Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Neck and neck in a Kimberley thriller | The Australian

Neck and neck in a Kimberley thriller | The Australian: THE Greens and Labor are both confident of victory in the northern West Australian seat of Kimberley, which will boil down to postal and absentee votes in a tight four-way contest with the Liberals and Nationals.

WA Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately yesterday said the primary vote was still too close to allocate preferences for a two-party-preferred result although a fresh scrutiny of votes today could clarify the contest.


  1. The Australian sees it this way.

    Greens support gives gas-hub backer hope

    THE frontrunner in the tightly contested West Australian seat of Kimberley is a supporter of a contentious gas hub in the region who could retain the seat for Labor with preferences from a Greens candidate vehemently opposed to the project.

    Josie Farrer was last night leading the primary vote count after receiving a significant boost from remote polling booths. The Liberals Jenny Bloom was in second place, followed by the Greens' Chris Maher.

    (Labour really supports it coming ashore elsewhere,and possibly with the election done being processed with FLNG)


    Tony Burke's water safeguards to stifle investment: business

    BUSINESS groups have lashed out at proposed federal laws to protect the Great Artesian Basin from coal and coal-seam gas development, claiming the extra green tape could delay billions of dollars' worth of investment.

    Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced yesterday that he would expand commonwealth environmental protection laws to include the effect coal and coal-seam gas had on underground water.

    Currently, the effect mining has on water reserves has been assessed under state environmental protection laws and has not been considered under commonwealth powers.

    Mr Burke's decision recognises the warnings of an independent scientific panel and a groundswell of public concern about the potential environmental and social impact of coal and coal-seam gas.

    The new laws involve a "water trigger" in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

    (they cant make money and look after our water too)


    Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney accused Mr Burke of playing politics with the coal-seam gas industry. "This is taking the EPBC Act to a new level of absurdity in terms of its use to take away the rights of the state," he said. "The Prime Minister, through her Environment Minister, has sought to trade off the economic future of Queensland for cheap political gain."


    The Minerals Council of Australia strongly opposed the plan, and the proposed inclusion of a water trigger in the EPBC Act was a direct duplication of the role of the independent scientific advisory committee. "It will lead to greater uncertainty and delays for large coal projects for no environmental gain," said acting chief executive Melanie Stutsel. "There is no need to increase the regulatory burden on the sector."


    Anti-coal seam gas organiser Drew Hutton said including a water trigger in the EPBC Act was "a good first step".


    Now what went on in WA and with who?

    Suspicious transactions are under review, write Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and John Garnaut.

    BHP Billiton is the subject of a joint US-Australian criminal bribery investigation into alleged inducements, hospitality or gifts given to foreign officials, including Chinese dignitaries wooed as part of a multimillion-dollar hospitality and sponsorship program for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    The allegations are the subject of investigations involving the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police.

    The company and a small number of its staff or consultants face the prospect of criminal charges or other serious criminal or civil sanctions here and abroad.

    The company declined to respond to specific questions from Fairfax Media about alleged impropriety linked to the Beijing Games and activities in Western Australia, citing the need to liaise with the SEC before commenting publicly.

  2. Greenpeace ship to hightlight Reef plight

    THE Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior will come face to face with the coal industry during an Australian tour to draw attention to the plight of the Great Barrier Reef, the organisation's Pacific boss says.

    Rainbow Warrior docked in Melbourne on Wednesday morning and will tour the east coast over the next six weeks.

    It is the first time the latest Rainbow Warrior vessel has docked in Australia.

    Greenpeace Pacific CEO David Ritter says the ship is in Australia to highlight the destruction to the reef being planned by the coal industry.

    He said the vessel would be "coming face to face with the coal industry" in Queensland and did not rule out confrontation.

    "The Rainbow Warrior is here to join the tens of thousands of Australians who are deeply concerned at the prospect of all of that coal industry shipping going through the reef at the nine new coal terminals that are planned," he told reporters.

    The vessel will be open to the public in Melbourne this weekend.


    The export ban,now Bovine Johne's disease.

    What will fracking do to Kimberley cattle?

    Sounds like they need fracking like they need a hole in the head.

    Disease risk to cattle exports

    The WA cattle industry is facing another crippling blow after tests confirmed the presence of a wasting disease that has the potential to shut down major export markets.

    Five Kimberley stations are subject to livestock movement restrictions as tests continue to determine the extent of Bovine Johne's Disease infections, but there has been at least one confirmed case.

    The industry is organising a crisis meeting in Broome next week to discuss a BJD management strategy with a mass cull of suspect cattle an option if the disease is found to have spread to herds.

    The Department of Agriculture and Food WA is already culling hundreds of bulls traced to WA from an infected herd in Queensland.

    More than 100 of the 476 suspect bulls which entered WA in the past 12 years have been slaughtered for testing and station-owners are continuing their efforts to track down the rest.

    The worst fears of the Kimberley cattle industry, which is desperate to protect WA's status as the only BJD-free State in Australia, were confirmed when BJD was found in at least one of the bulls


  3. The push has started for Burke to include fracking in shale as well as CSG in his new water laws.
    The laws will make no sense otherwise as shale fracking presents as much danger to water as CSG and coal mining.

    Most of the planned fracking for WA is thought to be shale.


    Look ma! No hands (on the drill floor)!

    Bianca Bartucciotto
    Tuesday, 12 March 2013

    WESTERN Australia will soon be home to one of five shale gas drilling rigs featuring an automated pipe management system – meaning no people on the drill floor and ultimately, fewer staff.


    Another new unconventional source of gas found.

    Japanese Firm JOGMEC in Ice Gas Breakthrough

    Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) reported Tuesday that it has successfully extracted natural gas from methane hydrate deposits from under the seabed offshore Japan. The successful extraction of gas from this source promised a new energy source for the world.

    Methane hydrate is a compound in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure made up of water, so forming a solid that is similar to ice.

    JOGMEC said that it successfully used a depressurization method to flow gas from methane hydrate layers.

    The firm has been preparing for an experimental test since February 2012 at the Daini Atsumi Knoll, off the coasts of the Atsumi and Shima Peninsula. After preparatory drilling and an operation to acquired pressurized core samples last summer, it began its flow test Tuesday. The flow test is expected to end at the end of this month.


    Yamal LNG developer Novatek sees long-term supply agreements soon with Asia

    Tuesday, 12 March 2013

    Russia's largest independent as producer Novatek hopes to finalize framework agreements for LNG sales the second quarter, said Chief Executive Leonid Mikhelson.


    Alaska to bring forward LNG export project led by state and four major oil companies

    Tuesday, 12 March 2013

    ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and TransCanada have signalled progress in their studies for an LNG project in Alaska to monetize North Slope natural gas and will be holding more meetings soon.

    1. Thought they might see it like this :

      Threat to LNG exports as Japan unlocks gas

      AUSTRALIA'S multi-billion-dollar a year liquefied natural gas export industry faces a new threat after its top customer - Japan - used groundbreaking technology to potentially unlock vast new subsea gas deposits just off its coast.

      Japan announced this week that it had successfully extracted gas from a deposit of methane hydrates - or fire ice - buried 1km beneath the sea in what's believed to be a world first.

      The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it hoped to begin commercial extraction from the country's huge methane hydrate fields within five years.

      Achieving that goal would be a global game-changer in the eyes of commodity forecasters and would threaten the viability of projects in Australia's $175 billion LNG development pipeline.


      Amid soaring trade deficits, Japan is desperate to reduce its reliance on imports of LNG, including from Australia, which became the largest supply of gas to Japanese utilities last year.


      Japan buys 70 per cent of Australia's entire LNG exports, which totalled $11bn in 2010-11, but are foreshadowed to hit $30bn in 2016-17.

      The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, or JOGMEC, announced on Monday that trial extraction had begun successfully. JOGMEC hopes to continue extracting gas until the end of March through a subsea well connected via a pipeline to a research vessel.

      Extracting the gas is not expected to be cheap but forecaster Wood Mackenzie raised methane hydrates as a threat to the Australian LNG industry in its Horizons 2013 outlook, published in December last year.

      It warned that if production could be achieved by 2018 it would "reposition Japan on the world energy stage, potentially turning it from a gas importer, to a self-sufficient province".

      "The resulting fall in gas imports would severely disrupt the global LNG market, and question the viability of projects in Australia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea."


      Japan's vast subsea reserves of methane hydrate - an ice-like mixture of methane and water molecules formed under high pressure - are enough to supply it with LNG for 100 years if extraction proves viable.


      The ice and methane are not chemically bonded and the Japanese engineers aboard a research ship have released the gas via a "depressurisation method" and brought it to the surface where it is being flared, or burned off.

      These methane hydrate deposits sprinkled through the Japanese archipelago are practically the sole local source of domestic hydrocarbons for the world's third largest economy, which is suffering ongoing energy shortfalls because its nuclear plants are almost all shut down amid post-Fukushima safety fears.

      The field for the test extraction sits 50km off the coast of Japan's main island of Honshu, near Nagoya, south of Tokyo. This field alone is thought to contain enough gas to supply the country for a decade.

      Japan hopes to gain approval to import US shale gas at a price linked to the US domestic price, creating another source of competition for Australian suppliers looking to sell at the lucrative oil-linked price.

      LNG is expected to underpin future commodity export earnings in Australia moving to equal second place (with coking coal) in dollar terms behind iron ore exports by 2016-17.

  4. Pindan Post

    This interesting study shows the good result of tropical cyclones on the ocean environment, with huge algal blooms, where the oceanic impact is beneficial, the impact on dredging spoil at James Price Point could wind up being catastrophic:

    Ocean gliders plot Cyclone Rusty’s underwater impact

    Thursday, 07 March 2013 06:00

    The extreme turbidity, where waves and currents stirred up seafloor sediment and organic matter, has created a bloom about 62,409 square kms in size. Image: NASAA CATEGORY four cyclone that slammed into the Pilbara coast last week caused ocean currents to almost double, creating an algal bloom as big as Tasmania, scientists say.

    University of Western Australia scientists were given a rare glimpse into the effects of low pressure storms on ocean health when Tropical Cyclone Rusty moved through the path of two ocean gliders out on routine data collection missions.

    UWA Oceanographer and Environmental Engineer Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi says the turbidity of the water was so extreme that levels moved beyond his monitoring equipment’s range.

    “This is the first time data like this has been collected,” Prof Pattiaratchi says.

    “As scientists we normally use boats and ships (for conducting ocean studies) so we don’t usually have the ability to go out and collect data like that during a cyclone.”

    “Now we have the ability to measure what happens to the ocean during a cyclone.”

    The $150,000 remote-controlled underwater gliders, which are used to monitor ocean temperature, salinity, turbidity and chlorophyll levels, were moving north from Broome towards Scott Reef when the cyclone hit.

    Prof Pattiaratchi’s team have been monitoring Australia’s ocean using the gliders for the past three years, but this is the first time one has moved into the path of a cyclone.

    The extreme turbidity, where waves and currents stirred up seafloor sediment and organic matter, has created a bloom about 62,409 square kms in size.

    Satellite images show the phytoplankton outbreak is so large that it can be seen from space and the murky water has taken a week to subside.

    “We know have documentation on how long these effects last, which we didn’t know before,” Prof Pattiaratchi says.


    “One of the more important things we also have now is data that allows us to compare what happens when you have a big dredge plume.”

    Dredging has been proposed in the region at James Price Point, near Broome, as part of Woodside and its joint partner’s LNG gas hub.

    He says scientists can now look at the disturbance created by a natural event like a tropical cyclone and compare it to a man-made effect like dredging.

    “We can now put those two extreme bits together and better understand the effects of dredging,” Prof Pattiaratchi says.


    Prof Pattiaratchi says his team plan to collect the two gliders in a week to begin further analyses of the information obtained.


    Cable Beach was covered in tonnes of shell grit following the storm, an ominous sign of what might happen to several million tonnes of dredging spoil if any development proposal goes ahead at James Price Point. Ten metres of tidal movement along with cyclone tidal surges often throw a lot of large fish onto the beach, stranded, as well.

    An expected 50km2 dead zone could finish up 500km2.


    1. Let us not forget,the initial amount they want to dredge for the foundation project is 34 million tonnes.

      (this could increase again as woodside now plan to use 14 or so modules instead of a few hundred!so a bigger hole in the dunes and mvt's and a bigger and deeper channel to the roro ramp)

      There will be more gas plants built,more industry surrounding the gas precinct,some requiring their own specialist handling wharfs.Barnetts port and expansions to that.

      LNG ships could get bigger needing more dredging to give them bottom clearance.

      More space for support vessels,tugs etc.

      And they will have to dredge all of this every day year in year out a hundred years or more into the future.



  5. Japans methane hydrate win,from the NY Times.


    An Energy Coup for Japan: ‘Flammable Ice’

    TOKYO — Japan said Tuesday that it had extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate — sometimes called “flammable ice” — a breakthrough that officials and experts said could be a step toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source.

    The gas, whose extraction from the undersea hydrate reservoir was thought to be a world first, could provide an alternative source of energy to known oil and gas reserves. That could be crucial especially for Japan, which is the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas and is engaged in a public debate about whether to resume the country’s heavy reliance on nuclear power.


    Experts estimate that the carbon found in gas hydrates worldwide totals at least twice the amount of carbon in all of the earth’s other fossil fuels, making it a potential game-changer for energy-poor countries like Japan. Researchers had already successfully extracted gas from onshore methane hydrate reservoirs, but not from beneath the seabed, where much of the world’s deposits are thought to lie.


    The exact properties of undersea hydrates and how they might affect the environment are still poorly understood, given that methane is a greenhouse gas. Japan has invested hundreds of millions of dollars since the early 2000s to explore offshore methane hydrate reserves in both the Pacific and the Sea of Japan.

    That task has become all the more pressing after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, which has all but halted Japan’s nuclear energy program and caused a sharp increase in the country’s fossil fuel imports. Japan’s rising energy bill has weighed heavily on its economy, helping to push it to a trade deficit and reducing the benefits of the recently weaker yen to Japanese exporters.

    The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said a team aboard the scientific drilling ship Chikyu had started a trial extraction of gas from a layer of methane hydrates about 300 meters, or 1,000 feet, below the seabed Tuesday morning. The ship has been drilling since January in an area of the Pacific about 1,000 meters deep and 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, south of the Atsumi Peninsula in central Japan.

    With specialized equipment, the team drilled into and then lowered the pressure in the undersea methane hydrate reserve, causing the methane and ice to separate. It then piped the natural gas to the surface, the ministry said in a statement.

    Hours later, a flare on the ship’s stern showed that gas was being produced, the ministry said.

    “Japan could finally have an energy source to call its own,” said Takami Kawamoto, a spokesman for the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, or Jogmec, the state-run company leading the trial extraction.


    The team will continue the trial extraction for about two weeks before analyzing how much gas has been produced, Jogmec said. Japan hopes to make the extraction technology commercially viable in about five years.

    “This is the world’s first trial production of gas from oceanic methane hydrates, and I hope we will be able to confirm stable gas production,” Toshimitsu Motegi, the Japanese trade minister, said at a news conference in Tokyo. He acknowledged that the extraction process would still face technical hurdles and other problems.

    Still, “shale gas was considered technologically difficult to extract but is now produced on a large scale,” he said. “By tackling these challenges one by one, we could soon start tapping the resources that surround Japan.”


  6. cont....

    Japan has unlocked a new form of energy,one that when proven to be financially viable will be another game changer in the world of LNG,further undermining overpriced Australian projects.Like JPP.


    It is unclear how much the tapping of methane hydrate would affect Japan’s emissions or global warming. On one hand, natural gas would provide a cleaner alternative to coal, which still provides Japan with a fifth of its primary energy needs. But new energy sources could also prompt Japan to slow its development of renewable energies or green technologies, hurting its emissions in the long run. Any accidental release of large amounts of methane during the extraction process would also be harmful.

    Jogmec estimates that the surrounding area in the Nankai submarine trough holds at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters, or 39 trillion cubic feet, of methane hydrate, enough to meet 11 years’ worth of gas imports to Japan.

    A separate rough estimate by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has put the total amount of methane hydrate in the waters surrounding Japan at more than 7 trillion cubic meters, or what researchers have long said is closer to 100 years’ worth of Japan’s natural gas needs.


    “Now we know that extraction is possible,” said Mikio Satoh, a senior researcher in marine geology at the institute who was not involved in the Nankai trough expedition. “The next step is to see how far Japan can get costs down to make the technology economically viable.”

    Methane hydrate is a sherbetlike substance that can form when methane gas is trapped in ice below the seabed or underground. Though it looks like ice, it burns when it is heated.

    Experts say there are abundant deposits of gas hydrates in the seabed and in some Arctic regions. Japan, together with Canada, has already succeeded in extracting gas from methane hydrate trapped in permafrost soil. American researchers are carrying out similar test projects on the North Slope of Alaska.

    The difficulty had long been how to extract gas from the methane hydrate far below the seabed, where much of the deposits lie.

    In onshore tests, Japanese researchers explored using hot water to warm the methane hydrate, and tried lowering pressure to free the methane molecules. Japan decided to use depressurization, partly because pumping warm water under the seabed would itself require a lot of energy.

    “Gas hydrates have always been seen as a potentially vast energy source, but the question was, how do we extract gas from under the ocean?” said Ryo Matsumoto, a professor in geology at Meiji University in Tokyo who has led research into Japan’s hydrate deposits. “Now we’ve cleared one big hurdle.”

    According to the United States Geological Survey, recent mapping off the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts shows large offshore accumulations of methane hydrates. Canada, China, Norway and the United States are also exploring hydrate deposits.

    Scientists at the geological survey note, however, that there is still a limited understanding of how drilling for hydrates might affect the environment, particularly the possible release of methane into the atmosphere, and are calling for continued research and monitoring.


    1. I can almost hear Chaney and Voelte now,"hydrates will never challenge Woodsides dominance in high prices for LNG,just as all the tight gas in the world will not make a difference,neither will this discovery.Asia will continue to pay us top dollar for our product,because we say so".
      Arrogant pricks.

      Would love to be a fly on the wall at the next price talks,"we have unlocked the biggest carbon resource on the planet.It will change the world.In 5 years it will be bigger than fracking".

      "blah blah blah".

      Anyone want to buy at top dollar now?

      JPP gets cut off at the knees again.

      Who in their right mind would waste $45 - $65 billion on this outdated disaster?

    2. Wow excellent post ever seen. really its informative.

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