Top exec warns we must cut back on oil now
Published 14/02/2010 | 05:00
DRIVERS need to start treating oil as a scarce commodity and switch to green transport to avoid shortages by 2020, according to the chief executive of one of Britain's top companies.
Ian Marchant, who heads the £10bn (€11.5bn) Scottish and Southern energy, is among a group of corporate leaders warning that the world's demand for oil is on the brink of outstripping industry's ability to produce.
"The West has been far too profligate in its use of oil and the price is going to say: stop it now and start using your oil as a scarce commodity," Mr Marchant said.
The energy boss is a member of the British Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, along with billionaire Richard Branson. They believe that it will be very difficult for the world to produce more than 100m barrels per day of oil.
Current output is around 87m barrels per day, but demand for petrol products is likely to surge as the standard of living increases in China and India.
"It's simple economics that if production is constrained and demand increases from emerging countries, the price will go up and up and up," Mr Marchant said.
He urged governments to start dealing with the problem of limited oil supply by encouraging consumers to limit their energy usage.
"We can have a debate about which year this problem will hit us, but I would rather have a debate about how we avoid it becoming a problem."