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.

After a week of claims and counter claims, signatures and retractions by Russia and the Ukraine the gas dispute continued, leaving much of Eastern Europe still without gas supplies. The extended stoppage led on Thursday to the International Energy Agency (IEA) stripping Russia of its status as a reliable energy supplier. Hopes for a resolution are now focused on an EU brokered meeting at the weekend.

The ongoing gas dispute once again focuses attention on Europe’s dependence on Russia. In addition it has served to demonstrate how quickly environmental concerns are jettisoned when countries are faced with an energy supply shortage. Slovakia’s decision to start up its condemned Soviet era nuclear plant in order to maintain power supplies may be copied by Bulgaria. The situation underlines the urgent need to diversify power sources now before peak oil and gas lead to reactive measures – a course of action which according to a report this week from Energy Watch Group is being hindered by IEA misinformation.

Both the EIA and OPEC further reduced their 2009 oil consumption predictions this week in response to the continually worsening economic outlook. The EIA now predicts global demand to be 810,000 barrels/day less than 2008 despite growth in China and India. In the face of this, OPEC production cuts have not yet caused a price recovery despite confirmation by Saudi Arabia that it will cut production beyond its agreed quota and news that other countries may be prepared to cut production still further.

In the UK this week, evidence that the government is still in peak oil denial came in the form of an announcement on Thursday that Heathrow is to get a third runway. This decision indicates an underlying assumption that beyond the current economic crisis lies a future of unfettered growth where the only limits will be those which we choose to impose on ourselves in order to offset the spectre of climate change. The battles over the project will continue well beyond this announcement, but if built the third runway may in the future be the symbol which serves to exemplify the lack of foresight of our generation.

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EIA lowers 2009 world oil demand forecast
Saudi to pump below OPEC target, ready to cut more
Falling oil prices force Statoil to cut exploration
Frontline Says Ships Storing the Most Oil in 20 Years
Oil giant comes in from the cold
PetroChina Parent, Iran Sign $1.76 Billion Oil Pact, Mehr Says
Fresh Uganda oil find ‘Africa’s biggest’
Oil industry lifted by falling costs

Russia no longer ‘reliable’ energy supplier
Dispute leaves Europe vulnerable
UK gas prices rise as Russian dispute continues

Nuclear fears as danger plant is reopened in gas war with Russia
Germans to invest £20bn in new UK nuclear plants

Plugging Britain’s green energy gap
‘Green’ energy market to grow to £50bn
International Energy Agency ‘blocking global switch to renewables’
Keep the home fires burning
Waste leads £30bn energy revolution

Heathrow airport to get third runway, Geoff Hoon announces
Plans to increase Britain’s gas storage capacity left in tatters by credit crunch
UK economy downturn ‘frightening’

UK airports see dip in passenger numbers
Affordable electric car to ‘hit streets in 2012’
Shipping rates hit zero as trade sinks