Oil supply & demand balanced: Iran's representative to OPEC
The Iranian representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said oil supply and demand in international markets is balanced despite the tension in Egypt.
Shana news agency quoted Mohammad-Ali Khatibi as saying if a shortage occurs in demand, OPEC will increase its production.
Khatibi pointed out that Egypt produces and exports little oil, adding that the country exports only 100,000 barrels a day.
However what is more significant than Egypt's oil production and export is the sensitive role of the Suez Canal as well as important Sumed oil pipeline passing through the country taking oil from the Middle East to the West, he said.
The Suez Canal provides the shortest shipping route from Asia to Europe, allowing ships to forgo the long trip around Africa's southern tip.
In 2009, about 8 percent of the world's seaborne trade passed through the canal - mostly container traffic but about 15 percent crude oil and oil products.
About 2 million barrels of oil traverse the canal each day, roughly 5 percent of the global amount in transit (another 2.3 million bpd go through Egypt's Sumed pipeline, which opened in 1977 in the wake of tensions with Israel).
Khatibi said last week the oil market is currently not in a critical situation, so there is no need to hold an extraordinary OPEC meeting.
But the recent rise in the oil price originates from some secondary factors and is totally unconnected to supply and demand in the global markets, he added.
Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi should study the current situation of the oil market carefully, Khatibi said, adding that an extraordinary OPEC meeting will only be held if OPEC members reach the conclusion that the oil market is in a critical situation.
Iran assumed the rotating presidency of the 12-member OPEC after being elected at the cartel's 157th ministerial meeting, which was held in Vienna in October 2010.
Iran holds about 10 percent of world oil reserves and is the second-largest oil producer among OPEC nations, which provide 35 percent of global oil demand.
Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela are the members of OPEC.