Skip to main content

Our publications

Policy briefs

Towards sustained high oil prices and increasingly volatile (Policy Brief 280 - September 2012)

Towards sustained high oil prices and increasingly volatile (Policy Brief 280 - September 2012)


It is particularly difficult to predict the evolution of global oil production and its ability to meet the demand: the main uncertainties are related to the magnitude of the growth of emerging countries, more or less rapid decline in the production of major oilfields current events as well as natural or accidental, but especially geopolitics, which may affect, at any time, production.

  • Towards sustained high oil prices and increasingly volatile

In a tight market today, the rapid growth of emerging economies, disruption of the oil supply chain world, even its mere mention, could cause short-term loss of excess production capacity - largely concentrated in Saudi Arabia - an increase substantial progress and, as contemplated by the International Atomic Energy imbalances between global oil supply and demand. If, after 2020, production of conventional oil begins to decline and the demand from emerging markets continues to grow, more massive imbalances may arise, leading to potential geopolitical tensions. Control would then demand the best answer. Otherwise, the resources of unconventional hydrocarbons, considerable expected to meet the demand, provided that their development is fast enough and their operating conditions are environmentally friendly.

A consensus is emerging today on keeping oil prices high (above $ 100 / barrel) and volatile in the coming years, allowing some producing countries to pursue their development, but for France amplifying the negative effects on the economic growth oil bill (more than 49 billion euros in 2011) weighs more heavily in our trade deficit.

In all cases, climate issues, the weight of the oil bill on our economy, securing our energy supply and technical uncertainties or geopolitical oil production call for reducing our oil consumption, accelerated motion the transition to a low carbon economy and development of our own energy resources.


  • Current analysis of oil reserves
  • Uncertainties about the evolution of world oil production
  • What is the potential long-term oil production of Saudi Arabia?
  • What impact on global oil production?
  • Alternatives
  • Towards a rigorous energy policy to reduce our oil consumption to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce the deficit of the trade balance and improve the resilience of our economy to an oil shock
  • Authors: Dominique Auverlot, Aude Teillant, Centre for Strategic Analysis, Sustainable Development Department, Olivier Rech, Associate Energy Funds Advisors .

Keywords: oil, oil prices, reserves, geopolitical power.


Centre d’analyse stratégique