By WILLIAM HOROBIN
PARIS -- The French government is in consultation with the International Energy Agency on whether to release oil stocks in moves to stem high crude prices, government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse said Wednesday.
The IEA, which represents the interests of major energy consuming rich countries and coordinates strategic oil stocks held by its members, wasn't immediately available to comment.
France supports a proposal to tap reserves and is also trying to convince producer nations to put more oil on the market to help combat speculation pushing prices higher, said Pecresse who is also budget minister.
Last week, the IEA's executive director, Maria van der Hoeven, said the agency hasn't discussed plans for a release of emergency oil stocks with its members.
Her comments came a day after France's Energy Minister Eric Besson said his country was studying all possible options, including a release of emergency oil reserves, to stem rising prices.
Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to keep open discussions about a possible release of oil held in emergency stockpiles ahead of sanctions on Iranian oil exports due to come into effect in July.
Individual IEA member countries may use their stockpiles, provided they don't fall below 90 days of net imports.
Such a move would normally be undertaken in consultation with the IEA, van der Hoeven said last week.
Dow Jones Newswires