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ODAC Newsletter - Dec 11

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.

In a commentary published in The Times this week to coincide with the Copenhagen climate talks, Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency wrote that on existing energy demand projections “the world faces the prospect of a peak in conventional oil production in about 2020.” Contrary to assertions in the Economist, which is routinely wrong about oil, this is not a new position for Mr Birol, but echoes both recent interviews and the 2008 World Energy Outlook (WEO). Dr Birol calls on governments to cut climate emissions by improving energy efficiency and decarbonising energy supplies, a call that ODAC wholeheartedly endorses. However, we fear that IEA forecasts of future conventional and non-conventional oil production remain highly optimistic, feeding a dangerous false sense of security amongst the governments that rely on them.

Among other questionable assumptions, the IEA’s forecast to 2030 relies on a near tripling of production in Iraq. Friday sees the next round of bidding for contracts to develop the country’s vast but under-exploited oil resources. The last auction, held in June, resulted in only one deal as oil companies played poker with the government over contract pricing. Friday’s sale is widely expected to be more successful as oil companies try to get their foot in the door before elections to be held next March. The current government is keen to strike deals, but companies will need to weigh the risk that contracts agreed now might not be honoured by the next administration. A series of 5 car bombs on Tuesday which killed and wounded hundreds of people provided a stark reminder that Iraq still presents appalling security risks.

In the UK this week the government released its pre-budget report setting out fiscal policy for the coming year. The package, which saw a number of tax increases aimed at reducing the budget deficit, also contained a smattering of ‘green’ measures including a boiler scrappage scheme, tax advantages for micro power generation to supplement feed in tariffs - when they finally arrive - and an extension of the rail electrification programme. The measures are welcome but still show nothing of the urgency that is going to be required to seriously address peak oil or reduce emissions.

Join us! Become a member of the ODAC Newsgathering Network. Can you regularly commit to checking a news source for stories related to peak oil, energy depletion, their implications and responses to the issues? If you are checking either a daily or weekly news source and would have time to add articles to our database, please contact us for more details.

Oil

Crude Oil Declines to Two-Month Low on Ample U.S. Supplies

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2020 vision

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Pemex Cantarell Oil Output to Drop Least in 5 Years

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Mexico hedges against falling oil prices

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Saudi Arabia’s Al-Naimi Says Oil Price Is ‘Perfect’

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Iraq

SCENARIOS-Will Iraq honour deals with oil majors after polls?

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Pump It Up: The Development of Iraq's Oil Reserves

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Iraq insurgents try to blast elections off course

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Gas

Russian Will Lead Gas Exporting Alliance

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China's Hu to woo Central Asia energy suppliers

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Aramco Drills Record Number of Wells, Adds Gas Output

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Economic chill delays work on Gazprom’s giant Arctic gasfield

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Coal

North Sea coal to be burnt underground

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Electricity

Industry looks to green electric future

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Electricity bills to rise to fund network repair

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Renewables

Blowing in the wind

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California gives green light to space solar power

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Biofuels

Nitrous oxide concerns cloud future of biofuels

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UK

Scrappage scheme unveiled for home boilers

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Pre-Budget Report 2009: tax breaks to boost North Sea oil

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UK trade gap widens unexpectedly

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Climate

Power generation is the key to avoiding global catastrophe

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'Climategate' at centre stage as Copenhagen opens

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‘Draft text’ triggers Copenhagen furore

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Transport

Rail electrification given surprise boost

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Heathrow’s third runway passes the carbon test

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