The International Energy Agency warned Wednesday a potential supply shortfall from Iran and Venezuela could present a « major challenge » for oil producers if they are to fend off sharp price rises and fill the gap, and reiterated its readiness to act if necessary to ensure a well-supplied market.

The IEA also said OECD oil stocks had fallen below the five-year average level for the first time in March, by 1 million barrels, representing a benchmark for the success of OPEC/non-OPEC production cuts.

In its monthly oil market report the IEA lowered its estimate for growth in world oil demand this year to 1.4 million b/d, from 1.5 million b/d due to higher oil prices.

And it estimated the ‘call’ for OPEC crude would be 580,000 b/d above the cartel’s actual output in April for the rest of this year.

With Iran facing export barriers following the US decision to pull out of a sanctions waiver, and Venezuela’s output potentially falling by several hundred thousand barrels a day more this year, « the potential double supply shortfall represented by Iran and Venezuela could present a major challenge for producers to fend off sharp price rises and fill the gap, not just in terms of the number of barrels but also in terms of oil quality, » the report said.

— Nick Coleman,

— Edited by Jeremy Lovell,

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