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Oil

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment the Government has made of the likely year of peak global oil production; what contingency plans the Government has made should global oil supplies peak sooner than International Energy Agency predictions; and what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the UK economy of the passing of peak production. (197009)

[holding answer 31 March 2008]: The Government's assessment is that the global oil (and gas) reserves are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future. This is consistent with the assessment made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2007 World Energy Outlook (WEO).

However, the Government recognise the need for further investment both in upstream and downstream oil in order for production to keep pace with the growing global oil demand.

The Government constantly monitor risks to the UK economy, including from energy-related developments, as detailed in the Energy White Paper (May 2007) and the Long-term Opportunities and Challenges for the UK (November 2006). In addition, the UK's policies, as outlined in the Energy White Paper, in promoting open and competitive markets, increasing energy efficiency, investing in low carbon technologies and the use of alternative energy sources such as renewables will reduce the risks to the UK of any potential future declines in global oil and gas production.

The Government are also aware of a wide range of academic and industry studies which look at future world oil supplies, including the peak oil phenomenon, and meets regularly with experts to discuss this and other oil market issues.