[Excerpt]: Christophe de Margerie has a reputation for forthright views and blunt speaking, but this week the chief executive of Total excelled himself by dismissing the IEA’s oil production forecasts as unrealistic, while coining an aphorism worthy of Donald Rumsfeld.

In his keynote speech to the Oil and Money conference on Wednesday, de Margerie suggested that the International Energy Agency’s ‘alternative scenario’, in which oil production grows to 103 million barrels per day in 2030, was in fact an “optimistic” scenario – meaning output was unlikely to reach that level. By implication the IEA’s ‘reference’ or business-as-usual scenario, in which output is forecast to soar to 116 mb/d in 2030, is even more far-fetched…