ODAC Newsletter - 17 February 2012


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.

Oil prices gained this week, touching $120/barrel on Thursday, in response to rising tension over Iran including two key developments. One was Tehran’s announcement that Iranian made nuclear fuel rods had been loaded into a research reactor for the first time. The other a press report on Wednesday  – subsequently denied by Tehran – that Iran had pre-empted Europe’s oil sanctions, due to begin July 1, by cutting oil supplies to 6 EU nations.  The pressure looks likely to increase in the coming weeks with Israel and the US pressing for further sanctions including removing Iran from the global SWIFT financial clearing system.

The IEAs latest report anticipates that there is currently sufficient supply side flexibility in oil production to cover losses from Iran and also from the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan. Worth noting in its latest monthly report however was a reduction in the agency’s estimate of the maximum oil production capacity of Saudi Arabia.  The change, from 12million b/d to 11.88mb/d, is fairly small, but with Saudi the only global swing producer it remains significant. The FT reports that the new figure is based on the IEA’s own models and takes into account the natural decline rate in the kingdom’s oilfields. Their spokesperson added that enhanced recovery currently underway could slow the decline. Still, is this further evidence that Saudi production is reaching its peak?

In the UK persistently high fuel prices are clearly having an effect. Department of Transport figures show that driving habits have changed significantly - mileage driven on Welsh roads fell from 13.9bn in 2007 to 13.3bn in 2010, while in the UK overall car use fell by 3% with cycling up by 15%. In domestic energy the monopoly of the big six energy companies has become a highly charged issue and alternatives like community energy schemes are gaining traction across a fairly wide political spectrum as demonstrated by a new report this week from centre right thinktank Respublica.

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Disclaimers

Oil

Oil Trades Near Six-Week High

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IEA downgrades Saudi Arabia’s output capacity

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IEA frets over Sudanese oil dispute

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Iraq Blocks Exxon Mobil Exploration Bids

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North America

Oil Rise Threatens Recovery

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Obama revives green agenda with push to end oil industry tax breaks

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Gas

Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field

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Tighten fracking regulations, scientists urge US officials

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Gazprom to double its European gas storage capacity

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Nuclear

Greenpeace praises EU nuclear stress test 'transparency'

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Warnings over proposed merger of UK's nuclear police forces

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Renewables

Utility Giant E.on Threatens to Halt Wind Farm Investment

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Grid blackout threat weighs on renewables take-up

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Biofuels

Biofuels could be competitive as aviation fuel by 2020

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UK

Hard times see motorists to leave keys at home with car usage falling as cost cutting commuters seek cheaper alternatives

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Government urged to boost tax breaks for community energy schemes

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Siemens to build England-Scotland undersea electricity link

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Businesses pledge support for Ed Davey's green agenda

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Review: ITV's Cost of Going Green

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End energy profiteering: The rich get richer, the poor get colder

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Climate

Gore: ignoring carbon risks repeat of sub-prime mortgage crisis

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Revealed: How fossil fuel reserves match UN climate negotiating positions

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Geopolitics

'The Iran Conlict Is Intensifying Step by Step'

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Iranian tensions feared to have drastic effect on economy

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Disclaimers

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