Increasing state ownership and rising resource nationalism are emerging as the main long-term threats to global oil supplies, argues the consultancy, PFC Energy.
The report highlights the shift in power towards state-controlled national oil companies. Multinationals own or have access to less than 10 per cent of world oil resources.
Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy said: “The concern is not that the world is running out of oil, but rather it is running out of oil production capacity.”
Before 1961 the industry could invest almost anywhere except the Soviet Union and Mexico. Then it was pushed out of the Middle East and Venezuela. The PFC study shows political factors are limiting capacity increases in Mexico, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Russia. Saudi Arabia is also limiting capacity expansion but because of a self-imposed cap, unlike the other countries. These seven account for 65 per cent of the world’s reserves and 45 per cent of crude oil production.
Mr West said: “Should demand outstrip supply, you will have a run-up in prices, massive demand destruction and substitutions. It will create tremendous pressures in the international petroleum system, the international economic system, the international political system.” Jim Mulva, chief of Conoco-Phillips, told the Financial Times: “For international oil companies, access is a real challenge”.