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Energy security threatened by rising tensions, says IEA report

Oil field in Iraq Image copyright AFP
Image caption The IEA says that disruptions at oilfields in Iraq are among the biggest threats to meeting growing energy demand

The US shale gas boom is disguising serious risks to the security of global energy supplies, according to one of the industry's leading consultancies.

The International Energy Agency's latest World Energy Outlook says the increased market turmoil comes as global energy demand is set to soar.

The US shale boom provided "breathing space" but "little reassurance", the report said.

The Paris-based IEA advises developed nations on energy policy and strategy.

The report estimates that energy demand will rise by 37% by 2040. While there are adequate global resources available, it will require political action and significant investment to meet the demand, the IEA said.

However, one major concern is that growing conflicts could limit supply, notably in the Middle East and especially Iraq, as well as in Ukraine.

The report says: "The short-term picture of a well-supplied oil market should not disguise the challenges that lie ahead as reliance grows on a relatively small number of producers.

"The situation in the Middle East is a major concern, given steadily increasing reliance on this region for oil production growth, especially for Asian countries that are set to import two out of every three barrels of crude traded internationally by 2040."

Global oil consumption will rise from 90 million barrels a day last year to 104 million barrels a day in 2040, driven by demand in much of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

The IEA's chief economist, Fatih Birol, said: "The apparent breathing space provided by rising output in the Americas over the next decade provides little reassurance, given the long lead times of new upstream projects."

According to the organisation, investment of $900bn in oil and gas development is needed by the 2030s to meet the demand.

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