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.
First quarter earnings announcements this week reflected the steep drop in oil prices since last summer, with Exxon, BP and Shell all reporting falls in profits of more than 50%. The oil price this week fluctuated in step with the stock market. Falls earlier in the week following news that the swine flu outbreak in Mexico had spread to other countries were reversed by Thursday on economic news that was better than expected, though still not good.
Weak industrial demand is having an impact on natural gas prices. In the US gas for delivery in May hit a six-month low on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gazprom announced a rise in profits for 2008 but warned that falling demand and prices would hit 2009 figures. Meanwhile, as oil and gas prices languish, China continues to make the most of today’s bargains to secure its own future supply.
In the UK this week Energy Secretary Ed Miliband defended his new policy on carbon capture and storage pilot projects in the Times. The move has been welcomed by many environmentalists, although the scheme has obvious dangers.
Mr Miliband is to be admired for his determination to set and pursue challenging GHG reduction targets, but British energy still relies heavily on the entrenched fossil fuel and nuclear industries with renewables and micropower hampered by a lack of infrastructure and investment. A report released this week by the UK Energy Research Centre states that the government target of an 80% carbon reduction by 2020 can be met, but that it will require significant additional investment, state intervention, lifestyle changes and critically a carbon price of £200 per tonne – fifteen times today’s level. 8 out of 10 companies think that the government targets are unattainable, and without bold action on the carbon price they probably are.
Shell follows BP with 58% profits plunge
Oil Rises, Set for Monthly Gain, as Recovery Optimism Grows
Oil will hit peak after recession, says OPEC
Reveal carbon risks, oil firms told
Brazil’s Tupi Oil Field May Be Hurt by Rig Shortage: Week Ahead
Natural Gas Falls to Six-Year Low on Ample U.S. Inventories
While we moan, the Chinese get on with it
Russia to help pay for gas transit, risks remain
National Grid loses fine fight
Deals to bring expansion of UK nuclear energy
Europe's green energy vision puts UK in dark
Wind farm firm cutting 1,900 jobs
A green figleaf
'Safe' climate means 'no to coal'
Green zeal fades
The next emerging market? Iraq sets out its stall
China quietly builds gold reserve
Norway: plan to ban petrol, diesel cars by 2015
UK Government green goals face failure
It can be done but what is it we are doing?
Wind, sea, coal and nuclear power. Yes please
A Government still addicted to petrol