Tightening oil markets could undermine fragile economic recovery, the director of the IEA said in Washington after OPEC failed to agree on higher quotas.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries left their regular meeting Wednesday in Vienna with a production quota of 24.85 million barrels per day set in December 2008 intact.
Saudi Arabia, the largest oil exporter in the world and the only OPEC member with the capacity to increase production significantly, said it would continue raising its output to satisfy world demand.
Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told an audience in Washington he was pleased to see unilateral action from some OPEC member states.
"We are pleased to hear in the aftermath of the OPEC meeting that a number of key producers plan to make more oil available," he said in his statements. "The alternative of course would be a further tightening in the market, and potential increases in prices which risk undermining economic recovery, something that would be in the interests neither of producers nor consumers."
Washington said it was considering tapping into the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gasoline prices after OPEC failed to boost oil production
The reserve, the largest emergency oil supply in the world, holds around 726 million barrels of crude oil.