UK companies urge steps to head off global 'oil crunch'
Thursday 30 October 2008
The world is facing a dangerous "oil crunch" in as little as five years, and the Government needs to starting working on solutions now to avoid major economic and social problems, a cross-industry group warned yesterday.
"Peak oil" is the point at which the rate of extraction exceeds the discovery of new supplies, with considerable economic and political consequences for energy-hungry countries reliant on oil for everything from energy to pharmaceuticals to agricultural fertilisers.
Timetables vary, but the taskforce of eight companies, including Stagecoach, Virgin and Scottish & Southern Energy, is predicting the end of cheap and easy oil supplies as early as 2012. Even Royal Dutch Shell, commissioned to write a balancing view for the group's report, is forecasting a plateau ofsupply as production moves to more difficult sources such as ultra-deeplayers and tar sands.
"We are going to reach a peak in the early part of the next decade," said Will Whitehorn, the cross-industry group's chairman and president of Virgin Galactic. "If we are going to avoid a crunch we need to invest now." The groupbelieves a national energy plan should urgently implement accelerated energy conservation and more investment in renewable resources.
Jeremy Leggett, executive chairman of taskforce member Solarcentury, said: "The difference between the credit crunch and the oil crunch is that we have five years in which we could try to engineer a soft landing, by beginning the restructuring ahead of time."
The gloomy predictions are supported by the latest data from the International Energy Agency, which suggest that annual oil production worldwide is falling faster than expected.
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...