Tighter environmental laws could cost the European oil refineries upto $ 80 billion by the end of the decade, said delegates at a recent petroleum and gas conference. This could mean higher prices for consumers and bankruptcies among refineries.
Klaus Kohlhase of British Petroleum (BP) and chairman of Concawe, the European oil industry's environmental organisation, said, "To put this in perspective, $ 10 billion was the total for 1991 of profits from worldwide operations for the 10 largest European oil companies."
Maurice Allion of the European Community's directorate-general of energy urged all emission control proposals should undergo rigorous cost-benefit analysis as inefficient constraints would have a negative impact on the almost stagnant refining business.
The proposal for a carbon tax came in for its share of criticism from Saadallah al-Fathi, head of energy studies at the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, who said the oil cartel was strongly opposed to the EC proposal for raising the $3 a barrel tax to $10 a barrel.
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