Nations need not be overly concerned about an energy shortage in the face of unexpected world events, BP CEO Lord Browne said yesterday.
Despite the disruptions of last year, including an economic downturn, continuing Middle East tensions and the September 11 tragedy, which led to military action in Afghanistan, the markets continued to operate and supplies of oil and gas were maintained.
Launching the 51st edition of The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2002 in London, Browne said that if you analyze the data, it will show that the market sustained a secure flow of energy because there are diverse sources of supply.
"The US, for instance, imported 55% of its oil needs last year, but it did so from 60 different countries, no one of which accounted for more than 16% of the total," Browne said. "And that diversity can be sustained because there are now a number of major sources of supply coming on stream.
"There is oil and gas from the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caspian Sea and Russia, oil from Angola and gas from Indonesia and Trinidad. Those concerned about energy should concentrate their efforts on maintaining that diversity," he said.
Browne warned that while the pursuit of energy self-sufficiency, taken too far, can be an 'own goal', sensible governments should ensure their fiscal systems encourage the development of energy resources that can commercially be brought to market, not least in the UK.
"That's why negative tax changes, which at the margin will deter investment and reduce future supply, are so unwelcome," he said.