IEA warns of oil supply crunch

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The world faces an oil supply crunch that could push prices above this summer's eye-watering $147 per barrel high if falling prices put the brakes on exploration and production expansion, the International Energy Agency said yesterday.

Although global energy demand projections are slightly lower than last year because of the economic slowdown, delayed spending on new projects such as the exploitation of Canadian tar sands will cause supply problems that could choke economic recovery. Nobuo Tanaka, the executive director, said: "We cannot let the financial and economic crisis delay the policy action that is urgently needed to ensure secure energy supplies and to curtail rising emissions of greenhouse gases."