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ODAC Newsletter - July 29

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.

Profits were up at the supermajors again in Q2 as high oil prices offset the rising cost of new production. Shell's Peter Voser said that high prices were having an effect on demand for oil, especially in Europe — this could be seen reflected in flat UK growth figures and weak numbers even for major German manufacturing companies. As fears grow of a double dip recession there are few easy efficiencies left for companies to make. Continued high oil prices are likely to really hurt.

Looking into the results statements of the oil companies it is apparent that, while there is still plenty of money in this game, raising oil production is becoming increasingly difficult. More and more companies are relying on barrels of oil equivalent, by way of gas, to fill their balance sheets. Shell and Exxon which both increased production relied heavily on gas, Shell with investments in Qatar and Australia, and Exxon via its purchase of unconventional gas producer XTO. In the meanwhile the pressure to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic and other environmentally sensitive areas grows.

Much of the optimism around gas comes from the potential to expand production via fracking, and increased use of Liquefied Natural Gas to allow a more flexible market. Mark Leftly wrote an extremely gung ho article in the Independent this week based on an interview with Centrica's Chris Watson on the prospects for unconventional gas in Canada. A report commissioned by the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety department by contrast is extremely circumspect about the prospects for the industry in Europe, concluding that "The present privileges of oil and gas exploration and extraction should be reassessed in view of the fact that the environmental risks and burdens are not compensated for by a corresponding potential benefit as the specific gas production is very low." The ever more risky trade-offs necessary to keep the gas tanks filled tells its own story.

Oil

Crude Oil Falls, Heads for Weekly Decline, on U.S. Debt Ceiling Dispute

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Shell, BP say high oil price erodes demand

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Exxon Mobil's profit sapped by natural gas

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Shell Profit Almost Doubles as Surging Oil Price Counters Production Drop

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BP disappoints with dip in production

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UK crude oil output fell 11% in May on month to 1 million b/d

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Saudi oil exports set to fall in long term

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Gas

Shale gas set to supply half of America's gas needs within 10 years

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Rising energy costs move up political agenda

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Quakes Push Arkansas to Limit Gas-Waste Wells

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Fracking Pioneers Pierce Europe

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Nuclear

City presses Centrica to cancel plans for building nuclear power plants

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Why the UK must choose renewables over nuclear: an answer to Monbiot

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Areva warns future unclear after Fukushima

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Renewables

UK sails ahead in offshore wind power generation

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RWE abandons 'world's largest' wave energy project

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Biofuels

Tequila gives new biofuel crops a shot

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UK

MPs call for energy doorstep mis-selling compensation

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Green taxes fall, despite pledge to step up environmental levies

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Chris Huhne orders inquiry into fossil fuel lobby influence over Tory MEPs

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Climate

Republicans step up assault on US environmental regulations

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Transport

Electric car motorway charging network opens in the UK

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London cycle hire scheme to expand west

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U.S. and Europe Battle Over Carbon Fees for Airlines

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Ryanair warns over fuel cost impact

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Economy

Siemens, Volkswagen and BASF see shares fall

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