June 24, 2011 / 1:29 PM / 8 years ago

Loss of Libya oil bigger disruption than Katrina: IEA

LONDON (Reuters) - The loss of Libyan oil output since February represented a greater disruption to global oil supply than the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Richard Jones, the deputy head of the International Energy Agency, told Reuters Insider TV.

Jones, speaking in Reuters’ Paris bureau, said that the initial disruption to oil output in Libya happened at a “fortuitous” time for European oil refiners as many were closed for maintenance.

“Now we’re going into the summer driving season, those refineries which have returned to operation are about to ramp up their production.”

Jones said the market was facing a possible shortfall of 1.8 million barrels per day for the remainder of June and 1.7 million for the next quarter.

Asked whether all countries agreed to the release, Jones said: “All 28 countries were approached with the plan and not one country opposed it.”

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency which represents the major oil consumers agreed to release 60 million barrels from emergency stockpiles, sending crude prices tumbling.

Thursday’s announcement marked only the third time that the IEA, a policy adviser to the industrialized world’s energy consuming nations, has released its emergency stockpiles.

As well as releasing stocks in the wake of the Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005, the agency also made oil available during the 1990 Kuwait crisis.

Reporting by Simon Falush and Zaida Espana; editing by Jason Neely

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