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ODAC Newsletter - Dec 9

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.

OPEC head Abdullah El-Badri warned European leaders on Wednesday against imposing sanctions on Iranian oil, stating that the 865,000 barrels a day which goes mostly to Southern Europe would be difficult to replace. Global supply is already tight and oil prices remain stubbornly high despite the chronic Euro-crisis — still not fixed after last night's summit deal, if market reaction is any guide. Saudi Arabia, which claims to be producing at a recent record of 10.047 barrels/day, even felt confident enough this week to raise its official selling prices to Asia.

Bloomberg reports that the prospect of oil topping $150 a barrel within a year has become the biggest bet in the options market. Anti-Iranian rhetoric is now showing eerie echoes of the build up to the Iraq war, and with indications this week that covert action might already be going on — Iran reported shooting down a US drone aircraft in its air space - there are worrying signs that this could escalate.

This week's black swan event was the outbreak of anti-Putin protests in Moscow following elections for the Russian parliament. As yet there is no sign that the unrest is likely to topple Putin, however Presidential elections are scheduled for next March with Putin back on the ballot paper to replace Dmitri Medvedev. The way things look now there is a real possibility of upheaval. The recent IEA World Energy Outlook 2011 highlighted just how important Russia is to meeting world energy demand — the previous era of turmoil in Russia in the 90s saw a significant fall in oil production.

One organisation taking the issue of oil depletion seriously is the US Navy (and this despite optimistic reports of a new boom for US oil production). This week the Navy secured deals to purchase 450,000 gallons of biofuels. The US military has been looking into peak oil for a number of years and warned in a 2010 Joint Forces Command report that "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day".

The role of bioenergy in the UK energy picture was the subject of a report released this week by the independent Climate Change Committee. The Committee saw bioenergy as important to meeting UK climate coals and energy needs, while warning that safeguards needed to be in place before setting long-term targets, in order to ensure that fuel sources were sustainable. As well as providing a hierarchy of the appropriate use of the limited resources available, the Committee included a sharp warning to the government that without CCS in place there should be no role for biomass in electricity production. The committee also recommended abolishing subsidies for building new large scale biomass power stations when existing coal plants could be converted. The government's response will come early next year in its bioenergy strategy.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

OPEC's Badri hopes EU doesn't ban oil imports from Iran

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Iran Oil Ban Gets Little Traction

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Oil at $150 Becomes Biggest Options Bet on Iran

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Has the world reached economic peak oil?

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Saudi Arabia pumps oil at highest rate for decades

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Obama stands firm on Keystone XL oil pipeline

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Oil's Growing Thirst for Water

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Russian Oil Frontier: Nowhere Land

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BP says Halliburton 'destroyed evidence'

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Nuclear

Fukushima Daiichi operator considers plans to dump treated water into sea

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Setback to nuclear power plans

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Renewables

Institutional Investors Give Europe Wind Projects a Needed Lift

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An unfair fight for renewable energies

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Why aren't we investing more on improving energy storage technology?

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Paint-on power, the saviour of solar

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Biofuels

Navy's Big Biofuel Bet: 450,000 Gallons at 4 Times the Price of Oil

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Biomass is the next biofuel 'land grab' on tropical forests, warn campaigners

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Branson predicts aviation could be among 'cleanest' industries within 10 years

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UK

Climate Committee: Biomass has "no role" in electricity production without CCS

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MPs demand clarity on carbon capture funding

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Local councils turn to the bond markets to pay for infrastructure projects

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Climate

Lord Stern: rich nations should stop subsidising fossil fuel industry

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Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded

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