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ODAC Newsletter - 12 November 2010

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 energy world faces unprecedented uncertainty", so begins the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook, released on Tuesday. The annual report from the energy watchdog guides the energy policies of OECD member countries including Britain. The 2010 report serves up three comparative energy scenarios, serious warnings on the cost of inaction on climate change, exhortations to remove fossil fuel subsidies and a section addressing energy poverty.

One surprising line from the IEA this year is that "Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d, by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70mb/d reached in 2006." So, in one statement peak conventional oil is acknowledged and consigned to history. The section then goes on to assert that increasing unconventional and natural gas to liquids (NGL) production along with a raft of supply side measures — the so called New Policies Scenario — will mean that there will be sufficient oil to meet demand until 2035. This allows the IEA to acknowledge that it is no longer possible to argue about conventional peak oil, while still avoiding the political ugliness of a limit to growth.

However the supply growth estimates which underpin this are full of optimistic assumptions about the rates at which future conventional fields will be exploited, and about demand growth being met by unconventionals and NGLs. A day after the IEA launch, European Energy Chief Guenther Oettinger took a different view when he warned "The amount of oil available globally, I think, has already peaked".

The challenge of replacing oil production was brought home after a report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy showed EU plans to source 10 per cent of transport from biofuels would raise emissions not cut them. Meeting the targets could lead to as much as an extra 56 million tonnes of CO2 per year, said the report, and would require a land area the size of Belgium. UK ministers are urging the European Commission to rethink the plans. At last.

In the UK this week the government announced that the next round of carbon capture and storage demonstration programme will be open to gas fired as well as coal fired power plants. The move comes as reliance on gas looks set to increase. The IEA anticipates a gas glut until 2020 due to shale gas and growing LNG capacity, but warns that this is likely to impede investment in renewables and nuclear in the short-term. If those investments aren't made, then what the IEA calls "the golden age of gas" could quickly become the last missed opportunity to avert disaster.

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How to read today's big report on the future of energy

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International Energy Agency says 'peak oil' has hit. Crisis averted?

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Oil demand to rise for 25 years despite green push: IEA

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End $300 billion subsidies for fossil fuels, says energy watchdog

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Oil Trades Near Two-Year High as Dollar Heads for Weekly Decline

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Global oil availability has peaked - EU energy chief

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Oil Will Be 'Substantially Higher' by 2012 as Supplies Drop, Goldman Says

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Arctic oil spill clean-up plans are 'thoroughly inadequate', industry warned

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'Bad calls' preceded Gulf of Mexico blast

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China's October Crude Oil Imports Decline From Record Reached in September

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Norway's Oil Production Drops 7% in October to 1.87 Million Barrels a Day

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Iraq power-sharing deal could break deadlock

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Gas CCS comes one step closer

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Gas glut threatens investment in renewables sector, IEA warns

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Pledge to lift EU energy barriers

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E.ON prepares for £3.5bn sell-off of distribution network

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Concentrated solar, biofuels competitive soon: BCG

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How France eclipsed the UK with Brittany tidal success story

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Biofuel plan will cause rise in carbon emissions

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The energy bill that lets consumers gamble on future savings

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Sita to turn plastic into diesel to power vehicles

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Chancellor aiming to reveal structure of green investment bank by Christmas

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