ODAC Newsletter - 4 March 2011


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.

Continued violence in the Middle East kept oil prices high this week. Libyan exports are down at least 1 million barrels a day and fears are escalating that the stand-off there could turn in to a protracted civil war. The unrest spread to Oman this week where security forces clashed with demonstrators. Meanwhile news of the arrest of a Shi’ite cleric demanding democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia sent the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange down 11%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) oil production in the US increased by 3% last year. The rise is apparently due to increased fracking, the technology that has revolutionised US gas production. But the controversy around the dangers of fracking is hotting up, following the Oscar nominated film Gaslands, and more recently a series of reports in the New York Times. The paper reports that internal documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show the danger to drinking water from fracking is even greater than previously understood. At issue are high levels of radioactivity and inadequate waste water treatment plants. The paper also alleges industry and political pressure on the EPA to limit the scope of its safety enquiry. Meanwhile the first UK fracking project is getting underway in Lancashire.

In the UK this week energy minister Chris Huhne used the current oil crisis to underline the need to embrace a low carbon energy future. In a speech on Thursday he said “I asked economists at DECC to look at how a 1970s style oil price shock would play out today. They found that if the oil price doubled, as from $80 last year to $160 this year, it could lead to a cumulative loss of GDP of around £45 billion over 2 years.” The speech coincided with the release of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s new 2050 pathways consultation tools aimed at broadening public engagement over energy choices.

ODAC welcomes the call to reduce our reliance on oil, but is concerned that progress will lack the necessary urgency so long as policy relies on IEA forecasts. In a paper published this week in Energy Policy Journal, ODAC calls on the government to reassess its reliance on the IEA’s forecasts, and begin urgently to prepare for an oil crisis far more severe than the current upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa.

The report’s author, ODAC trustee Dr Richard Miller said, “Events in the Middle East have grabbed attention, but the flaws in the IEA’s analysis are potentially more serious in the longer term. We are flying blind into an even more dangerous crisis.”

Join us! Become a member of the ODAC Newsgathering Network. Can you regularly commit to checking a news source for stories related to peak oil, energy depletion, their implications and responses to the issues? If you are checking either a daily or weekly news source and would have time to add articles to our database, please contact us for more details.


Disclaimers

Oil

Crude Oil Heads for Its Third Weekly Gain as Unrest Spreads to Middle East

Back to top

Oil shakes starting to unsettle Saudi Arabia

Back to top

Market turmoil as IEA warns 'age of cheap oil is over'

Back to top

Future oil supply: The changing stance of the International Energy Agency

Back to top

Asia moves to shore up strategic oil reserves

Back to top

History tells us that a surge in fuel costs makes a US recession likely

Back to top

Bombing Damages Iraq’s Largest Oil Refinery

Back to top

Spain adopts energy saving measures to combat oil price hike

Back to top

US oil production revives despite offshore disruption

Back to top

Texas activists ready to fight over $7bn oil pipeline in the home of black gold

Back to top

TNK-BP proposes taking BP's place in Rosneft deal

Back to top

Gas

Results of controversial 'fracking' for shale gas in UK will be kept secret

Back to top

E.P.A. Struggles to Regulate Natural Gas Industry

Back to top

Gazprom wins long Kovykta battle over TNK-BP gas

Back to top

Biofuels

Biofuels only major way to decarbonise road fuel - BP

Back to top

Jay Keasling: 'We can use synthetic biology to make jet fuel'

Back to top

UK

UK facing 1970s-style oil shock which could cost economy £45bn – Huhne

Back to top

Pull the levers of power in the UK with Decc's new carbon calculator

Back to top

U.K. Government Ready to Pay Power Users to Switch Off in 'Negawatt' Plan

Back to top

Cuts threaten green energy growth, says Ernst & Young

Back to top

National Grid chief says 2011 is 'pivotal' year for UK energy market

Back to top

Sheffield bids to become the UK’s first energy self-sufficient city

Back to top

Transport

Iata cuts its airline profits forecast on high oil cost

Back to top

'Air hybrid' cars would be cheaper than electric hybrids, claims researcher

Back to top

Thomson and Thomas Cook add fuel surcharges to holiday flights

Back to top

Disclaimers

The items contained in this newsletter are distributed as submitted and are provided for general information purposes only. ODAC does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in these submissions, nor does it guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information presented.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this newsletter for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.