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ODAC Newsletter - Sep 7

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

The summer holidays brought no relief on oil prices with Brent climbing back to $115/barrel. Sanctions on Iran and hurricane Isaac are having an effect, but recent reports from Barclays Capital and Citigroup point to more fundamental issues.

Barclays sees the oil supply tightening, with strong US production growth offset by falling output elsewhere in non-OPEC, pushing prices to an average $125 per barrel next year and possibly $180 by 2020. Barclays also dismisses any notion of US energy independence — recently revived by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a sadly predictable and lame 'white paper'. Barclays forecasts US imports of more than 5 mb/d will persist beyond 2020 "even assuming the maintenance of high prices in what we would consider an already highly supply-optimistic and demand-pessimistic scenario".

Part of the tightening oil picture is increased domestic oil demand in producing countries, leading to a reduction in exports. Citigroup released a report this week raising a red flag that Saudi Arabia could become a net oil importer in the next 20 years. While much of Saudi consumption is for electricity generation and the kingdom is taking action to find substitutes, the trend is still towards less oil being available to the global market.

US geologist and exploration manager Jeffrey Brown, who blogs as westexas, has shown global net exports fell by 3mb/d between 2005 and 2010, while imports by China and India rose by 2.5 mb/d, reducing the oil exports available to the rest of the world by 5.5 mb/d altogether. If these trends were to continue, he says, 'available net exports' would fall to zero by 2030.

So how will the UK government respond to these challenges? Following this week's reshuffle, it looks as if policy is tilting ever more towards a dead-end scramble for the remaining hydrocarbons rather than secure and low-carbon renewable energy. The prime minister appointed Owen Patterson to DEFRA and John Hayes to DECC, both of whom have spoken against wind energy in the past. They might want to look at the latest report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, which concludes that wind is an effective alternative. Ed Davey remains as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, but his job just got even more difficult.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

Report kicks up debate on how high oil will go

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Saudi Arabia May Become Oil Importer by 2030, Citigroup Says

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Oil Trades Near One-Week High on Outlook for Stimulus, Economy

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Study throws cold water on Arctic oil, gas dreams

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Total insists Shtokman Russian Arctic gas project not delayed 'indefinitely'

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Statoil delays start of Chukchi drilling until at least 2015

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Russian oil production hits post-Soviet record

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Shell to Test Capturing of Carbon in Canada

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BP sued 'for hiding truth over safety' in Gulf oil disaster

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Jordanians protest as petrol price rises again

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Gas

Gazprom gears up to fight EU gas investigation

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Coal

Australia scraps dirty power station closure plan

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Critics say Canada softens coal-fired power rules

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Nuclear

French Set For Power Gap In Three Years On Nuclear Shutdowns

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China could take key role in UK nuclear infrastructure through Hinkley Point

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Biofuels

US and EU must change biofuel targets to avert food crisis, says Nestlé chief

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UK

Cameron appoints oil and gas friendly decision-makers

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Ed Davey moves to shield renewables amid reshuffle

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UK wind power predictable enough to keep lights on, says think tank IPPR

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Chancellor unveils tax break for older North Sea oil and gas fields

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Chief scientist issues warning over DECC budget cuts

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Transport

A Chinese City Moves to Limit New Cars

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POD Point launches pay-as-you-go car charging network

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