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ODAC Newsletter Sept 28

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 were once again oscillating between the price depressing effects of economic uncertainty and the price enhancing effects of Middle East political uncertainties this week. Concerns for the Eurozone increased as Spain moves closer to needing a further bailout, while conflict and tensions in Syria, Libya and Iran threaten further instability. Saudi Arabia has promised to keep oil markets supplied in the event of shortfalls elsewhere, but Deutsche Bank, and others question whether the kingdom is really in a position to make good on the promise. The IEA now estimates Saudi spare capacity at just under 2 million barrels/day.

Oil supply would of course be tighter were it not for the recent increase in US oil production. Boosted by shale oil, production was reported at 6.5 million barrels/day last week, the highest rate since 1997. While a gung ho energy industry and desperate politicians go on to extrapolate that this turn around will lead to energy independence, questions about the longevity of the boom, as well as safety concerns continue to abound. Read Rune Likvern at The Oil Drum for detailed analysis on the Bakken play. According to Likvern "based upon present observed trends…it is challenging to find support for the idea that total production of shale oil from the Bakken formation will move much above present levels of 0.6 - 0.7 Mb/d on an annual basis."

In the UK this week a new report by consultants, the Energy Contract Company, on shale gas found that "Shale [in the UK] will not be a 'cheap' source of gas and there is unlikely to be a repeat of the US experience", thus underlining the risk of a new dash for gas. CBI director-general John Cridland warned against reliance on gas on Tuesday, saying "even if you forgot about carbon momentarily, look at European gas price projections. They all disagree on the number, but they all agree on the direction — up". The potential environmental cost of fracking was highlighted again this week as the U.S. Geological Survey reported finding contaminated drinking water in Wyoming near a fracking site, thereby confirming previous Environmental Protection Agency results. A report by NGO Earthworks meanwhile claimed that inspection of drilling in the US is understaffed leaving regulations unenforced.

In renewables news DECC reported that UK renewable generation in Q2 was up 6.5 per cent on the previous year. Offshore wind generation for the same quarter increased by 46.7 per cent, while renewables share of electricity generation overall is now 9.6% up from 9%. Progress on energy conservation is however not impressive with total primary energy consumption up by 6.3% compared to the same quarter last year.

The political battle over support for renewables and the green economy continued as the party conference season began with the Lib Dems in Brighton. In a pre-conference interview in The Observer, Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey spoke of the risk to green investment from a 'Tea-party tendency' in the Conservative party. He was joined by party and coalition colleague, Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, who spoke of the pressure from "some of the luddites [in the Conservative Party] that continue to deny climate change and who think this is all a myth". Neither of them mentioned George Osborne, but the gauntlet is thrown down.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

Doubts on Saudi Capacity May Keep Oil Volatile

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Libyan violence threatens oil recovery

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Total warns against drilling for oil in Arctic

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U.S. Pumps Most Oil Since 1997 as Energy Independence Grows

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Oil Recovers From Eight-Week Low After U.S. Inventories Dropped

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Gas

Diesel in Water Near Fracking Confirm EPA Tests Wyoming Disputes

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Fracking Regulations In States Leave Wells Without Inspection, Environmental Group Says

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Clock ticking on French fracking veto

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Coal

Coal exports make U.S. cleaner, EU more polluted

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House approves GOP bill to revoke environmental standards

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Nuclear

Nuclear energy capacity growth slowing after Fukushima - IAEA

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Renewables

Europe generating enough solar electricity to power Austria

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It's a myth that wind turbines don't reduce carbon emissions

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Biofuels

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Burn Wood: Energy

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EU non-food biofuels target needs new investment -Shell unit

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UK

UK will miss US-style shale gas transformation

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CBI rejects calls for all-out 'dash for gas'

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Nuclear power subsidies 'could add £70 to annual household energy bills'

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National Grid: UK could be free of energy imports by 2020s

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UK renewables output soars as new figures fuel fears over 'dash for coal'

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Tory 'Tea Party tendency' putting green energy jobs at risk, warns Ed Davey

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Geopolitics

Benjamin Netanyahu to set 'clear red line' on Iran

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