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ODAC Newsletter - Nov 18

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.

US oil prices rose this week on news that the glut of crude stocks at Cushing Oklahoma, which has depressed the benchmark WTI contract for months, may soon be drained. Enbridge is to buy the Seaway pipeline which runs from the Houston area to Cushing, and plans to reverse its flow. The news followed the announcement last week that a decision on Transocean's controversial Keystone XL pipeline extension (which would also have relieved the Cushing glut by shipping oil from Canada direct to Louisiana) will now be delayed for at least a year to allow time to further examine the proposed route. The delay was hailed as a victory by climate and anti tar sands protesters.

The price difference between the WTI and Brent crude (which is more representative of world markets), has now shrunk to around $9 from a high of nearly $28 earlier in the year. The Brent price dropped this week on reports that Libyan oil production is being restored somewhat faster than expected, and fears of further contagion in the Eurocrisis as markets turn up the heat on Spain and France. Nor was it helped by another bleak warning from Bank of England governor Mervyn King, who said the British economy is at a standstill and has a "one-in-three" chance of starting to shrink over the coming months.

With cuts beginning to bite and unemployment on the rise discord is growing in the streets and in the political arena. It should come as no surprise that rising petrol prices are back in the firing line. An e-petition against the planned 3p fuel duty increase gathered more than the 100,000 signatures needed to earn a parliamentary debate this week , and the Commons passed the motion with strong support from Conservative MPs. Robert Halfon, the MP who called the debate, said it was an "issue of social justice". Perhaps, instead of calling for cuts to fuel duty, he should start to bone up on Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs).

The motion is powerless, of course, and Business Secretary Vince Cable warned on Wednesday that cutting the duty is not an option given the state of Treasury coffers. Yet the issue could escalate; fuel prices are much higher today than those that provoked the petrol protests of 2000, which brought the country to a standstill in days.

The government has another growing rebellion on its hands at the moment following its announcement of proposed drastic cuts to the solar feed in tariffs. Last week a coalition of UK solar companies started legal action to fight the cuts. This week The Guardian got hold of a secret briefing document which showed that Lib Dem Councillors are lining up oppose the plan, which they believe is likely to hurt them at the ballot box. Maybe Energy Secretary Chris Huhne can draw some comfort from a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report which forecasts on-shore wind will match gas-fired power on price by 2016.

Oil

Oil prices surge on pipeline plans by Enbridge, TransCanada

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Crude Oil Falls From Five-Month High on Signs Europe Crisis Is Spreading

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Spared in War, Libya's Oil Flow Is Surging Back

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Brazil police probe Rio de Janeiro Chevron oil spill

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Biggest Oil Find in Decades Becomes $39B Caution

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Pitfalls on the Road to Tapping New Energy

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Britain asks Iraq to back off after threats to Exxon

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A New Era of Gunboat Diplomacy

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Gas

Global 'gas cartel' is a long way off, experts say

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Iraq Approves Shell Gas Deal

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Electricity

Onshore wind farms seen cost-competitive by 2016

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Hurricane Irene blows National Grid profits off course

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Nuclear

Parties clash over future of nuclear power in France

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Australia Seeks End of India Uranium Ban

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Biofuels

EU biofuel target seen driving species loss: study

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'Pee power' is possible, UK scientists find

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UK

MPs attack Government for fuel taxes that 'destroy communities'

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UK taxman's share of petrol pump price drops

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Sainsbury's aims for zero waste landfill — but is anaerobic digestion the best way?

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Liberal Democrats prepare to revolt over solar subsidies crackdown

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Politics

Kuwait orders tight security after parliament stormed

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Economy

Bank of England warns of growth standstill

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OECD: Major Economies to Slow

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Transport

Airlines call for Air Passenger Duty to be scrapped

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