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ODAC Newsletter - May 28

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.

Good and bad news from the Gulf of Mexico. Operation 'top kill' appears to be holding the hydrocarbons down, as ODAC News goes to press, but officials estimate the leak was much bigger than BP claimed and now ranks as the worst in US history. The impact on drilling around the US offshore is expanding, yet President Obama seems to want to exploit the disaster to steer energy policy in a more progressive direction.

Earlier this week the pressure on both BP and the Obama administration intensified as they struggled to deal with the disaster and to determine its causes. Briefing Congress on Tuesday, BP blamed the accident on a number of failures, including pressure tests and concrete seals. On Thursday CEO Tony Hayward admitted "We let people down", but denied the accident was caused by cost cutting.

The same day President Obama was forced do defend his handling of the crisis at a special press conference. He also extended the moratorium on new deepwater drilling to cover planned exploration off the Atlantic Coast and Alaska pending the Presidential commission into the spill. But in a speech at a solar plant in California he appeared to put the disaster to good use. The increased risks and increased costs of deepwater drilling "gives you a sense of where we're going", he said, "we're not going to be able to sustain this kind of fossil fuel use". If America can see beyond the BP-Transocean-Halliburton blame game, there may be an opportunity here to build political momentum towards an escape from fossil fuels.

In the UK this week the new government set out its programme for the coming parliament. An energy bill was promised which will "improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses, to promote low carbon energy production and to secure energy supplies." If a recent report by The Offshore Valuation Group, a coalition of government and industry groups, is to be believed, then the UK should prosper in the new energy environment.

The group was convened to answer the question 'What is the value of our offshore renewable energy resource?' and its report likens the potential of UK off-shore renewables to the North Sea oil boom of the 1970's. Harnessing just 29% of the available resource with existing technologies could produce the equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil/year, they say, and make the UK an electricity exporter by 2050. The report acknowledges that making the technologies cost competitive will require government support. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is reportedly an enthusiastic supporter of wind power, so the timing of this report is good as he negotiates with his Tory coalition partners.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

President Obama: Fed Gov't in Charge of Efforts to Contain Oil Spill, Not BP

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BP Begins 'Top Kill' Effort to Plug Leaking Oil Well in Gulf

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BP Cites Crucial 'Mistake'

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Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead

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Lloyd's syndicates launch legal action over BP insurance claim

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BP could freeze shareholder payout for three years, say City experts

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Oil Jumps More Than $2 as China Reaffirms Support for Europe

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Debt crisis will cut global oil demand

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EIA: World Energy Use Up 49% By 2035, Led By Emerging Nations

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Rising Drilling Costs Mean $90 Crude in 2018: Energy Markets

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Gas

Shale gas more of a hit in U.S. than Europe

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Natural gas takes breeze from wind energy's sails

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Shale Gas Costing 2/3 Less Than OPEC Oil Incites Water Concern

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Nuclear

Spiraling Costs Threaten International Fusion Reactor Project

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Renewables

Offshore energy report could dash defeatist arguments against the rocks

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Mixed messages on offshore wind's future

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European Dream of Desert Energy Takes Shape

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Biofuels

EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard in the Legal Crosshairs

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UK

Queen's speech: Plans for a new energy bill announced

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'Smart' appliances to ensure a smooth power supply

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Green services face axe in coalition savings plan

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Arbitration sought on North Sea pipe costs

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Climate

EU stops short of recommending 30% cut in emissions by 2020

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Transport

Electric cars 'won't cut global warming emissions'

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Turning all cars electric in Britain needs boost in power supply

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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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