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UPDATE 1-IEA head says no discussions on strategic oil reserves
February 29, 2012 / 4:33 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-IEA head says no discussions on strategic oil reserves

* IEA not in contact with US about reserves release

* US officials say considering release but no decision yet

MEXICO CITY, Feb 29 (Reuters) - There have been no discussions within the International Energy Agency about the release of strategic petroleum reserves, the executive director of the IEA said on Wednesday.

“No discussions,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven told Reuters at an event in Mexico City when asked about the release of reserves.

She said she had not been in touch with the United States, which said it was weighing the circumstances that could warrant tapping the nation’s strategic oil reserve.

“Countries like the United States have their own strategic reserves and can use them after consultation with the IEA,” van der Hoeven said.

Both Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have said the United States was considering a release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), acknowledging the harm that supply disruptions from Iran could have on the global economy.

The U.S. Energy Department said this week it was in contact with the IEA to monitor global oil supplies and demand “in our normal course of business.”

“I have only seen what’s in the newspaper about what Secretary Chu and Secretary Geithner are saying, that’s all I know,” she said.

The United States last tapped into its reserves in 2011 in coordination with other Western nations when Libya’s oil production dropped because of war and prices surged, threatening the shaky global economy.

The Obama administration is now under pressure to release stocks again because tensions around Iran’s nuclear program have propelled oil markets -- and the price of gasoline -- higher ahead of the 2012 presidential elections.

But van der Hoevan said the agency does not make decisions on oil prices, only on supply disruptions.

“What I see at this moment is there are huge stocks in the United States and what I do see is OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia, bringing more oil into the market,” she said.

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