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.

These days any news that is not-as-bad-as-expected counts as good news. On this basis, oil prices jumped back up above $50/barrel on Thursday following reports from the EIA that US oil stockpiles had only increased by 1.65 million barrels rather than the 6.94 million reported by the American Petroleum Institute the previous day.

With the oil price roughly half the average price in 2008, the oil majors are now beginning to squeeze oilfield service companies, demanding lower prices and cutting back on investment. The global rig count is now at its lowest since April 2006, and this slump in activity threatens to worsen the likely price spike whenever demand growth returns.

The outlook for renewables investment is just as alarming, despite much talk of a new green era. According to New Energy Finance, global funding for renewables in the first quarter of 2009 was down 53% against Q1 2008. The British Wind Energy Association said this week that without government support 2020 renewables targets will not be met. The industry has been hit by a triple-whammy of tight finance, falling energy prices and rising component costs because of the weak pound.

While the UK is struggling to meet its renewable targets and to fill the looming power gap, there are already plans afoot for new uses of electricity. Both Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson this week announced their intentions to lead the UK in an electric car revolution. Here at last is a policy which can be sold as ‘green’ without fear of losing a significant numbers of votes. Whether it can make a significant difference in time for either peak oil or climate change however is another matter.

Oil Rises After U.S. Government Shows Smaller Gain in Supply
BP, Total Tell Suppliers to Cut Costs Up to 40% Amid $50 Oil
Oil and Gas May Rise on ‘Slingshot’ Effect as Credit Idles Rigs
Theory of oil-shock recession
Shell faces Alberta oil sands dispute
Armies around the world go green to save fuel – and lives

Gulf giants keep UK’s gas flowing

National Grid hopes to plug into Obama’s millions

Nuclear is not an easy option but the alternative could be a ‘cold, dark night’
A £1bn nuclear white elephant

Green energy targets will not be met without government aid
UK hopes Europe can save offshore wind farm
Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama’s Green Lead
In search of Lithium: The battle for the 3rd element
Interior secretary: Wind could replace coal power

UK climate policy not up to scratch, warns CBI
Brown’s electric dream for Britain
Mayor unveils plan to turn London into ‘electric car capital of Europe’
Pay more to emit