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.

2009 came in with an icy blast – and not just in the weather. Russia’s decision to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine as part of their long-running payment dispute led to gas shortages in Europe and recriminations all round. Energy Secretary Ed Miliband insisted the UK will feel little impact, even as gas supply shortfalls spread to France and Germany. But with UK North Sea gas production declining at 8.7% per year, and with much less storage capacity than in continental Europe, Britain’s energy security looks increasingly fragile.

The arrival of the New Year has done nothing to lift the economic mood. Both Alastair Darling and Gordon Brown now admit that the UK recession will last longer than they expected. On Thursday the Bank of England cut the base rate to a record low of 1.5% and further emergency fiscal measures look increasingly likely. The thrust of the policy still appears to be to get the British public to start spending again. This buy now, pay later policy will surely look horribly expensive as escalating public debt coincides with rising energy prices and import dependency in years to come.

Such is the economic gloom that even Israel’s invasion of Gaza and evidence that OPEC production cuts are beginning to bite failed to sustain the oil price. On Wednesday unexpectedly high US crude inventory figures gave the market its biggest daily drubbing since 9/11. Happy New Year!

Jump in crude supplies drags oil price lower
Canadian oil-sand mines stuck as crude price plummets
Iran cuts oil output by 545,000 barrels a day
Conditions ripe for reshuffle in energy sector
Norway Sees Oil Production Falling 9.7% This Year
China sees imports at 60 pct of oil use by 2020
Japan and China in dispute over undersea oil fields
Iraq bid to attract more international oil companies
Oil firm goes into administration

Brussels to host emergency talks as tens of thousands lose heating in their homes
Dependence on Russian energy places Europe at risk
Europe’s plan for alternative pipeline faces big problems
Ed Miliband plays down impact on UK of Russia-Ukraine gas dispute
NuclearEDF calls on UK to declare nuclear need

Green revolution stalls on cheap oil
Severn barrage: Row breaks out over UK’s biggest renewables project

Darling in new alert on depth of recession
Bank cuts interest rate to all-time low of 1.5%
UK motor production to fall by 20 per cent in year of ‘carnage’