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Could new sanctions against Iran spark a crisis that drives oil prices to $200 a barrel? The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) economies certainly hope not.
Even still, they recently unveiled plans to tap into global emergency strategic oil reserves — just in case.
Citing their "grave concern" over Iran's nuclear program and the "likelihood of further disruptions in oil sales" G8 leaders put the International Energy Agency (IEA) on standby to tap the reserves at a moment's notice.
"Looking ahead we…stand ready to call upon the IEA to take appropriate action to ensure that the market is fully and timely supplied," said the statement summing up their meeting last weekend.
But the G8 may just be trying to calm the markets before the storm. History shows that tapping into the reserves won't do much to prevent higher prices.
And there's no reason to believe this time will be any different.