“This is a rather dangerous timetable,” Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin was quoted as saying by TASS. He added that a severe storm had damaged at least one of the three oil loading facilities and that assessments were underway.
Chevron said in a statement that it was “currently assessing the situation” and directed further inquiries to the pipeline consortium.
“This is a huge supply shock,” said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy analyst at Rabobank.
“I’ve become increasingly optimistic on the supply side — very dangerously,” Fitzmaurice said.
Energy markets are on the brink. Brent crude is up 24% since closing at $98.02 a barrel on March 16, although it is still shy of the recent peak of around $139 a barrel recorded earlier this month.
“The timing is interesting, to say the least,” Fitzmaurice said.
In a speech on Wednesday, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm noted the disruption of the Caspian Sea pipeline and used it to reiterate her recent calls for increased domestic production of fossil fuels.
“What does this tell us about our role in creating a secure energy future that is free from being controlled by Putin or any state that conflicts with our interests?” Granholm said at an event for the International Energy Agency in Paris. “For our part, we have sent a clear message to our local oil and gas companies. We want this industry to increase production wherever and whenever they can, for now.”
“We have no indications from any government that the operations of the Caspian Sea Pipeline Consortium may stop,” Wirth said.
CNN’s Chris Liakos contributed to this report.
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