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ODAC newsletter - Apr 1

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 oil price firmed to around $117 this week as evidence emerged of the impact of the Libyan crisis on global oil supply. Bloomberg reported that OPEC oil output dropped in March as Saudi Arabia failed to make up the loss in production from Libya. Reuters reported that Saudi has unexpectedly called on oil companies to expand its drill count by 30%. It is not clear whether this is in an attempt to add further spare capacity, or whether the kingdom is struggling to raise production. Either way it looks as if Goldman Sachs' suggestion three weeks ago that global spare capacity has shrunk to 2mb/d was on the money, with clear implications for the future oil price.

With no early resolution of the Libyan civil war in sight, it was disappointing that President Obama's much heralded speech on energy focussed more on cutting US oil imports rather than cutting its consumption. The short term thrust was for increased domestic oil production and a shift to domestic natural gas in transport (the Pickens' Plan), rather than immediate moves to reduce oil dependency altogether. Although Obama ridiculed the Republicans' 'drill-baby-drill' credo, in the short term his message is not much different. The industry welcomed his "new commitment to fossil fuels".

The nuclear debate heated up again this week as conditions at the Fukishima reactor in Japan continued to deteriorate. In Germany Angela Merkel's party took a huge hit in local elections, partly because of voters' dismay at the government's decision to extend the life of Germany's nuclear fleet, which an 11th hour moratorium failed to assuage.

In the UK, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg entered the fray by suggesting that planned new nuclear stations may now not go ahead because costs would rise following the disaster. Meanwhile in the pro nuclear corner former chief scientist Sir David King argued that nuclear is a vital low carbon energy source with a safe record. King went on to point out that so far no one has been killed due to the Fukishima leak, while coal mining has claimed 30 lives this week alone. While that judgement may be premature, especially since the effects of a nuclear accident play out over a longer period, it is certainly true that the political landscape has just become far more hostile to nuclear, and this may encourage a greater push towards renewables.

The Pew Environment Group released a report this week looking at the state of private investment in clean energy (which includes energy efficiency and CCS as well as renewable) in the G20 countries. The good news was that investment in the sector reached record levels in of $243 billion in 2010. For the UK however there was the sobering news that it experienced the largest decline among the G-20 nations, falling from fifth to 13th. This performance was put down to the uncertainty surrounding clean energy policies which can only have been exacerbated by last week's announcement of cuts to the feed in tariffs.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

Oil Rises to 30-Month High on Concern Libya Conflict to Prolong Supply Cut

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Saudi Arabia calls for 28% increase in oil rigs in kingdom

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In the dark over oil reserves

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Obama sets out energy future for less dependency on oil

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Europe moves to ban imports of tar sands oil from Canada

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BP's Russian deal with Rosneft blocked by court

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Statoil halts North Sea oil development over windfall tax

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BP managers could face manslaughter charges over Gulf oil spill

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Nuclear

Japan may have to nationalise nuclear provider

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Japan nuclear crisis: sea radiation levels reach new high

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EDF warned to improve reactor maintenance

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China to Focus on Solar Farms, Cut 2020 Nuclear Goal After Japan's Crisis

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EDF 'committed' to nuclear despite Nick Clegg's cost fears

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Nick Clegg: Britain's proposed nuclear plants may not be built

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The Fukushima effect, globally, will be colossal

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Nuclear is the safest form of power, says top UK scientist

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Chris Huhne faces legal challenge over nuclear link to cancer in children

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Renewables

Investors are not just scaremongering on renewable subsidy changes

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Private investment in clean energy plunges

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Spain's financial crisis claims another victim: the solar power industry

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Climate

U.S. Senate delays vote on EPA climate regulation

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China industry ordered to cut CO2 intensity by 18 percent by '15

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Transport

EasyJet could axe some routes, warns Carolyn McCall

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Geopolitics

Libyan Forces Gain on Rebels as Qaddafi's Foreign Minister Defects to U.K.

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Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa defects

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Syria president dismisses protests as 'foreign conspiracy'

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Saleh Rules Out More Concessions, Says Yemen Is 'Time Bomb' Near Civil War

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