ODAC Newsletter - 29 October 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.

Big oil was smiling this week as Q3 profits rose on the back of higher oil prices. Prices are 12% higher than last year, and according to JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are likely to go higher, even above $100/barrel, by next year. Such a price rise may provide a test of OPEC’s ability to raise production; it would also put a serious strain on global economic recovery.

The natural gas market has traditionally operated more regionally than oil, with gas trickier to transport. The development of more liquid natural gas facilities at the same time as breakthroughs in extracting gas from shale rock in the US is however beginning to change this. The future gas price is one of the big unknowns in energy at the moment as the jury remains out on how shale gas will play out in Europe and Asia, especially in the light of concerns around water contamination. For now prices in the US are low enough to see Conoco take action to shut in supply, with CEO Jim Mulva describing current prices as “unsustainable”. Either way the market is likely to be well supplied to the middle of the decade, but from there the outlook is less certain as global demand rises.

Rare earth metals were in the news this week as prices soared and international concern grew over an unofficial cessation of exports of the minerals from China to Japan since a diplomatic dispute in September.  China holds a virtual global monopoly on production of the rare earth minerals and magnets essential in the high tech electronics industry, including batteries and renewables, and has announced that it is cutting export quotas to concentrate on production for its domestic market. While China’s premier Wen Jiabao has claimed that the country will not use its monopoly as a bargaining chip the move is a threat to the hi-tech industry as it isn’t possible to ramp up production quickly elsewhere to replace supply.

In other news this week, even as the race to meet GHG emissions targets continues, Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer is to close 5 plants due to a lack of demand in Europe. In the UK meanwhile investments in turbine manufacturing by Siemens, Gamesa and GE were confirmed this week following the government’s spending review commitment to invest in port infrastructure. As the debate about how best to power the future continues the BBC began a 3 part series this week on our relationship with electricity. UK readers can catch The Secret Life of the National Grid on BBC iPlayer.

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Disclaimers

Oil

Exxon, Shell, Eni, Sinopec profits jump on higher oil and gas prices

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Oil could hit $100 a barrel soon, JP Morgan predicts

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Halliburton Spill Liability May Rise on BP Well Report

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US sets up security zone around BP oil spill site

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Alaska's untapped oil reserves estimate lowered by about 90 percent

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Surging price of oil forces US military to seek alternative energy sources

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Cairn Energy fails to find enough oil off the coast of Greenland

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Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters

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Top scientists answer your 'toughest' energy questions

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Gas

More firms expected to follow Conoco in gas shut in

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Penn to halt future natgas drilling on state land

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Russia, Ukraine fail to agree new gas deal

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Coal

Gridlock on Chinese Highways Sends Coal to Four-Month High: Energy Markets

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Renewables

US approves world's biggest solar energy project

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Jeremy Leggett: Solar storm coming: the battle for the UK energy industry

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Power failure: UK's wind farm plans in disarray

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Vestas to close five wind turbine plants

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Go-ahead for wind to generate 70,000 jobs

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Mining and Minerals

Concerns over shortage of rare metals

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German Industry Feels Rare-Earth Metals Squeeze

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China pledges not to use rare earth minerals as weapon

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UK

Utilities to issue warning on carbon price

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The Secret Life of the National Grid

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Fowl energy: Chicken poo lights Gloucestershire town

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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.

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