Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2009

The Coming Oil Supply Crunch

Paul Stevens

August 2008

Chatham House


This report argues that unless there is a collapse in oil demand within the next five to ten years, there will be a serious oil 'supply crunch' - not because of below-ground resource constraints but because of inadequate investment by international oil companies (IOCs) and national oil companies (NOCs).

An oil supply crunch is where excess crude producing capacity falls to low levels and is followed by a crude 'outage' leading to a price spike. If this happens then the resulting price spike will carry serious policy implications with long-lasting effects on the global energy picture.