Energy body urges Opec to pump more oil

THE West’s energy watchdog the IEA upped the pressure on producer club Opec to increase output by forecasting a steep rise in oil demand later this year and predicting the strain on supply would last over the medium term.

Oil prices rose in response to the latest sets of numbers from the International Energy Agency. Brent crude hit a session high of nearly $115 a barrel on yesterday, up almost $2.

The Paris-based adviser to 28 consumer countries raised its assessment of how much OPEC oil would be needed this year by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.1m bpd in a monthly report.

Data from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has also indicated a need for more oil in the second half of this year.

But the group failed to agree on an output increase at a meeting in Vienna last week and its secretary general took exception to public comment from the IEA, which has said it would release oil from emergency reserves if necessary.

“Strategic reserves should be kept for their purpose and not used as a weapon against Opec,” Opec boss Abdullah al-Badri said.