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ODAC Newsletter - Jan 7

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.

2011 blew in with strong echoes 2008 as food and fuel prices rose strongly. The UN warned food prices are reaching "dangerous levels" as the global food index rose above the level that caused widespread rioting three years ago, and the IEA's Fatih Birol cautioned rising oil prices could derail the economic recovery. WTI is around $88/barrel and Brent crude almost $94.

Dr Birol urged OPEC to increase production to stop the oil price being driven up over $100/barrel, but there are no signs yet that OPEC intends to oblige. Qatar's oil minister Abdullah Al Attiyah said on Thursday the cartel couldn't interfere since there was no supply shortage.

Food prices have risen on a combination of poor harvests, extreme weather events such as the floods in Australia, and rising fuel costs, and look set to rise further. The flooding has also hit coal production in Queensland and looks set to push up global coal prices.

With oil prices rising, governments are coming under increasing pressure to allow drilling in more hostile and risky environments. The American Petroleum Institute is lobbying the new Congress to reverse the Obama administration's drilling moratoria for the eastern Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific waters. That's in spite of a scathing report from the National Commission into the Deepwater Horizon spill that found BP and its partners guilty of major management failings, but which also concluded the problems were industry-wide and "might well reoccur".

In the UK this week a review by the Energy and Climate Change Committee found that Britain lacks the ability to deal with a Macondo-style spill in the deep waters west of Shetland, but recommended against a drilling ban on the grounds of energy security. In the meantime the first gas shale exploration in Lancashire is already the subject of controversy as campaigners argue that safety concerns around 'fracking' have not yet been sufficiently addressed.

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Higher oil price could affect recovery, warns IEA

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Leading article: An opportunity to kick our fossil-fuel addiction

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BP, firms made risky decisions before spill-report

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Congress May Force White House To Expand Drilling: Group

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US eases barriers to deepwater drilling

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MPs say keep drilling despite risk from oil spill

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Shell Suffers New Setback on Alaska Offshore Drilling

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India refiner rushes for oil on Iran supply fears

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Desire disappoints again as another well comes up dry

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UK joins 'gas rush' despite pollution fears

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Gas field size puts Israel as exporter: US firm

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The Queensland Flood is Coming to Your Neighborhood

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The Australian floods and the impact to the coal industry

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China boasts breakthrough in nuclear technology

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Mining and Minerals

China 'mulls export quotas' on rare earth alloys

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David Cameron revives Tory plan to curb fuel price rises

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Rail fare rise campaign unveiled at Charing Cross

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We bin 10 Wembleys full of food a year — what a waste of energy

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China car sales stay in the fast lane

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The coming hunger: Record food prices put world 'in danger', says UN

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Overheating East to falter before the bankrupt West recovers

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