Examination of Witnesses (Questions 460
WEDNESDAY 10 MAY 2006
Q460 Colin Challen: Finally from
me, I wonder whether or not any government department has approached
the Association for the Study of Peak Oil to discuss your predictions
and to explore them with you?
Mr Skrebowski: Not that I am aware
Q461 Chairman: The IEA are predicting
an increase in demand for oil in China and India of almost 3%
a year for 25 years. Given the impact that has on global demand,
does that make anything that happens in the UK just irrelevant?
Mr Skrebowski: Possibly.
Q462 Chairman: On another tack, what
do you think about Sweden's exploration of whether they can become
as oil-free as possible by 2020?
Mr Skrebowski: I think it is a
very useful trial and very helpful for the rest of us. Ireland
is also getting rather more interested in biofuels. When you have
got a small population and a relatively large area, it becomes
a realistic option. The UK is land-constrained. Now, in fact,
the best place to grow biofuels is the Tropics. We should be praying
it grows well in the Tropics and does not really grow outside
them. Maybe that is a whole new business area that is going to
grow up. Tesco, which is busily selling you a premium fuel with
ethanol in it already, is able to do that because it secured a
very good contract from the Brazilians for several cargos of fairly
cheap ethanol before the price really went up.
Q463 Mr Stuart: Do you have any assessments
of the contribution that biofuels, hybrid engines and hydrogen
could have on replacing oil in transport?
Mr Skrebowski: I think Malcolm
suggested five to 10%. That is five to 10% self-supplied, but
if you say that it is no more insecure to bring in ethanol from
the Tropics than to bring in oil from the Middle East, then you
can go almost as high as you like. There are these E85 mixes,
the Americans are already selling cars and the Brazilians have
these flex-fuel cars which are quite bizarre in a way; you just
put in whatever you want and the car works out what is in there
and adjusts it to work. Apparently, this technology is really
quite satisfactory and that gives a lot of flexibility, because
in the States if you are in areas where there is a lot of alcohol
available, you put that in and if you are in areas where only
gas is available, you put that in. This is happening in Brazil.
Then you can go up to 80% or 85%. You cannot go all the way, well,
you can actually go all the way, but it tends to be more satisfactory
not to go above 85% for some technical reason I am not desperately
aware of; I think it is starting properties.
Chairman: Thank you very much. We are
grateful for you coming in here today.