HOUSTON (Reuters) - OPEC member Algeria is concerned about Libyan supply disruptions but sees no physical crude oil shortages globally, the country’s oil minister said on Monday.
“We are very concerned about the situation,” Algeria’s Oil and Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi told Reuters. “But for the time being, I think there is no physical deficit in the market.”
Yousfi said that current prices are “short term” and are not likely to slow global economic growth.
“I think it is more psychological effect than physical deficit of oil in the market,” he said. “I don’t think really there is a deficit.”
Middle East unrest has sent U.S. crude oil futures to their highest level in 2-½ years this week.
Yousfi was in Houston to attend IHS CERA’s CERAWeek conference, a high-profile energy conference that gets underway on Tuesday. The North African country is the world’s eighth-biggest crude oil exporter.
There are no plans for an extraordinary meeting of the OPEC nations at this time, Yousfi told Reuters Insider. “I do not think the oil price will affect the market stability,” he said.
Oil prices have surged $12 in just over two weeks protests in OPEC member Libya turned into open warfare threatening to leave a lasting scar on the oil sector, also fueling fears unrest could spread to top producers like Saudi Arabia.
The outlook for Libyan production remained uncertain. Government forces seeking to dislodge rebels from Libya’s strategically important coast struck at the Ras Lanuf oil town while Britain and France said they were seeking U.N. authority for a no-fly zone.
U.S. crude futures for April delivery rose $1.02 to settle at $105.44 on Monday, the highest close since September 2008.