Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Remove as much green and red tape as possible

Under pressure from big business and the mining industry, governments are moving forward with an aggressive plan to wind back our environmental protection laws.  In the guise of cutting ‘green tape’, government and industry propose to hand important federal approval powers to the states, and fast track approvals for large developments. This will remove federal protection for our most special places and wildlife, and accelerate mining and other destructive development in our forests, rural landscapes and long our coasts.

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“He also noted that the cost of regulation was becoming an increasing burden on the industry, calling for a nationally harmonised framework on coal seam gas while pledging to remove as much green and red tape as possible.”


  1. Thanks to Goolarabooloo for this :

    On the record: Barnett’s vision looking cloudy
    Wednesday, 14 November 2012 James McGrath

    SOMETIMES you just have to feel sorry for Colin Barnett.
    He keeps trying to pull off large infrastructure and economic development projects essentially funded by the private sector, only to find that it plays by a different set of rules.

    As the Premier of Western Australia, he has attempted to pull off some impressive deals for the state.

    Sure the Oakajee rail & port project, which could open up opportunities in the state’s Mid West, is hot at the moment, but more relevant to this publication is the James Price Point development.

    For Barnett, the rationale behind the project is quite compelling.

    Number one on the “pro” column is the development of a port capable of exporting a number of commodities, which would open up the Kimberley to a world of opportunity … at least in Barnett’s eyes.

    The James Price Point precinct, if it went ahead, would see a single site housing the Woodside-led LNG project and a number of other developments, meaning no LNG projects dotted along the Kimberley coast.

    This total footprint of the precinct would be akin to a single seat of the MCG in the scope of the Kimberley’s size, a statistic favoured by fans of the project.

    But those against the project are kicking up one heck of a stink about that one seat.

    Barnett knows the presence of a Kimberley LNG precinct would be a lure for offshore and onshore explorers.

    The synergies between the precinct and very early exploration done by the likes of Buru are compelling to say the least.

    Those synergies, one would suggest, were at the heart of a deal signed between Buru and the state government earlier this month.

    As reported in EnergyNews, the deal effectively negates any relinquishment requirement over its most prospective acreage, given it plays an active role in developing a domestic gas project.

    The state agreement covers permits EP 371, 391, 428, 431, and 436, which contain the Valhalla and Yulleroo gas accumulations, and the Ungani oil trend.

    Buru will essentially be free from the threat of periodic 50% relinquishment of the permits until the end of January 2024, given that it commits to delivering gas into the domestic market.

    Why is that so important for Barnett?

    Aside from the emissions-abating effect the development of gas for power generation is having in WA, Barnett sees gas as a value-adding product.

    His hypothesis was in evidence when he opened the Apache-operated Devil Creek domestic gas plant early this year.

    “Apache, along with others, have started what I hope is the start of a growing chemicals industry,” he said, referring to Apache’s decision to take a 49% stake in the Burrup ammonia fertiliser plant.

    Barnett has spoken in the past about his desire to establish a petrochemicals industry at Port Hedland, seeking a path to make the most out of WA’s natural resources.

    He also spoke of the transformative effect gas supply from Devil Creek could have on the already booming iron ore industry via its contract with CITIC Pacific, assuming the project actually gets up and running.

    “The iron ore from that project is relatively low grade at roughly 35% compared with the traditional hematite producers at around 60%,” Barnett said. “To take that into a useable product for steel mills in China and elsewhere requires a lot of upgrading and a lot of energy.

  2. cont...

    “So this project, in finding a customer in CITIC Pacific has also added value to a resource which would have laid there for hundreds of years without being development, and has started the development of magnetite iron ore production in Western Australia.”

    While Devil Creek may be in the Pilbara, Barnett’s thinking about gas as a strategic building block is in ample evidence.

    By developing JPP and encouraging exploration in the Canning Basin, it is plain to see Barnett is hoping to encourage a lot of gas-dependent industry in the region.

    It is this line of thinking that has green groups worried. They believe the development of the JPP site will be the first step in the industrialisation of the Kimberley.

    Barnett probably has the same vision, but sees it more as “economic development” than “industrialisation”.

    To be fair, the Kimberley region is one in dire need of economic development, mainly due to chronic under-investment by successive Liberal and Labor governments.

    For Barnett, it is a win-win.

    He gets a whole industry to drive development in the region, the state government does not have to pay a cent to do it, and it will receive royalties from the onshore exploration.

    It is a point that has been widely acknowledged, not least by Mines and Petroleum minister Norman Moore.

    “Being onshore is very good for the state of Western Australia because we get the royalties,” Moore said in parliament during a debate on shale gas earlier this year.

    “With conventional gas offshore in commonwealth waters we get nothing, except for what we get from the North West Shelf.”

    Unfortunately for Barnett, his grand vision, like a complicated machine, has a lot of moving, inter-dependent parts.

    As any good engineer will say, a machine with many moving parts has many points of failure.

    The point of failure for Barnett may be the private sector not buying into the vision.

    With each passing day, it seems the development of JPP may fall over due to financial constraints.

    Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman, a big fan of “disciplined decision-making”, will be looking at the increasing JPP sums and losing enthusiasm.

    While not privy to the talk within Woodside Plaza, it is difficult to see the tenders floating in fitting into Coleman’s modus operandi as the price of labour and materials combined with regulatory pressures send the project’s cost sky-high.

    Once upon a time, this may have made Barnett nervous, but he must have developed a cold sweat when Shell decided to take Chevron’s stake in the Browse joint venture earlier this year.

    Shell, with a shareholding in Woodside and an increased stake in the JV, seemingly has its own ideas about where the project should go.

    It has been telling anybody who will listen about the wonders of its floating LNG technology while deriding the costs associated with developing onshore LNG projects.

    No doubt it will be in the ear of Coleman telling him the same thing.

    That is bad news for Barnett and his gas-driven dream.

    Word is that Barnett has already been having a quiet word with oil executives in Perth, quietly urging them to reconsider using FLNG for the Browse development and pushing the economics of the JPP project.

    Not only are future royalty revenues at stake, but Barnett’s legacy as a wheeler--dealer in the resources game is being put at risk.

    With the future of the Oakajee rail & port project also up in the air after being shelved by Mitsubishi late last week, Barnett will be ready for a scrap to save JPP from the chopping block.

    If nothing else, the blue over JPP will be entertaining as the premier’s personal ambition clashes with the harsh realities of the private sector in a slowdown.

    Energy News will be watching with popcorn at the ready.

  3. Sounds like a plan... maybe i will buy another house!

    1. "This will remove federal protection for our most special places and wildlife, and accelerate mining and other destructive development in our forests, rural landscapes and long our coasts."

      With what we now know,and as above,they are speeding toward destruction,not slowing down,
      may I suggest on top of a hill away from the coast.Happy viewing.

    2. Well you see i work for Woodside and am looking at Coastal areas. Need to enjoy boating and fishing while dealing with the hassle of financial security. Kindest regards

  4. This will be very bad news for Woodsides bottom line:


    While OPEC is currently pumping at more than 1MMbls above its target, the disparity between OPEC production and demand could widen next year as non-OPEC countries start to ramp up their production.

    However, he denied there was a surplus and played down fears of an over-supplied market driving down prices.

    “There is some over-supply, maybe 500,000 to 600,000 [barrels per day], but I don’t think it will be a problem. If you look at the market situation, we are producing at 31 million barrels per day, 1 million above our agreed level, but the market is still $110 a barrel. So let us wait and see.”