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.

With Shell and Conoco posting Q4 losses this week, the impact of the global slump on the energy industry is becoming apparent. Both the international and national oil companies are feeling the strain as revenues fall and credit dries up. Those international oil majors which are able to use the huge profits of recent years to strengthen their position may find access to reserves opening up as more national companies look to attract investment options. There is however broad agreement that many new projects need an oil price of around $70 to make sense, a price which would likely further depress the weak global economy.

Low oil prices are also having a dampening effect on the renewables sector. In the UK, a much vaunted green energy future has still failed to materialize. This week’s announcement of the shortlist of schemes for the Severn Estuary was to some extent overshadowed by news that London’s Array project is on an economic knife-edge. While the viability of large renewables projects are compared to nuclear and coal schemes without building in the environmental costs, the economics will remain skewed. It appears that Ed Miliband recognizes that the market alone cannot create the radical change that is required to build the energy system of the future. It remains to be seen whether the government has the nerve to impose the necessary carbon cost to tilt the balance in the midst of what is now officially the worst downturn since WWII.

A surprising lead in energy demand reduction was taken this week by the NHS. In a refreshing and bold approach to the challenge of creating a low carbon NHS, the Head of the NHS Sustainability Unit Dr David Pencheon stated that “This is not just about doing things more efficiently, it’s about doing things differently, because efficiency is not going to get us to big cuts” – are you listening Ed?

Oil below $42 on global economic woes
National groups bear brunt of change
Shell profits hits record $31bn despite fall in oil price
Oil falls push ConocoPhillips $32bn into red
Oil services firm cuts 5,000 jobs
Energy chiefs say oil price must rise to ensure supply
Gaddafi threat to nationalise energy assets
OPEC Achieves Cuts in Output, Halting Price Slide

EU pipeline scheme gains momentum
EU spending spree brings carbon capture closer to reality

Barrage plan makes Severn estuary energy shortlist
Scepticism grows over the viability of green projects
Flush hour: Oslo to run buses powered by biomethane from human sewage
Extra 7,000 offshore wind turbines could power most British homes
UK looks on from sidelines at green energy summit
Obama Green-Energy Dream May Lag Development Pace of Bush Years

Miliband faces energy dilemma
Gas chief warns of energy crunch
Hospitals will take meat off menus in bid to cut carbon
Airlines suffer mass slump in passengers and cargo
Bank of England to use £50bn of taxpayers’ money to ease credit crunch