Sunday, December 9, 2012

AHR 53 (November 2012): Kathie Muir: Politics, Protest and Performativity

AHR 53 (November 2012): Kathie Muir: Politics, Protest and Performativity:

During my three visits to Broome in 2011, I attended key events and meetings, held interviews with participants and engaged in critical readings of both print and social media. This paper aims to convey a sense of the passion felt by the opponents of the gas hub and their growing sense of themselves as a distinctive community. It explores, firstly, the claims of Broome’s having a unique character and spirit of place worth preserving. The paper proceeds to a more detailed background description of this development and the political contentions surrounding it. Then it examines some of the modes of campaigning adopted by the ‘No Gas’ group and other opponents, including online activities, and offers a preliminary assessment of the significance of the campaign.

The Broome experience may offer lessons for other small communities who are facing dramatic changes to their way of life and their values from mining and related developments, in particular those for whom strong cultural and environmental assets form the basis of an important tourism industry.


  1. Well I must admit - and no doubt Redhand would too,but just speaking for myself,I felt Kathies complaint about people who were not strategic thinkers,posted inflamatory and slanderous odds and ends,and made life difficult for blog administrators trying to keep their blogs on track - definately applies to me - Mr Anon.So I take this opportunity to apologise to all the blogs I have ruined with my ill thought out comments.But then this is my first time and we all have to learn.Cheers!

  2. Welcome news this Monday morning that Barnett and Grylls have to reissue their Notices of Intention To Take for the 3rd time.Also applies to other CA's made over the years as no one told the Native Title Tribunal.
    Naughty boy Troy has had simulated sex with the fish magnate Kallis while drunk again!
    (time for an inflamatory and slanderous remark)
    Leave that one to your imaginations.


    OH SH*T!Never rains but it pours.

    Mining & Energy

    Gas glut slashes export prices

    THE worldwide expansion of gas production may force Australian exporters to settle for lower prices after a Japanese company negotiated a landmark contract pegged to US domestic gas prices.

    The deal between Kansai Electric Power and BP is the first contract in Japan to be linked to gas rather than oil prices.


    The Hitler bunker will be buzzing with Hitler rants today.Is it Bomb in a Briefcase time,who are the plotters?


    What's Barnett's game here?

    Premier Colin Barnett has told Rio Tinto and Alcoa that "they're dreaming" about developing a massive bauxite deposit in the remote Kimberley, and flagged the possible return of the resource to taxpayers.

    The global giants want a two to three-year extension and an associated State Agreement over the big bauxite deposit, which is surrounded by national parks 115km south-west of Kalumburu.

    The Government must decide on the push by the end of this month under the Alumina Refinery (Mitchell Plateau) Agreement Act 1971, which grants the right to develop the bauxite reserves as long as the companies build an alumina refinery in the region.

    Mr Barnett signalled a shift in the Government's thinking, just days after it moved to ban mining around Horizontal Falls near Derby. "There has been some discussion (with Rio)," Mr Barnett told _WestBusiness _.

    "Rio and Alcoa still hold the entitlement, and the agreement basically requires that they provide updates on their proposals.

    "I have told them I expect them to comply with the Agreement Act. . . . but there is no serious plan to go ahead with development there and in fact I'll say I don't think the bauxite resource will ever be developed."

    When asked whether this represented a permanent block and Rio should consider handing the resource back to the State, Mr Barnett said: "That might be an option in the future. There have been all sorts of plans. It is remote. I don't know it is that great a resource."

    It is understood neither Rio (65 per cent) nor Alcoa (35 per cent) believes the project is viable in its present form, despite aluminium prices recovering above financial crisis lows. Rio continues to spend time and money on the project, in keeping with the requirements under the Act, and its infrastructure in the area, such as its airstrip, is used by tourist operators.

    Some analysts speculate Rio's persistence is in the hope that the WA Government would eventually relent on the requirement to build a costly refinery and allow it to simply mine the bauxite, giving it an alternative to the Queensland Weipa bauxite mine, which underpins all of Rio's aluminium operations

    The global mining giant is currently struggling to extend the life of that mine amid environmental and cost issues. Rio's general manager of external relations, Andy Munro, was diplomatic when asked about the snub.

    "We understand the rules relative to the State Agreement Act," he said. "We have submitted an application to extend the time by which we need to put in a development proposal and it is presently sitting with the Government."
    Notwithstanding Mr Barnett's stance, the Kimberley bauxite deposit also presents challenges due to its isolation and pristine ecosystem. There is little existing infrastructure and an alumina refinery would require huge volumes of water and electricity/


    Brendan Grylls on ABC radio,lying again,same as Barnett,"the project has the support of the people of Broome...."


    The union's WA president Tony Hall says it appears Monadelphous will now bring in its own workforce for the project.

    "The commitment we had from Monadelphous is 'yeah, yeah, we will pick up a good portion of the current employees' so everyone was happy with that response," he said.

    "None of the current employees have actually been picked up.

    "There should be a moral obligation upon a contractor and upon Woodside as well, to actually pick up people that live in this town."

    Mr Hall says it calls into question Woodside's commitment to the local community.

    "These are people that have lived and worked in Karratha for up to ten years or more," he said.

    "Their families are here, their kids are here, their lives are here.

    Not one of these people, who've got the required skills to do the work at that gas plant, have been picked up at this stage."


    Fly-in, fly-out workers believe their employers do not care about their wellbeing and do not feel valued for their contribution to a lucrative industry, new research suggests.

    Preliminary findings from an ongoing Murdoch University study found that FIFO workers generally did not have an emotional attachment to their employer and that companies failed to foster a strong sense of belonging.

    Libby Brook, of Murdoch University's school of psychology, said a survey of 223 FIFO workers found many did not feel their needs were being met and there was a sense of ambiguity around how well they felt their company supported them.

    Murdoch University's Graeme Ditchburn said the research indicated the level of support given to employees was important in terms of job satisfaction and commitment.

    "From an organisational perspective, companies need to be looking at how they can empower managers and supervisors to support their employees more efficiently and effectively," he said.


    Today — to the dismay of whale lovers and friends of marine mammals, if not divers and submarine captains — the ocean depths have become a noisy place.

    The causes are human: the sonar blasts of military exercises, the booms from air guns used in oil and gas exploration, and the whine from fleets of commercial ships that relentlessly crisscross the global seas. Nature has its own undersea noises. But the new ones are loud and ubiquitous.

    Marine experts say the rising clamor is particularly dangerous to whales, which depend on their acute hearing to locate food and one another.

    To fight the din, the federal government is completing the first phase of what could become one of the world’s largest efforts to curb the noise pollution and return the sprawling ecosystem to a quieter state.

    It is no small ambition: the sea covers more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface. But scores of the ocean visualizations have now been made public.

    The federal effort seeks to document human-made noises in the ocean and transform the results into the world’s first large sound maps. The ocean visualizations use bright colors to symbolize the sounds radiating out through the oceanic depths, frequently over distances of hundreds of miles. Several of the larger maps present the sound data in annual averages — demonstrating how ages in which humans made virtually no contribution to ocean noise are giving way to civilization’s roar.

    The overall purpose is to better understand the cacophony’s nature and its impact on sea mammals as a way to build the case for reductions.
    Michael Jasny, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a private group in New York that has sued the Navy to reduce sounds that can harm marine mammals, praised the maps as “magnificent” and their depictions of sound pollution as “incredibly disturbing.”

    “We’ve been blind to it,” Mr. Jasny said in an interview. “The maps are enabling scientists, regulators and the public to visualize the problem. Once you see the pictures, the serious risk that ocean noise poses to the very fabric of marine life becomes impossible to ignore.”

    Legal experts say the new findings are likely to accelerate efforts both domestically and internationally to deal with the complicated problem through laws, regulations, treaties and voluntary noise reductions.

    The government already has some authority to regulate oceanic sound in United States waters through the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, though exemptions to these laws exist for the military.
    Sea mammals evolved sharp hearing to take advantage of sound’s reach and to compensate for poor visibility. The heads of whales and dolphins are mazes of resonant chambers and acoustic lenses that give the animals not only extraordinary hearing but complex voices they use to communicate.
    Worse, the Navy estimates that blasts from its sonars — used in training and to hunt enemy submarines — result in permanent hearing losses for hundreds of sea mammals every year and temporary losses for thousands. All told, annually the injured animals number more than a quarter million.
    Marine engineers say the mechanics of ship quieting are relatively straightforward if applied in the design stage. The biggest factor is the ship’s propeller, which has to be shaped exactly right to lessen cavitation.
    Other measures for quieting include adding layers of sound-absorbing tiles to the walls of noisy rooms as well as mounting engines, pumps, air compressors, and other types of reciprocating machinery on vibration isolators.


  5. The shareholders of Royal Dutch Shell could be waking up to a multi-billion dollar headache this morning, after a University of Essex report concluded that the FTSE-listed company is responsible for cleaning up the mess it has made of the Niger Delta. The findings are the results of nearly two years of research.

    The Niger Delta, an area roughly the size of Scotland, used to be a picturesque wetland. It is home to 31 million people, but over the past six decades, many of the villagers there have seen their livelihoods devastated by oil pollution.

    .. Royal Dutch Shell's subsidiary Shell Nigeria alone operates over more than 31,000 square kilometres. Over that period there have been thousands and thousands of oil spills. Between 1976 and 2001 the United Nations Development Programme recorded 6,800 spills.

    Earlier this year, Amnesty International exposed [PDF] the real picture of Shell Nigeria's legacy at the site of one of the worst spills - in Bodo, Ogoniland, in 2008. Shell's official investigation claims only 1,640 barrels of oil were spilt. But based on an independent assessment carried out by the US firm Accufacts, Amnesty International found that the total amount spilt is, at a bare minimum, some 103,000 barrels - a massive 63 times Shell's estimate - and could be as high as 311,000 barrels. But it appears Shell failed to learn their lesson and, since 2008, there have been two further major spills in Bodo, including one in June this year which reportedly took Shell at least ten days to fix.

    The spills have hit those at the bottom hardest. Reliant on fishing and agriculture, they have seen their livelihoods destroyed and have been pushed deeper and deeper into poverty. Fish, which remains the staple of villagers' diets, have been contaminated, the air has a stench of oil, and the water is stained black from the pollution. Last year, the United Nations Environment Programme published a report based on two years of in-depth scientific research. One of the most serious facts to come to light was the scale of contamination of drinking water, which had exposed communities to serious health risks.

    And today's report highlights a shifting legal environment in which Royal Dutch Shell can expect to face an increase in lawsuits as a consequence.


    BP has stated that it never knew of the true quantity of oil escaping the well until a few months after the blowout, however emails that are soon to be released seem to suggest otherwise.

    Former BP engineer Kurt Mix is being charged by federal prosecutors with obstructing the law. They believe that he deleted thousands of emails and text messages tied to the company’s efforts to measure the size of the underwater leak.

    The emails that Mix’s lawyer is set to release in February will supposedly prove his innocence by showing that he deleted nothing, and at the same time show that BP in fact knew about the size of the flow rate long before they advised the US authorities. BP always claimed that they didn’t learn of the spills full extent until after April, when in fact they knew almost immediately.

    The emails show that just two days after the explosion occurred Mix sent in an estimation of the flow rate to his supervisor of between 62,000 and 146,000 barrels a day. BP executives told the coast guard that their best estimates held the leak at 1,000 barrels a day.

    Then in May an executive at a Norwegian energy consulting firm analysed the videos and suggested that “it can be ruled out that the flow at seabed is in the order of 40,000.” BP’s current chief executive, Bob Dudley, then decided to state on MSNBC that the new flow rate estimates were around 5,000 barrels a day. Still way below the estimates supplied to BP’s management.

    If BP is indeed found guilty of deceiving the federal prosecutors, then they could find themselves with a much heftier fine than before.

  6. Sempra Energy, the California-based US utility and LNG player, filed its permit application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the Cameron LNG liquefaction plant planned for Hackberry, Louisiana, on the site of an existing import terminal.


    Qatar National Bank said the Gulf state's two production companies, Qatargas and RasGas, would reduce their spot market sales by at least 40 percent by 2014, curbing supplies available for Europe.


    Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and Paolo Scaroni, his counterpart at Italian energy company Eni, have held talks at Anapa, on the Black Sea coast, covering the European natural gas market and future LNG projects


    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced regulatory approval of two energy industry takeovers worth $20 billion, including the purchase by Petronas of Malaysia of Progress Energy Resources of Canada for $5.5 billion to advance an LNG project.


    There was no word on the mooted fourth train which Chevron said several months ago would enter front-end engineering and design stages by yearend. Speculation is that the cost increase of the first three trains has set the fourth train on the backburner for the time being.

    1. Strange stories emerging from Leighton on Barrow Island this morning.A bit like Pluto when they pushed the panic button over cost blowouts and tried to bring in "moteling" for the workers dongas.

      Leighton have issued some strict instructions to their workers in an effort to improve productivity.

      These include a ban on the use of chairs during working hours and a ban on sitting down while working.

      Workers are warned to pay extra attention to the early morning siren and they must only remove their hard hats during some bending over exercises.Hard hats must be worn at all other times.

      Also invesigations will be carried out on how long it takes for workers to get from one area of the site to another.