The Financial Times has obtained a draft of the International Energy Agency’s annual report, which states that the rate of output from the world’s biggest oil fields is declining at 9.1 per cent a year. This is the first such authoritative study of oil reserves, which most oil producing countries keep secret.

The International Energy Agency, which represents the major energy consuming countries – the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea – forcasts that meeting the demand of developing countries, like China and India, will require a further investment of $360 billion a year until 2030 to develop new reserves. But even with this investment, world output will decline at 6.4 per cent a year.

The report says that "current energy trends are not sustainable and that a better balance must be found between the three Es – energy security, economic development and protection of the environment. Energy is part of many environmental problems, including climate change, and must be part of the solution."

Ralph Sims, a senior analyst at the International Energy Agency said that "the IEA’s message is very clear: We can’t keep doing what we’re doing. What we need to do now is start to change, to move forward to new energy sources and increase the uptake of energy efficiency. We should err on the cautious side. It’s stupid to ignore what the vast majority of science is saying, just in case science is right."