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ODAC Newsletter - March 11

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.

Oil prices were buffeted this week by escalating violence in Libya and fear of further disruption in the Middle East on the one hand, and a new debt crisis in the Eurozone threatening further economic turmoil on the other. In Libya this week the Gaddafi regime has launched a full scale military offensive against the rebels and appeared on Thursday to be gaining the upper hand. On Friday all eyes will be on Saudi Arabia where activists have called for a 'day of rage'. So far protest, in Saudi, where public demonstrations are banned, has been minuscule. No doubt the authorities are planning to keep it that way, but it is likely that pressure will continue to build in a country which is surrounded by revolution and where 70% of the population under is 20.

The role of Saudi spare oil production capacity to balance oil prices was in the news again this week, as Goldman Sachs analyst Jeff Curie suggested the kingdom has been producing 700,000 b/d more than it has admitted for some months. Taking depletion and the shut-in Libyan production into account, this would mean that OPEC spare capacity is now likely to be under 2 million barrels per day rather than the 5 mb/d usually claimed. If so, global spare capacity is down to the levels seen in 2008, when OPEC was unable to raise capacity despite prices of $147/barrel — even without any disruption in Saudi.

With energy so prominent in the news, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Nick Clegg joined Chris Huhne on Tuesday to launch the government's new carbon plan. The plan summarises current and announced government initiatives, and doesn't really contain any surprises, but a date of April 2011 was set for the announcement of the carbon floor price framework.

On Thursday came the release of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme— a global first, claims the government — aimed at incentivising low carbon heat technologies. The £860m fund will initially benefit industry, business and the public sector, opening up to households in October 2012. The initiative was broadly welcomed by the industry and environmental groups, though there is some concern of the sustainability of biomass and waste incineration.

Oil

Oil markets brace for Saudi 'rage' as global spare capacity wears thin

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The Saudi capacity puzzle

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Libya's main oil terminal ablaze after raid

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For Big Oil, Libya is just another fix it's in

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Obama Considers Tapping Oil Reserve

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Crude Oil Declines a Fourth Day After Earthquake in Japan Shuts Refineries

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Rising Gas Cost Finds The Nation Better Prepared

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Shell oil exploration threatens one of the world's great wonders

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Making Every Oil Calorie Count

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Norway Oil Drillers Suffer Worst Dry Spell in Decades as Reserves Dwindle

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Gas

Algeria eyes huge domestic shale gas reserves

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Shale Gas Needs to Allay Environmental Doubts

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Turkmenistan won't allow foreign firms into onshore gas production sharing deals

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Coal

Carbon capture projects up in 2010, despite costs

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Biofuels

'Gasoline Summit' Solves Nothing as Biofuel Chaos Continues

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China ready to quell disquiet over new environmental policies

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UK

UK launches world-first Renewable Heat Incentive to boost green living

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Q&A: Renewable heat incentive

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UK govt to create carbon floor price rules in April

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Thousands of charging points to be installed across UK over next two years, Government to say

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How are motorists saving fuel?

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UK energy use fell by 5% in eight years

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Climate

Connie Hedegaard wins battle for 25% carbon emissions cut

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Economy

Euro zone debt crisis intensifies on summit eve

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