Oil Price Pressure to Ease Despite Global Tension-IEA
LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - A surge in supply from Iraq and other oil producers should be more than sufficient to meet growing demand this year, reducing pressure on markets despite rising international tensions, the West's energy watchdog said on Friday.
"While international tensions may be on the rise, pressure on oil markets ... seems set to ease," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly oil market report.
Oil prices briefly spiked at the beginning of March after Russia took control of Ukraine's Crimea region. The United States announced a small 5 million barrel test release of its Strategic Petroleum Reserve this week as Washington and the European Union threaten sanctions against Russia.
The Paris-based agency, which advises most of the largest energy-consuming countries on energy policy, said Iraq's oil production surged by 530,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February to 3.62 million bpd, the highest since 1979.
Completion of infrastructure projects in Iraq's southern oil producing region allowed an increase in the country's exports to 2.8 million bpd last month, up 572,000 bpd.
Saudi oil output also rose last month, up 90,000 bpd to 9.85 million bpd, helping outweigh another drop in Libyan oil output and bringing total supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to 30.49 million bpd, up 500,000 bpd.
Iranian oil exports, including condensates, peaked at a one-year high of 1.41 million bpd in January and February, the IEA said, up from an average of 1.1 million bpd in 2013.
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