International oil and energy ministers have met in London to discuss plans to prevent future oil price changes in light of the economic downturn.
The meeting was originally planned during the summer when oil prices increased to over $140 a barrel. Since then, the industry has experienced a sharp fall in prices with oil currently trading at less than $40 a barrel.
Gordon Brown and energy secretary Ed Miliband have urged politicians and oil companies to continue taking action in order to stabilise the situation. Miliband reaffirmed the importance of dialogue between oil producers and consumer nations, which started in Saudi Arabia last June.
In a statement ahead of the talks, Miliband said: ‘All of us have an interest in less volatile oil markets that function more effectively. British consumers and businesses have been hurt by the sharp rise in prices that took place earlier in the year. We have a duty to do all we can to prevent such price spikes in the future.’
Confirming its urgency, Brown warned that recent changes in oil prices had damaged the economy. He said that the unpredictability of income would make it difficult for producers to plan their finances and invest in infrastructure. He called for an increased investment in renewable energy technology and improved regulation of the oil markets.
Brown said: ‘The risk now is that investment in oil and other energy sources will once again stagnate, supply capacity will begin to tighten just as demand responds to improving economic conditions.’
He also warned this could damage the economy by a further $1.3 trillion a year by 2030.