Sunday, December 30, 2012

China’s Corals Fall Victim to 'Wicked Environmental Problems' | Environment News Service

China’s Corals Fall Victim to 'Wicked Environmental Problems' | Environment News Service:
China’s coral reefs have declined by 80 percent in the past three decades, destroyed by the consequences of economic development, finds a new international scientific study.

The first comprehensive survey of the state of corals along mainland China and in the South China Sea gives a grim picture of decline, degradation and destruction resulting from coastal development, pollution and overfishing.

The study by Professor Terry Hughes and Matthew Young of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University in Townsville, and Dr. Hui Huang of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, is published in the current online issue of the journal “Conservation Biology.”


  1. "...coastal development, pollution and overfishing."

    Emirates describe WA as "Perth and WA are like the Klondike with many people from all over the world wanting a part of this fantastic opportunity,"
    They say Perth airport desperately needs upgrades to take A380's to speed things up.
    "Demand for the A380 on the Perth route has risen significantly since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave conditional approval to Emirates' alliance with Qantas from April next year.

    Emirates' A380 has 14 first-class suites, 76 business class beds plus a big bar and 427 economy seats.
    The airline will increase the number of flights to Perth from Dubai to three times a day from March, using various models of the 266-to-364-seat Boeing 777."

    Barnett:2013 a year of development.

    Premier Colin Barnett says Perth has grown as a city in 2012 and expects 2013 to be a major year of development as several large projects get under way.

    Strangely after his "get out of my way or deal with the riot squad" attitude - his version of "Road Rage" - he wants frustrated drivers held up by his developments to "....please try to have patience on the roads," he said.

    "As Perth evolves into a bigger city, I encourage all of us to continue to hold on to the qualities we still value such as courtesy and kindness, gentleness and consideration for each other."

    CONSIDERATION for each other?
    Perhaps he should lead by example.

    However opportunities in other places are going begging,and at a fraction of the cost of doing it in WA.

    Chevron's Canada foray may take priority over Australian LNG projects

    by: Matt Chambers
    From:The Australian
    December 31, 201212:00AM

    US energy giant Chevron, which is bankrolling more Australian LNG projects than any other company, has moved into the North American gas export sector, taking charge of a $US15 billion ($14.5bn) Canadian project that may take priority over the company's flagged Australian expansions.

    Chevron's $US1bn move to take a 50 per cent stake in and operate the yet to be approved Kitimat LNG project in British Columbia comes after BG Group last year took a stake in the Sabine Pass export project in Louisiana.

    China fuels up for future with record oil and gas spend

    by: Juliet Samuel
    From: The Times
    December 31, 201211:07AM

    CHINA is buying up oil and gas reserves across the world at an unprecedented pace.

    Figures for 2012 show the world's second-biggest economy unleashed its spending power on energy assets this year, spending a record $US35.7billion. The figure includes oil and gas prospects and assets further down the supply chain, such as refineries.

    Will our sky high costs save our environment?

    What happens in 2013 could have the answer.

    1. BG GROUP has borrowed $1.8 billion from the US Export-Import Bank to fund US services and equipment used in the Queensland Curtis Island LNG project.

      Australia's LNG projects have suffered cost inflation and BG in May said that the budget for QCLNG, expected to produce its first gas in 2014, had blown out to $US20 billion.

      BG agreed to a $US3 billion syndicated loan facility in November, lifting its undrawn committed bank borrowings to $US5.2 billion.

      BG shares in London finished the the year 29 per cent lower after a horror one-day fall at the end of October when the company warned there would be no growth in its oil and gas production this year.


      In August, US environment groups served a notice that the Export-Import Bank had financed, or was about to finance, projects of Origin Energy's rival Australia Pacific LNG and QCLNG without complying with environmental review requirements. APLNG was lent $US3 billion by the bank in May.

      The LNG facilities, near Gladstone, will be built on Curtis Island, which is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

      In December the groups filed a lawsuit in a Californian court against Export-Import Bank over its loan to APLNG, arguing the construction and operation of the plant would threaten the reef.

      A spokesman for BG said the US groups were campaigning against the use of fossil fuels and using the reef to generate publicity. QCLNG was being built in an industrialised port at the southern extremity of the reef and would have no impact on it, he said.

  2. Let the games begin.
    Lebanon joins Israel and Cyprus in Eastern Med dash for gas.

    Minister of Social Affairs Wael Bou Faour said the first round of companies interested in gaining drilling rights off the country's coast will begin February 1, with a list of qualified explorers released March 31. Lebanon will begin accepting bids on May 2.

    Lebanon's effort to increase offshore oil development will help it "catch up" to the neighboring countries of Israel and Cyprus in terms of developing fuel reserves.


    Noble,Woodsides partner offshore Israel,having problems with its Arctic drilling rig...again.

    Noble Corp. is working to fix deficiencies and maintenance issues raised by the US Coast Guard during a recent inspection of the Noble Discoverer drillship following a drilling season offshore Alaska.

    Shell used the Discoverer for drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska starting in September

    During November, the drillship briefly caught fire in Dutch Harbor port in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands

    Noble said USCG identified several components and systems needing attention, including the ship's propulsion and safety management systems


    Meanwhile,Shells other Arctic drill ship survives a close call.

    SEATTLE — After raging seas and fierce winds settled down Saturday afternoon, the Coast Guard finally evacuated the crew of a traveling Shell Alaska oil rig that had started drifting near Kodiak, Alaska.

    The Kulluk oil rig was headed south to Seattle on Thursday after its first drilling season in the U.S. Arctic. But a tow line between the rig and its 360-foot tug, the Aiviq, separated, leaving the Kulluk adrift. The tug was initially able to get a new tow line established but then lost power to all of its engines, leaving both vessels floating free as weather in the North Pacific worsened.

    Shell sent out two more vessels, and the Coast Guard responded by sending the 282-foot Cutter Alex Haley to offer assistance. The Haley got both vessels under tow early Friday, but then the cutter reported that its line had separated, too. It tangled in one of the ship's propellers, and the cutter was forced to return to port for repairs.

    The Coast Guard launched two more cutters, the Hickory and the Spar, and sent up an HC-130 to monitor the situation. Jayhawk choppers began ferrying supplies to the crippled tug.

    When Shell's other vessels arrived, they, too, attempted a tow but also experienced failures.

    "The weather on scene is testing the limits of our Coast Guard crews," Coast Guard Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo in Juneau


    Iran gears up - and damn the torpedoes!

    Baku-APA. Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said Sunday that his ministry will soon strike gas deals with different countries, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

    "We are finalizing (agreements for) gas exports to different countries," Qasemi was quoted as saying without further elaboration.

    Dismissing the negative impacts of the West's unilateral sanctions on Iran's energy sector, he said that "The world is big and we have our own buyers."

    Qasemi said Sunday that the country's natural gas production will increase by more than twofold over the next three years.

    "According to (our) planning, the country's gas production capacity will reach 1.4 billion cubic meters per day within the next three years," Qasemi was quoted as saying.

    Iran would be exporting its natural gas to more neighboring countries by 2015, said the Iranian minister.


    BEIJING -- China's second west-to-east gas pipeline, the world's longest line, became fully operational Sunday

    The 8,704-kilometer pipeline, including one trunk line and 8 regional lines, will carry natural gas from central Asia to as far afield as Shanghai in east China and Guangzhou and Hong Kong in south China.

    The 142.2 billion-yuan ($22.57 billion) pipeline will benefit about 500 million people

    The pipeline's annual natural gas transportation capacity is 30 billion cubic meters.


      An enormous Shell Oil offshore drilling rig ran aground on an island in the Gulf of Alaska on Monday night after it broke free from tow ships in rough seas, officials said.

      The rig, the Kulluk, which was used for test drilling in the Arctic last summer, is carrying about 139,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of lubricating oil and hydraulic fluid, the officials said.

      A Coast Guard helicopter flew over the rig after the grounding at 8:48 p.m. and “detected no visible sheen,” said Darci Sinclair, a spokeswoman for a unified command of officials from Shell, Alaskan state agencies and other groups that has been directing the response since the troubles with the rig began last Thursday.

      Ms. Sinclair said that more overflights were planned after daybreak on Tuesday, and that the unified command would be monitoring the fuel situation as it planned further actions. “The focus will be around salvage,” she said.

      The 266-foot diameter rig ran aground on the east coast of Sitkalidak Island, an uninhabited island that is separated by the Sitkalidak Strait from the far larger Kodiak Island to the west. The nearest town, Old Harbor, is across the strait on Kodiak Island; it has a population of about 200 people.

      Ms. Sinclair said the coast where the Kulluk ran aground has a combination of rocky and sandy terrain.

      Earlier Monday, a Shell spokesman had said that the rig had been brought under control after towlines were reconnected to two ships during a break in what had been several days of extremely rough seas and high winds.

      But late Monday afternoon the line from one of the ships, the Aiviq, became separated. Then several hours later, the other ship, the Alert, was ordered to disconnect its towline, out of concern for the safety of the ship’s nine-person crew. At the time, Ms. Sinclair said, swells were as high as 35 feet and winds were gusting up to 65 miles an hour.

      The Kulluk, one of two rigs that Shell used to drill test wells off the North Slope of Alaska as part of the company’s ambitious and expensive effort to open Arctic waters to oil production, was being towed by the Aiviq to a Seattle shipyard for off-season maintenance when the towline initially separated during a storm on Thursday.

    2. Runaway oil rig drags tugs through Alaskan storm

      Two vessels trying to control a runaway oil rig that ran aground in Alaska on New Year's Eve had to cut it loose to save themselves after being pulled more than 16 kilometres towards shore in "near hurricane" conditions.

      Details are still emerging from coast guard officials and Shell, the company at the centre of a highly-controversial and accident-prone Arctic drilling program of which the Kulluk rig was a part.

      The 28,000-tonne saucer-shaped drillship was tossed towards the shore on waves up to 11 metres high driven by winds up to 100 kph, pulling its main support vessel and a tug behind it.

      Darci Sinclair, an official of the Kulluk Tow Incident Unified Command set up by the US Coast Guard and the companies involved, described the conditions as "near hurricane strength".

      "Regaining control became extremely challenging," he said.

      The 30-year-old Kulluk is operated by Noble Corp and was refitted by Shell for its summer 2012 drilling expedition in the Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska.

      Shell has spent over $US4.5 billion on preparation for extraction activities there and in the Chukchi Sea further east, but has yet to complete a single well, and has suffered a number of embarrassing setbacks.

      The incident has raised questions about the wisdom of drilling so far north in such a remote, environmentally delicate and technically challenging place.

  3. Happy New Year Redhand and the Save The Kimberley and BCNGOTKC,and Shell to Sea,and LNG Watch PNG,and Still No More and all...Cheers

    There will be no gas plant at JPP in 2013.Not because of the environment or the cultural heritage or because JPP is a good place,but because it is not a good financial proposition.

    If the coast was solid granite and fell away into deep water and was so sheltered no breakwater would be required,then maybe.If there was plenty of fresh water,sand and stone,perhaps when the labour situation allowed for the recruitment of an "A Team".Who knows?

    But one thing,if they dared to gamble and seriously consider JPP,they would hear the clamour of revolt,and remembering the furious community and world wide opposition their last will would just wilt away.

    The fate of the planet is going to be decided at the same time as the fate of JPP.

    Burke is just another buffoon,Vogel a clown.There is no environmental protection only destruction.The E.D.A.

    People may as well forget those things and from now on mount such fierce campaigns as threaten their capital,the only thing on the planet they have any respect for.

    We need only look at Washington to see where we are headed.It has nothing to do with Freedom and Democracy.

    "Unless tomorrow brings a miraculous shift in current totalitarian government trends, revolution may be all we have left… "

    1. That should read "IDLE NO MORE."

      And I forgot all the best to East Timor in their dealings with the Darkside.

  4. BCNGC

    It's make or break for LNG as global pressures mount on Woodside and Shell
    BY:PAUL GARVEY From:The Australian January 01, 2013

    IN the coming months, Woodside Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman and the head of Royal Dutch Shell's Australian operations Ann Pickard will sit down in Perth to decide the fate of Browse liquefied natural gas project off northern Western Australia.

    The pair will be joined by representatives from the project's other joint venture partners -- who after a dramatic year of transactions now include PetroChina, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and BP -- with the assembled parties poised to vigorously debate the merits of what analysts predict would be a more than $40 billion investment.

    This was supposed to be the year when, more than four decades since a drill rig first penetrated the gas-rich reservoirs that make up the enormous 15 trillion cubic feet gas resource, the Browse project finally moved into development.

    The plans for a massive onshore LNG plant at James Price Point, north of Broome in WA's comparatively undeveloped Kimberley region, have attracted plenty of protests from environmentalists and have opened up divisions between local indigenous groups.

    But it is the rapidly changing dynamics in the LNG market, coupled with ever-rising cost inflation in the Australian resources industry, that are shaping as the biggest challenges not just to Browse but to all other LNG projects either under construction or planned for development in Australia.

    Today, Browse finds itself caught at the epicentre of a rapidly shifting global LNG market. As it stands, the unhealthy combination of soaring construction costs in Australia, the stubbornly strong Australian dollar, and a global LNG market battling to understand the full implications of the vast shale gas reserves being identified in North America could well conspire against the development of Browse.

    At present, most analysts see the development of Browse through a massive LNG plant at James Price Point as a long shot.

    If the various joint venture partners fail to agree to go ahead with the James Price Point plan, it could officially mark the point when new onshore LNG developments in Australia became uneconomic.

    A decision to not go ahead with the current plan could well bring to a premature end Australia's great LNG development boom of recent years.

    Over a dozen LNG projects have either entered or been earmarked for development in Australia in recent years, opening up the potential for Australia to leapfrog Qatar and become the world's biggest exporter of LNG.

    To date, only seven have received final investment decisions and there are growing expectations that there will be no more joining them in development.

    The looming decision on Browse is shaping up as a definitive moment in the rein of both Mr Coleman and Ms Pickard.

    When he was recruited from global oil and gas giant ExxonMobil in 2010, Mr Coleman was widely seen as a man who would exercise ruthless economic discipline when considering new projects.

    Under his predecessor Don Voelte, Woodside had rushed ahead with development of the Pluto LNG project in WA's northwest in the expectation the company would discover enough gas to support an expansion of the plant in the near term.

  5. cont....

    So far those discoveries simply haven't materialised on the scale desired, leaving Woodside sitting on an LNG project that -- from a cost per tonne of capacity basis -- ranks as one of the most expensive in the world.

    The decision on Browse will be Mr Coleman's first real opportunity to exercise the financial discipline that was instilled in him during his 27 years with the famously conservative Exxon.

    In contrast to the relentless pursuit of growth that was the hallmark of Mr Voelte's time at the helm of Woodside, Mr Coleman's attitude to Browse will hinge around the bottom line profitability of the project's economics. If the forecast internal rate of return isn't robust enough under a conservative set of assumptions, it's hard to see Mr Coleman doing anything other than send the Browse team back to the drawing board.

    For Ms Pickard, meanwhile, there is growing speculation that the upcoming meeting of the joint venture partners could represent the point at which Shell steps up its push for a whole new development approach at Browse.

    Shell shocked the market last August when it decided to buy out Chevron's 16.7 per cent stake in Browse for $US450 million in cash and Shell's interests in two other gas fields. Previously, Shell and Chevron had been thought to be aligned in not favouring the development of Browse through James Price Point.

    Since then, Shell and Ms Pickard have done little to dampen growing speculation that the company would use its increased stake to push for Browse to become the next testing ground for the company's revolutionary floating LNG technology. FLNG involves building the infrastructure normally associated with an onshore LNG facility on an enormous floating structure that is positioned directly above remote offshore gas fields.

    The technology had previously been earmarked for smaller stranded fields that wouldn't support a stand-alone traditional land-based LNG plant, and Shell is currently developing its first FLNG project at the Prelude field off northern WA.

    That project is being carried out on the watch of Ms Pickard, who most recently has spoken of Shell's desire to apply its FLNG technology to bigger fields in deeper water than Prelude -- a description that fits Browse.

    The apparent push for FLNG at Browse means Ms Pickard, who counts Mr Voelte as a close friend, could potentially have a real role to play in torpedoing a project that Mr Voelte had worked so hard to create.

    Shell's increasingly apparent desires to develop Browse through FLNG technology has angered WA Premier Colin Barnett, who says the state would lose out on jobs and investment if FLNG replaced viable land-based LNG developments.

    Shell's comments would have also raised the eyebrows of Mr Coleman, given the various joint venture partners in Browse had committed to fully exploring the James Price Point option when negotiating retention leases over the Browse fields with the federal government.

    For all the decades of debate and discussion that has surrounded Browse since its original discovery back in 1971, the fate of the project will be heavily influenced by factors over which the likes of Mr Coleman and Ms Pickard have no real control.

    Australia is already among the most expensive places on earth to build an LNG plant, as the numerous projects already under way here compete for skilled labour.

  6. cont...

    The acuteness of those pressures was reflected last month when Chevron announced the budget for its Gorgon LNG project in WA had blown out by $US15bn to $US52bn. Browse, which is of a similar scale to Gorgon, could be exposed to similar cost stresses.

    Accentuating the pressures for Woodside, Shell and the other partners will be the stubbornly high Australian dollar, which continues to affect the economics of the project in the eyes of an industry that tends to work in US dollars.

    Then there is an increasingly difficult to read global gas market.

    Asian demand for LNG has inspired the current wave of developments in Australia and remains strong. But the economic downturn in Europe has seen Qatar divert cargoes from Europe to Asia.

    At the same time, the stunning rise of shale gas and coal-seam gas in North America has seen the US suddenly swamped with abundant domestic energy, to the point where there are numerous proposals to export gas from the US and Canada into Asia.

    Those Qatari and North American cargoes shape as a direct threat to Australian LNG production. On top of that, a number of major gas discoveries off eastern Africa have opened the possibility of significant LNG exports coming out of that part of the world.

    Japan, which is still far and away the world's biggest buyer of LNG, could find its demand for the commodity easing if the recently elected government does as expected and gradually restarts the country's nuclear generation capacity.

    Looking longer term, China remains a major wildcard in the LNG demand outlook.

    LNG is the obvious solution to China's desire for large reliable supplies of cleaner burning energy.

    But the country has the geological potential to replicate the shale gas success of the US.

    Should China unlock that potential -- and the country's powerful state-owned oil and gas companies are working feverishly towards that goal -- then China's interest in Australian LNG supplies could swiftly abate.

    It all means that Mr Coleman and Ms Pickard -- as well as the other executives weighing up further investments in Australia's LNG industry -- have plenty to consider in the year ahead.

  7. A really good read.From BCNG.

    World heats up as debate dies

    ..........."Warming of 4-6C is truly unknown territory. We know, however, that crops needing cool conditions to grow, including the global staples of wheat, rye and barley, are especially vulnerable. Such warming would see Australia lose whole food-producing regions well before 2100.

    By 2100, we'd have had to adjust to increasingly intense droughts and flooding, and life in most of inland Australia would have become intolerable. Tasmanian temperatures would be similar to those in northern NSW, and mosquito-borne subtropical diseases would have spread south, at least as far as Victoria.

    Australia would be better off than most of Africa and southern Asia, where the suffering of billions would give rise to unprecedented climate-driven migration, such that the fuss over today's boat people arrivals would seem laughable."..........

    Woodsides gas hub,Barnetts Fridge.

    "Pitt & Sherry economist Phil Harrington, a Hobart-based specialist in climate mitigation and adaptation, discovered how serious when he looked into emissions from the proposed new "clean, green" liquefied natural gas hub at James Price Point, Western Australia.

    The WA Government says the gigantic plant will release somewhere between 12 and 39 million tonnes of greenhouse gas a year. Calculations of negative impacts by proponents and their supporters usually prove conservative in practice. The upper limit is probably close to the mark.

    Based on this supposition, Harrington did his own sums and came up with the number of rooftop solar systems needed to offset emissions from this single industrial undertaking.

    The answer is wait for it 20 million. As Harrington says, it's a pity there are only around eight million households in Australia."


    That would require a country the size of Italy or France or the UK to have enough households for 20 million rooftop solar systems.
    And as we found out the true level is closer to 42 million tonnes.