Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Framework for Simpler Project Approvals

New Framework for Simpler Project Approvals:
The federal government has released a draft framework for bilateral agreements which it says will reduce the amount of ‘green tape’ associated with approval of large-scale resource and other infrastructure construction projects throughout Australia.

The framework follows an agreement earlier this year by the Council of Australian Governments to reform national environmental regulation in order to reduce duplication within the environmental approval process for significant developments.

The key plank of this reform revolves around bilateral agreements which will be negotiated between the federal government and which will set out environmental requirements for project approvals in each state. This means project owners will no longer have to get separate project approvals at a federal and state level.

Under the new framework, any bilateral agreement will have to be in full accordance with requirements set out in the Environmental Protection of Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act – 1999) as well as any of Australia’s obligations under international law.


  1. The skill shortage is now world wide.This has more to do with execs trying to cover up for their mistakes than anything else.Everytime they screw up we always get the same exscuse - too much red tape - too much green tape - labour laws too fair - it has always been like this.

  2. The stubbornly high Australian dollar.

    Shell may feed Arrow gas into rivals' Australian LNG plants - report

    MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell may delay a final investment decision (FID) on its Arrow liquefied natural gas project in Australia as it considers feeding its gas into other LNG projects in the area due to rising costs, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

    "There is no rush for us to enter an FID, and we'll time this with local market considerations and potentially combine with third parties," the Australian newspaper cited Shell oil and gas production chief Andrew Brown saying.

    The comments mark a change from Shell's plan to build its own LNG plant in Queensland in a partnership with PetroChina <0857.HK> next to three others already under construction, as skills and equipment shortages and a stubbornly strong Australian dollar have jacked up construction costs.

    "With three projects under construction at Curtis Island, it makes sense to think about the best value solution for Shell and get the timing right," Brown was quoted telling investors at a briefing in New York.

    Arrow LNG is one of four projects on Australia's east coast that aim to pump gas from coal seams to export facilities. The estimated investment for all the projects is rising rapidly from the initial price tag of around $70 billion (43 billion pounds).

    Other Queensland LNG project owners have been scrambling to sell down stakes in their projects to spread risk and defray their costs, with industry experts speculating that cost pressures may deter expansions of existing projects.

    BG Group sold a 40 percent stake in its Queensland Curtis LNG project earlier this month to China's CNOOC <0883.HK> for $1.93 billion.

    Origin Energy and Conoco Phillips are each looking to sell down 7.5 percent stakes in their Australia Pacific LNG project, to cut their stakes to 30 percent each, having already sold a 25 percent stake to China's Sinopec <600028.SS>.

    Brown also confirmed that Shell faces a big cost hike and possible start-up delay at Australia's biggest LNG project, Gorgon, operated by Chevron .

    "When Shell took FID on Gorgon in 2009, we had assumed a higher budget than then $37 billion described by Chevron, the operator, and a later start-up schedule than the first gas in 2014 that was expected," Brown was quoted as saying.

    "Today our cost estimates are higher again than our assumptions at FID, and we remain conservative on the start-up date," he said.

    1. Easy to see where Shell are coming from.They want to expand their LNG business by $20 billion,and want to get their money worth.They already have Arrow and Gorgon swallowing billions in cost blowouts and delays,why add Browse at JPP to this?There goes the $20 billion they wanted to expand their business with.Shell are looking at some fantastic finds all over the globe - everyone has gas.As Ferguson likes to say,"no one owes Australia a living."


      East Africa

      Shell said yesterday it’s in talks with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Eni SpA and others to join gas projects off Mozambique, after this year losing a bidding war with Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production Pcl for Anadarko’s partner Cove Energy Plc. The nation may become the third-largest LNG producer, after Australia and Qatar, in as few as 10 years, Anadarko has said.

      “We are taking our time, because we are also quite busy elsewhere in the world,” Maarten Wetselaar, executive vice president of Shell Upstream International, said yesterday in an interview. “We’re not short of opportunities, but it’s certainly something we would like to be involved in.”

      Mozambique may hold as much as 250 trillion cubic feet of gas, national oil company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos estimated last month after energy explorers made the decade’s biggest discoveries in its waters.


      As part of its $50 billion Australian LNG investment plan, the company has been working on a floating production vessel that will liquefy the fuel off Australia’s northwest coast to potentially supply the Asia Pacific region.


      Shell, which has announced $6 billion in acquisitions this year, has forecast cash flow from operations will rise 50 percent through 2015, driven by new projects in Qatar, where it runs a gas-to-liquids plant, and Canada.

    2. Voser the big boss at Shell doesn't want to wind up like BHP's Kloppers.It's 3 strikes and you're out.Voser cannot add a massive Browse blowout to his resume on top of the Gorgon disaster and the Arrow LNG bungle.

      For that matter Woodside cannot add to the Pluto debacle and the Sunrise political fiasco with an ongoing financial and environmental crisis at JPP.

      The rapidly changing global energy situation will not be forgiving of these serious miss- steps.If they get this wrong it's all over for Woodside,their CEO and board,the same goes for Voser at Shell.

      No wonder Chevron got the hell out of there.

  3. We need tougher rules and laws for these scum.

    The Greens have urged the Federal Government to examine allegations mining company FMG tried to manipulate the native title process during negotiations over an iron ore project in WA's Pilbara.

    Former FMG lawyer Kerry Savas says it rigged the outcome of a meeting between the company and Aboriginal landowners last year by bringing in a rival group.


    Lets just move out and give it all to them.
    No return on the Ord.
    No return on JPP gas plant.
    No return on Oakajee ?

    The Premier Colin Barnett says the State Government will look at royalty concessions as a way of helping to get the Oakajee Port and Rail project off the ground.

    The multi-billion dollar project was put in doubt earlier this month after Japanese backers Mitsubishi slashed jobs and spending on the development.

    Mr Barnett told delegates at a Mid West mining forum that he will not give up on Oakajee and is confident it will eventually go ahead.

    "Maybe it's a case of third time lucky," he said.

    The State Government has previously made a commitment to provide $300 million plus for the project.



  4. Oh no now Rhinehart wants a canal.

    The world's richest woman Gina Rinehart has published a new book setting out her blueprint for Australia's future.

    The book, called Northern Australia and Then Some, was launched in Sydney last night to an audience which included Lachlan Murdoch and climate change sceptic Professor Ian Plimer.

    "I mention food because I see this is going to be a great need for the world," she said.

    "We need to see, for instance, pipelines or channels carrying surplus water from the Kimberleys ... but this takes money and requires policies to make investment welcome."


    Carol Martin needs to tell the Feds something.

    Psychologists are concerned that the Federal Government's proposal to reduce the number of Medicare-subsidised therapy sessions will mean less people accessing mental health care.

    From January next year, the number of subsidised sessions that can be claimed by a patient under the Better Access program, will drop from 16 to 10.

    Dr Mullings believes the Government has failed to follow through on its promise to provide alternative services to compensate for the reduction of sessions.

    "They're all these big budget announcements about other services which would be put in place; unfortunately practically none of them deliver on psychological treatment for the adult population," he said.

    "It really is a betray of trust in many ways for people to be told they're going to receive help, that it's okay for them to trust that when they reach out for support they're going to get it, for them to discover that it's such a difficult time, such a run around for them to get help."

    Dr Mullings says the proposed cuts are even more disturbing after a recent in-depth review of the State's mental health services, which identified an under-resourced and over-stressed system.

    "It highlighted the need for preventative care from the community and also for there to be referral options for when people are discharged from psychiatric hospital," he said.

    "Medicare is one obvious system for that, so by cutting the amount of psychological treatment people can receive via Medicare, what they're actually doing is cutting those options for those who are discharged."

    Mrs Midford says the cutbacks will pose ethical issues for psychologists, who may rethink whether to even commence therapy.


    It's time for Carol Martin to make a full and frank apology to the people of the Kimberley.She has become a foul mouthed disgrace.

  5. When the mining boom is over what will we be left with?Apart from a big headache and an enormous bill.

    Perth Airport has assured the State Government that it is working towards having a third runway operational by late 2017 to future-proof the State's economic development.

    Treasurer and Transport Minister Troy Buswell said yesterday he had a constructive meeting with airport chairman David Crawford and chief executive Brad Geatches about building a third runway.

    "We now have a timeline and clear performance checkpoints for us to monitor the progress of this runway," Mr Buswell said.

    Mr Geatches agreed that the meeting had been constructive.

    "Perth Airport is proceeding on a path of design and consultation that would, subject to agreements and approvals, see the third runway delivered by the end of 2017, at the earliest," Mr Geatches said.

    Last month, Mr Buswell warned that if the airport did not fast-track the additional runway, the State's development would be impeded.

    Over the past five years, passenger numbers through Perth Airport have grown 40 per cent to 12.6 million last year.

    Plane movements climbed at a similar rate.


    City of Busselton mayor Ian Stubbs believes a State Government commitment to spend up to $100 million expanding the tourism region's airport is imminent.

    Amid rumours that Premier Colin Barnett was planning to announce the major development within days, Cr Stubbs said most of the ground work for the expansion was done.

    "I've heard whispers that there will be an announcement soon," Cr Stubbs said. "Just recently - and they haven't been released yet - we've done the route destinations and a social and economic development strategy."


    The very racist Labour Party.

    RESPECTED Aboriginal leader and former Labor candidate Tauto Sansbury has resigned from the ALP because he has lost faith in the party, which he says is dismissive of indigenous affairs and has in it "a big element of racism".

    Mr Sansbury, who stood for two elections for Labor in 2010, in the federal South Australian seat of Grey and in the state seat of Flinders, yesterday said the ALP needed a wake-up call. "The Labor government just pays lip-service to Aboriginal people," he said.


    The GOP and Americas decline.

    Earlier this week, GQ magazine published an interview with Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in which Mr. Rubio was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”

    What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.

    ...modern American conservatism is highly correlated with authoritarian inclinations — and authoritarians are strongly inclined to reject any evidence contradicting their prior beliefs. Today’s Republicans cocoon themselves in an alternate reality defined by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page,...

    We are, after all, living in an era when science plays a crucial economic role. How are we going to search effectively for natural resources if schools trying to teach modern geology must give equal time to claims that the world is only 6.000 years old? How are we going to stay competitive in biotechnology if biology classes avoid any material that might offend creationists?

    So don’t shrug off Mr. Rubio’s awkward moment. His inability to deal with geological evidence was symptomatic of a much broader problem — one that may, in the end, set America on a path of inexorable decline.

  6. Why Shell cant afford to build at JPP.

    (apart from the massive Gorgon blowout and trouble with Arrow)

    Shell also announced its plan to make further investments of $20 billion worldwide by 2015 in natural gas projects.

    Royal Dutch Shell plc owns one of the largest integrated oil and gas businesses in the world. The group has operations all over the world and is involved in various activities related to oil and natural gas, chemicals, power generation, renewable energy resources, and other energy related businesses.

    We believe that Shell’s strong and diversified portfolio of development projects offer lucrative long-term opportunities to the company and will continue to boost revenue and earnings growth over the next few quarters.

    However, the company is particularly susceptible to its high exposure to the downstream business, its natural gas focus, as well as lofty capital spending, which may result in reduced returns going forward


    Voser knows if he screws up at JPP - hes gone - just like Kloppers.
    And he cant spend the $20 billion on cost blowouts!

    With the release of a recent report that identified thousands of leaking gas pipes in and around Boston,(the US has a massive gas pipeline network but believe it or not some old pipes are made out of wood),we can expect a lot more of these.And the gas is methane gas many times worse than CO2 for the climate.

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- A natural gas explosion leveled a multistory building housing a strip club in one of New England's biggest cities on Friday evening, injuring at least eight people.

    There was no word on whether there had been any fatalities, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno's spokesman Thomas Walsh said.

    Eight people were being evaluated at Baystate Medical Center, but none had critical injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said. It was unclear if injured people had been taken to other hospitals.

    The explosion, in an area of downtown Springfield with commercial properties and residences, destroyed a building that housed a Scores Gentlemen's Club. The blast sent bricks and glass flying through the streets.

    Firefighters responded to the scene at 4:20 p.m. and were investigating a gas leak when the blast happened shortly after 5 p.m., authorities said.

    Area resident Wayne Davis, who lives a block away, said he felt his apartment building shake.

    "I was laying down in bed, and I started feeling the building shaking and creaking," he said.

    The Navy veteran said the boom from the explosion was louder than anything he'd ever heard, including the sound of a jet landing on an aircraft carrier

    1. Fourteen people have been killed and 47 injured in a blast that tore through a restaurant in northern China, with initial investigations pointing to a gas leak as the likely cause.

      The explosion occurred in the city of Jinzhong in Shanxi province, which lies to the west of Beijing, on Friday evening, the official Xinhua news agency said.

      The blast shattered windows of buildings near the two-storey restaurant, which served hot pot - a popular Chinese kind of stew.

      Xinhua quoted local investigators as saying that 17 of the injured were in a serious condition.

  7. Skilled worker shortage - most countries surveyed had some trouble finding skilled workers.

    AUSTRALIA is experiencing a tight labour market, with a demand for high-skilled professionals such as structural engineers and geologists, recruiting expert Hays says.

    This is one of the findings in Hays’ latest Global Skills Index, which provides an insight into the availability of professional skills in 27 countries.

    “Labour market tightness is driven by demand for high-skilled professionals in specific industries, including engineering, energy and oil and gas,” Hays resources and mining senior regional director Simon Winfield said.

    He said the shortages reflected the findings of its latest quarterly report, which showed there was a high-demand for highly skilled professionals such as structural engineers, line engineers and geologists.

    “In the long term we will continue to feel the skills shortages,” he said.

    Hays foresaw further shortages across industries such as healthcare due to our ageing population.

    There would also be a need for candidates with skills to drive major projects in the construction sector.

    According to the index, demand would also be needed for qualified staff in accountancy and financing.

    “There is still a need for mining engineers and surveyors in the resources and mining sector along with senior processing candidates and candidates in fixed-plant maintenance and planning,” Winfield said.

    According to the survey, 16 out of the 27 countries surveyed were suffering some degree of labour market tightness.

  8. After the nearly $5 billion fine and civil action to follow,dont suppose he wants to sign off on JPP as one of his first jobs?

    BP unveiled a reorganisation of its oil and gas production operations yesterday, reversing a change it enacted after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    The latest move is partly intended to free chief executive Bob Dudley up from close oversight of day-to-day operations so he can help chart BP’s recovery from the disaster which killed 11 men and spilled five million barrels of crude into the sea, according to sources.

    Lamar McKay, head of BP’s US operations, will become head of a new exploration and production unit, a reinstatement of a role that was abolished in 2010, after the oil spill.

    BP directors agreed on the reorganisation some months ago, said two sources, but wanted to delay announcing it until it had made further progress with the US authorities on settling investigations around the spill. – (Reuters

  9. New doco on vanishing ice.

    Going to the world's most remote places and taking photographs was second nature to James Balog, who developed a career with assignments for National Geographic and others. But he was a climate change skeptic. "It was hard for me to believe that people could affect something so vast as the whole planet," he said.

    The result: one of the most beautiful and important films ever made. It takes up the discussion where An Inconvenient Truth left off but with new footage, not just something scraped up out of an archive. The interviews provide real easy to understand analogies and make the science clear. Only quibble -- what can we do about all this isn't adequately addressed.

    "We don't have all those answers," said Orlowski. "Nobody told James to do this. Everybody is coming to the table with a different skill set. Try to make a difference using what you can do," he said.

    Which is fine, but when Balog was asked if there's any hope, he cited Churchill, who said, "We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing when they've exhausted all other options."

    One step in the right direction is going to see this movie. Then figuring out what you can. Either that or leaving the job to the policy wonks and others -- and we know what a great job they've done so far.

    Chasing Ice opened in New York November 9. It opens in Los Angeles, November 23 and continues its roll out across the country.

    This feature-length documentary runs 75 minutes.

    For more information: www.chasingice.com

  10. It only took a drop of 4 degrees to cause the last Ice Age,what does a rise of 4 degrees mean for life on Earth?

    Global greenhouse-gas emissions already have passed the point where the worst effects of global warming could be averted, and they are still rising, according to the third annual United Nations report on the so-called emissions gap.

    Some countries have made pledges to help reverse this trend by lowering their emissions. However, the report by the U.N. Environment Programme warns that the gap between these pledges and reductions necessary to cap average global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2020 continues to widen.

    "In addition we have one year less to close it," said Niklas Höhne, one of the UNEP report's lead authors


    In the absence of aggressive government policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, a number of leading organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank and others, have begun issuing analyses that regard potentially dangerous temperature elevations as not just a possibility should the status quo prevail, but a near certainty even if things start to change.

    The latest report, released Wednesday by the United Nations Environment Program, suggested that greenhouse gas emissions levels are currently around 14 percent above where they need to be by the end of the decade in order to avoid what many analysts believe could be a risky level of planetary warming.

    That report comes on the heels of a study issued Tuesday by the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization, which stated that human civilization has pumped roughly 375 billion tonnes, or metric tons, of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age, when the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels began in earnest.

    "These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on earth," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, in a statement issued Tuesday. "Future emissions will only compound the situation."


    The image of a world with more extreme weather events, rising seas, and longer droughts is becoming clearer by the day. Even more troubling is that we are on course to even more extreme changes to our planet in the years ahead. That's the key takeaway from a major new report by the World Bank, which examines the impact of a 4-degree Celsius warmer world. At the same time, WRI's new analysis finds that there are nearly 1,200 proposed coal plants worldwide. If these coal plants come online, our chances of staying within 2 degrees of warming would be nil.

    The World Bank is not prone to hyperbole. Its warning that we could be heading to 4 degrees of rising global temperatures should be taken extremely seriously by leaders around the world. The World Bank's assessment reaffirms what many of us already understand: Scientific evidence of human-caused global warming is unequivocal. Given that it took little more than 4 degrees of cooling to create the last Ice Age, it would be hard to overstate how 4 degrees of warming could reshape our world by the end of this century.