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ODAC Newsletter - Sep 10

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.

Wednesday saw the release of BP's Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation report – the company's version of the events that led to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. BP admits responsibility for some of the list of technical and human failures which it says led to the disaster, but also heaps blame on both the rig owners Transocean and contractors Halliburton. Both subcontractors claim the report contains inaccuracies. At stake are billions of dollars of additional fines should BP be found guilty of gross negligence, which is less likely if it can persuade the US courts that other companies were also at fault.

Also released this week were the results of an US Interior Department investigation into the agency in charge of off-shore drilling. The agency, formerly known as the Minerals Management Service and now as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, was found to have been overwhelmed, underfunded and often lacking in the training and expertise necessary to do its job. US Energy Secretary Ken Salazaar said that the report would be used as a blueprint to transform the agency. What this will mean in reality with regard to permits for increasingly risky oil exploration to greater depths and in the Arctic remains to be seen.

In the UK an Energy and Climate Change Select Committee hearing on deep water drilling heard evidence this week from Paul King head of Transocean. This coincided with the release of a damaging report about a culture of bullying and intimidation at the company. The UK oil industry argues that the US disaster shouldn't mean drilling restrictions here as the regulatory and safety record has been strong. The latest round of North Sea oil blocks includes controversial deepwater blocks off Shetland. Despite industry assurances though recent Health and Safety Executive figures showed a marked increase in "major and significant" oil leaks which are regarded as "potential precursors to a major incident".

BBC's One Planet programme ran a feature on peak oil this week which included commentary from ODAC trustees Richard Miller and David Strahan. The piece also included an interview with IEA Chief Economist of the IEA Fatih Birol in which he described the situation as "definitely depressing, more than depressing, I would say alarming..." (see full quote on our Peak Oil Quotes page). There is nothing factually new in the interview, but it would surely be difficult for any government minister listening to this to conclude that it justifies a position that oil supplies are secure out to 2030.

Oil

BP Says Transocean, Halliburton Have to Share Blame for Gulf Rig Explosion

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BP oil spill: after the human cost will come the cost of safer oil production

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Offshore Drilling Agency Overwhelmed, Says Report

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MPs warned on deep sea drilling ban

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Oil Rises After U.S. Jobless Claims Decline, China Crude Imports Increase

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BBC One Planet - Peak oil and happy cows

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Pricey Petrobras Oil Deal Removes Share Sale Hurdle

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Gas

US test shows water problem near natgas drill site

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Pa. Senate GOP writes Marcellus Shale tax bill

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Electricity

Smart meters alone may not save much energy -study

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Residents, industries in uproar over power cuts

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German energy watchdog wants faster grid expansion

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Flexitricity aims to bolster power grid

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Nuclear

Germany agrees to extend life of nuclear power stations

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'Floating Chernobyls' to hit the high seas

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Renewables

Alex Salmond unveils plan to turn Scotland into 'world's first hydro-economy'

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UK 'heat pumps' fail as green devices, finds study

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China Supplants U.S. for First Time on Renewable-Energy Investor Ranking

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Severn green energy project loses government funding

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UK

Britain's energy challenge: meeting energy generation and carbon emission targets

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Urban development - global solutions

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Rising wheat prices raise fears over UK commitment to biofuels

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Climate

Greens Seek `Fast, Furious' Movement on Climate Under Gillard Government

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A carbon border tax can curb climate change

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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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