Saturday, February 16, 2013

Environmental 'failings' spark Gladstone port probe as dolphins depart | The Australian

Environmental 'failings' spark Gladstone port probe as dolphins depart | The Australian:
AUSTRALIA'S most environmentally controversial project, the $33 billion expansion of Gladstone port in Queensland, is under investigation after being accused of breaching strict federal government audit conditions on harbour dredging and dumping of spoils in a World Heritage area. 

Many questions remain about whether the Gladstone Port expansion has met its environmental obligations. Sick fish, dead dolphins and dugongs and five-legged frogs are signs that something has gone wrong.

160213 Gladstone Harbour LNG development
Four giant liquefied natural gas processing facilities are being built on Curtis Island in Gladstone Harbour. 
Picture: Vanessa Hunter Source: The Australian
There are conflicting scientific reports about what has happened. A government funded report blamed record floods in 2011 that put tonnes of injured barramundi into the environment. But an investigation by veterinarian Matt Landos said: "The distribution of disease in Gladstone Harbour is consistent with the distribution of re-suspended sediments from dredging and disposal."

He said the alternative view that flooding had caused the fish disease was "scientifically unsupportable".


  1. Keep up the fine work

    You might want to look at this case/issue for inspiration too

    For the OCEANS

  2. So what goes for Gladstone goes double for Walmadany.Tides at JPP are nearly double that of Gladstone.The dredging report still misses some very important points re further expansions,Barnett's dream.The poisons and toxins locked naturally under the seafloor at JPP will all be released into the environment by the dredging,with similar disasterous consequences to the Gladstone story,but will effect a lot more creatures.

    And of course during the course of day to day operations the silt will be stirred up by the tugs and comings and goings of the many huge LNG carriers,and if Barnett has his way many other ships.An ongoing plume on top of the ones from being on an exposed cyclone coast with huge tidal movements.

    "The port expansion has become a lightning rod for concerns over the environmental impact of opening up the Queensland coast to major resource development.

    The federal and state governments are working jointly on a strategic assessment of how future development will have an impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Fishermen in Bowen fear the Gladstone expansion would be a template for what would happen with the planned expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal.

    Expansion of Abbot Point would require dredging of more than three million tonnes of mud that will be dumped within 7km of Holbourne Island National Park on the Great Barrier Reef. Public submissions on the plan closed yesterday and Mr Burke is due to decide next month whether to allow the sea dumping to go ahead.

    Local fishermen and environment groups want the dredge spoils dumped on land."

    And were it ever to go ahead,the lunatic proposal for Point Torment would be something to see,with miles of mud flats and mangroves,12 metre tides,and channels and turning basins,(made larger for the safety factor of huge tides vs bulk carriers),dredged to something like 20 metres below the low tide mark.
    What a mess that would be.

  3. A very reassuring story of "pass the bolt".

    Drilling rigs risk blowout danger despite US action

    OME 10 oil and gas drilling rigs are continuing to operate in Australian waters despite being fitted with potentially faulty equipment that prompted the immediate shut-down of several rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

    In a case that highlights the different approaches taken to oil and gas regulation by Australian and US-based regulators in the wake of recent environmental disasters, drill rigs in Australia fitted with a bolt linked to three blowout preventer failures in the US are allowed to continue operating until an opportunity arises to replace the faulty equipment.

    In contrast, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement recently ordered companies working in the Gulf of Mexico to suspend operations if their rigs were found to be using the faulty bolt, with those companies using the equipment required to stop work and inspect and replace any affected bolts.


    The failure relates to a piece of equipment built by industrial conglomerate GE called the H4 connector, with the BSEE stating that incorrect electroplating had led to corrosion and cracking of the connector. Authorities in the US have taken on greater intervention powers since the Macondo explosion and oil disaster of 2010, with regulators taking on a more prescriptive approach to managing safety issues.

    Australian authorities, however, operate under an objectives-based model that holds industry responsible for managing the risks around their activities.

    A spokesperson for Australian's National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, which is the head regulator of oil and gas operators working in commonwealth waters, said the group had been in direct communication with affected rig operators and senior executives of GE.

    "Under the commonwealth offshore regulatory regime, the offshore industry is responsible for managing risks to safety and the environment to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable," the NOPSEMA spokesperson said.


    Drilling contractors and regulators in Australia were alerted to the issue of the faulty bolts late last month.

    A spokesperson for industry representative body the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said Australian drilling contractors were working with GE to determine whether H4 connectors in Australia had been affected.

    A spokesman for GE said drilling operators should identify, inspect and replace bolts that might be affected. "However, no other similar incident of connector failure while drilling has been reported since our safety alert was issued," the spokesman said. "Drillers and operators are in the best position to make the appropriate operational decisions."


    How slack is that?
    Let someone else learn the lessons,not our problem.

  4. Ferguson and Argus dreamt it up,to ensure no tax was ever paid,but Swann must get the chop.

    What a farce!

    WAYNE Swan and his economic credentials are the new point of destabilisation for the Gillard government, cause for deeper despondency among Labor MPs and the subject of discussions across the ALP.

    After two disastrous weeks in parliament for the Treasurer, the dumping of the promise to return the budget to surplus and the minerals resource rent tax raising only $126 million in its first six months after initial estimates of $3.7 billion in 2012-13, speculation has revived within Labor ranks that Swan may not contest the next election.


    Supporters of Gillard and Swan continue to blame Rudd for destabilising Labor with his constant media appearances and public criticism of the MRRT.

    "It just appears Kevin Rudd has not learnt any lessons from the last challenge and is alienating people by his constant attempts to bring the place down," one senior figure said.


    So much for our democracy,a mining tax,even a lame one will bring down governments.


    An update on the shale vs conventional lng debate :
    (The very un-intelligent report)

    RISING shale oil production in the US and other nations is forecast to drive down global oil prices, potentially delivering the world's economy a $US2.7 trillion ($2.6 trillion) boost by 2035.

    But falling oil prices is not all good news, particularly for Australia's fast-growing LNG industry, with lower oil prices forecast to trigger increased pricing pressure in future LNG contracts.

    The local industry also faces the prospect of lower-priced LNG export competition from the US, based on its shale gas boom.


    "How Henry Hub compares with global crude oil benchmark prices, and how the latter translates to an oil-linked LNG price through existing contracts, will be interesting to observe in the Asia-Pacific region," PwC said.

    "We expect increased competitive pressure to be felt by incumbents now supplying the Asian LNG spot market, as new supply sources and supply pathways emerge. That said, the factors protecting existing project returns will be new project capital costs and shipping distances to reach Asia."


    Russia knows it must get ready for the shale oil revolution.

    WHILE the United States forges ahead with its shale-led energy revolution, Russia is steadily building up its stake in the oil industry of Venezuela, where anti-American rhetoric has been the hallmark of now-ailing leader Hugo Chavez’s 14-year rule.

    Igor Sechin, president of Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft, declared last month the oil-rich South American country would be the main focus of Rosneft’s overseas investments.

    Under a series of accords signed during Sechin’s visit to Venezuela on January 29-30, Russia will commit to invest up to $US40 billion in jointly exploiting the Orinoco extra-heavy oil belt -- regarded as one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves -- with Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).

    The US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that the Orinoco belt, a 600-km strip straddling the Orinoco River in the central-eastern part of Venezuela, held 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. According to OPEC statistics, Venezuela’s proven reserves stand at 296 billion barrels, the largest in the world.

    It also has 5.5 trillion cubic metres of gas reserves, ranking it No. 8 in gas behind Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, UAE and the US.

    (The story remains unchanged,blasting ahead on suicide course)

  5. Abbotts plan for another food bowl may have to concentrate on existing areas first,and dams may not be the answer.


    Wheatbelt land won't be farmed

    For the first time since the harrowing days of the Depression more than 80 years ago, big parcels of WA agricultural land won't be farmed this season, the State's peak farming lobby group says.

    WAFarmers president Dale Park said times were as tough as they had been in a long time for farmers across the Wheatbelt as they dealt with more debt, poor seasons and low morale.

    "This is the first time since the 1930s that we'll have had country not farmed," he said.

    "It's an indication that things are pretty tough. I'm not quite sure what we're looking forward to next year."

    His comments came as about 300 frustrated Wheatbelt residents crowded into the Kulin recreation centre for a public meeting yesterday and hundreds more farmers plan to rally in Perth today as the sector faces its most difficult time in living memory.

    The public meeting, one of several held in recent months across the eastern Wheatbelt, let residents share with local and State politicians their concerns and discuss the viability of farming.

    Former WAFarmers president and Newdegate farmer Trevor De Landgrafft said crop mitigation, Tier 3 rail lines and education were the hot topics during the four-hour session. Concerns were also raised about how well farmers were being represented in State Parliament, he said.

    Forrest Place will come alive today as country folk visit the city to raise the profile of agriculture and its importance in providing food security.

    Farmer on Your Plate: Putting Agriculture Back on the Political Menu has been organised by a group of women who hope to increase awareness of the agricultural sector.

    Harvey Fresh and Must chef Russell Blaikie have publicly backed the campaign, along with Slow Foods and the National Council of Women WA.

    Kukerin farmer and organiser Mary Nenke said a petition with suggestions for reform would be presented to State and Federal governments.
    "We want politicians to take advice from the real people on the land and in our cities," she said.


    The hunt drags on.


    Minke whale 'harpooned in Australian waters'

    The alleged killing of a whale in Australian waters has led to a dangerous confrontation between Japanese whalers and Sea Shepherd activists.

    Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson says Japanese whalers illegally harpooned a large minke whale near the Davis Research Base yesterday.

    The base is inside Australia's Antarctic territory.

    Mr Watson says when they tried to stop the carcass from being transferred from the harpooning ship onto another vessel, the whalers attempted to ram their boat.

    "I think it was to test our resolve because they thought that we wouldn't block them," he said.

    "They came in so close, they tried to ram the Bob Barker so it backed off but I don't think they are going to try that again.

    "It's sort of a stand-off. The Steve Irwin's racing to catch up with them and we're being followed by the Nisshin Mauru 3."

    Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt says the Government needs to send a Customs vessel to the area before the situation escalates.