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

After declining since July, the oil price rallied significantly this week as investors anticipated a US bailout and potential restoration of fuel demand. Delays in approval for the bill along with figures showing continued demand reduction in the US (some still due to infrastructure damage from hurricane Ike) caused prices to drop back again yesterday.

While the embattled US government tries to sell its financial patch, the embattled UK governing Labour party held its annual conference this week in Manchester. As Gordon Brown tried to save his leadership, Minister for Business John Hutton was on fighting form in defence of his energy policy. In a speech to delegates he warned that “the new international battle for energy security” threatens “our sovereignty as a nation.” He went on to claim that the UK has no option but to invest in coal and nuclear power, without which there would be “no lights. No power. No future.” It is worth noting that a failure to act now on climate change really would mean no future. Mr Hutton also appears to ignore, in his solution for energy independence, that 70% of UK coal is imported and the country’s nuclear asset, British Energy, is now owned by the French company EDF after a deal was agreed this week. For an alternative take on addressing the energy challenge facing the UK see Jeremy Leggett’s commentary.

The battle for energy security, of which John Hutton spoke, saw Venezuela forging a new deal for oil with China this week. Fallout from the Georgian war was still in evidence as political maneuvering over energy pipelines continued. Meanwhile in Iraq, Shell succeeded in signing a controversial gas deal.

In his appeal to the American people yesterday for support of the proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial system, President Bush concluded that “…these are not normal circumstances.” In that at least it is difficult to disagree with him.

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Crude Oil Falls After Report Shows U.S. Fuel Consumption Drop
Venezuela signs Chinese oil deal
Azerbaijan oil export moves likely to worry west
Russia Seeks Greater Oil Price Control, Coordination With OPEC
Kazakhstan to boost crude supply to China
Senate approves bill with energy trade-offs
Saudi Trims Oil Supply to Majors
Nigerian Oil Threat

Shell’s $4bn Iraq breakthrough could boost Britain’s natural gas supplies
German-US Tensions Grow Over Baltic Pipeline

Hutton says coal-fired power stations key to energy security
‘Ban dirty coal’ says government environment watchdog
Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants

Government stresses support for nuclear
Nuclear fuses value for money and long-term solution to the energy squeeze
EdF buys British Energy for £12.5bn

Independence from the street up
‘Wave snakes’ switch on to harness ocean’s power
Electricity From What Cows Leave Behind
Suzlon to invest $5bn in wind farms

Rising cost of oil will not derail climate strategy, says Hilary Benn