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ODAC Newsletter Oct 19

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 remained steady this week as the closure of the Keystone pipeline in the US to address possible safety issues balanced bearish news on the Chinese economy. Beijing reported that Q3 saw growth slow to 7.4%, compared to the same period last year. The IEA now anticipates an easing of pressure on oil prices due to sluggish economic demand and rising supply in Iraq and the US - perhaps another way of saying that the oil price is putting a lid on economic growth? Goldman Sachs also revised its forecast, while commenting that a bottom price of $90/barrel is likely to hold due to the price of production.

It is the pursuit of cheap energy which is currently dominating political debate on energy policy. In the US President Obama and Mitt Romney clashed over this in the latest Presidential debate on Monday. The debate became a fight about who would drill more and where, based on the assumption that lots of drilling will mean energy independence and, ergo, low prices. Alternative energy and energy conservation were reduced to a footnote. It seems that at the same time as high energy prices keep a lid on economic growth, they also dumb down the debate which is needed in order to address the real issues.

In the UK this week the picture was not dissimilar. Much of the week was taken up with media furore about David Cameron's on the hoof policy announcement to compel energy companies to offer customers the lowest tariff. Ofgem stepped in on Friday with a set of proposals on the issue. The incident did however add to the impression of uncertainty over current energy policy which is increasingly concerning investors. Ed Davey was emphatic that the Energy Bill will be ready in November, though key battles — whether to have a target for decarbonisation of the power sector, detail on subsidies/contracts for difference — remain in the balance.

In an interesting side note a group made up of the Co-operative, the National Trust, the Church of England and the Women's Institute called on the government this week to recognise the potential of locally owned community energy schemes with more supportive legislation. The group claims that there is a potential for four power stations worth of these schemes by 2020. Could an initiative like this with the right support be useful in moving the debate from one of short term political expedience, to the need for a long-term solution to real issues of resource depletion and environmental degradation?

Oil

Oil Heads for Weekly Gain as TransCanada Shuts Keystone Pipeline

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Oil prices to ease on slow economy, higher output

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Oil bull Goldman sees end to rising prices

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BP on verge of historic Rosneft deal as Bob Dudley and Igor Sechin meet for London talks

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Aramco Draws on Export Finance as Bank Loans Wither: Arab Credit

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Congress applies pressure to BP over Gulf oil sheen

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Obama and Romney take up gas prices and energy policy during second debate

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

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Gas

Germany Balks on Natural Gas Bonanza

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Shale gas not at odds with climate targets-report

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Nuclear

Fukushima operator admits downplaying tsunami risk

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Renewables

Greenwire £6bn plan to import Irish wind power

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Germany eyes cap for support for wind power, biomass

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Biofuels

Biofuels industry does not deserve to be demonised

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EU Commission weakens biofuel rule changes: draft

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UK

Energy bills: Ofgem sets out plan for simpler tariffs

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David Cameron's energy team unable to explain price pledge

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Energy Bill confirmed for next month, but key questions remain

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Energy policy negotiated as coalition leaders meet to discuss green agenda

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Britain risks falling behind in the race for clean energy

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Four power stations' worth of locally-owned renewable schemes could be installed by 2020

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Innovation could halve cost of UK wave power

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George Osborne's 'Environmental Taliban' stage fightback

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Fracking to get green light within weeks

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What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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