LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The head of the International
Energy Agency Fatih Birol said on Wednesday oil markets are
suffering from an artificial supply gap, and that he hopes OPEC+
producer countries will do more to bring down prices at an
"(A) factor I would like to underline that caused these high
prices is the position of some of the major oil and gas
suppliers," Birol said in an online presentation. "Some of the
countries did not take, in our view, a helpful position in this
"Some of the key strains in today's markets may be
considered artificial tightness... because in oil markets today
we see close to 6 million barrels per day in spare production
capacity lies with the key producers, OPEC+ countries."
OPEC+ - the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), Russia and their allies - has ignored calls by
the United States and some other consumers to pump more.
Birol said he hoped that when the producer club meets on
Dec. 2 to discuss policy it would "make the necessary steps in
order to comfort the global oil markets and help to bring the
prices down to reasonable levels."
Russia can "easily" increase its gas exports to Europe by
about 15% to ease a supply and price pinch there, Birol added.
Birol said that while the IEA understands the rationale
behind a coordinated release of oil storage led by the U.S. and
other top consumers this week to cool prices, the Paris-based
agency only responds collectively to major supply disruptions.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden announced on
Tuesday it would release millions of barrels of oil from
strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South
Korea, Japan and Britain.
"We see where they are coming from," Birol said, but added:
"This is not an IEA collective response, I want to make this
clear. The IEA collective response system is in place in case of
a major oil supply disruption."
(Reporting by Noah Browning and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by
Louise Heavens, David Evans and Jan Harvey)