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ODAC Newsletter - July 16

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.

BP has reported that its latest attempt to cap the leak at its Macondo well has stopped the flow of oil into the ocean. The news has so far been greeted with cautious optimism while integrity testing on the cap continues. The development comes at the end of another torrid week for BP both at the site—where the capping attempt was delayed more than once, firstly to add extra safety checks, and then due to a leak in the new cap—and in Washington where the company's future operations face further challenges.

In Congress this week the house committee on natural resources voted in favour of excluding companies with a poor safety record from new offshore drilling licenses. The proposal, which still needs to pass several phases before coming law, would apply to companies which had experienced 10 or more deaths in the past 7 years at drilling, production facilities, or refineries, and where US health and environment laws have been broken. BP would be affected both due to the Deepwater Horizon and the 2005 Texas refinery explosion.

In a separate move, a group of US senators this week called for an investigation into whether BP was involved in helping secure the controversial early release of Ali al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber. BP quickly denied any role in the release, while confirming that it did press for a prisoner transfer agreement between the UK and Libya in 2007. The allegations will only further damage the reputation of the company in the US.

In addition to the environmental impact and the cost to the US Gulf economy, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the BP disaster is likely to have considerable fallout in the UK. As BP pays the costs of the oil spill in the coming years, the UK government stands to lose a chunk of the £900 million plus tax revenue it receives from the company just as the treasury has embarked on a massive programme of cuts to balance the budget. Also impacted are many UK pension funds which are heavily vested in BP making them vulnerable to the falling share price. In addition, some of the company's assets, such as the Forties Pipeline System in the North Sea are of significant strategic importance to the UK. In response the Department for Business and the Treasury is apparently drawing up contingency plans in the event of the failure of the company. BP meanwhile continues to state that it is sufficiently strong to survive. Q2 results will be released next week.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

BP Says Oil Flow Has Stopped as Cap Is Tested

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BP faces 7-year offshore drilling ban

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Obama renews ban on deepwater drilling

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BP admits 'lobbying UK over Libya prisoner transfer scheme but not Lockerbie bomb

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EU commissioner repeats drill ban call

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Crude Oil Poised for Second Weekly Gain on Equity Gain, Dollar

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Nigeria denies state oil firm NNPC bankrupt

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IEA forecasts slower oil demand growth in 2011

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Sudan oil row threatens peace ahead of referendum

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BP in talks with Apache over sale of giant oil field at Prudhoe Bay

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Brazil Starts New Libra Oil Well as Mechanical Problem Halts First Attempt

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Kazakh duty ruling rewrites oil terms

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Renewables

Spain overtakes US with world's biggest solar power station

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Sweden leads the European Union on renewable energy

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Stabilisers will let deep-sea wind turbines stand tall

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Biofuels

Algae to take off as weapon in fight against fuel cost

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UK

BP's Crisis Could Soon Become Great Britain's

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Spill costs to cut BP tax bill by $10bn

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Business warns on need for investment in energy

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Scientist urges government to address peak oil risk

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Stagecoach's electric hybrid buses launch in Oxford

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Climate

Rich countries to pay energy giants to build new coal-fired power plants

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Economy

China's economic growth rate slows to 10.3%

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Rio Tinto warns of double-dip recession

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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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