Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Oil Prices

Delivered in Plenary - 18th June 2008

Madam President

High oil and gas prices are here to stay and I doubt very much whether we will see the price much below USD 80 per barrel ever again. The West was caught on the hop and underestimated the rise in Chinese and Indian consumption, the under-investment in exploration and extraction technologies, the inability – or unwillingness, perhaps – of Saudi Arabia to turn on its taps as a swing producer, and the geopolitical risks of countries like Venezuela, Nigeria or Iraq.

What is the answer, in my view? We must, of course, consume less, invest in renewables and new technologies like hydrogen-fuel-cell cars and look at whether biofuels, in terms of their overall effect, are good or bad in terms of global emissions and in food inflation for the developing world.

Those in this House, particularly on the Left, who believe it is all down to speculation are wrong, as you cannot hoard physical oil in large quantities as a speculator and take delivery. Only the United States of America has the facility to do that.

Lastly, I welcome Italy’s decision to build a nuclear reactor, which I hope other EU Member States will follow.