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  • Britain facing oil shortage 'within five years'

Britain facing oil shortage 'within five years'

May 16 2014 Read 1457 Times

Britain's domestic reserves of oil, gas and coal will have run out completely in five years' time, a new report suggests.

The study, carried out by the Global Sustainability Institute, warns that impending shortages will increase the UK's dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia, and has subsequently called for a "Europe-wide drive" towards wind, tidal, solar and other sources of renewable power to avert the problem.

According to the report, Russia has more than 50 years of oil, more than 100 years of gas and more than 500 years of coal left, based on current consumption levels, while Britain has just 5.2 years of its own oil, 4.5 years of coal and three years of gas.

Across Western Europe, the situation is even more dire for some nations, with France having less than one year to go before it runs out of all three fossil fuels.

Dr Aled Jones, director of the institute, said the situation will have a knock-on effect on business and consumers, with "heavily indebted" countries becoming increasingly vulnerable to rising energy prices.

He explained: "The EU is becoming ever more reliant on our resource-rich neighbours such as Russia and Norway, and this trend will only continue unless decisive action is taken."

Professor Victor Anderson, who led the report, said that coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are "running down" and that alternatives are badly needed.

"The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power," he explained.

In spite of the findings, other analysts say the big picture is not as dire as the one the report paints, with Jim Skea, Research Councils fellow in UK Energy Strategy, saying the situation "sounds very unlikely" and is also "irrelevant", based on the country's stable supply of imported energy.

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