Welcome to the ODAC Newsletter, a weekly roundup from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, the UK registered charity dedicated to raising awareness of peak oil.

As ODAC went to press the oil price languished at around $90 per barrel — weak by recent standards — and there was even talk of OPEC cutting production to defend an $80 floor, as evidence of a gathering recession accumulates.

In Britain, official interest rates were cut while the Bank of England simultaneously warned of higher inflation, highlighting the monetary dilemma posed by rising oil prices. Although the economy is clearly slowing, the oil price continues to feed through: E.ON has become the fifth of the big six UK energy suppliers to hike gas and power prices.

In corporate news, BP claimed 100%-plus reserves replacement, but will not give details until it publishes its report and accounts in a few weeks’ time – along with Exxon and Shell. In a number of years recently, Exxon has only achieved 100% reserve replacement by replacing dwindling oil with natural gas. As noted last week, Shell’s numbers seem likely to be extremely weak.

BHP Billiton’s hostile £75bn bid for Rio Tinto has raised concerns about the concentration of control over iron ore and aluminium, but the deal would also give the combined companies a commanding position in coking coal – where prices have already tripled in the last few weeks.

Finally some good news from the Middle East: Qatar plans to build 3.5GW of concentrating solar power by 2013. But bad news from Russia: Gazprom has threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine if the government doesn’t settle it’s bill by Monday. It must be that time of year again.

BP, Marathon find oil in UK North Sea 1 Feb 2008
GUEST COMMENTARY: Dr Michael R. Smith— www.energyfiles.com“>GUEST COMMENTARY: Dr Michael R. Smith— www.energyfiles.com
BP Q4 profits fall 24 pct on sale loss, miss forecast 5 Feb 2008
BP positions itself for share of Iraqi oil 5 Feb 2008
Iraq invites oil groups ahead of key law 6 Feb 2008
Shell warns of production fall 1 Feb 2008
Petrol pumps at dawn over strategy 6 Feb 2008
The great fuel folly 5 Feb 2008

Retailer E.ON UK to raise power price 9.7%, gas by 15% 7 Feb 2008
Iran announces new gas field in Gulf 3 Feb 2008
Iran’s gas shortages plague Ahmadinejad 5 Feb 2008
Kuwait to start importing LNG by ship from Qatar next year 5 Feb 2008
Gazprom may halt deliveries of its gas to Ukraine effective Monday 7 Feb 2008

Heavyweight duo digs in for takeover tussle 7 Feb 2008
US energy plants face curbs on coal 5 Feb 2008
Rio’s Energy Chief Chiaro Says Coal Prices Aren’t ‘Sustainable’ 5 Feb 2008

Green laws and regulation risk energy crisis, say Europe’s power companies 7 Feb 2008
Nuclear clean-up bill £12bn higher than predicted 30 Jan 2008
Qatar eyes solar power to meet surging demand: report 6 Feb 2008
UK plans ‘too weak’ to boost wind power 5 Feb 2008

Scientists identify ‘tipping points’ of climate change 5 Feb 2008
Energy industry gears up for CO2 challenge 1 Feb 2008

London shares slump on US recession fears 6 Feb 2008
China ‘on course for growth slowdown’ 4 Feb 2008
US consumer sales growth slumps 1 Feb 2008
Nuclear, coal and science get boost in Bush budget 4 Feb 2008

Delta and Northwest close to merger 7 Feb 2008
Ryanair warns high oil prices could slash its profits by 50% next year 4 Feb 2008
Fuel bill takes shine off BA results 1 Feb 2008