World oil demand to peak before supply - BP
World oil production may peak in the coming years, but it will be because of a decline in demand for petroleum, not a lack of supply, a BP economist said on Wednesday.
"I believe there is a realistic possibility that world oil production will peak within the next generation as a result of peaking demand," BP Special Economic Advisor Peter Davies told a meeting at parliament of a group of lawmakers formed to study peak oil.
He said environmental regulations, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, could cause energy consumers to move away from petroleum.
"I think we will run out of demand before we run out of supply," he said.
A rally in oil prices, which hit a record high above $100 a barrel earlier this month, is leading to growing interest in peak oil -- the view that supply has reached, or will soon reach, a high point and then fall.
Some leading industry figures -- the CEOs of Total and ConocoPhillips among them -- have questioned mainstream long-term forecasts for oil supply, suggesting a growing challenge to sustain production.
But London-based BP, the world's third-largest fully publicly traded oil company by market value, has said there is no need for concern.
"I am no subscriber to the theory that oil supplies have already peaked," Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, said at a conference in November. (Reporting by Alex Lawler; editing by Jim Marshall)