The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an independent, multi-government group formed out of the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. The Agency forecasts oil production and monitors international oil markets and energy sectors. Just five years ago, the IEA rather confidently predicted that oil production would rise to 120 million barrels per day by 2030. Well, there's been a change in outlook.

Now, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol says that the world's crude oil production peaked backed in 2006. Furthermore, Birol predicts that oil prices will rise by 30 percent over the next three years. That price hike, according to Birol, is due to declining access to crude and because some of the world's largest oil producers will intentionally slash output to artificially drive up prices.

Birol says that although peak crude oil production is behind us, abundant natural gas could provide a viable alternative. The IEA says that governments around the world need to rethink their reliance on oil. That's a statement that we can wholeheartedly agree with.

[Source: ABC News | Image: jkirkhart35 – C.C. License 2.0]

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