“This is a rather serious timeframe,” Pavel Sorokin, Russia’s deputy energy minister, was quoted as saying by TASS. He added that a heavy storm damaged at least one of the three oil loading facilities and assessments are ongoing.
In a statement, Chevron said it is “currently assessing the situation” and directed further inquiries to the pipeline consortium.
“This is quite a significant supply shock,” said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank.
“It’s becoming increasingly bullish on the supply side — dangerously so,” Fitzmaurice said.
Energy markets are on edge. Brent crude oil has surged 24% since closing at $98.02 a barrel on March 16, though it remains shy of the recent peak of nearly $139 a barrel set earlier this month.
“The timing is interesting, to say the least,” said Fitzmaurice.
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm noted the Caspian pipeline outage in a speech on Wednesday and used it to repeat her recent calls for greater domestic production of fossil fuels.
“What does this say to us about our role in creating a secure energy future that is free from being under the thumb of Putin or any countries that are adverse to our interests?” Granholm said at an International Energy Agency event in Paris. “For our part, we’ve delivered a clear message to our domestic oil and gas companies. We want that industry to ramp up production where and whenever they can, right now.”
“We’ve had no indications from any government that operations of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium are likely to be interrupted,” Wirth said.
— CNN’s Chris Liakos contributed to this report.