Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie said recent gains in oil prices reflect market anticipation of a supply shortfall within five years rather than current demand.
“If it was purely offer and demand, prices would be lower than the $60 we are seeing,” de Margerie said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York.
“The market is anticipating in the long term that there won’t be enough oil, some people would say speculating,” he said.
Oil has advanced 60% this year in New York on signs the global economy may be on the brink of a recovery, boosting consumption of fuel.
Crude oil dropped 70% in the second half of 2008 from its $147.27-a-barrel peak.
Crude oil futures for delivery in 2015 are trading near $85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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Total’s CEO has previously said that supplies may fall short as soon as 2014 and oil producers must invest in new capacity to avoid a jump in prices, which have averaged $63 over the past six months, according to Bloomberg.
The International Energy Agency also said earlier this year that a drop in investments may result in a global oil shortage by 2013.