Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Barnett ties James Price Point gas hub to fracking in the Kimberley

WA Premier Colin Barnett has for the first time drawn a strong link between his proposed gas hub at James Price Point and the potentially vast onshore shale gas deposits in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin.

Global Shale Gas Reserves
As commentators and industry analysts increasingly raise doubts about the economic viability of the Premier’s gas hub - and talk instead of floating LNG as the most profitable way for Woodside and Shell to exploit gas from the offshore Browse Basin – 

Barnett has responded by saying that,
“WA’s vast quantities of shale gas could be put through James Price Point…The [onshore] shale gas resource in the Canning Basin is probably twice the size of the offshore Carnarvon and Browse Basins…that’s another strong argument why the WA government wishes to see James Price Point developed.” (Premier Colin Barnett, “Politics of Gas”, Sunday Times newspaper, January 13, 2013)

The only way the trillions of cubic feet of methane believed to be ‘locked up’ in the Canning Basin could be exploited is by a massive gas fracking operation involving fracking wells, pipes, ponds, roads etc spread over thousands of square kilometres. This project if it were to proceed would have serious implications for the iconic Fitzroy River, important wetlands, and groundwater resources that are relied upon by Aboriginal communities and pastoralists.

Conservationists have long argued that the proposed LNG complex at James Price Point is the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and that if developed it would lead to the industrialisation of other areas across the Kimberley.  This new clarification from Colin Barnett demonstrates that those concerns were well founded and that exploiting gas from the Browse offshore field is just one small part of the reason why Barnett wants to establish a massive gas processing facility at James Price Point.
This why he, and it, must be stopped!


  1. Woodside Petroleum lifted production and revenue by about 30 per cent in 2012 to new records, due to its massive Pluto liquefied natural gas operations in Western Australia.

    Woodside's revenue in the 12 months to December 31 was $6.2 billion, up 30 per cent from $4.8 billion in 2011.

    Production in 2012 was 84.9 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), up 31 per cent from 64.6 mmboe in 2011 and within its previously-issued guidance

    In the three months to December 31, Woodside's production was 24.3 mmboe, up 46 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

    But it was down from the three months to September 30, because of scheduled maintenance and seasonal factors, Woodside said.
    Mr Coleman said the strength of the Pluto project had enabled Woodside to pursue growth opportunities, such as recently-announced exploration agreements in Israel and Myanmar.


    Warnings that the world is headed for ‘‘peak oil’’ - when oil supplies decline after reaching the highest rates of extraction - appear ‘‘increasingly groundless’’, BP’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

    Bob Dudley’s remarks came as the company published a study predicting oil production will increase substantially, and that unconventional and high-carbon oil will make up all of the increase in global oil supply to the end of this decade, with the explosive growth of shale oil in the US behind much of the growth.

    As a result, the oil and gas company forecasts that carbon dioxide emissions will rise by more than a quarter by 2030 - a disaster, according to scientists, because if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change then studies suggest emissions must peak in the next three years or so.

    So-called unconventional oil - shale oil, tar sands and biofuels - are the most controversial forms of the fuel, because they are much more carbon-intensive than conventional oilfields. They require large amounts of energy and water, and have been associated with serious environmental damage.


    BP predicts that by 2030, the US will be self-sufficient in energy, with only 1 per cent coming from imports. That would be a remarkable turnaround for a country that as recently as 2005, before the shale gas boom, was one of the biggest global oil importers.


  2. Santos's production costs blew out by up to $50 million in 2012, highlighting the risks to its massive Queensland Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

    But the cost hike was offset by an 18 per cent, or $500 million, rise in sales revenue to a record $3.2 billion, Australia's second-largest pure oil and gas company revealed in its fourth quarter production report on Thursday.

    Production costs were expected to be about $660 million, above previous guidance of $610 million to $640 million.

    That was primarily due to higher costs at non-operated projects, it said, which include the ConocoPhillips-operated Darwin LNG and Apache's Devil Creek in WA.

    The company's main LNG development project is the $18.5 billion Santos-operated Gladstone LNG project on the Qld central coast, which is part of a suite of coal seam gas-to-LNG projects in the region.

    Its cost blew out by $2 billion last year, is only 45 per cent complete and due to come online in 2015.

    State One Stockbroking energy analyst Peter Kopetz predicted the partners involved in the Queensland LNG projects - all of which have suffered multi-billion-dollar cost blow-outs - will consider combining operations to rein in soaring expenses.

    The shale gas boom in the US has made it a potential export competitor to Australian gas, increasing pressure on costs affected by labour and a strong currency.

    "It wouldn't surprise me if maybe one or two marry up together due to the fact that having a concentration of four-to-five projects in one area (Gladstone) is pretty difficult," Mr Kopetz told AAP.


    Mining company Rio Tinto has announced the sudden departure of its chief executive Tom Albanese.

    The company says Mr Albanese is stepping down after Rio made a $13.3 billion writedown on its coal division in Mozambique and a writedown of $10.5 billion on its aluminium assets.

    Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis has described the results as unacceptable.

    Mr du Plessis says the head of Rio's iron ore division, Sam Walsh, will step into the role.

    "He is ideally placed to cast a fresh eye over how we address the challenges and opportunities in the business and derive greater value from it," he said.

    Doug Ritchie, who led the acquisition and integration of the Mozambique coal assets, has also stepped aside

  3. More than a year after being suspended, two police officers, accused of screening photographic evidence at a party, have been asked to show evidence why they should not be fired.

    The two, who were engaged to be married and stationed in Broome, allegedly copied photographs of crime scenes from police computers and screened them at a police Christmas party in 2011.

    Since then, they have been stood aside on full pay while police internal affairs investigated.

    WA Police have confirmed the pair were asked to show cause why they should not be dismissed.

    They have written back arguing they should be allowed to keep their jobs.

    It is now up to the Police Commissioner to decide their futures.