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ODAC Newsletter - June 4

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.

As the leaking Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico continues to defy BP's efforts, the crisis now looks existential for the company. This week the share price collapsed further, and commentary went far beyond the usual concerns over the fate of the chief executive and the dividend. One Clinton era official even suggested taking BP's US assets into temporary administration. "It's got the real smell of death" said Dougie Youngson, an oil analyst at Arbuthnot, "This could break BP". Takeover talk swirls the market but that course would be fraught for any bidder. It could only go through if the disaster liabilities were utterly ring-fenced, which would be political dynamite in a country baying for retribution.

President Obama appears to be taking advantage of the moment to push for a transition away from fossil fuels. In a speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday he pointed out that the inherent risks will increase the harder oil extraction becomes. He pledged to roll back oil industry tax breaks and prioritise climate change legislation. Such talk may be popular now, but if this translates into increased prices at the pump, the cheers will quickly turn to jeers.

The broader meaning of the crisis is clear. The easy oil is gone, and impending peak oil pushes the industry to ever more extreme limits. The moratorium of deepwater drilling in the Gulf will probably hasten and worsen the oil supply crunch widely forecast for the middle of this decade.

In the UK this week Energy & Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne described his department as "not so much the department of energy and climate change, as the department of nuclear legacy and bits of other things," as he pointed out a pending £4bn "black hole" in his budget due to nuclear decommissioning costs. "What we are effectively paying for here is decades of cheap nuclear electricity for which we have suddenly got a massive post-dated bill", he said.

His remarks coincided with a story in the Guardian revealed intensive lobbying by EDF of the previous administration over its proposals for nuclear waste management. The new government's policy against any industry-specific support for nuclear looks ever more sensible.

Oil

As well spews in Gulf, Obama makes climate bill a priority

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Gulf of Mexico oil spill: Barack Obama to rescind billions of dollars in 'Big Oil' tax breaks

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Gulf oil spill: BP could face ban as US launches criminal investigation

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BP Places Cap Over Leaking Gulf Oil Well, U.S. Says

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Why America should thank BP

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Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it

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BP's behaviour in the Gulf is appalling. But our thirst for oil is the real issue

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78 months and counting ...

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Barreling Toward Peak Oil

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Oil Trades Near $74, Set for Second Weekly Gain, on U.S. Demand

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Production Costs Climb for Canadian Oil Sands, Companies Say

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Gas

China lifts natgas prices in long-awaited reform

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Shell expands US shale gas reserves with $4.7bn purchase of East Resources

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Struggle for Central Asian energy riches

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Turkmenistan starts new gas pipeline to West

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Coal

Plans for first coal power plant since 1970s

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Nuclear

Chris Huhne warns of £4bn black hole in nuclear power budget

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EDF ran secret lobbying campaign to reduce nuclear waste disposal levy

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Nuclear giants stockpile fuel while price is cheap

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Renewables

Figuring land use into renewable-energy equation

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UK

Who pays for UK coalition's 'green economy'?

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Government review to examine threat of world resources shortage

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Climate

EU plans green taxes to cut debt

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2010 on track to become warmest year ever

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Economy

Commodities' Biggest Drop Since Lehman Bear Signal

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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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