Thursday, December 20, 2012

Greens MP Chapple calls on EPA Chief to resign | Robin Chapple MLC

Greens MP Chapple calls on EPA Chief to resign 

 “Mr Vogel, Chairman of the EPA, needs to be reminded that his primary task is to protect the environment, not promote mining and other destructive industries, particularly when it comes to something as toxic and untested in WA as uranium mining,” Mr Chapple said.

“If Mr Vogel is so keen on promoting industry maybe he is in the wrong job.”

Mr Chapple is also calling on the Environment Minister Bill Marmion to act and stand Mr Vogel aside, pending a full review of his publically expressed views and actions since his appointment, to see whether he is fit for the job of Chairman of the EPA.


  1. Conoco heads for arbitration

    ConocoPhillips has reportedly head for international arbitration over its tax dispute with East Timor.

    Crucially, the new attempt at arbitration comes just before a key milestone in the possible development of the Sunrise field.

    Project partners and the government need to agree on a concept development for the field by February 23, or risk letting the treaty covering the field lapse.


    Obama signals preference for exports

    While the Obama administration has yet to adopt a formal position on the increased export of LNG from its shores, the president has signalled that it is leaning that way during an interview for Time magazine.

    “The United States is going to be a net exporter of energy because of new technologies and what we’re doing with natural gas and oil,” he said.

    Obama also attacked tax breaks the oil industry was receiving, a point he reiterated in the Time interview.


  2. Australia reaps benefits of Asian mining bonanza – but not everyone's a winner

    In the tropical Queensland city of Gladstone, seven hours' drive north of Brisbane, a retired painter, Allan Giles, is completing the sale of another of his investment properties. He is on the right side of the equation. His modest three-bedroom brick-veneer house with a huge garden and picket fence is three blocks from the sea. Eight years ago he paid A$145,000 (£94,000) for the house. It has just sold for A$375,000.

    It's not uncommon for a really ordinary, older, three-bedroom house to bring in A$600 a week in rent."

    The property boom in Gladstone, as in many parts of Queensland, is tied to the state's natural resources. Prices are in large part being driven up by A$60bn investments in the construction of three liquid natural gas (LNG) processing plants

    In the Bowen basin in central Queensland, home to Australia's largest coal reserves, at least two smalls towns dependent on mining have seen property values increase by as much as 4,000%. According to Terry Ryder, chief executive of Hotspotting, which advises investors on emerging markets, 10 years ago you could have bought the typical house in a town such as Moranbah (in the Bowen basin) for A$50,000. Now the average house price is more like A$750,000.

    Whatever the long-term security, in the short term, as well as many winners from the resources revolution, there have also been losers. Workers in the mining industry earning as much as A$125,000 a year to drive a lorry can afford to live in areas with a booming property market, but others struggle to keep up with rising prices. Shops, hospitals and schools in many areas have struggled to find staff. The growing fly-in, fly-out workforce, meanwhile, has put extra pressure on local services.

    The wealth generated by natural resources has also helped to keep the Australian dollar high, doubling in value against sterling and the US dollar in a decade. This has hurt exporting manufacturers and tourism. Australian interest rates have also stayed higher than in most western economies, with the base rate currently at 3.25% compared with Britain's historic low rate of 0.5%. The average mortgage holder is paying more than 6% interest. This has affected the cost of living of all Australians paying mortgages, not just in the resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia.

    Back in Gladstone, Chris Allen, of Gladstone Designer Homes, says he will build about 40 properties this year, mostly to be sold offplan. More than a third of his customers are investors from around the country, some from as far as the gas hubs in Western Australia who have seen the impact the industry has had on their local property markets.

    "With what's happened in Gladstone with the gas and what's predicted to happen in the future, no one is expecting things to drop any time soon," he said.

  3. Balance tips in favour of buyers

    It is cheaper by tens of thousands of dollars a year to buy homes and units in a host of suburbs and towns across the Pilbara rather than paying rent.

    Research by RP Data shows that in Port Hedland, a person buying a home would be almost $4000 a month better off than someone paying the median rent.

    Port Hedland and surrounding suburbs and towns, according to RP Data, have the biggest differences between rents and mortgage payments in the country.

    “For many buyers now is a good time to either re-enter the market or buy their first home.”

    While the difference between renting and buying is almost $4000 a month in Port Hedland is not much cheaper in South Hedland, where the difference is $3441.

    Units in Port Hedland are $2766 a month cheaper to buy than rent, while in Pegs Creek homebuyers are $2501 a month better off than those renting.

    Around Dampier the difference is almost $1400 a month, while in Derby the difference is $892 a month.

  4. East Africa in the fast lane.

    Anadarko, Eni agreement advances Anadarko's Mozambique LNG project

    Anadarko Petroleum Corp. signed a heads of agreement (HOA) with Eni SPA aimed at coordinating the two companies’ activities in connection with the Mozambique liquefied natural gas project.

    The HOA establishes principles for the coordinated development of the common natural gas reservoirs spanning Mozambique's Offshore Area 1 (operated by Anadarko) and Offshore Area 4 (operated by Eni), the Houston independent producer said.

    The project design allows the two operators to conduct separate, yet coordinated, offshore development while jointly constructing onshore liquefaction facilities in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, Anadarko indicated.

    "We expect the HOA to lead to a unitization agreement to further facilitate the efficient development of the common resources, as well as the independent reservoirs on both blocks, enabling enhanced economies of scale through shared infrastructure and facilities,” Anadarko Chief Executive Al Walker said.

    The two producers and Mozambique’s government expect the project’s first LNG cargoes will ship in 2018, he added.

    Multiple front-end engineering and design contracts for the project also have been signed, Anadarko said.


    Another "green light" for US LNG exports.

    Increased natural gas exports would broadly benefit the US economy, a Dec. 3 report commissioned by the US Department of Energy concluded. "Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased," the report by Washington, DC-based NERA Economic Consulting said.


    Thinking of taking a holiday?This could be for you.

    From "The West Australian" Travel section :

    Forget Pilbara iron ore and Argyle diamonds, for me the heart of WA mining is still in Kalgoorlie.

    Kal's Super Pit

    And so it is that I find myself at a lookout staring back into the depths of the Super Pit. But this time I'm on site and directly above the chasm, as close to the edge as is safe to be and there's a whole lot more hole than 15 years ago.

    An incredible 220,000 tonnes of rock is shattered and then lifted out of the pit each day and ore and rubble alike are transported to the surface by 31 CAT 793 haul trucks.

    A flat-as-a-pancake ute pinned to a sign at the entry to the minesite is a warning of what can happen if you get in the way

    I'm transfixed by the procession that moves slowly along the terraced pit road; it's a 15-minute crawl down but fully laden with as much as 225 tonne of rock, the climb takes up to 25 minutes.

    The drivers work shifts of 12 hours and will average 14-16 trips. While most carry rock to the surface, one in every six transports the equivalent of a golf ball in gold. It may not seem much, but an average of $4 million worth is extracted each day. And these high-maintenance trucks soak up a fair bit of that.

    Worth up to $14 million, each uses $8 million worth of fuel each year, needs $3 million worth of tyres and costs $2.5 million to service.

    But it is on the edge of the pit that my mind truly boggles as I stare more than a kilometre across the chasm and trace the ore trucks starting their long, winding trundle down into the abyss, passing rusty iron oxide rocks, then rolling down through the gloomy, grey dolomite.

    Deeper again, the pit narrows and tightens, coiled like a low pressure cell on a weather map until the 5m-high dump trucks are as small as ants, the chorus of their engine noise drifting as a low rumble 360m back up the pit to where I stand

    Kalgoorlie Tours and Charters 2 1/2 -hour Super Pit Tour operates from Monday- Saturday at 9.30am and 1.30pm. It costs $70 for adults, $65 for seniors and $45 for children. Participants must wear a long sleeved shirt, trousers and enclosed shoes

  5. Nexus is run by ex Woodside exec Della Martina,and Don Voelte recently joined the board.

    Shell plans to develope Crux as part of the Prelude FLNG plan.

    Nexus Energy (ASX: NXS) has exercised a put option to sell a 2% stake in the Crux AC/L9 development project in the Browse Basin to Shell (LON: RDSA) for $75 million.

    Proceeds from the sale will be used to retire $30 million of its Longtom facility debt while another $32.9 million will be used for the notes repayment due on 15 January 2013.

    Following the sale, Nexus will retain a 15% interest in the project.

    Further funding options for Nexus include restructuring existing debt facilities, operating cash flows from the Longtom gas project and a further sell down of its interest in Crux.


    Dec 19 (LNGJ) - ExxonMobil Corp. said it would soon begin exploration activities offshore South Africa. The US major, a significant stakeholder in the world's largest LNG production complex in Qatar and a main LNG player in Australia, signed an agreement with Impact Africa Ltd. to acquire a 75 percent interest in the Tugela South area offshore Durban, covering about 2.8 million acres in the Indian Ocean east coast of South Africa


    Dec 22 (LNGJ) - Pangea LNG filed an application with the US Department of Energy for multi-contract authorization to export cargoes from its proposed facility in South Texas to any country with which the US does not have a Free Trade Agreement, such as China and Japan. "This is another major step in the process of developing a new LNG export terminal on a 550-acre site fronting the north shore of Corpus Christi Bay," said Pangea, which is seeking authority to export up to 8 million tonnes per annum of LNG.


    Dec 22 (LNGJ) - Statoil said its Lavani-2 exploration and appraisal well has resulted in a new natural gas discovery offshore Tanzania, which has LNG production ambitions. Statoil and partner ExxonMobil will post updated total volumes in Block 2 in 2013. The Lavani-2 discovery is the third Tanzania discovery. Nick Maden, senior vice president in Exploration International in Statoil, said: "These three discoveries continue to support our confidence in the Block 2 potential in Tanzania. The Lavani-2 well tested the deeper Saffron target and this new discovery looks promising."

    "The Lavani-2 is the third well in an ambitious drilling campaign of four wells within one year. The next well will be the appraisal of the Zafarani discovery. In parallel the venture is acquiring new 3D seismic to help us identify additional targets in Block 2," adds Maden.

    "We are pleased to hear about additional gas resources in Block 2 and eagerly awaiting for further information," says the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Hon. Prof. Sospeter Muhongo.

    The Lavani-2 well was drilled to a total depth of 5270 metres in water depths of 2580 metres. The well was drilled by Ocean Rig Poseidon. The Lavani-2 well is located about 5 kilometres southeast of the Lavani-1 discovery well and 20 kilometres south of the Zafarani-1 well.

    Statoil operates the licence on Block 2 on behalf of Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) and has a 65% working interest, with ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Tanzania Limited holding the remaining 35%. Statoil has been in Tanzania since 2007, when it was awarded the licence for Block 2.

  6. And this one deserves a space all of its own.
    Barnett may be flat out swindling and corrupting,(people are now scratching their heads wondering,"what was Brian Burke locked up for?"),but the world keeps on turning :

    Anadarko and Eni unite Mozambique LNG project plans with huge 50 MTPA venture

    Saturday, 22 December 2012

    Anadarko Petroleum and Italian energy company ENI signed an agreement that should lead to the common development of a Mozambique LNG project producing 50 million tonnes per annum of LNG, and announced front-end engineering and design competitions for the offshore and onshore portions of the massive venture.


    The world is watching Browse at JPP and people are scratching their heads wondering,"How the hell are they going to sell all that gas at a high enough price to get any return?"

  7. There is huge pressure to just dig everything up and sell it without much thought to anything else.

    Sometimes just the headlines are enough.


    Fortescue rail and port sale could cut debt burden by half


    Andrew Forrest tells government to fast-track reform to tap Asian boom


    Bloated management, poor communication blamed for lower mining productivity


    Emerson tells China 'green tape' will be cut


    Uranium opportunity 'at risk', says secret report


    Second Tarkine mine approved in a week


    China expects rising demand for imported coal


  8. Some more on a couple of those stories.

    AUSTRALIA'S resource companies have themselves to blame for the productivity problems that have blighted projects around the country in recent years, with adversarial contractor relationships and bloated layers of middle management contributing to budget blowouts and delays.

    Research from the Centre for Innovative Practice at Western Australia's Edith Cowan University has found that poor communication and cumbersome reporting structures at major Australian projects mean it could take weeks for vital issues to reach senior levels of management, adding unnecessary costs and delays.


    AUSTRALIA has promised China it will iron out problems with excessive "green tape" and environmental approvals to encourage and fast-track greater Chinese investment in Australian agriculture.

    Prospective Chinese investors have also been told not to expect to bring cheap foreign labour in to staff any new farm developments before first considering suitably skilled Australian workers


    THE Tasmanian government has granted another mining lease for the Tarkine, just days after approving an open-cut operation in the environmental hot spot.

    West Australian mining company Venture Minerals has been given a lease for its Riley Creek iron-ore mine near Tullah in Tasmania's northwest.

    It's the second of three Venture proposals for the area to be approved by the state government.

    The projects still require approval from federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

    Mr Burke this week gave the go-ahead for Indian company Shree Minerals' new open-cut mine in the Tarkine region.

    Tasmanian Deputy Premier Bryan Green says the Riley Creek operation will create 60 jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

    Mr Green said Venture's third proposal, the Mt Lindsay tin and tungsten mine, would be worth $200 million and create 1000 jobs.

    "The heavily mineralised areas of the northwest and west coasts continue to present significant job and economic opportunities for the state," he said in a statement.

    The Tarkine, home to the largest tract of temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere and the last haven of disease-free Tasmanian devils, is being assessed for its heritage value.

    At the same time, about 10 mines are planned for the area in the next five years.

    Tarkine National Coalition spokesperson Scott Jordan said Venture's lease was illegal and should only have been granted if environmental impact assessments had been finalised.

    Mr Jordan said the Riley Creek assessment was still underway.

    "This lease is illegal and invalid," he said.

    Tasmanian Minerals Council chief executive Terry Long said the mine proposal came with a 700-page environmental report which had been submitted to Tasmania's Environment Protection Authority.

  9. The stench of corruption gets worse.

    Opposition may refer Hames' dealings to CCC

    The State Opposition says it will decide this week whether to refer dealings between the Health Minister Kim Hames and the troubled Peel Health Campus to the state's corruption watchdog.

    Dr Hames has admitted seeking a donation from the Peel Health Campus for the Mandurah sailing club, where he used to be a member.

    He is being backed by the Premier Colin Barnett, who insists he has done nothing wrong.

    But Labor's health spokesman Roger Cook says it is a clear conflict of interest.

    "The minister for health was seeking a donation to his private yacht club while at the same time he was in serious consideration on a very important and large commercial contract for the private operator of the Peel Health Campus," he said.

    "The hospital is already being investigated over claims it made tens of thousands of dollars through a scheme that awarded doctors cash bonuses for admitting patients.

    "That seems to me to be a point-blank prima-facie case of a conflict of interest and it seems to me that there are very real issues now, of potential corruption that must be fully investigated by the CCC," (Corruption and Crime Commission).

    The hospital has been at the centre of corruption claims for allegedly paying cash bonuses to doctors for admitting patients.

  10. 2013 tipped to be even hotter.

    Global temperatures are forecast to be 0.57C above the long-term average next year, making 2013 one of the warmest years on record, the Met Office said on Thursday.

    "It is very likely that 2013 will be one of the warmest 10 years in the record which goes back to 1850, and it is likely to be warmer than 2012," it said in its annual forecast for the coming year.

    Next year was expected to be between 0.43 and 0.71C warmer than the long-term global average of 14 degrees (1961-1990), with a best estimate of around 0.57C, it said.


    The West Australian Department of Fisheries says it will conduct further research on a marine heatwave that has been linked to a recent spate of fatal shark attacks in Western Australia.

    Scientists say the unprecedented heatwave occurred off the WA coast between 2010 and 2011, and could be responsible for declining fish stocks and increased shark activity.

    Ocean temperatures rose up to five degrees last summer, and the Department says that has led to pockets of cooler water developing near the coastline.


    A study of temperature records over more than half a century shows the west Antarctic ice sheet is warming nearly twice as quickly as previously thought.

    A re-analysis of temperature records from 1958 to 2010 revealed an increase of 2.4 degrees Celsius over the period, three times the average global rise.

    The increase means west Antarctica is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, according to paper co-author David Bromwich of the Byrd Polar Research Centre.

    "Our record suggests that continued summer warming in west Antarctica could upset the surface balance of the ice sheet, so that the region could make an even bigger contribution to sea-level rise than it already does," he said.

    The west Antarctic sheet is a huge mass of ice up to four kilometres thick that covers the land surface and stretches into the sea.

    Scientists believe its shrinking is responsible for about 10 per cent of the global warming-related sea-level rise, which if unchecked threatens to flood many coastal cities within a few generations.

  11. More cause for concern over JPP.

    "There has been very little research on dolphins species in the area prior to this study. Mr Allen says those that have been conducted have been mainly by the proponents of the developments and their consultants."

    DOLPHINS in north western Australia are at risk from rapid coastal development says a new study.

    The Australian Snubfin dolphin (Orcella heinsohni), Indo Pacific Humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) and Indo Pacific Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) inhabit nearshore areas that are undergoing rapid and extensive coastal development. The effects of such development on their populations is unclear.

    Lead author, Simon Allen from Murdoch University says “there is a lack of baseline data on these dolphins, to base assessments of their vulnerability to impact from human activity.”

    The study, the first published account of dolphin species in north western Australia, surveyed seven sites using photo-identification, biopsies and sightings data.

    Results show that Humpback and Bottlenose dolphins occur adjacent to all urban centres, and that the range of the Snubfin dolphin extends considerably further south than previously reported.

    The study further identifies contradictions in the James Price Point Environmental Impact Assessment process caused by lack of data on these species and their current conservation listings.

    “Current listings require updating to better reflect national and international status,” says Mr Allen.

    Internationally, Snubfin and Humpback dolphins are listed as “Near threatened” while the Bottlenose dolphin is listed as “Data Deficient”, although classifications recognise the paucity of data available for all species.

    The Australian Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 lists them as “Non Threatened Migratory Species”.

    WA's Department of Environment and Conservation does not list any inshore dolphin species as threatened or in need of special protection.

    This may change says Dr Kelly Waples of DEC, “Commonwealth has funded work to develop a Coordinated Research Strategy to fill information gaps and allow for an assessment of these species’ conservation status”.

    There has been very little research on dolphins species in the area prior to this study. Mr Allen says those that have been conducted have been mainly by the proponents of the developments and their consultants.

    Data is not generally made available to scientists or management agencies and is not subject to peer review, says Mr Allen.

    “There is a conflict of interest in an environmental consultancy accepting funding from the proponents and not having any checks and balances in terms of scientific rigour of their assessments of impacts.”

    Coastal developments can cause changes and destruction to vital dolphin habitat says Mr Allen.

    “While developments have the potential to influence dolphin populations, without baseline data it is impossible to determine if impacts are manageable.”

    The Australian Snubfin dolphin is endemic to northern Australia and there is very little information on the species, while recent evidence suggests that the Humpback dolphin is a separate species from those found in south-east Asia.

    The study ‘Tropical inshore dolphins of north-western Australia: Unknown populations in a rapidly changing region' was published in Pacific Conservation Biology.

  12. Shaping up to be a very big year next year with so many dangers and threats lurking everywhere.
    So many important decisions due.
    Results from the 2 court cases?
    An election for WA in March.
    A Federal election by November 30th.
    Burke on JPP - before March?(Calls for better science?)
    Woodside and JV partners after the WA election,and by mid year.(Shell can't afford the JPP option and opts out to proceed with other commitments?)

    Whatever,2013 - 13 unlucky for some,lucky for others.

    So here's wishing Redhand and the "JPP Brigade" a Very Merry Xmas and a No Gas JPP New Year - NO GAS ON THE KIMBERLEY COAST!!! Cheers and be safe.