Paris, Apr 19: The International Energy Agency would be able to fill the oil supply gap with stocks if Iran were to stop exports, Claude Mandil, the head of the global energy watchdog said on Wednesday.
Speaking on France's RFI radio, Mandil also said that high oil prices were bad news for world economic growth.
''Iran exports around 2.7 million barrels-per-day. If we imagine that this quantity was taken off the market...The strategic stocks of the IEA are around 4 billion barrels. That means that it would allow us to last for around four years,'' Mandil said.
''We could manage.'' U.S. oil prices eased on Wednesday but kept close to a record high of above a barrel as dealers feared Iran's row with the West over its nuclear aims could cut supply.
Mandil said there were a number of risks to the outlook for oil prices, including political uncertainty in Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Nigeria and Chad that could keep oil prices high.
''We are not lacking in oil, there is no shortage. But the room for manoeuvre is very weak...in production of oil as well as in refining,'' he said.
''The market is saying, if there is a political or technical accident which cuts a large part of production there would be no room for manoeuvre to react, and that's what sending the prices higher.''
Mandil said high oil prices were hurting the world economy: ''The increase in oil prices certainly has some consequences for economic growth.''