Iraq suspends oil exports but no allies join in

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 08:20:49 +0100

WASHINGTON Iraq on Monday suspended its oil exports to protest the
Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory, and President Saddam
Hussein said the move would last 30 days or until Israel withdraws its
forces.

Saddam said that the action, announced after a meeting of his
Revolutionary Council, was taken "against the Zionist entity and the
American aggressive policy and not against anyone else."

The Iraqi decision was expected to have little or no long-term impact on
oil markets. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries have not followed Iraq's lead and producers are expected to
intervene, if necessary, to offset the loss of Iraqi shipments. Russia
was likely to join them.

The Turkish state-run pipeline company BOTAS, which transports Iraqi
oil, confirmed Monday that the flow had stopped.

The announcement caused a temporary spiking of oil prices in London,
leaving May contracts of the benchmark North Sea Brent crude at $26.98,
or 99 cents higher than at the close Friday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, contracts of light, sweet crude for
May delivery jumped to $27.20 before easing back to $26.54 a barrel, up
33 cents from Friday.

The United States buys more than half of Iraq's oil exports; taken as a
group, European countries are the second-largest buyer. As a whole,
Middle East producers account for about 12 percent of the U.S. oil
supply.

Saddam's action appeared to play to Arab public opinion more than
anything else. Still, the Iraqi decision was the most dramatic wielding
of the "oil weapon" since the latest Israeli-Palestinian crisis began,
coming amid growing uncertainty in the region, extraordinarily high
emotions on all sides and at a particularly delicate time for struggling
world economies.

Source: Iternational Herald Tribune

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