Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Woodside Propaganda Spin Vs The Truth

Browse Community Update (November 2012)

Phillip Roe, Law Man tellling Woodside and Dinosaur people to leave Country
I note that on October 17 and 18, Rich McCrea and Lisa Buckley, both from the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in British Columbia, attempted to undertake additional survey work on the dinosaur tracksites at James Price Point for Woodside.  Presumably this work was undertaken in respond to a request for more detailed information on the dinosaur tracks by Dr Roy Green following the appeals process to the EPA’s Report 1444.
Unfortunately, McCrea and his team attempted to do this the work without the consent of the Traditional Custodians, who, as a consequence, quickly stopped it once they realised what was happening.  As far as I have been able to ascertain, the survey comprised one session on the afternoon low tide of 17 October and a small portion of the morning low tide on 18 October. 

Woodside's attempting to locate Dinosaur Tracksites
In its November 2012 Community Update, Woodside has stated that as a result of the “completed” survey they were confident that the construction of their proposed development at the “southern end of the LNG precinct would not impact on the identified dinosaur trackways in the vicinity of James Price Point.”  Having spent a lot of time studying the exposures of Broome Sandstone in this area, and knowing what McCrea and Lockley got to see during their brief visit in September–October 2011 (McCrea et al. 2012), I would be very surprised if much in the way of detailed survey work (in addition to what they did in 2011) could have been carried out in such a short amount of time.  As yet though, other than this “community update” and similar statements in Woodside’s referral document, nothing has been released, so it is hard to know exactly what was “completed”.   I also note that no mention is made of dinoaur tracks in the northern end of the proposed LNG precinct. 

Adding to that…
McCrea leaving Country.
Given what we know about it, the  "completed" survey of the dinosaur tracks can hardly be considered the type of rigorous science required for a environmental/heritage impact assessment.  If Woodside thinks that flying some international scientists in for a few hours work on the reefs is sufficient, then they clearly have no understanding of extent and significance of what is there. For Woodside to now state that no additional studies or investigations of the dinosaur tracks at JPP are needed beyond what was presented in the Strategic Assessment Report that was presented to the EPA earlier this year, is hard to fathom.

It is our opinion that the report prepared for the Department of State Development by Rich McCrea, Prof. Martin Lockley, Dr Peter Haines and Dr Neale Draper (Appendix 6 of the EPA report 1444) does not adequately reflect the overall extent and scientific significance of dinosaur trace fossils in and around JPP.  We therefore strongly believe that any recommendations regarding the proposed LNG facility at JPP should not be made until a more rigorous scientific assessment has been completed.
The potential number of track types that were identified in the McCrea et al. (2012) report (4 types: theropod, sauropod, ornithopod and thyreophoran) grossly underestimates the diversity of the dinosaur track fauna in this area.  Our own research indicates that there are at least 16 different types of dinosaur tracks in the greater JPP area alone (multiple ones for each of the categories listed by McCrea et al. 2012), and more at other sites along the Dampier Peninsula coastline. 

These numbers are consistent with reports by Dr Tony Thulborn and colleagues (Thulborn et al. 1994; Thulborn 2012), and the Australian Heritage Council’s assessment of the West Kimberley National Heritage area (Commonwealth of Australia 2011).  Several of the track types that we have been able to identify are new, and a number occur only at JPP.  The full extent of track-bearing surfaces and individual tracksites in the proposed precinct area is also not fully addressed in the McCrea et al. (2012) report.  As such, the overall scientific significance of the dinosaur trace fossils in this area is likely to be far greater than has been assumed by McCrea et al., Woodside, DSD and the WA EPA.

While we have the upmost respect for Mr McCrea, Prof. Lockley, Dr Haines and Dr Draper as scientific colleagues, the fact is that they did not have sufficient time to conduct their survey work, nor did they have sufficient time to subsequently compile their report (as they themselves have stated in their report: McCrae et al. 2012, p. 9). Of the sites they visited in the proposed precinct area and pipeline crossings, McCrea and Lockley did not have sufficient time to see all the tracksites, and of the sites that they did visit, they did not have sufficient time to examine all the tracks thoroughly.  This was partly because of the shear abundance of tracks in some areas, the complexity of some of the tracksites, and because they were clearly under pressure to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  I can say this because I accompanied them to JPP and took them to as many of the tracksites there as was feasible in the time that we had available for their survey.  As a combined consequence of these issues, the end result is that the report they produced does not adequately address the high scientific significance of the dinosaur tracksites in this area. 

Dr Steve Salisbury
Vertebrate Palaeontology & Biomechanics Lab
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, Qld 4072, AUSTRALIA


  1. A few headlines from the crazy energy world.

    China and Russia have achieved new progress in natural gas cooperation this year, a Chinese official said here Wednesday.

    Liu Tienan, director of the National Energy Administration, said China and Russia have agreed that consideration should be given to the construction of both the planned east and west natural gas pipelines between the two countries.

    China and Russia have also agreed to diversify the methods in their natural gas cooperation, Liu, who attended the 9th China-Russia energy negotiators' meeting, told Chinese reporters.

    The start of the gas pipelines' construction should be decided by the Chinese market's consumption needs, he said, adding that both sides' interests should be guaranteed.

    "In addition to natural gas, China-Russia energy cooperation also includes such aspects as crude oil, nuclear power, electricity, coal, energy efficiency and new energy," Liu said.

    Boosted by the two countries' heads of state and energy negotiation mechanism, China and Russia have deepened their energy cooperation and continued to yield fruitful results, said the Chinese official.

    According to Liu, following the energy negotiators' meeting, China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on energy market assessment, a roadmap on cooperation in the coal sector, the minutes of the meeting on coal cooperation, and an agreement on electricity supply.


    LONDON — The Italian oil company Eni said Wednesday that it had made new natural gas discoveries in the waters off Mozambique, a find that would help consolidate Eni’s position as one of the leaders in the East Africa region.

    Four of the five largest oil and gas discoveries in the world this year have been made off Mozambique, including three earlier finds by Eni, according to the consultants Wood Mackenzie in Edinburgh. These discoveries have the potential to put Mozambique, which previously had little oil and gas production, in the gas-exporting big leagues with countries like Qatar and Australia.

    Although Eni is ranked about eighth among Western oil companies in terms of output, with about 1.7 million barrels a day — about half the size of BP or Royal Dutch Shell — the company is a big natural gas player in Europe. And Eni is emerging as a leader in Mozambique exploration.

    The newest finds, from the sixth and seventh wells that Eni has drilled there, add an additional six trillion cubic feet of gas to what the Italian company has already found. That is a large amount of gas but relatively incremental. It raises the total to 68 trillion cubic feet that Eni now says it has found in its Mozambique exploration concession, called Area 4, where Eni has a 70 percent shareholding.


    Dec 5 (LNGJ) - Tokyo Gas, the second-largest Japanese LNG importer, paid an average price of $828 per tonne for its LNG cargoes on a customs-cleared basis in the three months to the end of October compared with $873 per tonne in the previous three-month period. Togas said the price fall would enable it to reduce charges to domestic customers in January 2013 by 2.72 yen per cubic metre relative to meter readings in December 2012.


    Malaysian energy company Petronas said it was moving into pre-front end engineering and design in its Prince Rupert LNG project in Canada, and has boosted the scale and spending on the venture to over $10Bln, with two large Trains producing 12 million tonnes per annum.


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