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ODAC Newsletter - June 19

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.

Oil prices remained relatively stable for most of the week despite rising tensions in Iran in the wake of the hotly contested landslide election victory of President Ahmadinejad. Iran is the world’s fourth largest oil producer but as yet the markets appear untroubled.

Political tensions are also rife in neighbouring Iraq where Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani is under fire over his plans for the country’s oil assets. The Iraqi government is desperately short of cash to exploit its huge natural wealth and needs to balance control of future revenues with attracting investment and expertise now. There is no shortage of interested parties to provide this assistance as foreign oil companies queue up for some part in what is surely the biggest piece of action left on the planet. How secure their investment will be in this politically unstable and hostile environment remains to be seen.

How important oil was in triggering UK involvement in the Iraq war may become more apparent as part of an inquiry which Gordon Brown announced this week. During his statement Gordon Brown said that “Significant challenges remain - including that of finding a fair and sustainable solution to the sharing of Iraq's oil revenues - but Iraq's future is now in its own hands, in the hands of its people and its politicians.” The inquiry will cover both the run up to the war and the subsequent operations - initial plans to hold it in private are being hastily revised but raise scepticism that anything meaningful will be revealed.

A draft report addressing January’s European gas crisis, caused by the stand-off between Russia and Ukraine, calls for greater powers for the European Commission to coordinate gas flows. It is by no means certain that the proposals will be approved as countries are reluctant to hand over their energy security. On the other hand the dispute is by no means over and concern over a repeat of the crisis remains, something which Gazprom’s announcement this week of possible investment delays will do nothing to allay. Former dissident and Czech President Vaclav Havel warned against Russian domination saying that “It would be better to take care of the problem by ourselves, than to be forced to do so by someone else turning off the tap.”

Oil
Crude ignores Iran effect
Oil Rises a Second Day After Nigerian Militants Attack Pipeline
Why oil is on the rise again
Oil prices will be driven upwards by the needs of developing nations
Rising oil prices will buy off democracy
'We are fighting for our lives and our dignity'

Iraq
Iraqi Oil Minister accused of mother of all sell-outs
Rush for ‘easiest oil in the world’
Some sessions of Iraq war inquiry could be public

Gas
Gazprom may delay key field due to low gas demand
Reject Russia’s Energy ‘Blackmail’, Vaclav Havel Urges Europe
EU executive demands new powers in gas crises

Electricity
Tax on electricity to fund carbon capture plan
Green 'supergrid' could plug Europe into renewable power by 2030, say scientists

Renewables
Sunnier times ahead for solar energy as MPs back tariff boost for photovoltaic power

UK
Public borrowing hits record high of £20bn
Oil prices could hold back recession recovery, warns Chancellor
North Sea oil would not keep Scotland out of the red claim
Manchester's manure to fill gas grid from 2011

Economy
The recession tracks the Great Depression
BA chief warns that worst of recession is still to come

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