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ODAC Newsletter - Mar 26

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 UK government took a step closer to acknowledging peak oil this week. A summit of invited participants, which took place at the Energy Institute in London on Monday, discussed with members of DECC and the Department of Transport not "whether Peak Oil would occur but rather how soon and in what form." This is a huge swing from the government's April 2009 position that "With sufficient investment, the government does not believe that global oil production will peak between now and 2020, and consequently we do not have any contingency plans specific to a peak in oil production." and reflects the growing consensus around an issue that was, when ODAC was founded in 2001, considered 'fringe'. For more detail on the summit see commentary from participants Chris Skrebowski, ODAC trustee, and Rob Hopkins of Transition Network.

While debate begins on what to do about peak oil in the UK, another report was released this week highlighting the severity of the issue. The report The status of conventional world oil reserves—Hype or cause for concern? from Oxford University claims that current global oil reserves have been exaggerated by a third, largely due to the "open secret" that OPEC reserves are inflated (OPEC production quotas are based on reserve figures). The report concludes that supply constraints could come as early as 2014 - which concurs with the recent ITPOES report and even warnings from the IEA of an oil crunch once the global economy returns to growth.

Warnings of such an imminent crisis, along with the additional pressures for the UK of declining tax revenue from oil production and rising import costs, put the friendly meeting at the Energy Institute this week into perspective. We are finally seeing the stirrings of political change with regard to energy both from Labour, and from the Conservatives whose green paper on energy released last week moves away from the free market approach and gives a nod to peak oil in its section on transport. This change however still lacks the urgency and depth of approach required for a crisis which is both so close, and potentially so far reaching. We only need to remember back two years to see that high oil prices do more than put up the price of petrol. Remember headlines about food price inflation, rising raw material costs, stretched budgets for service providers, fuel related crime, economic contraction? Time for an even more significant policy shift!

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

Energy minister will hold summit to calm rising fears over peak oil

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Government 'Peak Oil Summit' Starts the Process of Government Acknowledging Peak Oil?

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Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third'

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Oil Rises for First Day in Three on Weaker Dollar, Asia Demand

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Iraq

Iraq parliamentary election recount 'unnecessary'

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Gas

Seeking Lower Fuel Costs, Ukraine May Sell Pipelines

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TNK-BP set to sell Kovykta gas field

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Scousers could save us from the Russians

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Electricity

Venezuelan electricity crisis deepens

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Nuclear

Budget 2010: Consumers face levy on energy bills to pay for nuclear plants

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British Energy sale to French was a poor deal, MPs conclude

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The nuclear debate: waste plans attacked

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Tories plan new nuclear power plant every 18 months

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Renewables

General Electric to build offshore wind manufacturing plant in UK

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Windfarms are stricken by the British refusal to share

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Wind farms produce 'fifth of expected electricity'

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Alternative energy : Smoothing out the wind

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UK

Peak oil tax? UK oil & gas tax take at all time low

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Alistair Darling's recipe for an eco-bank is short of one ingredient – cash

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What happened to Tories and the free market?

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Climate

Nicolas Sarkozy under fire after carbon tax plan shelved

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Spin, science and climate change

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Transport

U.S. Fuel Economy Rules to Be Finished by April 1

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Smart grid needed to power UK's electric car dream

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