Friday, November 30, 2012

Barge aground on Mid West reef - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Barge aground on Mid West reef - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
 The Department of Transport says the vessel, which was destined for Chevron's port at Barrow Island, came adrift in strong swell while at sea off the Mid West coast last night.

Attempts were made to salvage the vessel before it drifted away and struck the reef.

The department's Oil Spill Response Coordination unit is monitoring the barge.

It says the 90 metre cargo barge was loaded with 1,800 tonnes of construction equipment, including heavy vehicles, and aerosol paint cans.

The department says the vessel also has 1,000 litres of diesel fuel and 1,000 litres of hydraulic fluid on board.


  1. NEW YORK, Nov. 30 /CSRwire/ - Confronted publicly about a $19 billion Ecuador liability for causing environmental damage, Chevron CEO John Watson continued an increasingly personal campaign to mislead shareholders and hide his personal conflicts of interest over the case, representatives of the rainforest communities charged.

    “John Watson’s public comments in New York about the mounting risk posed by the Ecuador judgment to Chevron are increasingly vitriolic, unprofessional, and misleading,” said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the rainforest communities who in 2011 won a court case that found Chevron liable for deliberately dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest.

    Hinton suggested Watson suffers from a conflict of interest over the Ecuador matter, given his role in vetting Chevron’s purchase of Texaco in 2001.

    On Thursday, a managing editor from The Wall Street Journal, Alan Murray, asked Watson about why the Ecuador case was “dogging” the company following remarks Watson made at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations in New York. In response, Watson repeated the company’s litigation position that Ecuador has a corrupt judiciary and that the case is a fraud.

    “I have no intention of paying people that have committed criminal acts against us,” said Watson.

    The plaintiffs not only deny Chevron’s charges, but have alleged that Watson is diverting shareholder money for a campaign to cover up multiple court findings related to Chevron’s environmental crimes and fraudulent remediation in Ecuador. The fraud allegations against Chevron are summarized in federal court claims filed by an attorney for the Ecuadorians, available here. Chevron’s long history of misleading shareholders over the case can be found in this report by Canadian securities lawyer Graham Erion.

    Watson has found himself in hot water with many of his own shareholders over the Ecuador matter, with several institutional investors calling on the SEC to determine whether the company is lying to downplay the risk stemming from the judgment. See here, here and here.

    Since October 15 of this year, the day an Ecuador court ordered the seizure of Chevron assets in Argentina and Columbia under an international treaty, Chevron’s stock price has lost roughly 15% of its value and performed significantly worse that its industry peers. In early November a court in Argentina ordered that the company's assets be frozen while independent analysts are beginning to take notice that Chevron faces significant litigation problems around the world.

    At Chevron’s annual meeting last May, Watson faced a shareholder rebellion of sorts when a whopping 38% of all shares (valued at $73 billion) voted to strip him of his dual role as CEO and Chairman of the Board because of the company’s bungling of the Ecuador lawsuit.

    Chevron’s 2010 annual meeting in Houston erupted in chaos when Watson ordered five shareholder critics arrested when they confronted him about the company’s human rights abuses in Ecuador. At the time, Watson was accused of “losing its head” over the Ecuador case by a shareholder activist, Maria Ramos.

    Chevron has admitted to dumping more than 16 billion gallons of toxic waste into the streams and rivers of the Amazon, decimating indigenous groups and causing an outbreak of cancers and other oil-related diseases, according to evidence relied on by the Ecuador court. A summary of the evidence against Chevron can be found here a video about the case can be seen here, while a summary of the cancer deaths can be found here.

    Watson received an estimated $25 million in compensation in 2011, or almost the entire amount spent by Chevron in its purported “remediation” of hundreds of its contaminated waste pits in Ecuador in the mid-1990s. That remediation – which involved covering up toxic waste pits with dirt without cleaning them out -- was found by Ecuador’s courts to be fraudulent.

  2. Anyone who is really interested in the new science on ice loss and would like to see these great photos.
    Also follow the "more galleries" to more info and interactive maps.

  3. Whistleblower's treatment exposes dark side of Obama

    OVER the past 2½ years, all of which he has spent in a military prison, much has been said about Bradley Manning, but nothing has been heard from him. That changed late last week, when the 23-year-old US army private, who is accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, testified at his court martial about the conditions of his detention.

    The oppressive, borderline-torturous measures he endured, including prolonged solitary confinement and forced nudity, have been known for some time. A formal UN investigation denounced them as ''cruel and inhuman''. President Barack Obama's State Department spokesman, retired air force colonel P.J. Crowley, resigned after condemning Manning's treatment. A prison psychologist testified last week that Manning's conditions were more damaging than those found on death row, or at Guantanamo Bay

    Early in his detention, he recalled, ''I had pretty much given up. I thought I was going to die in this eight-by-eight animal cage.''

    The repressive treatment of Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama's first term and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. He not only defended Manning's treatment, but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning's guilt when he asserted that he ''broke the law''.

    As Gillard and co also decreed Assange "guilty",as the Fox news crew called for the SOB to be executed without a trial.
    Home of the free - and the brave.

  4. In 2011, Australia recorded 17.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person, on par with the US, a team of specialist climate change researchers at the University of East Anglia has reported.

    The figure is up from 16.3 tonnes per person in 2010 and takes Australia's total output to 392 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, representing 1.2 per cent of the world's 2011 total.


    A GAS tanker has powered its way across the top of the world and is set to enter Japanese waters after a west-to-east voyage through the Arctic ice lasting 25 days.

    It is a hugely symbolic moment: the melting of the ice caps has brought tantalisingly close the dream of 16th-century explorers to use the Northeast sea route all year round to link Europe to the riches of China and India.


    WOODSIDE Petroleum is eyeing a "number of opportunities" in the US as it looks to tap the shale gas boom there...

    Chief executive Peter Coleman is also pushing to develop Perth as a technological centre for the international LNG industry, building on the concentration of expertise in the city given Western Australia's long history of involvement in LNG production.


    Woodside Petroleum has agreed a $US1.25 billion ($1.2 billion) deal to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Leviathan, a natural gas find off Israel’s Mediterranean shores, as Australia’s biggest oil and gas company expands its reach outside its home market.

    Woodside said it will be the operator of any liquefied natural gas (LNG) development of the field, which is estimated to contain around 17 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. Noble Energy will be the upstream operator.


    conservation project aims to restore WA's biggest island, Dirk Hartog, to its pre-colonisation state.

    The program will remove weeds and feral animals from the 63,000ha island and release native species in an effort to return the landscape to how it was 400 years ago.

    The first stage of the project could take 20 years or more to complete.

    Dirk Hartog Island is in the Shark Bay World Heritage area was the site of the first European landing in Western Australia in 1616.

    Environment Minister Bill Marmion said it was one of the world's most important islands for mammal conservation.


    The company behind the 2008 Varanus Island gas explosion wants to explore for oil and gas within 30km of the Ningaloo World Heritage area.

    In a move that has upset environmentalists, Apache Energy asked the Federal Environment Department for permission to carry out seismic testing 28km from the reef's protected northern edge.

    The request is the latest effort by the oil and gas industry to develop the environmentally sensitive area after similar moves by companies such as BHP Billiton and Shell.

    Green groups immediately attacked Apache's bid given the US company's record over the explosion at Varanus Island and its efforts to stymie Government investigations into the disaster.

    The explosion slashed WA's gas supplies by a third and forced a raft of emergency rationing that was estimated to have wiped up to $3 billion from the WA economy.

    In the aftermath of the explosion, Apache engaged the State Government in a protracted legal battle to stop the publication of a damning report into the company's handling of the incident.


    BURU : ASX: BRU) has extended its Gas Supply Agreement with Alcoa of Australia by two years, giving it more time to appraise and prove up gas reserves in the onshore Canning Basin.

    The Canning Basin specialist now has until 1 January 2015 to establish sufficient reserves to deliver up to 500 petajoules of gas to Alcoa.



    Gorgon speculation

    With Chevron expected to reveal the extent of the cost blowout at the Gorgon LNG project this week, some are speculating that blowout could come with a delay in first production – presently touted for 2014 – into 2015.

    The latest tip comes from the Australian Financial Review, which said the blowout could see Gorgon’s budget up to $60 billion from its current $43 billion.

    The cost overrun is expected to be the result of the Australian dollar’s appreciation against the greenback since project sanction and the higher cost of labour in Australia, which has analysts worried.

    The paper quoted BIS Shrapnel Infrastructure and Mining senior manager Adrian Hart, who said environmental approvals had also taken their toll on projects.

    “What we are seeing across the board is cost increases at all the projects mainly because of skilled wages but also the need to change the scope of the project,” Hart said.

    “Many companies have not really factored in how much time it takes to do things and the high level of environmental protection requirements that are put in place on some sites.”

    The last point is especially pertinent in the context of the Gorgon project, which is located on a grade A nature reserve on Barrow Island, which has led to measures such as the shrink-wrapping of all equipment which makes it onto the island as a quarantine measure.



    State Energy Minister Peter Collier played a straight bat but was a little more forthcoming.

    “The government has not received any advice from the Gorgon project concerning delays to the planned delivery of domestic gas as per the contracts signed in late 2011,” he said.

    “However, the government, through Verve and Synergy, continues to monitor domestic gas supply availability in WA and will consider contingencies should they be required.”


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