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IEA warns 'significant' Venezuela outages could present 'challenge' to oil market

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IEA says 2.8 mil b/d of OPEC spare capacity 'cushion' against Venezuela crisis

London — Venezuela's worsening crisis, including nationwide power outages, could present a "challenge" to the oil market, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

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In its monthly oil market report, the IEA said Venezuelan output had dropped a further 100,000 b/d in February, to 1.14 million b/d.

However, it also said OPEC now had spare production capacity of 2.8 million b/d, partly on the back of intensifying production cuts, which should provide a "cushion."

"Much of this spare capacity is composed of crude oil similar in quality to Venezuela's exports. Therefore, in the event of a major loss of supply from Venezuela, the potential means of avoiding serious disruption to the oil market is theoretically at hand," the IEA said.

The IEA also raised its estimate of the "call" on OPEC, or need for OPEC crude, for the second quarter by 200,000 b/d to 30.9 million b/d on the back of a slowdown in the US, where Gulf of Mexico output dropped in December.

It said OPEC crude output fell by 240,000 b/d in February to 30.68 million b/d, both on losses from Venezuela and intensifying output cuts, led by Saudi Arabia.

-- Nick Coleman,

-- Edited by James Leech,

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