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ODAC Newsletter - Feb 24

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.

Iran's announcement on Sunday that it was cutting off oil sales to Britain and France ahead of the EU embargo sent Brent crude oil prices soaring to a 9 month high of $124/barrel and an all-time UK high of over £78. The price of oil is now firmly back in the news alongside a rash of articles rejecting peak oil, declaring imminent US energy independence, and discussing the changing balance of geopolitical power away from OPEC.

For some interesting perspective on the 'peak oil is over' story, most recently expounded by a Citigroup report, take a look at the fascinating debate between John Hofmeister former President of Shell vs Dr. Tad Patzek, incoming president of the Association of the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO). Patzek argues compellingly that oil reserves, especially non-conventional reserves, don't equate to oil production and that it is global production in the face of rising demand that matters. Hofmeister appeared to have taken at least some of this on by the time he was interviewed by CNBC this week — "Demand globally is not down. That's the issue. Demand continues to rise in Asia and whether we use less or not, doesn't matter. The price is going up because supply can't keep up with the demand". For more on US oil prospects see 'Energy independence, or impending oil shocks?'.

Al Jazeera had a feature article on peak oil this week which focused on the insecurity behind OPEC reserve figures — with so much reliance on Saudi spare capacity it was interesting to note this week that Saudi Aramco is to reopen its oldest oilfield which it closed in the early 80's — the field is relatively small (500 million barrels), and contains heavy oil. Saudi oil exports and production for December 2011 reportedly fell from November's 30 year record.

In other news the EU's controversial vote on whether to label oil from the tar sands as highly polluting failed to reach a majority decision— the decision will now be referred to ministers. In the UK Prime Minister David Cameron defended that government's onshore wind policy in a response to 100 backbench MPs who had recently published an open letter challenging the policy. Meanwhile marine renewables received a ringing endorsement from the Commons Committee on Energy and Climate Change. The Committee urged the government to adopt policies to exploit the UK's position as the world leader in the field.

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Oil reaches record euro high on Iran

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Threat to economy could force IEA to release oil: Kemp

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Has the United States beaten peak oil? Not so fast.

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Energy independence, or impending oil shocks?

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Interview with ex-Shell CEO Hofmeister

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Oil: In perpetuity no more

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Saudi Aramco to Re-Open Oldest Field to Tap Heavy Oil, EIU

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Saudi Arabia Cut Oil Output, Exports in December, JODI Says

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Venezuela's oil industry: Spilling over

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Shell Clears Major Hurdle in Its Bid for New Arctic Drilling

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Natural-Gas Glut Could Bypass Europe

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Gas-Fracking Ban in Upstate New York Upheld by State Court Judge

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Hendry: UK's nuclear reactor fleet could be extended beyond 2025

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Centrica faces big questions on nuclear despite Franco-British summit

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Europe's Biggest Solar Power Incentive Bolsters Ukraine: Energy

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China Energy Consumption Rises at Fastest Pace in Four Years

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Britain must act fast to rule wave-power world

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Gas Swings at Two-Year High Expose U.K.'s LNG Dependence: Energy Markets

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Drax mixes up biomass plan with mooted £700m co-firing project

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David Cameron defends windfarm plans to Tory MPs

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British Gas owner stokes profit anger

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EU tar sands fight not over, experts at stalemate

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Cut all fossil-fuel use: scientists

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