The Paris-based International Energy Agency has asked OPEC members and other major oil producers to increase their output, saying that high prices are damaging the world's economy, according to an Oct. 9 article from Bloomberg.
"We should all see the risky situation, the oil markets are entering the red zone," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during an interview with Bloomberg television. "We should try to comfort the markets all together because it may be bad news for the consumers, importers today, but I believe it may well be bad news for the producers tomorrow."
Birol's comments follow a surge in crude oil prices, which have reached levels not seen since 2014, amid worries of supply tightness from Venezuela and Iran in the wake of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, front-month Brent crude oil futures recently topped $84 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures are holding above $74/bbl.
"If there are no major moves from the key producers, the fourth quarter of this year is very, very challenging," Birol added. "Much of the onus lies with Saudi Arabia, as most other members of the OPEC are producing at, or close to, full capacity."
"Demand is still very strong and we've been losing oil from Venezuela in big amounts, and also Iran is going down," Birol said.
Iran's oil production has already started to decline more rapidly than expected ahead of the implementation of secondary U.S. sanctions to be imposed Nov. 5. Iranian production is down 330,000 barrels per day since May, while Venezuela output is down 140,000 bbl/d.
Analysts expect Iran could lose an additional 1 MMbbl/d or more after the sanctions go into effect, while Venezuelan production could fall below 1 MMbbl/d by year's end.