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ODAC Newsletter - March 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.

Brent oil briefly touched $128/barrel on Thursday as pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme continued, the latest development being demands from Israel on the US to be more explicit in its threat of military action. The sharply rising prices are already impacting the weakened economies of Europe and the US making some wonder whether sanctions intended to hurt Iran could be backfiring. In Saudi Arabia meanwhile, on which the world is relying to make up the difference in output, rigs have been deployed at their highest level in four years—perhaps an ominous sign of where this is all going.

While oil is grabbing the attention right now, shale gas is never far from the news. The Polish Geological Institute announced this week that it is likely to downgrade initial EIA estimates of its shale gas reserves following analysis of core samples. It is still early days for the shale gas industry in Poland, but so far there has been no repeat of the US success story. One of the arguments for shale gas put forward by the energy industry is that it is much cleaner than coal and should be exploited as a bridge fuel to real low carbon solutions—ODAC Trustee David Strahan looks at the arguments in his article Gas: Climate Panacea or Industry Propaganda?, while Damien Carrington takes on the economics of gas versus wind power with a look at initial data from a forthcoming UK Energy Policy Centre (UKERC) report.

In the UK, government energy policy got something of a boost this week by way of a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. According to the paper the lights will stay on through 2020, despite the scheduled retirement of coal powered plants due to European laws and parts of the nuclear fleet due to age. A primary reason for this finding comes down to reduced demand for electricity as a result of the economic crisis — perhaps not a deliberate energy policy of this government or the last, however new generating capacity is also anticipated to make a significant difference—renewables in the form of solar, wind and biomass are set to make up two-thirds of that new capacity.

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Oil price falls back from 43-month high

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Cushions to stem Iran oil price spike are proving elusive

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Saudi Oil-Rig Use Soars as Obama Pressed on SPR: Energy Markets

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Soaring oil prices will dwarf the Greek drama

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North Sea oil supply slumps as tax grab bites deep

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Coalition to support UK oil and gas sector, says Business Secretary Vince Cable

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U.S. Was Net Oil-Product Exporter for First Time Since 1949

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TransCanada in new push for US pipeline

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Gas: Climate Panacea or Industry Propaganda?

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How to Frack Responsibly

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Poland May Cut Shale Gas Estimates After Data From First Wells

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China Estimates Exploitable Shale-Gas Reserves at 25.08 TCM

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Old king coal

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Japan says possible all reactors shut this summer

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Mining and Minerals

Global mining boom is leading to landgrab, says report

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Bloomberg: Don't panic, the lights will stay on

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Analysis reveals folly of betting UK's energy future on cheap gas over wind

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Wind energy companies fear government's commitment is cooling

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Wind power still gets lower public subsidies than fossil fuel tax breaks

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Are the 'big six' energy companies blocking renewables in the UK?

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Single spark sends 10% of UK's renewable energy capacity up in smoke

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Rising oil costs hit growth figures

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