Saturday, September 29, 2012

Catalyst: Next on Catalyst - ABC TV Science

Catalyst: Next on Catalyst - ABC TV Science:

Dinotracks_Kimberley Dinosaurs

Kimberley Dinosaurs

Mark Horstman hunts for dinosaurs in the Kimberley to see fossil footprints never revealed before. But just as science begins to appreciate their significance, the integrity of these diverse trackways are threatened by a massive industrial development. NEW SCIENTIST - Crecaceous Coastline 4 August 2012 No 2876
IF YOU stand on the clifftop at James Price Point in Western Australia and look out over the rocky foreshore, you will see a landscape that has been practically undisturbed since the early Cretaceous. The sandstone is pockmarked by oval pools 1.5 metres long - the fossilised footprints of herds of giant dinosaurs. The 130-million-year-old footprints are dotted down 200 kilometres of shoreline on the Dampier peninsula. But palaeontologists say the small section found at James Price Point is particularly significant, and are dismayed that this is precisely where one of the world's largest plants for liquefied natural gas is to be built. Last month, Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that the state's environment minister approve a project to build a 25-square-kilometre facility on James Price Point to liquefy and export gas from the offshore Browse basin (see map above).


  1. Lots of gas,more on the way - lower prices.

    Upward risks remain for the trajectory of production in natural gas as the majority of latent supply is due to come online in Q4, said Barclays in a report.

    “We expect Friday’s EIA-914 report to show a large m/m production growth for July partially due to a recovery from June’s hurricane-related losses as well as producers turning shut-in production back on. Pipeline data showed that production grew by 800 MMcf/d m/m in July. If production surprises to the upside, this could certainly be bearish for prices.


    Here is a very clever idea.The device would be as big as a football stadium - but would save on peoples health and the health of the planet - maybe it could be adapted for other emmissions.

    "In the U.S., we have about 1,400 electric-generating unit powered by coal, operated at about 600 power plants," Donnelly said. That energy, he added, is sold at about 5.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to a 2006 Congressional Budget Office estimate. "The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year."
    The cryogenic concept is not new. Donnelly experimented briefly in the 1960s with a paper mill in Springfield, Ore., to successfully remove odor-causing gasses filling the area around the plant using cryogenics. Subsequently the National Science Foundation funded a major study to capture sulfur dioxide emissions - a contributor to acid rain - from coal burning plants. The grant included a detailed engineering study by the Bechtel Corp. of San Francisco.

    The Bechtel study showed that the cryogenic process would work very well, but noted that large quantities of carbon dioxide also would be condensed, a consequence that raised no concerns in 1978. "Today we recognize that carbon dioxide emissions are a leading contributor to climate-warming factors attributed to humans," Donnelly said.
    While the required cooling machinery would be large - potentially the size of a football stadium - the cost for construction or retrofitting likely would not be dramatically larger than present systems that include scrubbers, which would no longer be necessary, Donnelly said. The new journal article does not address construction costs or the disposal of the captured pollutants, the latter of which would be dependent on engineering and perhaps geological considerations.

    According to the Physical Review E paper, carbon dioxide would be captured in its solid phase, then warmed and compressed into a gas that could be moved by pipeline at near ambient temperatures to dedicated storage facilities that could be hundreds of miles away. Other chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, some nitrogen oxides and mercury also would be condensed and safely removed from the exhaust stream of the plants.

    Last December the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new mercury and air toxic standards (MATS), calling for the trapping of 41 percent of sulfur dioxide and 90 percent of mercury emissions. A cryogenic system would do better based on the conservatively produced computations by Donnelly's team - capturing at least 98 percent of sulfur dioxide, virtually 100 percent of mercury and, in addition, 90 percent of carbon dioxide.

    "This forward-thinking formula and the preliminary analysis by these researchers offer some exciting possibilities for the electric power industry that could ultimately benefit human health and the environment," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UO vice president for research and innovation. "Scientists at the University of Oregon are continuing to develop new ideas and advanced materials to foster a sustainable future for our planet and its people."

  2. Wouldn't it be nice if we could keep these people out of the Kimberley.

    The Swan River Trust's annual report painted a bleak picture of the waterway after a year in which it was hit with mass fish kills and several toxic algal blooms.

    According to the trust's own monitoring, nitrogen levels were too high at almost half of its stations for the fourth year in a row, while phosphorous levels exceeded benchmarks at 20 per cent of sites.

    The report showed the amount of chlorophyll-a - a green pigment that indicates algal growth - was far too high everywhere and had been getting worse since 2008
    Greens MP Alison Xamon said the trust's report revealed a grim picture of the health of the rivers and legislative action was urgently needed to clean the system.
    Shadow environment minister Sally Talbot said the rivers would not recover until water-soluble fertilisers were banned in the catchment.


    A HEARTY fillet of fish, already a rare treat because of over-trawled oceans, will become even more infrequent in the future when global warming starts to reduce fish size, scientists say.
    Fish inhabiting the Indian Ocean were the most affected, reducing by 24 per cent, followed by counterparts in the Atlantic (20 per cent) and then the Pacific (14 per cent), with tropical waters worst hit.
    "Although the projected rate of change in environmental temperature and oxygen content appears to be small, the resulting changes in maximum body size are unexpectedly large," said the paper.


    The mining States WA and Queensland have the highest proportion of adults who think the boom times have made life worse for their families at 27 per cent and 36 per cent, compared with an average 20 per cent elsewhere.

    The attitudes to the resources industry are revealed in a nationwide poll of 1000 Australians taken two weeks ago, which also shows 61 per cent believed the national economy is too focused on mining.


    The State Opposition says the Government has already started preparing voters for when Troy Buswell assumes the role of Premier after Colin Barnett retires.

    "Now that Christian Porter's left the scene, there's no one left, and what that means is if Colin Barnett is re-elected Premier next year, we're going to end up with a Premier Buswell at some point during that term of government.


    Sign of the times.

    Kimberley Rare Earths

    Its refreshed board has also committed to continuing exploration of the Malilongue heavy rare earths project in Mozambique and decided to suspend further expenditure on the Cummins Range light rare earths project in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.

  3. Who would have loved to be a fly on the wall for this one?

    It is understood these investigations have since become more appealing to Exxon and BHP because they avoid the high costs associated with onshore construction in WA.

    FLNG is also shaping up as a more likely option for the Browse project after FLNG-trail blazer Shell bought Chevron out of the project. That move is said to have caused a COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE of WA Premier Colin Barnett, who has been pushing for development of the offshore fields at the controversial James Price Point site near Broome.


    BARNETT sinks into his chair and acknowledges that the war is lost. "If you think that this means I'll be abandoning Prices Point," he snarls, "I'd rather shoot a bullet through my head."


    "Bring me that imbecile Buswell.Troy Troy Troy - find these traitors and scum and have them shot!"

    Barnett was reported to be marching around,one hand inside his jacket,the other scratching feverishly as hives and rashes broke out all over him.

    The commotion continues.


    The next cold war? US gas drilling boom rattles Russian markets and government policies

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Kremlin is watching, European nations are rebelling, and some suspect Moscow is secretly bankrolling a campaign to derail the West's strategic plans.

    It's not some Cold War movie; it's the U.S. boom in natural gas drilling.

    Like falling dominoes, the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is shaking up world energy markets. Some predict what was once unthinkable: that the U.S. won't need to import natural gas in the near future, and that Russia could be the big loser.

    Any governments that trade in energy could potentially gain or lose. Shale gas could play a critical role in diminishing the petro-power of major natural gas producers in the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela. Governments could adjust their foreign policies.

    The U.S. presidential campaigns have already addressed the strategic potential.


    A forensic audit of tax payments over the past 18 months has found what the government claims are multiple underpayments of tax by the resource companies.

    These companies include the US oil giant ConocoPhillips and Australia's own Woodside Petroleum.

    "Since we started auditing - and we only started auditing in the beginning of 2011, so within a year-and-a-half since then to now - we've recovered or collected about $362 million," Ms Pires said.

    Only in 2010 did East Timor get the right to have the financial records of the oil and gas companies operating in the Timor Sea held in Dili.

  5. This could get very serious.

    Tony Clifton

    The Monthly | The Monthly Essays | July 2005 |

    In retrospect, the agreement with Indonesia over this delineation stands as a real blot on Australia’s recent history. Australia stood aside when Indonesia invaded Timor after the Portuguese freed their former colony in 1975. Australia was the only country to recognise the takeover as legal. Australia allowed Timor to be brutally recolonised, and in return Indonesia gave Australia a favourable configuration in the Timor Sea. This was realpolitik at its nastiest.

    and the consequences...

    You could speculate too that Australia, if it’s not careful, will find itself a rich pariah. The small states won’t forget their treatment at Australia’s hands, and the world’s next superpowers – China, or possibly India – will find a ring of potential allies in Australia’s north. China already has a large embassy in Dili, and the Chinese oil company BGP is conducting seismic surveys onshore and in undisputed Timorese waters. Timor sees China, with its huge energy needs, as an important prospective client.

    Woodside a very very bad company.


    Andrew Fowler 4 corners "Taxing time in East Timor"
    on The Drum :

    Asked to provide an example of the lies and deceit the oil and gas companies were using to rip off this poorest of nations,he said,"A good example is WOODSIDE.They were asked to run a pipeline to ET and build a LNG plant there.They said it was impossible because it would be like trying to run a pipe across the Grand Canyon.There were pictures and graphs showing this huge canyon in the sea floor".

    (No doubt some of you remember this too.I certainly do)

    "But what WOODSIDE did was put the scale along the bottom of the graph in kilometres,and the scale up the side in METRES."

    "So here was the Grand Canyon - but in actual fact it was really just a SHALLOW TROUGH."

    Asked for an explanation WOODSIDE said,"It was done that way to fit a presentation."

    And that was that - nothing else.

    And this is one of the poorest nations on Earth,one of the very last hotspots of leprosy,riddled with HIV-AIDS,and TB.

    Where half the kids suffer serious malnutrition.

    No wonder they get on so well with the government of Australia - we are the last place on the Planet where people are going blind from Glaucoma,a completely preventable eye disease !


  7. Having just watched 4 corners there is no doubt the stench is becoming unbearable.


    U.S. gas boom threatens Russian dominance

    October 1, 2012

    With the rise of unconventional natural gas production in the U.S., the shifting market for natural gas could serve to limit the influence of Russia in Europe and other neighboring countries, according to The Associated Press.

    The U.S. surpassed Russia as the world's largest producer of natural gas last year thanks to increased production from shale gas fields using the extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    In turn, this has allowed the U.S. to nearly cease imports of the fossil fuel.

    In the meantime, Russia's state-owned natural gas firm, Gazprom, has seen a rapid decline in revenue, with profits dropping by roughly one-quarter in its latest financial report. If the U.S. were to significantly enter into the natural gas export market, the impact on Russian influence could be enormous.



    Monday, 01 October 2012

    Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and senior Chinese officials and executives have held further talks in Moscow about Russia supplying LNG and pipeline gas to China.


    The Gazprom LNG trading office in Singapore has signed a final sales agreement with Gas Authority of India (GAIL) for the Russian company to supply 2.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG over 20 years.

    The LNG will come from Gazprom's production facilities on Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East, supplemented by the global portfolio of the Russian company's marketing arm, Gazprom Marketing & Trading.
    Commenting on the final supply deal, GAIL Chairman B. C. Tripathi said: "This long-term LNG supply agreement with Gazprom, which holds the world's largest gas reserves, is another milestone in Indian–Russian energy cooperation.


    And the US

    Alaska cozies to Asia for natural gas

    "We look forward to capitalizing on the enormous potential that exists for Alaska's North Slope natural gas in our state and in Pacific Rim nations," he said in a statement.

    "This is a great opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones that will grow economic opportunity with Japan and South Korea."


    East Africa

    Anadarko and Eni are exploring the possibility of joint development of their massive gas discoveries offshore Mozambique with an eye on establishment of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the East African state's coastline.

    Anadarko said East Africa is poised to challenge Qatar and Australia as a dominant producer of LNG.


    Worth reading the small print on this,most of the good reef is north of Cooktown - for now.The Crown of Thorns starfish ,native to the area,used to have a "bloom" every 80 years or so,but with the farm run off it is now every 15 years or so.Queensland protects developers at all costs.

    Great reef catastrophe

    Half the Great Barrier Reef's coral has disappeared in the past 27 years and less than a quarter could be left within a decade unless action is taken, a landmark study has found.

  9. from the fisherwoman,

    Tuesday, 2 October 2012

    EnergyNews’ own Slugcatcher has prompted a series of responses from readers, with the two letters below capturing the gist of the reaction to yesterday's column “Slugcatcher on different ways of seeing LNG’s future”.

    Dear Editor,

    I agree with Slugcatcher's insightful analysis of the different positions of Chevron and Woodside in the LNG "cost and profit" picture.

    It would appear that Woodside with its Pluto development followed the strategy of “always bite off more than you can chew and then chew like hell”, a strategy that can lead to a “hero or zero” outcome.

    This is a strategy that is always worth following in my personal opinion. However, if it doesn’t work you always must have a fall-back strategy that will still lead to a favourable outcome, but not as great as the one initially expected.

    I imagine that Woodside are now looking at these strategies.

    Obvious ones that come to mind are as Slugcatcher observed, buying gas from third parties. Others might be bringing a party with gas reserves , but no LNG plant into the Pluto project as a partner with appropriate cost sharing with Woodside. Hess comes to mind.

    Another might be piping gas either offshore or onshore from the Browse Gas fields down to the Pluto gathering system. This would also have the side benefit of removing the James Price point LNG project off Woodside’s “headache list”

    All strategies must have the end aim of enabling Woodside to add more trains to the Pluto LNG plant to increase the Woodside reported “slim profit margin”.

    I have stated the bleeding obvious and I am sure that Woodside is considering all these options.

    Name and address withheld

    Then there was this:

    Dear Slugcatcher,

    In addition to a contrasting portfolio of fields to feed their projects, I suggest that the financing arrangements for the Pluto project have left their mark.

    It gave Woodside protection against the downside (in case the oil price plummeted), in return for less upside when the oil price goes up. This is another reason Woodside’s margin on the Pluto project is skinny.

    Name and address withheld