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.

This week the oil price continued to fluctuate. Drops at the beginning of the week, said to be triggered by reduced US demand and recession fears, were followed by increases fuelled by news on US inventories and violence in Iraq. Meanwhile demand for oil in the Dragon economy continues to rise apace. The competition for as yet untapped resources saw the Arctic potentially hotting up, as US based Arctic Oil & Gas laid claim to reserves, while the Russian flag planted last year sits beneath the North Pole.

Despite the high oil price some of the Gulf Nations are feeling the pinch of the weak dollar. Bread queues in Egypt last week were part of growing global unrest over rising food prices. The WFA sent out an appeal for $500M of additional aid to cover the cost of food. Increasing concern around food prices is a key driver of a debate over the future of biofuels. This issue is addressed in one of our Guest Commentaries this week from Lester Brown.

As the oil price keeps energy security high on the agenda, another ‘alternative energy source’ nuclear power received a lot of press this week. There were deals agreed between Russia and Egypt, and the US and Bahrain, while talks between the US and India continued. Dick Cheney restated allegations about the real ambitions of the Iranian nuclear programme. In the UK John Hutton painted a picture of a bright nuclear future so reigniting debate about the safety, desirability and sustainability of such a strategy.

In economic news the credit crunch continued to dominate with a rise in UK mortgage rates announced despite the Bank of England’s continued liquidity relief. In another of our Guest Commentaries this week Janette Rutterford, Professor of Financial Management, investigates what has gone wrong in the financial markets.

On a lighter note, this week saw the re-emergence of the entente cordiale. Cooperation was promised between the UK and France, on nuclear power among other areas of interest. The razzmatazz of the occasion meanwhile presented the UK press with a chance to fill their pages with the Nicolas and Carla show.

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Crude Oil Advances on Supply Concerns
Bomb attack hit crucial Iraqi pipeline
Chinese demand for oil up 6.2%
The strain of $100 oil for Gulf states
Cheney, Saudi King Abdullah Discuss Energy and Security Issues
Massive reserves at stake in Arctic oil claim
Guest Commentary: Dr. Michael R. Smith – Energyfiles
Even if 400 bn bbls of oil lay under the Arctic Ocean (which I doubt) it has no practical value and is irrelevant to the peak oil debate.

It won’t be exploited for several decades – if at all – for a combination of political, environmental, commercial and technological reasons.

Energyfiles – http://www.energyfiles.com/

Hutton sings nuclear power’s praises
Hutton’s nuclear fantasy
Cheney disputes Iran’s nuclear goals
Nuclear pact
Russia-Egypt nuclear deal signed
Nuclear energy must for energy security: PM

Biofuels: a solution that became part of the problem
Shell hopes for sweet smell of success
Buyers drill deep for Shell biofuels group

Diverting food products to make biofuels is foolish: Indian finance chief
Guest Commentary: Lester R. Brown – Earth Policy Institute
From rice in Peru to miso in Japan, food prices are rising
Threat to millions as food aid scheme runs out of money
USAID reviewing food aid as costs soar
Nestle head warns biofuels will damage food production

U.S. to propose CO2 rules this spring: EPA head
Antarctic shelf ‘hangs by thread’

King pledges more cash to help banks’ liquidity
Guest Commentary: Professor Janette Rutterford, Professor of Financial Management, Open University Business School
Mortgage rates lifted as lenders feel pain
CBI Reduces U.K. Economic Growth Forecast for 2008
Earnings hit as US economy near stalling

“Entente Formidable” as UK and France move to strengthen ties
‘More help needed’ for fuel poor
Further £100 rise in energy bills looms
Soaring demand pushes price of diesel to record level

Moscow denies BP is target