Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 09:06 UK

Total issues oil shortage warning


Christophe de Margerie warns that there could be an oil shortage by 2015

The head of oil giant Total has told the BBC the world could face a shortage of oil because of underinvestment.

Chief executive Christophe de Margerie warned that too little has been spent trying to tap into new oil reserves because of the economic crisis.

"If we don't move [now] there will be a problem," Mr de Margerie said. "In two or three years it will be too late."

He also said he thought oil prices would rise to more than $100 a barrel, from their current level of around $70.

Total oil platform

"The reserves of oil are there, but if you don't invest they don't come on the market," Mr de Margerie said.

"What we have to decide today is production for 2010-2015. So in between we might be faced with insufficient oil to meet demand."

He said the major oil producing countries, which have cut production in the face of falling demand and to protect prices, could not be blamed for the underinvestment.

"You cannot ask those countries who are also facing a crisis to continue to invest for a potential recovery of demand, and to do this for the benefit of the world."

Instead, he called on heads of government to get involved.

"I think it is our role to... force people in charge of our countries to think about this concern we have."

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