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.
World Energy ministers met this week in Cancun for the latest session of the International Energy Forum. The meeting resulted in a declaration committing its 66 signatories to an "enhanced global producer-consumer energy dialogue". As if on cue, the oil price reached its highest point in 2010 on Wednesday at over $83/barrel to remind ministers why they were there. Everybody knows it's good to talk, but it will take more than that to deal with a coming demand/supply imbalance. UK Energy Minister Lord Hunt was quoted as saying "We need a shared understanding of what triggered the volatility of 2008 and 2009. We need the analysis to make sure we do not face the same energy price volatility again." Looks like DECC hasn't quite got peak oil yet after all.
A blog published this week on Le Monde based on an interview with Glen Sweetnam, a Director at the US Department of Energy, suggested that Washington may accept the idea of a peak in liquid fuels from as early as 2011 followed by an "undulating plateau". Whether this was a factor in President Obama's energy security speech on Wednesday is difficult to say. The President announced the opening up of selected offshore areas to drilling in order to reduce America's dependence on "foreign oil" as a necessary measure to support economic growth during a transition to cleaner fuels. The move is seen by many as an olive branch to Republicans in order to revive stalled climate change legislation and would do little to ensure US energy independence.
In the UK this week, as another energy company chief warned of a looming power crunch due to unclear energy policy, the government's renewables plans got a fillip as Siemen's became the latest engineering company to announce plans to invest in wind turbine manufacturing or research facilities in the UK. The controversial FiT scheme also came into effect on Thursday which is expected to result in a huge boost to the take-up of PV solar. The risk of a lot of badly installed inefficient solar panels and micro wind turbines on poorly insulated houses has been widely discussed, but the guidelines are also broad enough to allow for the formation of community energy schemes which have the potential to make a big impact on public perception of energy generation.OilEnergy ministers demand oil market transparencyChina invited to join IEA as oil demand shiftsSaudi's Al-Naimi 'Hopes' Oil Stays in $70-$80 Per Barrel Range Washington considers a decline of world oil production as of 2011Obama Announces Expanded Offshore Oil ExplorationOil Surges to 17-Month High, Gasoline Rises, on Economic Growth BP wins support against oil sands moveFalklands delivers poor results for Desire PetroleumTexas Proposes $10 Billion 'Ike Dike' for Storm-Surge Shield IraqIHS CERA: Big, But Potentially Limited, Output Growth in IraqIyad Allawi struggles to turn Iraq election victory into ruling coalitionGasUK to rule out national gas storage to secure supplyRussians prepare ВЈ1bn grab for UK fuel suppliesRenewablesBig investments boost UK's green sectorTesco joins the stampede to supply DIY electricityWealthy landowners make millions in the wind rushBiofuelsAmerica's biofuel muddle : Coming up emptyUKNew regulations on energy efficiency 'mired in confusion'Power crunch looms for BritainMillions struggle to heat homes as Government misses fuel poverty targetObjectors claim Heathrow runway victoryGeopoliticsChina supports Barack Obama's call for new Iran sanctionsEconomySell-off in US Treasuries raises sovereign debt fearsUK economic growth unexpectedly revised up to 0.4% Oil
Energy ministers demand oil market transparencyAFP, 31 Mar 2010View original article
World energy producers and consumers pledged greater cooperation and called for transparent markets here on Wednesday to tackle oil price volatility seen as damaging to economic recovery.
"With regard to energy market volatility, energy markets should be as transparent as possible," said a joint declaration issued by the International Energy Forum at the end of a two-day meeting in the beach resort of Cancun...
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China invited to join IEA as oil demand shiftsCarola Hoyos in Cancun, Mexico, Financial Times, 31 Mar 2010View original article
The head of the International Energy Agency, the developed world's energy watchdog, has called for China to join the agency and warned that the institution risked losing relevance as energy demand shifted eastward away from its current members...
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Saudi's Al-Naimi 'Hopes' Oil Stays in $70-$80 Per Barrel Range Rodrigo Orihuela, Bloomberg.com, 30 Mar 2010View original article
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al- Naimi said he вЂњhopesвЂќ prices remain in the $70-a-barrel to $80-a-barrel range, signaling the world's largest producer may be willing to boost output if crude accelerates further.
The country could boost production by as much as 4.5 million barrels a day and is "waiting" for demand to rise after increasing capacity to 12.5 million barrels, Al-Naimi told reporters yesterday in Cancun, Mexico. Prices in the $70-to $80- range are "as close to perfect as possible," he said, adding today that he "hopes" prices remain in that range...
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Washington considers a decline of world oil production as of 2011Matthieu Auzanneau, Le Monde - The Oil Man blog, 29 Mar 2010View original article
The U.S. Department of Energy admits that "a chance exists that we may experience a decline" of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 "if the investment is not there", according to an exclusive interview with Glen Sweetnam, main official expert on oil market in the Obama administration.
This warning on oil output issued by Obama's energy administration comes at a time when world demand for oil is on the rise again, and investments in many drilling projects have been frozen in the aftermath of the tumbling of crude prices and of the financial crisis...
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Obama Announces Expanded Offshore Oil ExplorationKim Chipman and Nicholas Johnston, Bloomberg.com, 31 Mar 2010View original article
President Barack Obama proposed drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. East Coast while scrapping development in Bristol Bay, Alaska, part an effort he said will boost energy independence and protect the environment.
The president would permit exploration in the Atlantic Ocean from south of Delaware and, if a congressional moratorium is lifted, in the Gulf of Mexico 125 miles (201 kilometers) off the west coast of Florida. Obama said the plan is part of the transition to a new-energy economy...
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Oil Surges to 17-Month High, Gasoline Rises, on Economic Growth Mark Shenk, Bloomberg, 02 Apr 2010View original article
Crude oil surged to a 17-month high and gasoline rose on signs that global economic growth is accelerating, bolstering optimism that fuel consumption will increase this year.
Oil advanced above $84 after reports showed U.S., Chinese and European manufacturing expanded, while pessimism decreased among Japan's largest industrial companies. Government data tomorrow may show that U.S. employers added about 180,000 jobs in March, a Bloomberg News survey showed...
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BP wins support against oil sands moveEd Crooks, Energy Editor, Financial Times, 31 Mar 2010View original article
BP has scored a twin success in its battle to block a shareholder resolution that raised doubts about its proposed investment in Canada's oil sands, with a group of local authority investors and a leading advisory service recommending a vote against the move...
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Falklands delivers poor results for Desire PetroleumRobin Pagnamenta, The Times, 30 Mar 2010View original article
Hopes that the Falkland Islands would emerge as a significant oil producer were dealt a significant blow yesterday when it emerged that the first well to be drilled in the region for more than 12 years had yielded only small traces of oil and gas.
The announcement from Desire Petroleum sent its shares plunging 48 per cent to 50ВЅp, wiping about ВЈ160 million off the company's market value to ВЈ163 million...
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Texas Proposes $10 Billion 'Ike Dike' for Storm-Surge Shield Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg.com, 25 Mar 2010View original article
The elected leaders of six coastal Texas counties are forming a public corporation to seek as much as $10 billion for a 100-mile (160-kilometer) network of levees, seawalls and football-field-sized floodgates that can protect the region from hurricane storm surges.
The Ike Dike is named for the 2008 hurricane that swamped Galveston Bay with more than 20 feet of water and came within 50 miles of drowning the nation's largest concentration of refineries and petrochemical plants and the second-biggest U.S. port. The proposed system would help protect the coastline from Houston to the Louisiana border against storms such as Ike, which caused about $30 billion in water and wind damage...
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IHS CERA: Big, But Potentially Limited, Output Growth in IraqRigzone, 31 Mar 2010View original article
Iraq's current "highly ambitious plans" to expand oil production are unlikely to be fully realized given political, security, operational and infrastructure challenges, according to a new report, Fields of Dreams: The Great Iraqi Oil Rush -- Its Potential, Challenges, and Limits by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (IHS CERA).
Iraq currently plans to expand production to as much as 12 million barrels per day (bpd) in the next six to seven years. Achieving levels around half that in the next decade would be more likely and would still constitute "a significant expansion," the report emphasizes. IHS CERA's current outlook for Iraq is 4.3 mbd in 2015 and 6.5 mbd in 2020 -- still big growth numbers...
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Iyad Allawi struggles to turn Iraq election victory into ruling coalitionMartin Chulov in Baghdad, The Guardian, 28 Mar 2010View original article
A commission tasked with weeding Ba'athist elements from public life in Iraq is today poised to make a surprise intervention into attempts to form a government, by claiming that some candidates in the recent election, won by Iyad Allawi, should not have been allowed to stand.
The accountability and justice commission claims to have identified several candidates from Allawi's winning list who it had earlier tried to bar...
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UK to rule out national gas storage to secure supplyRowena Mason, Graham Ruddick, Telegraph, 30 Mar 2010View original article
Britain will this week rule out stockpiling national reserves of gas, despite concerns about the country's lack of storage and over-reliance on foreign imports, according to industry sources.
It is understood that the Government has decided against keeping national stocks of gas, which is the practice in some European countries such as Holland. The decision will be contained in a paper examining Britain's security of gas supply...
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Russians prepare ВЈ1bn grab for UK fuel suppliesDanny Fortson, The Times, 28 Mar 2010View original article
GAZPROM, Russia's state-owned gas giant, is preparing an audacious bid to become one of the biggest fuel suppliers in Britain.
The company is expected to lodge an offer this week for a network of 800 petrol stations and the Lindsey oil refinery at Killingholme, Lincolnshire. The assets have been put up for sale by Total, the French oil group. It has hired JP Morgan, the investment bank, to sell its UK business, which employs 5,000 people. The business is expected to fetch more than ВЈ1 billion...
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Big investments boost UK's green sectorFiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, Financial Times, 30 Mar 2010View original article
The prospect of thousands of new "green" jobs in the UK as part of a drive for a low carbon economy came a step closer with two big investments in the environmental sector...
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Tesco joins the stampede to supply DIY electricityJenny Davey and Danny Fortson, The Times, 28 Mar 2010View original article
TESCO will start selling solar panels this week, leading a stampede of retailers aiming to cash in on a controversial new subsidy scheme.
The rush has been triggered by the launch of the government's new feed-in tariff (Fit) programme. Taking effect on Thursday, this pays homeowners and small firms for generating electricity from photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines, either for their own use or to be sold back to the grid...
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Wealthy landowners make millions in the wind rushJonathan Leake and Chris Hastings, The Times, 28 Mar 2010View original article
SOME of Britain's richest landowners are set to earn millions by building wind farms to exploit the lucrative system of subsidies for generating renewable energy.
Among the biggest potential beneficiaries is the Duke of Roxburghe, whose planned 48-turbine scheme on his Scottish estate would generate an estimated ВЈ30m a year, shared with developers. About ВЈ17m of this would come from subsidies from consumers...
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America's biofuel muddle : Coming up emptyThe Economist print edition, The Economist, 25 Mar 2010View original article
THE renewable-fuel standard released in February by America's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paints an ambitious picture of biofuels' future. It wants the amount of the stuff used as transport fuel to climb from 13 billion gallons (49 billion litres) in 2010 to 36 billion gallons in 2022, requiring by far the largest part of that increase to come from various advanced biofuels, rather than ethanol made from corn (maize). But although the future looks exciting, the present is rather grim. The EPA has been forced to slash its 2010 mandate for the most widely touted of the non-corn biofuels, cellulosic ethanol, from 100m gallons to just 6.5m, less than a thousandth of the 11 billion gallons produced from corn in 2009...
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New regulations on energy efficiency 'mired in confusion'Sarah Arnott, The Independent, 31 Mar 2010View original article
Businesses are confused about and unprepared for the implementation of the Government's Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), the energy efficiency scheme which starts tomorrow.
Nearly half of companies surveyed by the power supplier Npower said official advice about the new legislation had been "inadequate". About 49 per cent said they did not understand how to buy the necessary carbon allowances and 44 per cent said they do not know how to forecast their carbon emissions, according to a report published this morning...
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Power crunch looms for BritainDanny Fortson, The Times, 29 Mar 2010View original article
BRITAIN faces the worst energy crisis in Europe, according to the boss of one of the biggest power companies.
"The country has to build two large plants or more every single year," said Volker Beckers in his first interview since becoming chief executive of RWE Npower two months ago...
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Millions struggle to heat homes as Government misses fuel poverty targetLouise Gray, Telegraph, 30 Mar 2010View original article
Millions of vulnerable people remain in fuel poverty despite a multi-billion spending scheme to help elderly people heat their homes, MPs have warned.
Ministers promised to end fuel poverty among deprived households by 2010 in England and to wipe out the problem completely by 2016...
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Objectors claim Heathrow runway victoryJohn Aston and Cathy Gordon, Press Association, The Independent, 29 Mar 2010View original article
Objectors claimed the Government's policy over the expansion of London's Heathrow Airport was "in tatters" today after a High Court judge ruled that plans for a third runway must be reconsidered.
A coalition of local councils, green groups and residents argued that the expansion decision was at odds with the UK's overall climate change targets...
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China supports Barack Obama's call for new Iran sanctionsJulian Borger and Ewen MacAskill in Washington, The Guardian, 31 Mar 2010View original article
Fresh sanctions against Iran moved closer yesterday, when China agreed to begin drafting a UN resolution imposing measures aimed at persuading Tehran to curb its nuclear programme.
Last night, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said the five permanent security council members plus Germany "continues to be unified" in talks on sanctions. "There will be a great deal of further consultation not only among the [six], but other members of the security council and other [UN] member nations during the next weeks," she said...
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Sell-off in US Treasuries raises sovereign debt fearsAmbrose Evans-Pritchard, The Daily Telegraph, 28 Mar 2010View original article
The yield on 10-year Treasuries вЂ“ the benchmark price of global capital вЂ“ surged 30 basis points in just two days last week to over 3.9pc, the highest level since the Lehman crisis. Alan Greenspan, ex-head of the US Federal Reserve, said the abrupt move may be "the canary in the coal mine", a warning to Washington that it can no longer borrow with impunity. He said there is a "huge overhang of federal debt, which we have never seen before".
David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff said Treasury yields have ratcheted up 90 basis points since December in a "destabilising fashion", for the wrong reasons. Growth has not been strong enough to revive fears of inflation. Commodity prices peaked in January and US home sales have fallen for the last three months, pointing to a double-dip in the housing market...
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UK economic growth unexpectedly revised up to 0.4% BBC Online, 30 Mar 2010View original article
The UK economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of last year at a faster pace than previously estimated, official figures have shown.
Data from the Office for National Statistics said the economy grew 0.4% between October and December in 2009...
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Senate passes jobs billChina to develop new energy source - combustible ice