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ODAC Newsletter - Sep 4

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.

BP announced this week that it has made a ‘giant’ oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. The find, which boosted the company’s shares, will require new feats of technology to exploit as the well is, at 35,055 feet, one of the deepest ever drilled. BP has overcome significant challenges before so the long-term prospects of the discovery are good, however with annual depletion rates of existing global reserves running at 6.7% many more finds of this size would need to be found and brought into production simply to replace existing output.

While BP celebrates its new discovery, other oil corporations will have been disappointed this week with Brazilian President da Silva’s plans to make the state run company Petrobras the sole operator for the entire pre-salt oil fields. The bill which would also give Petrobras a minimum 30% stake in each block has yet to pass congress but would further tip the scales in the global oil industry toward state owned companies at the expense of multinationals.

In the UK this week a regular look through the energy pages in the Daily Telegraph could leave you feeling rather dazed and confused. Should you upgrade your car for ‘a new era of cheap energy’ or buy candles ready for ‘Blackout Britain’?

George Trefgarne’s article entitled ‘A new cheap era of energy approaches’ extrapolates US success in exploitation of tight gas and OPEC spare capacity to herald a great new dawn for cheap energy. For analysis on tight gas and premature triumphalism see Richard Miller’s Guest Commentary.

The flip side is a series of articles published this week on Blackout Britain which warn about impending rolling blackouts across the UK due, not to any resource constraints (indeed we are informed that “The world is swimming on a sea of oil, natural gas is being found in increasing abundance, there is more coal in the ground than the world can ever consume, and nuclear energy has been proved a safe and reliable, if expensive, source of power.”) but to the low carbon energy policies of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. While ODAC has frequently warned about gaps in government energy policy due to complacency with regard to future oil and gas supply, these latest pieces (which have almost identical twins in the Daily Mail complete with blackout images from the seventies) have the whiff of politics, climate change scepticism and business interests behind them. After all, if resource constraints are the stuff of deluded doomsters then the government’s plan to move to a low carbon future via gas as the transition fuel would look pretty solid. Indeed with all this cheap gas why bother with nuclear at all? Comparisons with the seventies are fashionable, but when it comes to energy they are misleading.

Disclaimers

Oil

Crude Oil Is Set for Weekly Decline as OPEC May Maintain Output

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BP hails 'giant' oil find

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Giant oil find by BP reopens debate about oil supplies

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Lula Oil Rules to Stir ‘Intense Debate’ as Lawmakers Vow Delays

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PetroChina Agrees Biggest North America Acquisition

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India hungry for foreign oil despite home finds

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Gas

A new age of cheap energy approaches

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US natural gas store may near capacity

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Russia lets Ukraine slash gas purchases

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Renewables

US utilities hit as consumers go green

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China tightens its grip on technological future

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Solar power's bright future in Japan : Land of the rising subsidy

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UK

Britain faces a blackout and politicians are to blame

Climate

Climate camp targets BP oil plan

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China’s high price for emission cuts

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Man-made eruptions – 'Plan B' in the battle for the planet

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Economy

Keep spending - Darling warns G20 against complacency

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Indian economy continues to grow

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Millions more Russians shunted into poverty

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Airline losses 'hit $1bn a month'

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