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ODAC Newsletter - Dec 17

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.

"...we don't know when exactly the oil is going to start peaking and production is going to start running down, but...we don't as a nation want to be putting ourselves in hock...to these sorts of markets..." So said UK Energy Minister Chris Huhne speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme on Thursday. ODAC believes that this is the first time a UK energy minister has actually acknowledged peak oil as a factor driving policy. While the statement remains vague on timing, this is nonetheless a very welcome shift.

The comments came as the government announced a slew of measures aimed to produce a decisive shift towards low carbon electricity. The measures include support for reserve capacity to handle intermittency in renewable generation, a floor under the carbon price, and feed-in-tariffs to replace the Renewables Obligation. The government means to avoid another 'dash to gas' which would this time rely largely on imported fuel. Critics claim the policies will be unnecessarily costly, while Huhne argues that the volatility and insecurity of oil and gas supplies mean the coalition's approach will be cheaper in the end. The devil will be in the detail, but to ODAC this looks a major improvement in energy policy, including measures we have supported for some time.

The rising costs of oil production were brought into focus again this week as the US government filed charges against BP, its partners, and insurers Lloyds of London over the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP's share price dropped as a result, and Wikileak revelations about a similar near-miss at a BP platform in Azerbaijan 18 months before the Macondo blowout will do nothing to reassure investors.

2010 may be remembered as the year of oil leaks and Wikileaks, but was also the year in which the International Energy Agency declared that peak conventional oil has already happened, and in the UK both the outgoing Labour and the new Conservative/Lib Dem governments seemed tentatively to acknowledge that peak oil may just be a reality.

This is the last ODAC newsletter of 2010 - we will be back on January 7th, 2011. If you have found our newsletter useful this year, please consider supporting ODAC by donating whatever you can afford to help us continue our work. We very much appreciate your support. Click here to donate. All at ODAC wish you a Happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.


United States sues BP over Gulf oil disaster

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WikiLeaks cables: BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform

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Oil Rises From Two-Week Low as U.S. Economic Data Improves Demand Outlook

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OPEC Cheating Most Since 2004 as Options Signal Oil Hitting $100 Next Year

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Canadian oil sands firms team up on tailings study

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What is the future of the Canadian Oil Sands Region?

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Canada couldn't handle big oil spill: watchdog

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Ghana Oil Wealth May Trigger Borrowing Spree, Not Fund Future Generations

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New York governor halts gas "fracking" until July

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Nigeria to drop Dick Cheney charges after plea bargain

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Coal Imports May Rise 78% to China, India, Drive Up Prices: Energy Markets

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CCS blow as Powerfuel enters administration

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Ratcliffe activists found guilty of coal station plot

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Sellafield security 'flaws' exposed

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The government isn't telling us the true cost of nuclear waste disposal

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Salty solar plant stores sun's heat

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Mining and Minerals

U.S. At Risk Of Rare Earths Supply Disruptions

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Global resources spending soars

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EU plans to tackle unwanted impacts of biofuels

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Huhne plans 'greater energy certainty'

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U.K. Proposes Carbon Floor, Set Price to Cut Emissions

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Why electricity bills may go up with or without Huhne's reforms

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£500 on electricity bills to pay for green energy

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Court refuses to block EPA effort to regulate GHGs

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Global warming deal hopes revived after Cancun agreement

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Subsidies to jump start UK green car revolution

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Beijing eyes new car fees to ease congestion: paper

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