Oil prices retreated from their recent highs on Friday as a senior industry official said top exporter Saudi Arabia has increased output following disruptions to supplies from Libya.
Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said this week that the producers’ cartel OPEC is prepared to meet any shortage if needed and has enough spare capacity to do that.
OPEC has resisted calls for a formal increase in output and does not plan to meet until June.
But sources say Saudi Arabia – the only country able to pump large amounts of extra oil at short notice – has raised output about eight percent to above nine million barrels per day.
Some European oil firms said they plan to buy crude from Iran as well as Russia and other Caspian countries.
The West’s energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency, said on Friday there was no need for an immediate strategic stock release.