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ODAC Newsletter - Feb 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.

The mood amongst oil company executives meeting in London this week for the Petroleum Week conference was largely bullish, with global oil demand expected to recover this year as the world economy crawls out of recession. But the production side of the equation is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive.

It is also becoming clear, as ODAC has long argued, that energy security concerns are undermining the environmental agenda. In the US, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) lobby group, tried to overturn California state legislation that effectively rules out the use of oil from the tar sands. At the same time, President Obama’s attempts to get cap and trade legislation through Congress took a blow as Conoco Phillips and BP withdrew from the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a business lobby group supporting the legislation. BP meanwhile is pushing ahead with its oil sands programme despite recent investor protest, indeed the company is rumoured to be about to buy a further stake in the region. In the UK it emerged that RWE and EoN have been holding private talks with the Conservative Party aimed at extending deadlines on some of the coal and oil plants which are set to close under EU pollution directives.

The climate is not the only thing to suffer from our thirst for energy. A report by the non-profit agency ActionAid Meals per gallon - The impact of industrial biofuels on people and global hunger, claims that current EU 10% renewable targets for transport are already causing competition for agricultural land, and stoking food inflation and hunger. In 2009, 25% of the US grain harvest was used for biofuel, and the proportion is set to rise further, perhaps sparking a repeat of the food riots of 2008. The report also claims that jatropha, a crop which had been hailed as an answer to the land conflict as it could be grown on marginal land, has so far failed proved a failure.

The political challenge around energy was summed up well this week by Dave Pollard of the UK Association of Electricity Producers when he said “They are concerned about power cuts. You will lose a lot more votes if the lights go out than if you are not quite as green as you said you were going to be.” This attitude however hides the truth that a short-term approach to replacing oil and other fossil fuels now will undoubtedly store up huge crises for the not too distant future.

Oil

Oil industry more upbeat, but challenges remain

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Barrels in Reserve but Harder to Get

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Oil groups mount legal challenge to Schwarzenegger's tar sands ban

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BP pushing ahead with Canada oil sands project despite investor and environmentalist anger

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Canada looks to China to exploit oil sands rejected by US

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BP pulls out of emissions reduction coalition

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Black gold may be there, but bringing it to market is another matter

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Drilling Bans to Cost U.S. $2.36 Trillion, Industry Study Says

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Crude Oil Falls as Dollar Gains on Fed’s Discount Rate Increase

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Saudi Arabia Says Peak Demand for Oil Is an ‘Alarm’

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Gas

Trouble on the Russian front as BP offshoot faces loss of big gasfield

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Gas drillers find a welcome mat in New York state

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Q+A-Environmental fears over U.S. shale gas drilling

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Nuclear

Obama in nuclear energy push

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EDF warned of ‘massive’ reactor bill

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Sellafield is like BP's Texas City before the fire, says NDA's boss

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Biofuels

Seeds of discontent: the 'miracle' crop that has failed to deliver

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Controversy mounts in EU over fall-out from biofuel

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British Airways to fly jets on green fuel made from London's rubbish by 2014

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UK

Energy giants turn up the heat for dirty power

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New £600m gas storage caverns will handle just five days' demand

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Old salt caverns could be used for gas

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Geopolitics

Kazakhstan threatens contracts in tax move

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Argentina imposes shipping rules in Falklands oil row

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