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.
View our Reports and Resources pageOilCrude Oil Rises Above $82 as U.S. Imports, Fuel Supplies Drop OPEC keeps oil output targetsIEA Raises 2010 Oil Demand Estimate on Developing Economies Economists deliver a sturdy smackdown of peak oil demandMoney spent on tar sands projects could decarbonise western economiesThe Peak Oil Crisis: 2014— The Year of TransitionIran tightens petrol rations as economic sanctions loom Shell set to sell stakes in 9,000 petrol stations worldwideGasNatural gas : An unconventional glutAlgeria calls for cut in gas productionCoalLongannet owner to share ВЈ90m government fund for carbon captureNuclearCall for inquiry into nuclear plansRenewablesMarine energy projects approved for ScotlandMarine tidal power generating clean electricityUKEnergy policy 'nowhere near' readyCarbon Trust launches green fuel consortiumMPs accused of funding tar sandsPower bill cuts offered over waste plantsClimateChaos on carbon market over 'recycled' permitsEuropeEU to exceed 2020 green energy target: forecastsTransportMotorists face fresh blow as Government ends biofuel subsidyRoad travel 'needs big overhaul' to avoid gridlock UK airports see record drop in passenger numbers Disclaimers Oil
Crude Oil Rises Above $82 as U.S. Imports, Fuel Supplies Drop Margot Habiby, Bloomberg.com, 17 Mar 2010View original article
Crude oil rose above $82 a barrel after the Energy Department reported U.S. imports fell to a seasonal low and fuel inventories dropped.
Crude imports slipped 0.8 percent last week to the smallest level for the second week in March since 2002. Supplies of gasoline and distillate fuels, which include heating oil and diesel, decreased more than forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna today left production targets unchanged to support current price levels...
Back to top
OPEC keeps oil output targetsReuters, 17 Mar 2010View original article
OPEC ministers agreed not to change output targets they are already exceeding, an OPEC delegate told Reuters Wednesday, as demand should pick up later in the year to mop up extra barrels.
But with economic recovery still looking fragile as powerhouse China considers curbs on credit, members are likely to be asked to comply with production levels set in December 2008 to keep supply at 24.84 million barrels per day (bpd)...
Back to top
IEA Raises 2010 Oil Demand Estimate on Developing Economies Alexander Kwiatkowski, Bloomberg.com, 12 Mar 2010View original article
The International Energy Agency raised its forecast for global oil demand this year for a second month as fuel consumption in Asia rises more than expected.
The IEA increased its estimate for world demand in 2010 by 70,000 barrels a day to 86.6 million barrels a day. That would mean a gain of 1.6 million barrels a day, or 1.8 percent, from 2009 levels, it said. Economies outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development continue to lead the recovery in consumption, the IEA said...
Back to top
Economists deliver a sturdy smackdown of peak oil demandKate Mackenzie, Financial Times, 15 Mar 2010View original article
Whether or not you agree with peak oil, a new paper by two economists, Joyce Dargay of University of Leeds and Dermot Gately of New York University, draws some rather dramatic conclusions.
Unlike some economists, the pair do not buy the 'peak demand' idea In fact they believe the IEA, EIA and Opec have all seriously underestimated future demand growth...
Back to top
Money spent on tar sands projects could decarbonise western economiesTerry Macalister, The Guardian, 15 Mar 2010View original article
The ВЈ250bn cost of developing Canada's controversial tar sands between now and 2025 could be used to decarbonise the western economy by funding ambitious solar power schemes in the Sahara or a European wide shift to electric vehicles, according to a new report released today.
The same amount of investment would also help the world to hit half of the Millenium Development Goals in the 50 least-developed countries, says the research from The Co-operative and conservation group, WWF, which is released to coincide with a new film, Dirty Oil, being premiered in 25 cinemas around the UK today. It is a hard-hitting documentary narrated by Canadian actor, Neve Campbell...
Back to top
The Peak Oil Crisis: 2014— The Year of TransitionTom Whipple, Fall Church News-Press, 17 Mar 2010View original article
The key remaining question of the peak oil crisis is just when world production is going to start on an unstoppable decline. A few years ago those analysts who were deeply enmeshed in the problem were saying that 2011 or 2012 looked like the fateful year.
But then the unexpected happened -- a great recession came along and the demand for oil plunged.
Although global oil production set a nominal high during the great price run-up back in the summer of 2008, production soon fell away as the deepening recession cut demand by some 4 million barrels a day...
Back to top
Iran tightens petrol rations as economic sanctions loom BBC Online, 17 Mar 2010View original article
Iran has announced it will cut the volume of its cheap petrol ration by 25% to 60 litres per vehicle per month from 21 March.
Currently, each vehicle is allowed a quota of 80 litres of fuel at 10 cents a litre, with any amount needed on top of that priced at 40 cents...
Back to top
Shell set to sell stakes in 9,000 petrol stations worldwideRobert Lindsay, The Times, 16 Mar 2010View original article
Royal Dutch Shell has announced that a further 1,000 jobs will be lost amid plans to shed a third of its global petrol station network.
The changes, announced at the group's annual strategy briefing today, will take the redundancy tally under Peter Voser, the chief executive, to 7,000...
Back to topGas
Natural gas : An unconventional glutThe Economist print edition, The Economist, 16 Mar 2010View original article
Newly economic, widely distributed sources are shifting the balance of power in the world's gas markets
SOME time in 2014 natural gas will be condensed into liquid and loaded onto a tanker docked in Kitimat, on Canada's Pacific coast, about 650km (400 miles) north-west of Vancouver. The ship will probably take its cargo to Asia. This proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, to be built by Apache Corporation, an American energy company, will not be North America's first. Gas has been shipped from Alaska to Japan since 1969. But if it makes it past the planning stages, Kitimat LNG will be one of the continent's most significant energy developments in decades...
Back to top
Algeria calls for cut in gas productionCarola Hoyos in Vienna, Financial Times, 17 Mar 2010View original article
Algeria, one of the three biggest suppliers of gas to Europe, called on fellow gas-exporting countries yesterday to reduce production in order to boost prices...
Back to topCoal
Longannet owner to share ВЈ90m government fund for carbon capturePeter Jones, The Times, 15 Mar 2010View original article
Prospects for a new industry bringing 10,000 jobs to Scotland are a step closer after a Whitehall decision to finance work on adding carbon capture and storage equipment to Longannet power station in Fife.
Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced yesterday that Longannet owner ScottishPower and the rival energy company e.on would share in a ВЈ90 million UK government fund to finance design and development studies...
Back to topNuclear
Call for inquiry into nuclear plansEd Crooks, Financial Times, 12 Mar 2010View original article
Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for energy and climate change, yesterday called for an independent public inquiry into government plans to back a new generation of nuclear power plants being built in Britain, writes Ed Crooks...
Back to topRenewables
Marine energy projects approved for ScotlandKunal Dutta, The Independent, 17 Mar 2010View original article
The seabed off the north coast of Scotland could be transformed into the "Saudi Arabia of marine energy" after seven power firms were awarded contracts for a landmark project designed to harness the area's potential for tidal energy and power up to 750,000 homes by 2020.
More than 20 firms were originally in the running for the project, billed as the world's first commercial wave and tidal scheme, in the Pentland Firth between northern Scotland and the Orkney Islands...
Back to top
Marine tidal power generating clean electricityArthur Strain, BBC Online, 15 Mar 2010View original article
The waters of Strangford Lough run cold, fast and deep, but the experimental technology being tested in Northern Ireland is being promoted as one of the ways to reduce the UK's carbon emissions.
It is estimated that harnessing the power of the seas, using wave and tidal generation methods, could meet the electricity demand of 15 million UK homes every year...
Back to topUK
Energy policy 'nowhere near' readyEd Crooks, Energy Editor, Financial Times, 18 Mar 2010View original article
Energy policy is "nowhere near" having the right framework in place to deliver the investment and job creation that will be needed to hit government targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, a group of leading academics backed by the Royal Academy of Engineering warns...
Back to top
Carbon Trust launches green fuel consortiumCath Everett, Business Green, 15 Mar 2010View original article
The Carbon Trust has today launched a new consortium of UK businesses committed to developing a commercially viable process for converting municipal and wood waste into a biofuel boasting higher levels of environmental sustainability than those currently on the market.
The consortium, which will be funded to the tune of ВЈ7m over the next three to four years, will attempt to refine a process known as pyrolysis, which can be used to produce biofuels from existing organic waste material rather than controversial energy crops...
Back to top
MPs accused of funding tar sandsLouise Gray, Telegraph, 15 Mar 2010View original article
MPs could be funding one of the most environmentally damaging projects in the world through their pension fund, it has been claimed.
The extraction of oil from tar sands in Canada has been blamed for health problems in the region and produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide both in the production and burning of the oil...
Back to top
Power bill cuts offered over waste plantsDanny Fortson, The Times, 14 Mar 2010View original article
COMMUNITIES could be given discounts on their utility bills or cash payments in exchange for agreeing to build controversial waste-to-energy plants in their neighbourhoods.
The proposal is one of a series of radical ideas put forward last week by a group of MPs hoping to kick-start a revolution in the way we deal with rubbish. Every year Britain sends 65m tonnes of waste to landfill вЂ” more than a tonne per person. By 2013 we must reduce the amount of waste we bury to half 1995 levels or face stiff fines from Brussels...
Back to topClimate
Chaos on carbon market over 'recycled' permitsCarl Mortished: World Business Editor, The Times, 18 Mar 2010View original article
Europe's emissions trading system was in uproar yesterday amid a mounting scandal over "recycled" carbon permits.
Two carbon exchanges were forced to suspend trading as panic hit investors fearful that they had bought invalid permits...
Back to topEurope
EU to exceed 2020 green energy target: forecastsReuters, 11 Mar 2010View original article
New forecasts suggest the European Union will exceed its target of getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2020, the European Commission said Thursday.
The latest national projections submitted by governments to the EU executive suggest the 27-nation bloc could reach an overall renewable share of 20.3 percent by the end of the decade...
Back to topTransport
Motorists face fresh blow as Government ends biofuel subsidyDavid Millward, The Daily Telegraph, 17 Mar 2010View original article
Drivers will be hit by the scrapping of a subsidy the Government has been paying to the producers of "environmentally friendly" biofuels, which account for 3 per cent of each litre of petrol and diesel.
This subsidy will end on April 1, raising the cost of biofuels for petrol producers - an increase which will be passed onto consumers...
Back to top
Road travel 'needs big overhaul' to avoid gridlock BBC Online, 15 Mar 2010View original article
There needs to be a "radical overhaul" of road travel in the UK to avoid future gridlock, the CBI business organisation has warned.
It said measures that need to be explored include staggered work commutes, increased car sharing, and more working from home...
Back to top
UK airports see record drop in passenger numbers BBC Online, 15 Mar 2010View original article
The UK's airports handled 7.4% fewer passengers last year than in 2008, the biggest annual decline since records began 65 years ago, figures have shown.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that with passenger numbers having also fallen in 2008, it was the first time levels have fallen two years in a row...
Back to top
World crude oil production may peak a decade earlier than some predictLocal publishers rush to fill digital demand