The U.S. is ready to act if there is need of more oil, "We'll take action quickly, as the circumstances warrant." , a White House spokesman said Friday.
The U.S. is watching for disruption to world oil markets from Iraq's dispute with the United Nations, and is ready to draw on its strategic petroleum reserve if needed, reported news agencies.
Dow Jones News Wire reported that The U.S. is working with its partners in the Paris-based International Energy Agency on a response to Iraq's impasse with U.N. monitors of the oil-for-food program, spokesman Jake Siewert said.
Asked about suspension of oil loadings from Iraq earlier Friday, Siewert said, "that's a step we're monitoring, and we'll keep an eye on it."
He declined to say how much oil President Bill Clinton might consider releasing from the SPR, which currently holds about 550 million barrels of crude oil.
"Certainly working with our partners - with Germany, Japan and other members of the International Energy Agency - we can deal with any eventuality that arises," Siewert said, according to Dow Jones News Wires.
U.N. officials have confirmed Friday that Iraqi oil exports have come to a halt. Iraq's had threatened to halt sales unless its buyers paid a 50-cent-a-barrel surcharge circumventing U.N. monitors.
Under the oil-for-food program, the U.N. allows Iraq to export unlimited amounts of oil so long as sales and purchases are approved by U.N. staff and revenues go into U.N. escrow accounts.
Iraq has been under international trade sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraq exports about 2.3 million barrels a day of crude, or roughly 3 percent of world demand.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)