surging fuel prices and will draw up an action plan to swiftly reduce oil usage, the head of the agency said on Wednesday.
Oil prices rocketed higher after Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, invaded Ukraine and the West toughened sanctions on Moscow, stoking fears of supply disruptions to an already tight market.
“Next week, as we did for gas, we are coming up with a 10-point action plan how to reduce oil in a hurry,” Fatih Birol told an energy conference in Paris.
“In oil markets, the most difficult months are the summer months, the so-called ‘driving season’, when the demand goes up, around June-July,” said Birol, executive director of the Paris-based agency, which represents 31 mostly industrialised nations but not Russia.
The United States imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports on Tuesday.
Members of the IEA agreed last week to release 60 million barrels of oil reserves to compensate for supply disruptions following Russia’s invasion.
Birol described the 60 million barrels as “an initial response”, adding: “It is only 4% of our stocks. If there’s a need, if our governments decide so, we can bring more oil to the markets, as one part of the response.”
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Edmund Blair)