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Total CEO sees oil supply lagging demand-paper

Reuters: Total CEO sees oil supply lagging demand-paper

Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:47am EDT

PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) – Oil prices are likely to remain high as production is not keeping up with strong demand, the chief executive of French oil major Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) told a French newspaper.

“The real subject of worry today is that there is a strong demand and a supply that is not following,” Christophe de Margerie told Liberation in an interview published on Thursday.

He said the economic development of emerging countries will boost oil consumption — with those able to buy their first car due to the no-frills Tata (TAMO.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) Nano also buying fuel — while supply was “very measured”.

“There is a general decline in oilfields. If we don’t move we’re heading for a real problem. And the decision makers, who have the environmental problems in mind, seem to forget the question of access to energy,” he added.

De Margerie added that if consumer countries wanted more oil, they should invest in producer countries and at the same time accept that oil producers invest in western economies.

(Reporting by Marcel Michelson)

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