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May 18, 2011

International Energy Agency Calls for More Oil Production

The International Energy Agency says that oil-producing countries need to increase their supplies on the world market to prevent the high price of crude oil from damaging the global economic recovery.

The Paris-based group that represents 28 major energy-consuming countries said Thursday there is "serious concern" that rising prices since last September are adversely affecting consumers and businesses. Oil prices have fallen about 10 percent since their peak in early May, but are still elevated at about $100 a barrel on the New York market and higher in London.

The IEA said that additional price increases would "risk derailing the global economic recovery" and are not in the interest of consuming or producing nations. It said high oil prices could undermine the "economic and social well-being" of oil-importing developing countries.

The agency's call for more oil production puts it at odds with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the 12-nation cartel that produces about 40 percent of the world's oil. OPEC maintains that oil production is adequate and does not need any of the extra four million barrels of oil it could produce.

OPEC is set to meet in early June in Vienna but officials of several member nations have said a production increase is unlikely to be on the agenda. Some countries have said they might unilaterally increase their oil production late in the summer.