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ODAC Newsletter - Sep 30

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 debt crisis and the war in Libya continued their push and pull on the oil price this week with the outlook currently weakening over fears of a Eurozone recession. Despite this Brent continues to trade at over $100/barrel - around double the price at which any previous economic recovery has occurred.

The rising cost of energy is playing out in a number of ways. At one level it is stifling economic growth; at the same time however it is driving new behaviours and culture change — an interesting example of this is changes in travel habits. In Britain, the percentage of 17- to 20-year-olds with driving licences fell from 48% in the early 1990s to 35% last year, and car manufacturers are having respond to a market in which car ownership appears to be a declining aspiration.

At the same time however rising prices and the decline in "easy to access" resources is bringing with it new and difficult choices as previously uneconomic resources and technologies become financially rewarding. Nowhere is this illustrated more clearly than in the UK following Cuadrilla's discovery of what they claim to be 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas. While many independent reports anticipate that the discovery will be smaller than the company's estimate, and only 20% would be recoverable, there is considerable excitement at the prospect of new jobs and a new domestic energy source. On the other hand, it is clear from the US experience that there are risks involved in fracking for gas, including the possibility of water contamination, which is resulting in a growing lobby against the process.

That being so, you would hope that the UK government could learn from the US experience and ensure that a 'safety first' regulatory framework was in place. According to documents revealed by The Guardian however there appears to be a frighteningly laissez-faire approach and lack of clarity over the oversight of the new industry — so much so that even Cuadrilla is looking for tighter regulation! Add to this the threat of 800 wells in Lancashire alone — with further projects already being considered in Wiltshire and Wales —and concerns that shale gas could pull investment away from clean technologies, and the government appears to be asleep at the wheel on this one. Chris Huhne told the Liberal Party Conference that he will need to avoid a dash for gas in order to meet UK emissions goals — a French-style fracking moratorium would be a good start.

Oil

Oil Gains in New York; Set for Biggest Quarterly Drop Since 2008

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North Sea oil slump will cost UK Treasury millions in lost taxes

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In North Dakota, Flames of Wasted Natural Gas Light the Prairie

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Pipeline's Backers, Critics Face Off

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BP and Transocean argue over fresh Gulf of Mexico oil 'leaks'

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Turkey Rattles Saber Over Oil Drilling

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OPEC Says Producers Will Cut Back Once Libya Output Recovers

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Damage, Poor Security Slow Libya Oil Flow

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TransCanada pipeline lobbyist works all the angles with former colleagues

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Total Optimistic on Oil, Gas Output

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Gas

Fracking industry will be minimally regulated in UK, letters reveal

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Deep under Lancashire, a huge gas find that could lead to 800 'fracking' wells

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Doubts raised about giant shale gas find in England

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Will Cuadrilla's shale gas discovery change UK energy forever?

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Shale boom in Bath could pollute water supplies, warn council leaders

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Drillers Face Methane Concern

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Renewables

UK renewable electricity output reaches all-time high

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Scotland-Norway interconnector application submitted to National Grid

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Supergrid needed to end UK's electricity isolation, say MPs

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Thames Water turns to 'poo power' for renewable electricity generation

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Scottish and Southern Energy abandons nuclear plans for wind

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Alex Salmond's green energy revolution 'threatens firms with bankruptcy'

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Solar power boom put at risk by rigid caps on budget, says industry

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Wave and tidal power almost ready for mass consumption, says Alex Salmond

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Climate

Carbon capture progress has lost momentum, says energy agency

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Transport

The end of motoring

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Report Says Vehicle Fuel Should Be the Priority, Not Electricity

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