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ODAC Newsletter - May 7

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 news was dominated this week by the race against time to stem the flow of oil from the Transocean Deepwater rig disaster, and the potentially devastating ecological impact of the spill. BP's mitigation effort has been painfully slow to watch, and once again placed a spotlight on the high risk world of deepwater oil extraction.

Initial political fallout came on Friday with President Obama announcing a moratorium on offshore drilling until a safety review can be carried out. However previously announced plans to expand the areas open to offshore drilling are now likely to face renewed opposition. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger captured the mood as he quickly moved to withdraw his support for drilling off the California coast stating "Why would we want to take that kind of risk?" Jeff Rubin picked up this theme in his article comparing the current disaster to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and predicting the end of all deepwater drilling.

A more likely scenario is described by Timothy Egan in the New York Times – his conclusion is that memories are short and drilling will continue. Indeed even greater risks are likely to be taken as companies move to drill in remote areas like the Arctic. In the end, when filling up the car most people don't ask themselves Arnie's question, and focus on the price at the pump.

What financial price BP will pay remains to be seen. Analysts warned this week that the disaster could cost the company as much £15bn and put its shares behind those of its competitors for the "lasting" future. If the legacy of the Exxon Valdez spill is anything to go by however, it is likely to be the Gulf Coast economy which will bear the more lasting effects.

As ODAC goes to print, uncertainty still surrounds the outcome of the UK election. The Tories have the majority of seats, the question is whether they can make it a working majority. Should they form the next government, then on paper they have some strong energy policies — most notably putting a floor under the carbon price. The question is whether they have the resolve to make this a meaningful measure rather than bowing to energy company pressure.

Oil

BP is drilling itself into deep water

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Obama halts new offshore drilling but defends plan

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California's Schwarzenegger turns against oil drilling

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Oil disaster may prove tipping point for world oil production

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Groundhog Day for Oil

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Gulf oil spill yet to affect consumers' gas choice

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BP 'facing £15bn loss' over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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Oil falls below $77, down $10 in the past week

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Greenland Oil Rush Looms as Exxon Eyes Cairn's Bet

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Falklands oil firm Rockhopper claims discover

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$150 oil: Who will be worst hit, and who will benefit?

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Russian special forces storm oil tanker, arrest Somali pirates

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Renewables

Offshore windfarms to be used for air defence

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Google invests in US windfarms

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UK

UK expects to win reprieve on EU emissions plans

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UK power plants win four-year stay of execution from EU

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Soaring Oil Price Pushes Up Cost Of Food

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UK refineries up for sale at worst of times

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Climate

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell record 7% last year

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Politics

President Yar'Adua's death may spark power struggle in oil-rich Nigeria

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Economy

China's Energy Use Gets More Intense

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Greece crisis: 'Contagion risk' for UK & Europe banks

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Transport

United Airlines and Continental merge to create world's biggest operator

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Carmakers pump up production

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Editorial Notes: The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) is an independent, UK-registered educational charity working to raise international public awareness and promote better understanding of the world's oil-depletion problem.

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