IEA-Opec relations "still alive and kicking"

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A coalition of Western nations has opted to

the market with 60 million barrels of oil, marking a breakdown in relations between consumers and producers.

The consuming countries, which include the US and the 28 member states of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, said today that they want to replace the 1.6 million barrels of

that have been all but wiped off the market since a civil war broke out in February.

The daily injection of 2 million barrels can also be interpreted as a blunt way of saying that producers are not doing their job.

Opec, the group of oil exporters that includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia, positions itself as a

for the world's crude supply, increasing or decreasing production to stabilise the oil price and the world economy.

But the group

to reach consensus on whether to raise its official production ceiling of 24.8 million barrels a day at its June 8 meeting in Vienna. An Opec veteran said part of the resistance from some member states to increasing production was

at the IEA for publicly demanding extra supplies.

, the secretary general of the International Energy Forum, the Riyadh-based organisation created to promote dialogue between producers and consumers, held out hope.

"Of course the cooperation between Opec and the IEA is alive and kicking," he said immediately after today's IEA announcement.

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