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The world is not running out of oil and can continue to produce hydrocarbons for the next 40 years provided restrictions are lifted on where companies can operate, the head of BP said today.
The Arctic and currently closed areas off the coast of America should be considered for exploration if rising global energy demand is to be met in future, said chief executive Tony Hayward.
He insisted that all other forms of energy, whether clean-tech or otherwise, also need to be developed simultaneously while rising carbon emissions could still be curbed.
"Declining oil production in the OECD highlights the fact that, while resources are not a constraint globally, the resources within reach of private investment by companies like BP are limited," said Hayward.
"Political factors, barriers to entry, and high taxes all play a role here. In other words when it comes to producing more oil, the problems are above ground, not below it. They are not geological, but political," he added.
Hayward batted aside Opec arguments that the extremely high price of oil could be attributed to financial speculators playing the commodity markets and the slump in the dollar's relative value to other currencies.
"The defining feature of global energy markets remains high and volatile prices, reflecting a tight balance of supply and demand," he said.
"I am certainly not a subscriber to peak oil [theories]."