Monday, October 8, 2012


  1. fisherwoman says:
    some interesting comments from industry papers:

    Everyone understand the economics factors because it is blindingly obvious that the grim outlook for global economic growth is bearing down on oil and gas prices even as Australian construction and operating costs continue to rise.

    The pincer of costs up and prices down is causing indigestion in oil company boardrooms around the world.

    Costs might fall over the next few years as the heat comes out of the iron ore and coal industries, which compete with oil and gas on basic contracting services, but with an estimated $170 billion to be spent on LNG projects there will be no chance of specialist petroleum service costs declining soon.
    There are several reasons why Shell gave the 488m-long floating barge the go ahead, with the remote location one (475km off the coast), the relatively small size of the field (3 trillion cubic feet of gas) another and the high cost of an onshore development a third.

    But the most important was that Shell could do it without any pesky partners peering over its corporate shoulder, or requiring detailed answers at a joint venture committee meeting.

    Prelude is a powerful example of what comes next for Australia, with pressure rising in the Browse committee for a floater (or two) rather than the nuisance of dealing with anyone onshore.
    CANNING Basin explorer Oil Basins has blamed new Western Australian environmental regulations for the delay with its East Blina-1 petroleum exploration well.
    It said approval has been “impacted and delayed” by state environmental legislation introduced in early September that requires the drilling mud and additives properties to be listed on the Department of Mines and Petroleum website.

    This involved the disclosure of and potentially proprietary commercial formulae, Oil Basins said, and it was still seeking approval from the supplier to disclose this information.

  2. More from the archives re "The Don."

    By James Chessell
    August 19, 2004

    Woodside, which is 34 per cent owned by Shell, could give the go-ahead to a fifth gas processing train for the North-West Shelf project, the Neptune oil project in the Gulf of Mexico and an early development decision on the Tiof oilfield offshore Mauritania and the development of the Sunrise gas project in the Timor Sea.

    Mr Voelte also said Woodside had already begun promoting its stranded gas reserves in the Browse Basin off Western Australia as a likely third gas export hub for the group by marketing the gas in China


    Woodside takes a Browse at fields.

    Europe Intelligence Wire
    | August 19, 2004

    Mr Voelte said marketing of the potential of Browse Basin's Scott Reef and Brecknock gas fields, in which it hold a 50% interest, had started.

    The other participants in Browse Basin are BP, Shell, ChevronTexaco and BHP Billiton. The fields' reserves of 20.49trn cu ft are sufficient to support a large long-life LNG project exporting 10m tonnes a year. Start-up in 2010-11 is believed to be feasible.

    Browse, Mr Voelte said, had the potential to jump the queue in terms of LNG project developments and could become the company's third LNG hub after the North West Shelf project and the yet-to-be-developed Greater Sunrise project in the Timor Sea.

    'We will have to appraise Browse in the next year and to get a very firm handle on reserves... We compare it to all the other gas projects and we think it deserves to move up in the queue,' he said.


    Wednesday June 27, 2007
    By Mark Beyer and Andrew Hobbs

    Woodside Petroleum managing director Don Voelte has raised the possibility that development of its giant Browse Basin gas field could be linked to its planned Pluto LNG plant or the existing North West Shelf Venture’s LNG plant, both on the Burrup Peninsula.

    The Pluto and Browse projects have hitherto been considered separate opportunities and the possibility of them being linked represents a major shift in thinking.
    Mr Voelte also said Woodside was evaluating four development options for processing gas from the Browse site – they being an expansion of the Darwin plant, pumping the gas to the Burrup plant, or the construction of a new plant on either the coast or the reef.

    Despite the 900 km distance from the Burrup and North West Shelf LNG plants to the Browse site, Mr Voelte said the aggregation could provide capital savings and increase domestic gas development while minimising the need for infrastructure development in the area.


    June 27, 2007

    Woodside CEO Don Voelte’s announcement that gas from the Browse Basin may be processed on the Burrup has been criticised as “unrealistic and short-sighted.”

    Robin Chapple, a spokesperson for the Perth-based Friends of Australian Rock Art, said today that there was no room in Karratha or Dampier to support further industrial development on the Burrup.

    “Karratha workers are living in seatainers” said Mr Chapple “and the local infrastructure is stretched beyond its capacity.” Mr Chapple said that he understood why Mr Voelte had floated the idea of processing Browse Basin gas at the Burrup.

    “Kimberley Aboriginal groups have told Woodside they don’t want an LNG plant on their traditional lands” said Mr Chapple “so Woodside is looking for a place to process the Browse Basin gas.”

    “There is a simple answer to Woodside’s problems. It should do what Apache and BHP-Billiton has done, and plan to build its Pluto plant another 40 or 100k down the coast, closer to Onslow.”

    “That would also prevent the senseless destruction of the world’s oldest and largest outdoor rock art landscape, at the Burrup” said Mr Chapple.

    1. Europe Intelligence Wire
      | August 19, 2004

      Mr Voelte said marketing of the potential of Browse Basin's Scott Reef and Brecknock gas fields, in which it hold a 50% interest, had started.

      WE ARE NOW OCTOBER 9,2012 and there are still no customers for Browse - except a tiny amount for JV partners MIMI.

  3. "The Don" archives cont..

    June 27, 2007

    Mr Chapple called for WA Premier Alan Carpenter to step in and show leadership, by developing an integrated gas industries management plan.

    “That would involve no LNG plant or any other development on the Burrup, which is Australia’s largest cultural monument, and a proper balancing of industry’s needs with the need to respect and value Aboriginal cultural heritage” said Mr Chapple.


    Jun 27th, 2007

    Piping gas from the Browse fields to either the proposed Pluto liquefied natural gas project or the existing North West Shelf plant, both on the Burrup Peninsula, is one of at least four development options being considered for the project, Perth- based Woodside said today in a presentation. Sending the gas to Darwin is another of the four, said Roger Martin, a spokesman.



      Dampier Nitrogen Pty Ltd (formerly Plenty River Pty Ltd) - ammonia and urea - (abandoned); Japan DME - dimethyl ether project - (abandoned); Methanex Australia Pty Ltd - methanol plant - (withdrawn); Australian Methanol Company Pty Ltd, (a subsidiary of GTL Resources PLC) - methanol plant - (withdrawn); GTL Resources PLC - methanol plant - (withdrawn); Syntroleum Sweetwater Operations Ltd - synthetic hydrocarbons - (withdrawn); Plenty River Ammonia - ammonia and urea – (withdrawn); Sasol Chevron - synthetic hydrocarbons - (withdrawn); Shell - synthetic hydrocarbons GTL technology - (withdrawn); Woodside Aromatics project – (deferred); Chloralkali - dimethyl ether project - (deferred); Agrium Inc - ammonia and urea - (still under consideration?); Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation - ammonia and urea - (still under consideration?); LiquiGaz Pty Ltd (formerly GTL Resources and Australian Methanol Company) – methanol (unsure). In the order of $12-15 billion of investment has been lost.



      We did not understand [good relationships to Aboriginal people] to be important as a company. —Don Voelte, CEO, Woodside Energy

      Heritage is a mess in Western Australia. If Stonehenge were in the Pilbara, it would no longer exist. —Sally Morgan, Pilbara academic and Indigenous author

      Between 5 and 25% of these unique rock engravings have irrevocably been destroyed by industrial activity already. —Living Black SBS TV program, 2 Aug 2006

      21 August, 2012 3:14PM AWST

      Woodside responds to claims of pollution damage to rock art

      Woodside is closely monitoring flaring and is working with the Department of Environment and Conservation.

      The WA Government appointed the Burrup Rock Art Monitoring Management Committee as an independent body which, in 2004, commissioned the CSIRO to conduct scientific modelling and research to verify if there is potential for industrial emissions to affect rock art.

      Results from the program found that air emissions on the Burrup are well below national and international environmental and health standards and there is no evidence that rock art is impacted. The Program is continuing to monitor emission levels.


  4. The Don" archives cont..


    Jun 18th, 2007
    by admin

    ..Like Shell, Woodside has a problem with dodgy management and leaked emails. These ones make an interesting amusing read. They were kindly supplied by a Shell insider.

    ARTICLE FROM BRW Magazine: Thursday 10 May 2007


    WHEN MICHAEL CHANEY ASSUMES THE chairmanship Woodside Petroleum from Charles Goode on August 1, the first item on his notepad could be this: speak to chief executive Don Voelte about management style.

    A poor financial performance over last year and a stream of critical staff departing from the company’s Perth headquarters – one followed by a volley of ill tempered email ripostes – have left a question mark hanging over Voelte’s handling of the senior cadre at the $27 billion company.
    The discord the emails and executive departures reveal within Woodside is particularly disturbing as the company is expected to boost its liquefied natural gas production from 12 million tonnes a year to 40 million tonnes a year by 2015. This growth requires about S20 billion in capital expenditure, If Woodside falters, the Australian economy will feel the repercussions.

    Certainly, Woodside’s peers think its performance is at odds with a large company working to extract the most from a once-in-a-lifetime natural gas boom. After the email exchange with Major began circulating around Perth, a copy was tacked to a message board at oil leader Chevron with the note: “How not to run a company.”
    One farmer executive says he had been excited when Voelte took the helm.
    “You want to believe in a new leader and all aspects of their ability to show leadership. He came in with so much potential and leadership but unfortunately through interpersonal behaviour, he destroyed it. The only tune in town is the tune played by Don.”

    Yet another executive says Voelte did not like being pulled up on a path he had chosen and was quick to favour people that he believed supported him.
    The executive says the company’s poor performance was hidden behind high oil prices and quality assets. “All new properties have under-performed,” he says. “The company may have made a $1.5 billion profit [in 2006-07] but it should have made a $2 billion or $2.5 billion profit.”
    So what went wrong last year? For starters, there was the Chinguetti offshore oil project in the West African nation of Mauritania. Chinguetti cost more to get into production than expected and is producing about half the anticipated output.

    Then there is Enfield, The offshore Western Australian oilfield began operating last July and it nearly 40 per cent below expected output rates due to one of the three producing wells being shut down. In the Gulf of Mexico, production has been curtailed due to low gas prices. In Victoria, there have been delays in getting the Otway basin operations into gear.

    The big question mark is the proposed 12 million-tonne-a-year LNG Pluto development in Western Australia, on the back of a relatively modest field containing 4 trillion cubic feet of gas, Woodside has committed billions of dollars to the project. It is taking all of the risk on the project by maintaining 100 per cent ownership.
    .. The conclusion is that Woodside has for years been run by incompetent management or Voelte that is driving away those who built the company.

    If the latter is the issue, Woodside could be in trouble, it is a fairly well-known group of companies and executives that operate the LNG businesses globally. If Woodside gains a reputation as an unpleasant place to work, it will become hard to get good managers.

    .. further departures would set alarm bells ringing. Unfortunately for Voelte, further departures are expected –and he knows it.

    1. And it's worth remembering that recent rumours of trouble at Pluto wells were rife across the industry.

  5. 50 years of these booms and the governments still cannot get one right!What a record.And here we go again - the same old headlines every time.

    Almost a quarter of WA apprentices and trainees are walking away from their training, sparking fears young workers in unskilled mine jobs will be left without work as the boom slows.

    Department of Training and Workforce Development figures show 10,816 traineeships and apprenticeships were cancelled in the year to June.

    That was up from 8208 cancellations in 2009-10.

    The number of people completing apprenticeships in the same period fell from 6287 to 4897.

    WA Group Training Scheme chief executive Frank Allen said low pay was a key factor.

    "Who would want to come in on $400-500 a week as an apprentice, having to buy tools, when you could go to the mines and pick up $100,000 a year," he said.

    "The mining industry should contribute in times like these. They take all the skilled tradesmen to build mine sites and should inject something back into society and train the younger generations."


    Lifeline is launching new research into the mental health of fly-in, fly-out workers and their families which it hopes will be used to develop new occupational health and safety programs.


    Risks to the world's financial system are growing and confidence in it is falling, a disturbing report from the International Monetary Fund has found.

    In its latest examination of the global financial network, the fund said its April report of the world's markets had been volatile, "gyrating between extremes of disappointment and optimism".
    The size of the financial risks was evident in IMF figures on government debt levels.

    General government net debt in Japan is now 135 per cent of GDP while it is above 100 per cent in Italy, Ireland and Portugal. It is at 84 per cent in the United States and Britain.

    Australia net debt is expected to peak at 12 per cent of GDP.

    It also has one of the lowest levels of exposure to bank debts and demand on external creditors.

    The fund said even investors were showing signs of panic even if there was no outwardly evidence of trouble.
    "Investors are increasingly buying protection against extreme risks, even if investing in the instruments designed to provide the protection can be costly and may prove ineffective," it said.

  6. Change is afoot.

    Tuesday, 09 October 2012

    The global markets in the first half of 2012 saw the first year-on-year decline in three years in internationally traded volumes of 117 million tonnes, a decrease of 3 percent compared to the first half of last year.


    Tuesday, 09 October 2012

    Asian natural gas and LNG prices are likely to drop while prices in Europe and North America will rise in the period through to 2020, the 2012 Gastech conference in London was told.


    Tuesday, 09 October 2012

    The Singapore LNG trading office of Russian natural gas giant Gazprom has signed a sale and purchase agreement with Korea Gas Corp., the world's largest corporate buyer of LNG.


    One for the War Criminals.

    A comprehensive review of the energy sector indicates that Iraq will make by far the largest contribution to global oil supply growth in coming decades, IEA said. Current production of 3 million b/d will more than double by 2020 and expand further to more than 8 million b/d by 2035.

    Iraq becomes a key supplier to fast-growing Asian markets, mainly China, and the world’s second largest oil exporter by the 2030s, overtaking Russia, IEA said.
    Natural gas can play a much more important role in Iraq’s future and a vital first step will be to reduce the amount of gas now flared. Once domestic needs are met, Iraq can also provide a COST - COMPETITIVE SOURCE OF GAS SUPPLY to neighboring countries, to European markets and to ASIA, the report said.

    Meeting the anticipated levels of oil, gas and power supply over the period to 2035 will require more than $530 billion in energy investment in Iraq, with the annual investment need highest in the current decade

  7. Chevron warns of 3Q losses and looses latest Amazon court case.

    A US court has dealt oil giant Chevron a severe blow after lifting a ban on an $18bn judgment against the firm for contaminating the Amazon.

    A New York appeals court has reversed an earlier order freezing enforcement of the record damages award. It is the latest reversal in a nearly two decade-long legal battle over pollution in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
    Earlier Tuesday, Chevron announced it lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a $18.2 billion judgment against it for pollution in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador.

    Ecuadorian residents have been fighting the oil company over claims that Texaco, which was purchased by Chevron in 2001, polluted the Lago Agrio from 1964 to 1992.

    The case is important for oil companies since it could affect other pollution claims.

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