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    International Energy Agency Ponders Market Intervention


    The International Energy Agency said representatives from its 31 member countries met Friday to discuss the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global energy markets.

    The agency’s mission includes intervening in energy markets during emergencies, when there is a serious disruption of oil supplies, and the announcement appeared to be a signal that it was making preparations to act. Such a move would probably take the form of a large release of oil inventories with the intent of calming markets.

    “The Russian invasion has increased concerns among oil market participants against the backdrop of already tight global markets and heightened price volatility,” the group’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said in a statement.

    The invasion pushed Brent crude, the international benchmark, to around $105 a barrel on Thursday. Brent prices later dipped below $100 a barrel as news that Western sanctions would not directly target Russian energy activities eased fears of supply disruptions. Natural gas prices in Europe also fell back after jumping on Thursday but remained at historically high levels.

    Mr. Birol also said that the group had also discussed how any disruption of Russian natural gas supplies through Ukraine could put pressure on Europe, where gas prices are already elevated, and that it would “continue to closely monitor the evolving situation.”

    The group, which is based in Paris, is made up of energy-consuming countries, with the United States playing a strong role. The agency has organized releases three times over three decades in the oil markets but not in gas.

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