The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said on Wednesday he saw no immediate risk to oil passing through the vital gateway of the Strait of Hormuz after Iran attacked bases housing US forces in Iraq.
Iranian officials have said the missile strikes were a response to Friday’s killing by US forces of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
The situation is not a war, and what is happening now should not be exaggerated, Suhail al-Mazrouei said on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, an OPEC producer, Reuters reported.
“This is definitely an escalation between the United States, which is an ally, and Iran, which is a neighbor, and the last thing we want is more tension in the Middle East.”
Oil prices were about 1% higher on Wednesday, but well below highs hit in a frenetic start to the trading day after the missile attacks raised the specter of a spiraling conflict and disruption to crude flows.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying on Wednesday that Tehran was benefiting from rising oil prices.
“The trend of oil prices is up and this benefits Iran ...,” Zanganeh said.
OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo told the conference in Abu Dhabi that oil facilities in Iraq, the second biggest producer in OPEC, were secured and output was continuing.
He said global spare oil capacity stood at around 3-3.5 million barrels per day, with the majority held by Saudi Arabia, the top producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.