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ODAC Newsletter - Aug 5

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.

An eleventh hour political deal on the US debt crisis this week turned out to be just a stepping stone in the ongoing economic and fiscal crisis. By Thursday markets were plunging again on fears that Italy or Spain may default, and on the growing anticipation that the US may be returning to recession after Q1 GDP growth numbers were revised down from 1.9% to 0.4%. The fall in confidence pushed down oil prices in New York to their lowest level for the year, while in London Brent oil dropped to $104/barrel with fears of demand destruction outweighing concerns about supply constraints due to the war in Libya, and the growing violence in Syria.

While analysts rush to adjust their oil demand growth forecasts - Barclays Capital is cutting its 2011 forecast by 460,000 barrels/day - there is relatively little reporting about the degree to which the high oil price has actually been an agent in the continuing economic slump. In a rough calculation Tom Whipple estimates that in the US a $1/gallon increase in the price of petrol takes roughly $300 billion/year out of other consumer spending. High fuel prices do of course also push people to make changes to reduce their fuel consumption. The passing of new automobile fuel efficiency standards this week after much lobbying and political wrangling show that even in the US Life in the fast lane is giving way to Running on empty.

China is to set a cap on its energy consumption as part of a low carbon plan to be announced later this year. The plan follows up on pledges made by China at the Copenhagen climate talks. China is already forging ahead on renewables with $48 billion spent in 2010 according to a UN Global Trends report, and will use the cap to improve energy efficiency in its economy. That said, China will still drive global energy demand growth in the medium term.

When it comes to cutting energy consumption the case study in the spotlight is Japan. With only 16 of its 54 nuclear reactors currently online and significant public pressure to close these down, energy conservation is becoming de rigueur. The government is targeting a 15% reduction between 9am and 8pm, and so far it looks like this is being achieved and even exceeded, though August could be a harsher test as temperatures rise. Japan faces a huge challenge to recover from the tsunami and to rebuild its energy future after Fukushima, but it is already an example of what people are willing to do when sufficiently motivated.

Oil

Crude Oil Heads for Biggest Weekly Decline Since May Amid Rout on Economy

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The Peak Oil Crisis: Parsing the GDP

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Exclusive: Oil demand growth forecasts cut as economies slow

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Canadian government accused of 'unprecedented' tar sands lobbying

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Cairn Energy falls on dry Greenland well

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Iran revolutionary guards commander becomes new president of Opec

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Syrian rebels urge oil sanctions

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Libya years away from oil recovery

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BP 'has gained stranglehold over Iraq' after oilfield deal is rewritten

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Shell accepts liability for two oil spills in Nigeria

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Europe's Big Oil Sees Output Fall

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Gas

S.E.C. Subpoenas Energy Companies for Records on Shale Gas Wells

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Shale gas fracking: UK government policy call

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Nuclear

Japanese, in Shortage, Willingly Ration Watts

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Analysis: Energy policy chaos threatens Japan's economy

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Failing Sellafield fuel plant shuts after losing Japan orders

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Renewables

China Sets Solar Power Price to Boost Profits, Investment

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Operation Dynamo triggers Overlord beaches furore

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Thames Water to be solar power giant

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UK

Manufacturers want £470m relief from green tax pain

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Drax coal power station 'could be transformed to produce biomass fuel'

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UK green energy supplier lifts gas, freezes power prices

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Climate

China to cap energy use in national low-carbon plan

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Cameron backs Aussie carbon tax

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Transport

Obama Reveals Details of Gas Mileage Rules

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