Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dred the Dredging

Gladstone has been an industrial port for several decades now. And there's evidence from other ports in the world that marine life can get sick if the heavy metals and mud are stirred up from the sea floor of harbours like this. So here's the question - could all the dredging that's going on here to expand the port cause disease in fish and crabs?

One one side of Port Curtis, a deeper channel is being dug for six new terminals to load giant ships with coal seam gas. The dredged mud is pumped behind a bund wall to reclaim more than 200 hectares of land for the Gladstone Ports Corporation. The rest of the mud is dumped outside the harbour, into the Coral Sea. Fish veterinarian, Dr Matt Landos believes marine life is being contaminated.

Dredge volumes proposed at James Price Point had to be revised from 21 million cubic metres to 34 million cubic metres of material, with dredging activities estimated to be an ongoing battle for years because some of the largest tides in the world are experienced at James Price Point.


  1. The problem with the 34 million cubic metres is that it is just for phase 1.As other industries occupy the land surrounding the JPP gas precinct so more wharf space will be needed - and more dredging.Eventually the channel will have to be widened or even duplicated.More turning basins and all the rest of it.Gladstone is about 60 million cubic metres - JPP will pass that.And the 100 + years of maintainance dredging? Well past the 100 million cubic metres.

    May be cheaper to build JPP on stilts and allow the sea level rise to mitigate the dredging outcomes.WOW - OH YEAH.

    Tentative estimates from Australian and international studies say that another 1.5 degrees of warming would push Greenland across the threshold into irreversible melt, a process that would continue for centuries. There is enough ice in Greenland alone to raise sea levels off NSW and Victoria by four-to-nine metres.
    ''Australians should see the vanishing Arctic sea ice as a warning sign that stronger action to cut greenhouse gas emissions is needed,'' the commission's chief, Tim Flannery, said this week. ''This is absolutely the critical decade for action. We're only seeing the beginning of rising sea levels; the real question is the rate - how fast will sea level rise? This poses risks for coastal communities, infrastructure and ecosystems right around the world including in Australia.''



    It was found that only a few species could withstand high temperatures, and that these species were all closely related - and had evolved in a more extreme climate.

    ''This is suggesting to us that most species don't have the gene to increase their heat resistance. They appear constrained by an evolutionary straitjacket,'' Dr Kellerman says.
    This week the CSIRO warned that the impact of climate change on Australian plants, animals and ecosystems will be ''significant'' by 2030 and ''extreme'' by 2070 - and that many existing species may not survive.



    Given the actual reasons that Shell isn’t drilling right this very minute, filing a lawsuit against Greenpeace is like the 10-year-old kid who says that he can’t make a basket when you’re watching and so you turn your back and CLANK CLANK CLANK.

    The article itself points out that Greenpeace has had nothing to do with Shell’s delays in the Arctic:

    Drilling in the Chukchi was delayed, first due to a dangerously large ice floe drifting toward its platform, and then after a transportable dome the company plans to use to help contain any potential spill failed during a test overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    I wonder how the containment dome would have fared if the Coast Guard hadn’t been watching. (Spoiler: CLANK CLANK.)

    Last note on this entire, sad debacle.

    Shell received the second of its two final permits for exploratory drilling on Thursday from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, for the Beaufort project. On the same day, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the annual Artic summer sea-ice melt — the July-October period that is Shell’s opportunity for drilling — had reached the greatest extent on record earlier this month, possibly as a result of global warming.

    Global warming is also Greenpeace’s fault and also too much regulation.

  2. Worries for Oz as the competition ramps up.

    Price point pain

    Monday, 24 September 2012

    WHAT price security of supply? Slugcatcher says that is something Australia’s gas-export industry will discover over the next year or so as high domestic costs and increased competition cause gas buyers to consider their options.


    Monday, 24 September 2012

    French energy company Total is teaming up with Malaysian state oil and gas group Petronas in the prolific new LNG feed-gas province offshore Mozambique, where two liquefaction projects are already in the development stage.


    China's import terminals.

    Friday, 21 September 2012

    China National Offshore Oil Corp. said a pre-commissioning cargo of LNG from Qatar was delivered to its new Ningbo LNG import terminal in Zheijang province, giving China six import facilities when it enters commercial operation near the end of the year.
    Monday, 24 September 2012

    Tianjin Floating LNG import project contractors have met to fast-track China's seventh and most northerly receiving facility, located on the coast east of Beijing.


    Chevron - Caught in the Act.

    Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Chevron after discovering that the company detoured pollutants around monitoring equipment at its Richmond refinery for four years and burned them off into the atmosphere, in possible violation of a federal court order, The Chronicle has learned.

    Air quality officials say Chevron fashioned a pipe inside its refinery that routed hydrocarbon gases around monitoring equipment and allowed them to be burned off without officials knowing about it. Some of the gases escaped into the air, but because the company didn't record them, investigators have no way of being certain of the level of pollution exposure to thousands of people who live downwind from the plant.
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's criminal enforcement unit opened an investigation in early 2012, more than two years after the local inspectors made their discovery, according to air-quality officials and others familiar with the probe. The investigation is still open, and Chevron employees have been interviewed.
    Wayne Kino, an enforcement manager for the air-quality district, said two inspectors with the agency became suspicious Aug. 17, 2009, when they saw steam from a flare coming from a high-pressure, high-temperature hydrocracking complex in Richmond called the Isomax unit, where 62,000 barrels of oil a day are converted into gasoline and jet fuel.

    The inspectors asked to see Chevron's pollution-monitoring equipment, and discovered "it wasn't recording anything," Kino said.

  3. Wilderness Society says legal action likely over JPP approvals process.

    Australian LNG in a sweat again.

    THE booming liquefied natural gas sector says a proposal to cut its tax breaks would make Australia's tax regime for LNG the most uncompetitive in the world, threatening billions in investment and thousands of jobs.
    Even if corporate tax cuts do not occur, however, some in the business community think the government will still rein in corporate tax breaks in its push to deliver a $1.5 billion budget surplus this year.

    Resources firms are especially concerned, amid predictions the minerals resource rent tax won't raise the $3 billion Treasury has forecast for this financial year.


    Everybody's got some.

    Total to spend up big in Africa,Maersk strikes oil.

    France's Total expects to drill eight exploration wells in Uganda by the end of next year, and will spend about $650 million on its activities in the same period, a senior company official said.

    The company had entered Uganda's petroleum industry earlier this year when it and China's CNOOC each took a third of Tullow Oil's exploration assets in the country for a total of $2.9 billion.

    After Kenya and Uganda, Total is entering into the southern part of the prolific Rovuma Basin, whose oil potential might equal the gas potential of the northern part,” said Jacques Marraud des Grottes, Senior Vice President, Exploration & Production, Africa. “The farm-in significantly strengthens our long-term presence in exploration and production in East Africa. Exploration wells are expected to be drilled shortly.”

    We are encouraged by yet another success on Block 16. This is a result of our continued commitment to Angola and a further step towards our goal of building up a significant business in the country,” said Anders Damgaard, Managing Director of Maersk Oil in Angola.

    Russia still pissed at Europe,will sell gas to East instead.

    MOSCOW - Russian energy giant Gazprom, which is being investigated by the European Union for alleged unfair competition and price-fixing in Central and Eastern Europe, is threatening to sell its gas to Asia instead, saying it will have no problem finding new customers.

    "The Asia-Pacific region is a dynamic market. Gazprom plans to equalise gas supply to the region with that to Europe and maybe even exceed it," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov announced last week.

    Gazprom signed several agreements during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Vladivostok earlier this month to supply major gas importers in Asia, including Japan.


    Easy to see things are getting worse business wise for JPP,any delay would make it so much harder for them.

  4. Things are so bad Coleman can't sleep at night.

    Mr Coleman says the plethora of LNG projects in construction around Australia, including the Chevron-led $43 billion Gorgon and $29 billion Wheatstone developments in the Pilbara and $60 billion of ventures in Queensland, means "inertia" to a much-needed fall in costs, particularly in WA.

    "Today is probably a period of time when the cost versus (LNG) price element, the margin is as skinny as it has ever been, or at least for a long period of time, for new projects," he says.

    And, in a thinly veiled attack on rivals such as Chevron, Inpex and Santos - although he will not name individuals - Mr Coleman points to the LNG inexperience of some players and hints that budget and timetable challenges will be unavoidable, which in turn will add further pressure to the high-cost environment.

    "My concern is, and what keeps me awake at night, is what is happening in the industry here because we have an unprecedented number of projects all moving along the pipeline at the same time and it is a mix of companies, some of whom have been in LNG before, most of whom have not," he says.
    Post-Pluto, Woodside's future remains greatly influenced by the high-cost construction environment. By the second quarter of next year, Woodside and its partners in the Browse LNG project have to be in a position to make a final investment decision on the contentious development, in line with permit retention conditions imposed by the Federal and WA governments.

    Right now Woodside is digesting tenders for the on and offshore components of a project analysts expect to cost at least $40 billion.

    "The best you will ever get on lump sum is about two thirds," he says. "There's still a large percentage that is variable so how confident are we that we can deliver on that because margins are skinny."

    Mr Coleman deflected questions about whether Woodside had asked the governments for another extension to next year's FID deadline.


    Just how bad are things in the Pilbara?

    TIMES are tough for miner Fortescue Metals Group. So much so that even the company's barbecues, a quintessential part of Australian culture, aren't safe from spending cuts.

    The world's fourth-largest iron-ore producer no longer will fund barbecues for employees at its Anderson Point export facility in Port Hedland, Western Australia, according to an internal memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
    We've never had it so tough !


    1. Woodside's Browse true cost.

      "Right now Woodside is digesting tenders for the on and offshore components of a project analysts expect to cost at least $40 billion.

      "The best you will ever get on lump sum is about two thirds," he says. "There's still a large percentage that is variable so how confident are we that we can deliver on that because margins are skinny."


      Well knock me down - I'm sure I recall reading here a few years ago those very sums !!!

      So what is it we have known all along that they haven't.

      Wrong time - wrong place.


    In addition to reduced cash-flow, local Chinese governments are still digesting loans borrowed during the last credit binge.

    According to Caixin, a respected Chinese business publication, some local governments have a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100 per cent, on par with the debt-ridden United States.

    What is even more worrying is that none — the Chinese government included — seem to know the full extent of Chinese local governments' debt exposure. The Ministry of Finance is reportedly investigating the situation.


    Don't bet on Europe either.

    New car registrations, a key indicator of demand in Germany, tumbled sharply in August, while the most recent retail sales figures also declined. Consumer confidence has stagnated as well.

    As the economy hits headwinds from the crisis, unemployment is beginning to rise - admittedly from its lowest level since Germany was reunited more than two decades ago.

    Latest data showed the total number of people out of work rose by 29,100 in August from July to stand at 2.91 million.

    Economists fear that consumption and domestic demand could begin to run out of steam as several companies - including carmaker Opel - introduce short-time working schemes to cut costs.


    A tourism lesson for Broome ?

    Resort owner Mackerel Islands Pty Ltd also operates a 120-bed resort on the otherwise pristine island, 22km from the mainland, with a tavern and dive school for the area's world-class fishing and marine life.

    It wants to lease 80 per cent of the resort to Chevron for five years, and use the proceeds to upgrade the site to make it sustainable post the current construction boom sweeping Onslow.

    Shire president Kerry White has broken from her fellow counsellors and condemned Chevron's "steamrolling" the town into approving the plan. "You can't close an island for five years and say 'hey, we're back again, our business is open and we'll have you now'," she said.

    It was "really sad" that Onslow was being forced to choose development over tourism, she said, which had sustained the small community and would be its future lifeblood.


    Gunns dead.

    End of an era

    Gunns started as a family-owned building and sawmilling business in Launceston in 1875.

    By 1986 it was a publicly listed company, and 43-year-old John Gay was appointed managing director.

    In 1999, Mr Gay spearheaded a massive expansion of Gunns, with the company taking over the assets of Boral in Tasmania and the state's biggest woodchip company, North Forest Products.

    By 2004 Gunns employed about 1,200 people, was worth about $1 billion and had a share price of $4.46.

    In the same year, the company announced plans for the $2.3 billion pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.

  6. There seems to be a number of problems with the rehab idea for JPP.Not the least of which is Global Warming and sea level rise. elevation at least 10 to 15 metres above sea level.... protect hub from surge tides and extreme events...
    ...(JPP) pindan cliffs are 6 metres high...

    How would Greenland's insular settlements tolerate an influx of thousands of Polish or Chinese construction workers, as has been proposed? Will mining despoil a natural environment essential to Greenland's national identity - the whales and seals, the fiords and polar bears?
    The Arctic is warming even faster than other parts of the planet. In north-eastern Greenland, average yearly temperatures have risen 4.5 degrees in the past 15 years, and scientists predict the area could warm by 14 to 21 degrees by the end of the century.
    Altogether, companies spent $US100 million exploring Greenland's deposits last year, and several are applying for licences to begin construction on new mines, bearing gold, iron and zinc and rare earths. There are also foreign companies exploring for offshore oil.

    ''For me, I wouldn't mind if the whole ice cap disappears,'' said Ole Christiansen, chief executive of NunaMinerals, Greenland's largest homegrown mining company, as he picked his way along a proposed gold mining site up the fiord from Nuuk, Greenland's capital.

    ''As it melts, we're seeing new places with very attractive geology.''


    Be careful what you wish for.
    The melting of Greenlands ice cap,now well under way,is expected to raise sea levels by between 6 - 10 metres.


    So where does the Premiers rehab fit into this Barney Rubble style scenario ?

    Perhaps using forward planning he should build his wharf further inland and await the sea - or carry on as usual and attempt a King Canute spell and command the sea back.


    Mr Barnett says it is a groundbreaking deal.

    "Together they form one of the most significant land deals ever struck in Australia," he said.

    "The ratification of this agreement by this State Parliament is also of historical significance.

    "It's the first time that Parliament's been asked to ratify an agreement between the state and Indigenous West Australians."

    The development planned for the James Price Point site is massive in scale and questions are unanswered as to what happens to that established infrastructure at the end of the project's life. Responsibility for rehabilition will have to be passed down over the decades to future generations for a return to the best environmental conditions of the area.


    Are we seeing signs ?

    Researchers are on a quest to work out why turtle populations on a remote beach in the state's north are becoming increasingly dominated by females.

    A research team is monitoring turtle breeding at Cape Dommett, on the remote East Kimberley coast, and hope to find out what impact global warming is having on turtle breeding.

  7. Will the Feds really do this?

    Tuesday, 25 September 2012

    The Australian LNG industry comprising three operating plants, eight others under construction (see graphic right) and five more in the planning stage, is mobilizing to oppose government tax plans that will make the sector the most uncompetitive in the world and threaten billions of dollars in investment.

    Russia goes the other way.

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said last week the government was considering a special tax regime for economic partners in the Far East and Siberia.

    More than 85 percent of deliveries of liquefied natural gas from Gazprom were to Asia-Pacific countries in 2011. The company said it aims to invest more than $14 billion on developments in the Sakhalin region north of Japan.

    Chevron 4th train for Barrow Island.

    OIL giant Chevron plans to bring forward development of two big offshore West Australian gas fields discovered last decade for what is likely to be a $10 billion-plus expansion of the big Gorgon liquefied natural gas project being built on Barrow Island.

    Chevron is hosting about 35 international analysts on a tour of the $43bn Gorgon foundation project and the $29bn Wheatstone project this week.

    FMG firesale.

    A Fortescue spokeswoman yesterday said there had been "strong interest" in the caravans but she refused to comment on how much cash the sale process had generated to date.

    Other cuts at Fortescue's Port Hedland operations, according to the internal documents, include an end to the provision of pods for coffee machines, a ban on company-funded barbecues and catering, and an instruction to staff to bring in their own cutlery because Fortescue was "assessing our current spend in this area".

    Total guilty for French oil spill,used "rusty tanker."

    PARIS—France's highest appeals court has upheld a ruling that found petroleum company Total SA criminally responsible for a 1999 oil spill that blackened much of France's Atlantic coastline.
    Upholding the 2010 ruling, the court blamed Total for "maritime pollution" on Tuesday and ordered it to pay a euro375,000 fine after it shipped fuel in a rusty tanker that broke apart in rough seas and caused France's worst oil spill, the Sipa news agency says.

    Contrary to that lower court's ruling, however, the court said Total was also responsible on a civil level—a symbolic victory for the plaintiffs as Total has already paid euro171.5 million to civil parties.

    France's Bureau of Inquiries into Sea Accidents blamed lack of maintenance on the tanker as the main causes of the spill.

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