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ODAC Newsletter - Sep 2

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.

BP's recovery plans following last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster took a double blow this week. On Tuesday Exxon Mobil and Rosneft announced a deal to develop oil and gas reserves in the Russian Arctic — a version of the very deal that BP thought it had in the bag back in January. Then on Wednesday, to add insult to injury, BP's Moscow offices were raided by bailiffs gathering evidence for an investor who is suing BP for damages over the collapse of the January deal. All this will surely weaken CEO Bob Dudley's position with shareholders.

While Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin enthused over the Rosneft deal, President Medvedev was becoming increasingly embroiled in an escalating row with Russia's neighbour, the Ukraine. Ukrainian negotiators are pushing Russia to revise the terms of a gas supply contract signed following the 2009 dispute, when Russia cut supplies to Ukraine - and Europe - in the depths of winter. Russia has tied revision of the deal to a regional customs union which would keep Ukraine out of Europe.

So it's no surprise that Ukraine — like Poland — is eyeing the chance to loosen its energy ties to Russia by exploiting what could be large reserves of shale gas, signing its first exploration deal with Royal Dutch Shell this week. International oil companies struggling to replace their oil reserves are equally keen. And for the oil majors hoping to set off a shale gas boom in Europe, the Ukraine and Poland may be seen as easier to negotiate in terms of environmental regulations and protest than some of Western Europe — though so far UK regulators appear to be taking a lamentably laissez-faire approach.

Clearly it is in the interests of energy companies to assert the importance of shale, but estimates of how much gas is really available are proving highly controversial. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has been forced to downgrade its resource estimate for the key Marcellus shale region in the northeast US by a whopping 80%, after a new assessment by the US Geological Survey released last week. This surely casts doubt on the US EIA's resource assessment for shale in the UK, where the Administration estimates recoverable resources of 560 billion cubic meters — about 6 years' of current UK consumption. The British Geological Survey, however, reckons we have only 150 billion cubic meters, or about 18 months' worth — surely marginal, given the evident risks. So much for the new paradigm.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

ExxonMobil clinches Arctic oil deal with Rosneft

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BP Russian offices raided a day after Rosneft-Exxon deal

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Has Peak Oil Come To The Non-Opec World? Maybe.

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Asia's oil price threshold is critical

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Oil Drops Before U.S. Jobs Data; Gulf of Mexico Rigs Shut as Storm Builds

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OPEC oil output set to hit three-year high in August

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BP can be sued for punitive Gulf spill damages

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U.S. Offers Key Support to Canadian Pipeline

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Gas

Ukraine issues Russian gas deal ultimatum

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Ukraine awards first shale gas contract to Shell

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The UK's lack of fracking regulation is insane

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Big oil companies may have to give up Iraq gas

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Nuclear

Germany Dims Nuclear Plants, but Hopes to Keep Lights On

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Nuclear train route to Sellafield runs into opposition from local councils

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WikiLeaks cables reveal fears over China's nuclear safety

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Renewables

Solar May Produce Most of World's Power by 2060, IEA Says

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China to crank up 2015 renewable target

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Japanese government passes feed-in tariff bill

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New power wave heads out to sea

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Climate

Romney falls into line with Republican climate scepticism

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US breaks ground on first industrial-scale carbon capture project

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