ABU DHABI // A leading US energy official said yesterday that more transparency about the supply and demand for oil will help to stabilise energy markets amid political unrest in the Middle East.
Daniel Poneman, the US deputy energy secretary, was in the capital yesterday after meeting Opec oil ministers at the International Energy Forum (IEF) in Riyadh this week.
Political upheaval, most recently in Libya, has pushed crude prices to their highest level in two-and-a-half years. There is also unrest in other countries including Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain and Iran.
"There are no suggestions of any lack of capacity to satisfy the current demand," Mr Poneman said. "There is ample supply, but we encourage and expect producers to respond by bringing to the market … an effective amount to calm the prices."
Nearly 90 countries that import or export oil signed an IEF charter this week seeking stronger co-operation to collect accurate figures for how much crude is on the market.
The lack of such an agreement has contributed to the uncertainty about oil prices.
Mr Poneman yesterday repeated calls he made at the IEF for oil producers to boost output to ease prices. However, he said there was no shortage on the market.
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia had an estimated 4 million barrels per day of spare capacity, while other Opec members could also produce surplus oil if needed.
Although he called the events in Libya "a serious source of concern", he did not expect the surge in prices to hinder the global economic recovery.
Mr Poneman was in Abu Dhabi to meet Sultan al Jaber, the Masdar chief executive, to discuss possible future joint projects involving building efficiency, carbon capture sequestration and smart grid systems.
Masdar's photovoltaic plant, which converts solar energy into electricity, could be a "game changer", he said.