A top Saudi energy official has expressed serious concerns that world oil demand could peak in the next decade, stating that the country is preparing by diversifying its economic base.

The lead climate talks negotiator, Mohammed al-Sabban, said the country with the world’s largest proven reserves of conventional crude is working to become the top exporter of energy, including alternative forms such as solar power, reports the Associated Press.

Al-Sabban has previously criticised what he described as efforts by developed nations to adopt policies biased against oil producers through the imposition of taxes on refined petroleum products while offering huge subsidies for coal.

Al-Sabban said the potential that world oil demand had peaked, or would peak soon, is an “alarm that we need to take more seriously”.

“We cannot stay put and say ‘well, this is something that will happen anyway’,” al-Sabban said at the Jeddah Economic Forum.

“The world cannot wait for us before we are forced to adapt to the reality of lower and lower oil revenues,” he added.

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By GlobalData