Perry: Oil markets likely ‘stable’ after Iran sanctions take force

Perry: Oil markets likely ‘stable’ after Iran sanctions take force
© Greg Nash

Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryOvernight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Volker: I 'cringe' when I hear 'three amigos' Live coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings MORE predicted that world oil markets will be “stable” after the upcoming deadline for countries to stop buying oil from Iran.

Amid fears of massive price spikes from a major oil producer effectively dropping out of the market, Perry told reporters that he’s not overly worried, and believes other nations will pick up the slack.

“In the short run, is there potential for price spikes? Sure, I mean a lot of things could happen out there, I don’t want to speculate on them because they haven’t happened,” Perry said Wednesday.

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“It’s not in anyone’s interests for these oil prices to spike,” he said. “So everything that we can do to send a message to the global market that we’re going to do everything within reason to keep a stable supply of crude — which in turn basically says there’s going to be a stable pricing of their cost of energy — is a good message.”

U.S. officials have told allies to stop buying oil from Iran by Nov. 4. It’s part of the reimposition of sanctions on the nation after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE withdrew from former President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and other western nations.

Analysts expect 1 million to 1.5 million barrels per day of oil to be removed from the market when that deadline hits.

Keeping markets stable was a central message in Perry's recent trip to Russia, Austria and Romania, which included meetings with top energy officials from both Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“Our message was that a steady supply is good for the world. These big, cyclical changes in supply is not good for the world’s economy. We need as best we can to keep that price of crude — which in turn drives the price of energy resources, whether it’s gasoline or some other condensate that comes from that — as stable as we can,” he said.

Representatives from Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — of which Saudi Arabia is a member and the biggest producer — met this past weekend to discuss potential production increases amid the Iran sanctions, but decided against them.

That, in part, led to Trump excoriating OPEC for not producing more.

“OPEC and OPEC nations are as usual ripping off the rest of the world, and I don't like it. Nobody should like it,” Trump said Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly.

Perry said he wasn’t worried about how Saudi Arabia could take Trump’s comments.

“I think they understand that we live in interesting times,” Perry said. “I don’t think that they particularly knee-jerk when something is said by me or the president. They understand that this is probably one of the best relationships with the United States that they’ve ever had.”

Asked what the Energy Department could do if prices do spike, Perry said it’s not his place.

“What we want to do is not be a hurdle to production, to infrastructure development. We want to be a part of the solution. But it’s not our role to be a ‘here’s what you’re going to do,’ or ‘here’s what we’re going to do,’” he said.

“That is not the Department of Energy,” Perry continued, specifically ruling out a sale from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lessen the impact of the Iran sanctions.