August 9, 2013 / 8:05 AM / 5 years ago

Strikes, unrest cut OPEC oil supplies: IEA

An employee of the state-run South Oil Company (SOC) walks near a new oil storage tank near the southern city of Basra January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Atef Hassan

LONDON (Reuters) - America’s shale oil boom is protecting the world from steep oil price spikes as several OPEC members struggle to maintain production due to unrest and infrastructure problems, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.

The agency, adviser to developed economies on energy policy, said violence and maintenance was limiting oil production and exports from Iraq and Libya, and supplies to Europe, Asia and the United States faced further disruption.

Iraqi oil exports were expected to plummet by around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September due to major work on oil facilities, the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report.

“Officially, volumes will be curtailed only in September but the fear is the shut‐in could drag on for months given the scope of the work as well as the country’s poor record of delivering projects on time,” the IEA said.

“Northern (Iraqi) exports are expected to remain constrained indefinitely given the lack of progress between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over payment and contract terms,” it added.

Libya has seen its oil supplies collapse due to worsening labor disputes and civil unrest with exports plunging by one third in early August, the agency said.

“The burgeoning crisis, the worst since the onset of the civil war in early 2011, is weakening already fragile government institutions and choking off vital revenues,” it added.

Reporting by Christopher Johnson; Editing by Peg Mackey

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