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ODAC Newsletter - Feb 12

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.

The recession has bought us two years, but an oil supply crisis is still on track for 2015. That’s the message of The Oil Crunch, the second report from the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES). The launch of the report, attended by Sir Richard Branson and even a senior civil servant from DECC, received widespread press, with articles everywhere from the British red-tops to Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. Hard on the heels of last year’s UKERC report and last week’s warnings on UK energy security from Ofgem, even mainstream commentators are now forced to treat peak oil with more than their customary brush off.

The ITPOES report refers to gas as the ‘wild card’ in future energy supply. This week Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Gazprom, sought to assure Europe that gas was much more than that. Aligning himself with other energy company bosses, Medvedev recommended gas as the fuel with which to fight climate change – he went as far as to say that “We at Gazprom believe gas should be treated on an equal footing as renewables.” Well, as a famous English call-girl once said, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Russia is of course heavily reliant on gas for export earnings and geopolitical clout, and determined to beat off rising competition from LNG and ‘tight’ gas in the US. He may have a point about the important role of gas in climate mitigation in the short term, but to suggest it should be treated as a renewable is laughably self-serving. In the circumstances it might be wise to seek a second opinion.

The main focus of The Oil Crunch report is on the economic impact an oil shock would have on Britain. The timing of this message, just months before the general election, and the fact that the report - like ODAC - predicts a shock is likely to occur within the term of the next government, gives it added resonance.

The report also highlights the risks to Britain’s balance of payments of our growing reliance on fuel imports. As if to confirm the point, sterling took a tumble this week against the dollar, and even against the wobbly Euro, following an unexpected widening of the trade gap in January. As the buffer of fuel independence fades and public debt rises, the UK is haunted by the long forgotten economic ghosts of the 1970s. Time for urgent action!

Oil

Oil crunch 'just five years away'

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Society ignores the oil crunch at its peril

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Oil exploration costs rocket as risks rise

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IEA boosts oil outlook

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OPEC Raises Forecast Demand for Its Oil on Lower NGL Outlook

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Oil Falls on Dollar’s Gain, Forecasts for U.S. Supply

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The oil industry : Beyond the black stuff

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BP faces protest over oil sands development

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Gas

Scrap UK's wind farm plans, says Gazprom boss

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Gazprom scorns shale gas as 'danger to drinking water'

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European gas pipelines get green light

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Electricity

Chavez puts Venezuela under 'electricity emergency'

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Nuclear

Iran to start work on 20% nuclear fuel

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Germany's nuclear power debate refuses to go away

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Renewables

Pay £25 for a 'green' tariff or £1.49 for an energy saving lightbulb?

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Palm oil deal 'a threat to the rainforest'

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Areva targets solar power with US move

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Biofuels

If biofuels go, should we mourn them?

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Addressing the food versus fuel debate in Ghana

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UK

Joined-up thinking on transport demanded

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Green light for show homes to sell eco-town project

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New laws given to environmental bodies

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Economy

Markets target euro as doubt swirls over Greek rescue

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Britain's trade deficit widens unexpectedly

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