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ODAC Newsletter - March 25

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.

Bombing raids began on Libya this week as western powers combined to enforce the UN mandated no fly zone. The offensive has succeeded in its initial aim of slowing down Gaddafi's forces, but the precise remit is unclear and a protracted conflict in the country is still highly likely. Oil prices continue to be highly sensitive to the Libyan conflict and to the ongoing political unrest in the Middle East. In Yemen foreign nationals are being advised to evacuate following an escalation of violence which saw 50 protestors killed in demonstrations last Friday. Increased violence was also seen in Syria where protestors were shot dead by security forces this week.

As Japan struggles to cope with the effects of the tsunami, the world continues to watch the ongoing emergency at the Fukishima nuclear plant. While work to stabilise the facility continues commentators on both sides of the argument are using the emergency to underpin their positions on the safety of nuclear power. The most likely outcome for the global nuclear industry appears to be a delay in new build as governments conduct safety reviews. A key issue to surface from the disaster however is the unanswered question of how to safely dispose of spent fuel.

In the UK this week the government's direction on energy and environmental policy was up for scrutiny as the Chancellor George Osborne delivered his first budget. The outcome demonstrated a canny eye for political expediency and headlines, while generally under delivering on the kind of measures which would demonstrate a real commitment to reducing oil and fossil fuel dependency.

On the positive side, the creation of the long awaited Green Investment Bank was broadly welcomed as a step in the right direction, albeit it a baby step given the borrowing restrictions, and the amount of money available in the face of the task at hand. The carbon floor price was also announced — it will be £16/tonne from 2013, escalating to £30/tonne in 2020. ODAC welcomes the mechanism but initial reaction points to the price being too low to really drive the required investment.

The headline news however was that fuel duty is to be cut by 1p, the automatic price escalator cancelled for the rest of this parliament, and the money recouped by an increase in tax on the UK oil and gas industry. Add to that the freeze in air passenger duty, and the absence of any measures to support modal change in travel and it looks like a small amount of political capital is being won at the cost of bigger problems around the corner.

Oil

Oil Trades Near Two-Week High on Libya Conflict; JPMorgan Raises Forecast

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China's oil demand offsets drop in OECD, Aramco says

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A New Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico—and Insight into the Causes of the Old Spill

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Shell wins approval to drill new Gulf of Mexico deepwater wells

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Oil companies fear nationalisation in Libya

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Gas

Natural Gas Now Viewed as Safer Bet

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BASF Joins Pipeline Project Led by Gazprom

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Coal

Federal Lands in Wyoming Opened to Coal Mining

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Nuclear

Japan's nuclear plant still 'two weeks' from being made safe

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Europe's Rift Over Energy Is Widened by France

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Merkel Gambles Credibility with Nuclear U-Turn

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Italy plans one-year pause on nuclear power

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Japan Nuclear Crisis Revives Long U.S. Fight on Spent Fuel

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Chris Huhne: Britain may scale back nuclear plans after Japan disaster

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Renewables

Solar industry uproar over plans to slash subsidies

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Biofuels

Biofuel policy is causing starvation, says Nestlé boss

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UK

Could the Budget have been much worse for the green agenda?

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Budget 2011: Surprise fuel duty concession will cost oil industry £10bn

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Budget 2011: Osborne's green bank attacked from all sides

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Carbon floor price boost for 'green' power

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Geopolitics

Firms pull staff out of Yemen

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Syria unrest: Death toll mounts after Deraa violence

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U.N. meeting amid reproach of Libya action

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Europe

Portugal PM Socrates' resignation overshadows EU summit

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Brussels wants no oil-fuelled cars in cities by 2050

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Upcoming Event

9th International Peakoil & Gas Conference

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