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ODAC Newsletter Oct 12

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

The International Energy Agency released a new report this week in which it took a detailed look at the prospects for the Iraqi oil and gas industry out to 2035. The conclusion is that oil production in Iraq could increase significantly by 2020 - doubling or even trebling IF, and it is a big if, there is huge investment (around $25bn/year up from $9bn last year), the political will to overcome legal, logistical and geopolitical obstacles, and relative stability with regard to security. Even with all this the IEA offers up three scenarios — none of which comes close to achieving the projected 15mb/d which current in place contracts could theoretically produce by 2020. The most aggressive scenario misses this by almost 6mb/d.

The Central Scenario, also called the main product, forecasts a near doubling of production by 2020 to 6mb/d increasing to 8.5mb/d by 2035. These are big numbers and would make a huge difference to the economy of Iraq, but would they significantly change the global oil supply picture? Unlikely. A significant increase in Iraqi production is already built into future projections and anticipated by markets, indeed, in the report, the IEA still forecasts a price of $120/barrel by 2020 to support the increase, a price high enough to threaten economic growth in most of the world. Given the IEA's regular warnings on the effect of the oil price on economic growth this assumption appears to contain a significant contradiction.

In the UK this week it has been the turn of the Conservatives to dominate the headlines via their party conference. The messages coming from Birmingham during the week have only served to underline the growing cracks in the consensus around government energy and climate policy. There were still positive statements about renewables — notably from David Cameron boasting that the UK is "number one on the world for renewables". Chancellor George Osborne spoke of the need to invest in renewables, while also promoting shale gas — for shale gas he shared the news that a "generous new tax regime" is being negotiated. Owen Patterson, the Environment Secretary, spoke of protecting rural areas from inappropriate use of renewables, while assuring that he would make regulations for fracking "as simple as possible".

The push for gas may be popular with a strong lobby of old style Conservatives, it could however put the party at odds even with their traditional allies. On Monday a group of more than 50 businesses including many multinational corporations, put their names to a letter asking the Chancellor for a target to cut emissions from the power sector by 2030, a move which he opposes. In their view a dash for gas undermines the Climate Change Act, and the potential economic benefits of an energy transformation.

View our Reports and Resources page

Oil

Iraq could become world's second biggest oil exporter

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Will Iraq's energy boom postpone peak oil yet again?

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Oil Heads for First Weekly Gain in Month on Economy, Middle East

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Saudi oil: Down (just a bit) with the price

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Total warns about 'inaccurate' oil prices

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Azerbaijan threatens BP with 'serious measures' over oil revenue shortfall

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Nigeria oil spills: Shell rejects liability claim

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Europe rejects ban on Arctic oil drilling

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Disputed Islands With 45 Years of Oil Split China, Japan

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Norway to double carbon tax on oil industry

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Gas

Can George Osborne give shale gas a boost with a 'generous' tax regime?

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Gas power 'is undermining energy sector'

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Chancellor told to back biogas over shale

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'Fracking' to preserve US gas glut

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British Gas raises gas and electricity prices

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Electricity

UK energy minister wants to fund two CCS projects

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Carbon capture: 130 plants needed 'to avoid dangerous climate change'

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Blackouts possible as coal power stations go offline early, warns Ofgem

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Nuclear

Government mulls underwriting risk of new nuclear plants

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Russia eyes stake in UK nuclear plants

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Renewables

Paterson challenges 'inappropriate' rural renewables

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Cameron hails UK as 'number one in the world' for offshore wind

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Clean energy investment down 20 percent in third-quarter: report

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Political storms threaten Europe's offshore wind goals

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U.S. sets steep final duties on Chinese solar panels

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Alex Salmond launches £103m renewable energy fund

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