Tuesday, 10 July 2007


The International Energy Agency has predicted a supply crunch in the world's oil markets that could send prices soaring and place a severe dent in global growth.

In a report that painted a bleak outlook for the global economy, the IEA said spare capacity in oil production would dry up over the next five years, even as demand continues to jump significantly.

"Oil and gas price pressures look set to remain in the coming years," the report said. "Slower-than-expected GDP growth may provide a breathing space, but it is abundantly clear that if the path of demand does not change on its own, it may well be driven to change by higher prices."

The gloomy prognosis puts consumers on warning for higher petrol prices at the pump, soaring utility bills and increased food prices as suppliers bear additional costs for bringing goods to market.

In addition, the gas market will face a supply crunch of its own at the turn of the decade, limiting governments' ability to turn to different sources of fuel. Although the production of biofuels is set to double over the next few years, it will remain a marginal source of energy, the IEA said.
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