Iraq cuts oil exports, trouble brewing in Venezuela, diesel prices rise

| 4/9/2002

Saddam Hussein said Monday he's cutting Iraq's oil exports for 30 days or until Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories, causing an immediate world oil price increase. However, analysts said world oil supplies would not be affected because most major OPEC members have not followed Iraq's lead.

Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week called on Islamic countries to stop supplying oil for one month to countries with close relations with Israel. Libya today said it would support the call.

In other oil trouble not related to war in the Middle East, Venezuelan troops increased security at it oil facilities Monday as stoppages by state oil workers reportedly halted exports. The action comes amid a six-week-old dispute by executives and employees of the state-run oil company PDVSA. Reuters reported shipment reductions of about 15 to 20 percent and quoted a shipping agent who said the country may be headed for a complete shipping halt.

Meanwhile, the national U.S. average price for diesel fuel increased to $1.32 per gallon this week from $1.30 last week.East Coast prices rose 3 cents per gallon to $1.32; prices rose 3 cents per gallon in New England to $1.38; 3 cents per gallon to $1.28 in the Lower Atlantic states; 4 cents a gallon in the Midwest to $1.32; and prices remained at $1.46 in California.