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Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for ‘new deal’ to solve oil crisis

Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for ‘new deal’ to solve oil crisis

Gordon Brown is flying to Saudi Arabia to call for a “new deal” between oil producers and consumer nations in an attempt to solve the crisis which has sent prices soaring throughout the world.

The Prime Minister has unveiled a four-point plan, which would see leading oil markets – including China and India as well as the Middle East – functioning better to reduce volatility and renew efforts to make the most of the world’s remaining reserves.

Mr Brown’s proposals also include accelerating the switch to alternative sources of energy, including renewables, and persuading producers to diversify into alternative energy projects, particularly those in Britain.

He was flying overnight to Jeddah for talks with energy ministers from oil-producing nations, and is expected to be the only head of government to attend the meeting.

A Downing Street spokesman said this was because of the “close personal interest” he had in the matter. Rising prices, with petrol breaking the 120p-a-litre barrier, have contributed to the slump in political popularity suffered by Mr Brown and Labour.

Ahead of the talks, Libya’s top oil official sounded a gloomy note by predicting that the meeting would not lead to any important development “You can’t get any decision on important matters in the energy market in a meeting of three hours,” said Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation. “There’s oversupply in the market. We believe the prices are high, but it’s not because of supply and demand.”

Number 10, however, said Mr Brown would not be looking for “short-term fixes” from the talks. Instead he saw the process as carrying on through the G8 summit of leading industrial nations in Japan next month. “He wants to alter the terms of the debate about oil and move away from an adversarial stance to a mutually beneficial one,” his spokesman said.

But there was scepticism as to what Mr Brown’s four-point plan would achieve. Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “We welcome any steps to improve the oil supply situation. But let’s be clear, Gordon Brown should not be under any illusions that the problem facing the British economy has to be solved right here in the UK.”

Saudi Arabia, which has been lobbied over boosting production by Western leaders, including President George W Bush, has said it will raise output to 9.7 million barrels per day in July.

Meanwhile, the all-party Business and Enterprise Committee is to question the chief executives of five of the main energy suppliers as part of an inquiry into energy prices. Power firms warned customers to expect price rises of up to 40 per cent this year. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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