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ODAC Newsletter - Apr 20

Welcome to the ODAC Newsletter, a weekly roundup from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre at nef dedicated to raising awareness of peak oil.

Approval of hydraulic fracturing for gas in the UK moved a step closer this week as a DECC commissioned report on the seismic impact of drilling at Cuadrilla's Lancashire operation advised ministers to proceed. The report recommended a tightening of procedures around drilling, including a pre-injection diagnostic phase, and a traffic light warning system halting operations should an earthquake over 0.5 magnitude occur.

While the news led to some 'drilltastic' headlines predicting imminent UK energy independence, there remains considerable opposition to the technology and many more questions to answer. The new report was limited in scope, concentrating only on seismic risk from drilling. Yet it turns out that one of Cuadrilla's two wells sustained casing damage as a result of the seismic activity, although well integrity was not found to be compromised.

Then there is the question of how to handle toxic waste water as the industry grows. A U.S. Geological Survey report has linked injection of wastewater from fracking to a "remarkable increase" in earthquakes in the central United States. Hydraulic fracturing in the US has also been linked to water contamination and increased air pollution. With drilling sites in the UK much closer to areas of high population density, the impact of such pollution here could be far more serious than in sparsely populated areas of the US.

In the US the Environmental Protection Agency introduced new rules this week forcing operators to fit 'green completion' equipment to shale wells, to capture so-called fugutive emissions of methane and other gases. These can make the climate impact of natural gas worse than that of coal according to one study. However the EPA appears to have bowed to industry pressure by lengthening the proposed phase-in period from 60 days to two-and-a-half-years, giving drilling companies until 2015 to comply with the strictest regulations.

The arguments against a renewed dash for gas were reinforced by a report from UKERC this week questioning the government's ability to deliver its target that 10GW of power plants should be fitted with CCS by 2030. Jim Watson, one of the authors, described the technology as "particularly challenging" and still a long way from commercial viability. He awarded the government a "low grade" in its efforts on CCS because of confusion over the details of its financial support package.

Elsewhere, it seems the gathering 'omni-shambles' of British energy policy may be damaging investment, as the Korean company Doosan withdrew plans to build wind turbines in the UK. Meanwhile, the government announced another delay, this time to the Green Deal for business, only weeks after putting off the Renewable Heat Incentive for a year. The solar industry renewed its criticism of DECC's handling of feed in tariff cuts following a dramatic drop in installations in the past 2 weeks.

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Hague attacks Argentine seizure of Repsol oil assets

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Oil Trades Near One-Week Low on Outlook for Economy, Iran Talks

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US lifts world natgas resource estimate, cuts oil

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Exxon dropped from Iraq bidders over Kurdish deal

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Iraq to lower oil target to more prudent level

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Barack Obama cracks down on oil traders

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BP settles $7.8bn Gulf of Mexico oil spill claims

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TransCanada Submits Pipeline Reroute Plan

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Gas 'fracking' gets green light

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Can we be sure of shale gas?

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UK Gas Bounty Will Be Tricky to Exploit

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US fracking rules let drillers flare till 2015

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Fracking Wastewater Tied by Scientists to Earthquakes

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Argentina expands asset raid to include Repsol gas unit

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LNG exports: A release valve for U.S natural gas

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Setback for UK wind industry as Doosan scraps investment plans

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Ministers preparing to veto windfarms

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Wind power: new poll finds 66% of UK public in favour

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Germany Solar Installations May Have Tripled in First Quarter

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Carbon capture in UK under threat as study raises doubts

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MPs warn UK pollution outsourcing

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DECC urged to delay subsidy cuts after solar market crash

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DECC confirms Green Deal delay for businesses

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Ken Livingstone warns energy firms ahead of London mayoral election

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EU: Green economy the solution to Europe's job crisis

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Q1 electric car battery prices drop 14 percent on year

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China to Give Stimulus for Development of Electric Vehicles

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