Saturday, October 15, 2005

Energy Crisis

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Chavez Says World Headed For Major Energy Crisis, Increased Production Unlikely
Canadian Press

SALAMANCA, Spain (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday said the world was headed toward an energy crisis but said there was little chance of OPEC countries increasing production because they were near "the limit of their capacity."

"There is very little chance because nearly the whole world right now is producing petroleum at their maximum capacity. In Venezuela, for example, we can't produce a single barrel more," Chavez told reporters in the central Spanish town of Salamanca where he is attending the 15th summit of leaders from Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking countries.

"We're at the doorway of major energy crisis worldwide," he added. "We'll have to develop other resources such as wind, solar and nuclear energy, naturally for peaceful purposes."

He said Venezuela was in talks with Argentina and Brazil regarding nuclear power.

"Prices will continue to rise but oil is running out," he said.

Increased production would not solve the price problem, he added.

"The cause of the increase in the price is not in the production. It's partly the intermediaries who make things dearer. It's also because of the increase in demand and the irrational capitalist consumerism model that exists.

"The United States for example with scarcely five per cent of the world's population uses almost 25 per cent of the petroleum and combustion fuels produced in the world," he said.

He added that a "lack of imagination in the United States and the war in Iraq, which has destabilized the market in the Middle East, has also driven up prices."

Increased demand from countries such as China and India was making the problem worse.

"The world will have to get used to a barrel price, I think, of above $50 US and energy will have to be saved," he said.

After soaring in August, crude oil prices have been trading at between $60 and $70 a barrel for more than a month.

Venezuela, a member of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is the world's fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier to the U.S. market.

© The Canadian Press 2005

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