ODAC Newsletter - 19 March 2010


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.

OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna this week caused no surprises in deciding to keep production quotas unchanged. Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi described current prices as "beautiful". Indeed as the group met the oil price rose to $82/barrel, close to its 2010 high despite only 53% compliance by OPEC to its quotas and low US demand. Prices are currently being driven by Asian demand and a weak dollar.

China's January oil demand increase of 28% year-on year was described this week by the IEA as "astonishing". A report on world oil demand released this week by economists Joyce Dargay of University of Leeds and Dermot Gately of New York University anticipates that the IEA will continue to be astonished as the agency has, according to the report, wholly underestimated future global oil demand to the tune of a frightening 30 million barrels/day. The report argues that, the 'low hanging fruit' oil reduction measures have already been taken and that even with record prices and the worst recession for 50 years oil demand has stayed relatively stable. Even at the IEA's current estimate the new production which would need to come on line in order to offset depletion and meet its projected demand requirement is estimated to be the equivalent of 6 Saudi Arabia's. Increasing the demand number further would surely leave even the IEA with a production gap which is impossible to fill.

With oil demand forecast to grow, the pressure to exploit the tar sands despite the inherent environmental consequences grows with it. At their upcoming annual meetings both BP and Shell face challenges from shareholders led by campaign group Fair Pensions with regard to their tar sands investments. This week WWF and The Cooperative released a report highlighting better ways to spend the $379bn scheduled for investment in the oil sands to 2025 with suggestions ranging from the Desertec solar project, to electrified transport.

In the UK this week, as the chancellor worked on his balance sheets ahead of next week's budget, the Royal Academy of Engineers released a report which estimated that restructuring the UK's energy system to meet future demand and emissions goals would "probably only [be] achievable by monopolising most of the national wealth and resources,". The report Generating the Future: UK energy systems fit for 2050 argues that market forces will be insufficient to make the huge changes to both demand and supply which will be required. With the next oil crunch also predicted in the next 5 years the coming term of government will surely be one of the most challenging in modern times.

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Disclaimers

Oil

Crude Oil Rises Above $82 as U.S. Imports, Fuel Supplies Drop

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OPEC keeps oil output targets

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IEA Raises 2010 Oil Demand Estimate on Developing Economies

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Economists deliver a sturdy smackdown of peak oil demand

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Money spent on tar sands projects could decarbonise western economies

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The Peak Oil Crisis: 2014— The Year of Transition

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Iran tightens petrol rations as economic sanctions loom

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Shell set to sell stakes in 9,000 petrol stations worldwide

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Gas

Natural gas : An unconventional glut

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Algeria calls for cut in gas production

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Coal

Longannet owner to share £90m government fund for carbon capture

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Nuclear

Call for inquiry into nuclear plans

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Renewables

Marine energy projects approved for Scotland

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Marine tidal power generating clean electricity

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UK

Energy policy 'nowhere near' ready

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Carbon Trust launches green fuel consortium

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MPs accused of funding tar sands

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Power bill cuts offered over waste plants

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Climate

Chaos on carbon market over 'recycled' permits

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Europe

EU to exceed 2020 green energy target: forecasts

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Transport

Motorists face fresh blow as Government ends biofuel subsidy

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Road travel 'needs big overhaul' to avoid gridlock

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UK airports see record drop in passenger numbers

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Disclaimers

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