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ODAC Newsletter Sept 21

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

Oil prices fell dramatically this week to $107/barrel for Brent, on worsening economic news from China and Europe, and assurances from Saudi Arabia that it is ready to pump more oil to keep prices down. The speed of the fall on Monday however is something of a mystery and has led to an investigation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the FSA. Some of the longer term issues driving prices up were also evident with Shell's false start on Arctic drilling, and news that Saudi Arabia burnt record amounts of oil in June and July for electricity generation. A UK parliamentary select committee this week recommended a halt to Arctic drilling until environmental concerns are addressed; it also came out in favour of unlimited financial liability for operations in the region.

The UK debate over shale gas drilling moved to the Financial Times this week where an editorial by Cuadrilla Director Lord Browne drew a response from Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Davey. Lord Browne unsurprisingly used the editorial to advocate for shale gas saying that policy around fossil fuel should be "a sensibly managed decline, not unthinking abandonment." Davey objected to this "regrettably partial" description of current policy adding that "until we have more certainty about the potential scale and costs of shale gas production in the UK it is unwise to assume it will be some kind of silver bullet". The European parliament meanwhile saw potentially conflicting resolutions backed this week. Shortly after the assembly's energy committee agreed that the question of whether to exploit shale gas should be a matter for each country to decide on, MEPs on the environment panel voted strongly in favour of tougher regulation on shale gas and oil extraction activities.

In renewables news this week, DECC will shortly begin a review of onshore wind energy costs, a move which could lead to further subsidy reductions. The review was presaged at the time of the budget when DECC succeeded in holding cuts to 10% in the face of calls for much deeper cuts from the Treasury. Lord Browne catches the mood of the Treasury and possibly also Owen Patterson the new Environment Secretary when he writes in his editorial "we must continue to develop renewables but with an eye on rising opposition to costly and seemingly unending subsidies". But this, as Davey points out in his response, is a red herring. The subsidies have added only 3% to the average bill and it is continued fossil fuel dependency which will lead to a costly future.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

Crude Oil Rebounds to Trim Biggest Weekly Decline Since June

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Slumping trade growth — and more oil Jedi mind tricks?

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MPs demand moratorium on Arctic oil drilling

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Shell cleared to drill in Alaska's Beaufort Sea

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Oil reserves at heart of Japan-China island dispute

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Saudi crude burn hits new records in June, July

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Norway investigates 'substantial' oil and gas leak on BP platform

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Gas

Lord Browne versus Ed Davey — fracking row hots up

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UK overseas gas imports to surge to $11 billion by 2015

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UK shale gas could create 4,200 jobs a year, say engineers

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MEPs divided on whether EU should regulate shale gas

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Nuclear

Japan cabinet approves plan to exit nuclear energy

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UK

Ed Davey set to launch onshore wind costs review

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Wind farms are inefficient says new Environment Secretary, as DECC prepares to launch review

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Windfarms could provide windfall for local communities

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DECC predicts latest solar subsidy cuts could open door for gas

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Europe

Hollande deals setback to nuclear, shale gas industries

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Transport

Fuel use in new cars could halve by 2030: IEA

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