Oil could reach $150 a barrel in the years ahead without sufficient investment in the Middle East, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns.
In its latest World Energy Outlook, the group says factors such as the conflict in Libya and the economic slowdown have kept the price of oil relatively high over the year to date. North Sea Brent crude oil futures have averaged over $100 (£63) per barrel throughout 2011.
The IEA predicts further upward pressure will come from increased demand in the years ahead. Oil demand is tipped to rise from 87m barrels a day in 2010 to 99m a day by 2035, driven by transportation in emerging economies.
The Middle East & North Africa (Mena) is expected to contribute more than 90% of the extra oil required in the years to 2035, the report says, but investment has to keep pace with this.
“If, between 2011 and 2015, investment in the Mena region runs one-third lower than the $100 billion per year required, consumers could face a near-term rise in the oil price to $150 a barrel,” the report claims.
The outlook also says questions over the future use of nuclear energy have been raised by the Fukushima Daiichi emergency in Japan and coal’s prospects are hampered by the regulatory and technical barriers to more efficient power plants and carbon capture and storage facilities.
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