CHRISTOPHE de Margerie, head of oil giant Total, yesterday warned that underinvestment in exploration due to the downturn will lead to a world shortage of oil.<br /><br />He added that he saw the price of oil rising to more than $100 a barrel, up from around $70, as the price stands at current levels.<br /><br />Total’s boss voiced concern over the long-term future supply of oil, especially as demand for the commodity in India and China increases. And he said that not enough money has been spent trying to discover new resources around the world.<br /><br />“If we don’t move now there will be a problem,” de Margerie said. “In two or three years it will be too late.”<br /><br />De Margerie has been making similar warnings since the price of oil started to fall late last year.<br /><br />“This isn’t the first time we’re seeing volatility in prices,” a Total spokesman said yesterday. “A strong long term strategy is imperative. Today’s decisions will affect the next 10, 20 and 30 years,” she added.<br /><br />De Margerie added that oil reserves “are there”, but needed an investment to come onto the market.<br /><br />Total’s boss called for world leaders to consider the issue, saying it was his duty as the chief executive of a major oil group. <br /><br />But he said the major oil producing countries, which have slashed production because of a slump in demand, were not to blame for the underinvestment. <br /><br />“You cannot ask those countries who are also facing a crisis to continue to invest for a potential recovery of demand,” he said.<br /><br /><strong>FAST FACTS TOTAL<br /><br /></strong>&9679; Total is the fifth largest publicly-traded integrated oil and gas company in the world.<br /><br />&9679; The group has operations in more than 130 countries on five continents and has approximately 97,000 employees.