Friday, May 10, 2013

3rd Degree

3rd Degree:
Woodside has signed an agreement with Shell to develop floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) technology at the Browse Basin project at James Price Point near Broome.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman stated that the FLNG has the "potential to commercialise the Browse resources in the earliest possible time frame."


  1. "The Lone Voice on St.Georges Tce." Strikes again.

    NT on the cusp of signing on to NDIS

    Friday, May 10, 2013 » 03:41pm

    The Northern Territory is on the verge of fully signing on to the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS), Chief Minister Adam Giles says.

    The NT and Western Australia have yet to join the NDIS scheme, now known as DisabilityCare Australia.

    'The Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) and I are at a point where we can formally agree for a full rollout of the NDIS program in the whole of the Northern Territory,' he told Sky News on Friday.


    Why the shag on the rock every time?

  2. Carbon pollution hits highest point in 3 million years

    Global greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached an ominous milestone that is unprecedented in human history.

    The world's longest measure of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 400 parts per million (PPM) for the first time in three million years.

    The daily CO2 level is measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which tracks greenhouse gases in the Northern Hemisphere.

    The level has been measured at Mauna Loa since 1958, with data before that taken from ice core samples.

    The last time it reached this level, temperatures rose by between three and four degrees and sea levels were between five and 40 metres higher than today.

    The rise in greenhouse gases corresponds with the extra carbon dioxide known to have been emitted by humans through fossil fuels and clearing forests.

    Climate Institute chief executive John Connor says greenhouse gas concentrations have increased by about 40 per cent since the industrial revolution.

    "So there's a clear trend and a dangerous trend in carbon pollution," he said.

    Mr Connor says the worrying trend puts the planet on a path towards dangerous climate change.

    "This matters because the extra heat is loading the dice for even more dangerous weather extremes and climate risk," he said.

    "We've already seen a lot of those with a warming of around one degree warming of average levels.

    "We're heading towards two to three and four and if you think the weather extremes have been dangerous and unsafe, then you ain't seen nothing yet."

  3. Climate milestone is a moment of symbolic significance on road of idiocy

    The only way forward is back: to retrace our steps and seek to return atmospheric concentrations to around 350ppm

    The data go back 800,000 years: that's the age of the oldest fossil air bubbles extracted from Dome C, an ice-bound summit in the high Antarctic. And throughout that time there has been nothing like this. At no point in the preindustrial record have concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air risen above 300 parts per million (ppm). 400ppm is a figure that belongs to a different era.

    The difference between 399ppm and 400ppm is small, in terms of its impacts on the world's living systems. But this is a moment of symbolic significance, a station on the Via Dolorosa of environmental destruction. It is symbolic of our failure to put the long-term prospects of the natural world and the people it supports above immediate self-interest.

    The only way forward now is back: to retrace our steps and seek to return atmospheric concentrations to around 350ppm, as the campaign demands. That requires, above all, that we leave the majority of the fossil fuels which have already been identified in the ground. There is not a government or an energy company which has yet agreed to do so.

    Recently, Shell announced that it will go ahead with its plans to drill deeper than any offshore oil operation has gone before: almost 3km below the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, Oxford University opened a new laboratory in its department of earth sciences. The lab is funded by Shell. Oxford says that the partnership "is designed to support more effective development of natural resources to meet fast-growing global demand for energy." Which translates as finding and extracting even more fossil fuel.


    The European Emissions Trading Scheme, which was supposed to have capped our consumption, is now, for practical purposes, dead. International climate talks have stalled; governments such as ours now seem quietly to be unpicking their domestic commitments. Practical measures to prevent the growth of global emissions are, by comparison to the scale of the challenge, almost nonexistent.

    The problem is simply stated: the power of the fossil fuel companies is too great. Among those who seek and obtain high office are people characterised by a complete absence of empathy or scruples, who will take money or instructions from any corporation or billionaire who offers them, and then defend those interests against the current and future prospects of humanity.

    This new climate milestone reflects a profound failure of politics, in which democracy has quietly been supplanted by plutocracy. Without a widespread reform of campaign finance, lobbying and influence-peddling and the systematic corruption they promote, our chances of preventing climate breakdown are close to zero.

    So here stands our political class at a waystation along the road of idiocy, apparently determined only to complete the journey.

  4. Shell lays keel for world's first floating LNG project

    08 May 2013

    In an important step, Shell has laid the keel for Prelude FLNG, the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project. When complete, Prelude is expected to be the largest offshore floating facility ever built. The hull will now be assembled in the dry dock, before the turret and the topsides are fitted at Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje shipyard in South Korea.

    “This is a key milestone in Prelude’s story,” said Rob Kretzers, Shell Executive Vice President Projects. “Innovative thinking and leading edge technology, as well as hard work from those at Shell and our partners, have helped us reach this significant point in construction. Prelude’s size and scale is unprecedented and I look forward to seeing this enormous structure take shape. Shell is pioneering FLNG which has the potential to revolutionise the way natural gas resources are developed”.

    FLNG will allow Shell to produce natural gas at sea, turn it into liquefied natural gas and then transfer it directly to the ships that will transport it to customers. It will open up new opportunities for countries looking to develop their gas resources and bring more natural gas to market.

    Large steel sections known as “blocks” that will form the hull are being manufactured in the Geoje shipyard, with more than 1,600 already complete. One section can be the size of a large house. The 93-metre high turret mooring system is under construction in Dubai and will be transported to Geoje in five parts. The turret will run vertically through one end of the facility and will be anchored to the seabed by four groups of mooring lines. It will allow the facility to rotate with the direction of the wind.


    Oil Search in bid to boost PNG returns

    Oil Search is hoping to boost the capacity of its gas export project in Papua New Guinea, with the addition of a further two export units, as it seeks to boost returns from its assets in that country.

    ''A key strategic objective … is to capitalise on the asset base currently being constructed by the PNG LNG project, by adding a third (and possibly fourth) LNG train,'' company chairman Richard Lee told shareholders at Friday's annual meeting.

    ''An expansion of PNG LNG is regarded as the highest value opportunity in our growth portfolio.

    ''The discovery of a sizeable gas accumulation at P'nyang South in early 2012 has brought us a step closer to underpinning an expansion, with further material gas resource upside in the Highlands being tested over the next 18 months by an extensive seismic and drilling program.''


    The initial exports from the $US19 billion project begin next year, with the main partners in the project - Oil Search, Exxon Mobil and Santos - raising a further $US1.5 billion of project finance, to fund 70 per cent of the 21 per cent cost increase disclosed late last year.


    Stale Fracking Bill Shows Barnett has Learned Nothing

    Thursday 9th May 2013

    WA Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region and spokesperson on Mining and Energy, Robin Chapple MLC, has today slammed the Barnett-Grylls Government’s reintroduction of last year’s lapsed Canning Basin development Bill, which enshrines their deal with Buru Energy and Mitsubishi.

    “There’s a stink emanating from this newly-installed government – and it’s the malodorous stench of rotten gas associated with its latest fracking proposals.

    “I had hoped the resounding backlash by Kimberley voters against inappropriate Kimberley development, plus the implications of the decision by Woodside to step back from the James Price Point project, would have given the Premier a much-needed fresh perspective on the needs of this region.

    “Unfortunately, it seems nothing has changed, and it’s clear the next four years will only see a renewed pig-headedness to pursue this type of flawed project.

    “I am deeply disturbed at Mr Barnett’s constant deal-making with mining companies and his scant regard for the natural environment and Indigenous heritage, which have already been compromised as a result of the careless actions of Buru and Mitsubishi Corporation.”

    “Evidence from around the world shows that fracking is an undesirable practice at the best of times – let alone in some of the last remaining pristine wilderness areas of the Kimberley.

    “If ever brought on-stream, this project would cause huge increases in WA’s greenhouse gas emissions, with a resultant flow-on to dangerous climate change.

    “The Greens have shown the way on replacing outdated fossil fuels by renewables with our Energy 2029 report – and it’s high time the government got on board.

    Energy 2029 plan:


    Buru rules out Ungani fracking

    Oil and gas company Buru Energy says it has no plans to conduct fracking at a particular site east of Broome but says it cannot rule out using the controversial practice elsewhere in the Canning Basin in the future.

    Buru Energy's executive director Eric Streitberg says the company will never involve any hydraulic fracture stimulation, or fracking, at its Ungani or Ungani North sites, about 100 kilometres east of Broome.

    However, Mr Streitberg says Buru will not rule out fracking for gas at its other basin sites.

    He says this process will not occur for "many months" and only after a full and transparent process.


    EWWW smell the bullsh*t....

    "There will be no fracking in the Canning Basin..."

    (at ungani...that is...)

    "There will be no fracking in the Canning Basin..."

    (buru will not rule out fracking for gas at its other basin sites.....
    ...not occur for "many months" and only after a full and transparent process....)


  6. Standby....

    The benefits of the boom cont...


    Buswell demands cuts list

    Treasurer Troy Buswell has given his ministerial colleagues one week to provide him with lists of programs that can be cut so the State Government can deliver its election promises without blowing the Budget surplus.

    The demand came within 24 hours of his warning that the Budget will fall into structural deficit unless cuts are made. It was seized on by the Opposition as evidence the Government knew it could not deliver its promises in a fiscally responsible way when it made them.

    In a letter to all ministers, obtained by The West Australian, Mr Buswell outlined the "significant challenges impacting on the sustainability of the State's finances" including falling commodity prices, the persistently high dollar, the "historically low share" of the GST pool and growing demand for government services because of a growing population and economy.

    "In light of these pressures it is necessary to identify areas for savings that will allow for election commitments to be accommodated within the Government's financial targets," Mr Buswell wrote.

    "As such, I am requesting that you review existing programs or activities within your portfolio and identify funding that is no longer considered a priority or does not provide value for money."


    "The state of the finances in not new," shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said. "The Government knew the finances were in trouble but went on committing billions of dollars in promises anyway."

    Public sector chiefs are scrambling to find fresh savings, fearing the Treasurer may impose further cuts unless they can come up voluntarily with sufficient savings.


    Mr Buswell said he would make no apology for "stringently managing the way we use taxpayers' money".


    Love that last line....cancel all JPP plans and other dumb ass Barnett screw ups then...


    Buying into the food boom

    If Australia supposedly has a future as the food bowl of Asia, why is it no one in Australia wants to invest in food?

    The mining boom is tapering as resource companies cut back investment, but there is no sign of a food boom taking its place.

    Interest in Australia's agricultural assets is huge - but almost all of that interest comes from overseas - the likely acquisition of Graincorp by American Archer Daniels Midland the most recent example.

    Foreign buyers bought grain marketers AWB and ABB, and sugar millers MSF Sugar and Sucrogen in the past four years.

    Offshore buyers aren't limiting their purchases to large-scale, broadacre production either: in April, China's Chevalier Group completed its $212 million acquisition of Australia's biggest fresh-produce grower and distributor, Moraitis Group, the company built by Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse owner Nick Moraitis.


    Patersons Securities Western Australia private clients manager Lew Fellowes says investing in food is good in theory but the numbers don't stack up yet.

    "It's a little bit like clean energy: it's a good idea and everyone's for it, but until it becomes mainstream people are going to shy away," Mr Fellowes said.

    Growing populations, increasing demands on existing resources and technological advances in agriculture all make for a compelling industry story.

    One indicator of potential Mr Fellowes points to is BHP Billiton's possible investment in a major potash project in Canada, meaning the global miners first big spend after an investment freeze will be in fertiliser.

    He still thinks the food sector is not an attractive investor story just yet.
    "Its time is coming, but I'm talking years, not months," he said.


  7. High Court to consider equality before the law

    THE nation's highest court will consider the relevance of Aboriginality and social deprivation in criminal sentencing after a NSW man who has spent virtually his entire adult life in prison was granted special leave to appeal against an assault conviction.

    William David Bugmy's lawyers convinced the High Court yesterday that the Wilcannia man's case was a suitable vehicle for considering the fundamental question of equality before the law amid a national crisis of indigenous over-representation in prisons and chronic Aboriginal social disadvantage.

    Bugmy is serving a lengthy sentence after assaulting three prison guards in Broken Hill Correctional Centre, seriously injuring one guard, who was hit in the eye with a pool ball.

    An alcoholic since his teens, Bugmy grew up amid horrific family violence and has been incarcerated almost continually since the age of 13.

    He received limited schooling and cannot read or write.

    After pleading guilty to the serious charge of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm and two other offences, Bugmy was sentenced in February last year by a District Court judge to a total of six years and three months in prison. The overall sentence was later increased by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to seven years and nine months.


    The appeal court ruled that factors of childhood social deprivation relevant to sentencing an indigenous offender, laid down in the 1992 judgment R v Fernando, diminish over time, "particularly when the passage of time has included substantial offending".

    Whether the Court of Criminal Appeal erred in that reasoning is central to Bugmy's High Court case which will clarify the weight judges should afford factors of social deprivation and historical disadvantage.

    The senior counsel for Bugmy, Dina Yehia SC, described the issue in court yesterday as "a matter of . . . profound significance for the administration of criminal justice".

    Ms Yehia said it was an erroneous approach for a court to hold that the extent to which social deprivation and background can be taken into account is diminished by the passage of time.

    Justice Kenneth Hayne, who heard the case yesterday with judges Virginia Bell and Stephen Gageler, also appeared to question such a notion.

    Bugmy's lawyer Stephen Lawrence, principal solicitor at the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT's western zone, welcomed the High Court's scrutiny of the Fernando principles and their application to sentencing.

    "The High Court will for the first time in decades consider the relevance of Aboriginality to sentencing," Mr Lawrence said.

    The High Court's grant of special leave was also welcomed by legal academics including Deakin University's dean of law Mirko Bagaric.

    "Certainly from a philosophical and a policy perspective, sentencing law does operate unduly harshly against indigenous offenders," he said.

    But West Australian victims' advocate Hannah McGlade said if Bugmy's case was successful, violent offenders may use Aboriginality to mitigate their crimes.

    "Everyone's background is relevant to sentencing, but we want appropriate sentences for those who commit violent crimes against Aboriginal women and children," Dr McGlade said.


  8. I was looking for information on rig counts etc for the Canning Basin and came across this :

    It is current with the date as April/May 2013 Resource Stocks.

    It is only 4 pages and should give you a very good idea of the state of play in the Canning Basin and fracking in WA in general.

    A very interesting read...recommended.

    (I couldn't copy the file to BlogSpot)


    1. I think that what this shows is the people who are going to be "The Protectors" for this country have a good window of opportunity to examine the fracking operations one by one and in detail.

      As I have mentioned before it seems the number of wells will not be a problem for some time but the "produced water" will be from the start - and really with fracking it will be the produced water that will tell the story especially with so much Uranium around.

      Although casing and cement job failures will be a deadly health risk to all the towns and communities,stations etc., that all rely on bores for water.

      But as with all things local knowledge is priceless.

      As Blanche said with the Beagle Bay area there are many interconnected springs in that country and local knowledge will be vital to testing and keeping an eye on what is migrating between the springs.


      The backdrop to the gas hub at Walmadany was a gathering storm of Climate Change fears and dreads.

      The backdrop to the fracking of the Canning Basin will be the storm breaking for real.

      Like a rapidly unfolding Hollywood disaster movie we have Obama calling emergency meetings in the White House of scientists and military brass to try and come to grips with no ice at the North Pole by 2015 instead of the forecast which was 1/3rd still left by 2100.

      The other imminent disasters which will follow will all be showing on the big screen all the while "The Battle for the Fitzroy" is raging.


      Once again I'm sure "The Protectors" can look forward to much community support and the usual flak from the usual places.

      But at least with this it is moving at a snails pace.

      From the Key "Feeding Frenzy"...

      "...Over the past 2 years the WA government offered $20.1 million to pay for the mobilisation of a big,high tec rig that can drill to the required 4000 metres that shale wells need if WA juniors could band together to form a "rig club".

      The industry "shot itself in the foot",though,because their specs and timetables could not align..."


      As I say take the time to read this it is a very good briefing...


    2. Anyone thinking the pressure is coming off Australian LNG plants need to think again.

      (could be titled - JPP becomes even less desirable for gas plant)


      Japan eyeing billions in LNG investments in Western Canada

      VANCOUVER • Japan is prepared to invest billions directly in natural gas infrastructure in Western Canada as part of a plan to secure massive supplies of liquefied natural gas to replace nuclear power, a top government advisor said Thursday.

      The plan, a new model for Japan, could intensify the race by Asian countries to lock down Western Canada’s energy resources and infrastructure, which so far has been led by China.

      Tokyo-based Tadashi Maeda, managing executive officer of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, said Japan is ready to start discussions with private and government entities in Canada to support construction of pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals to serve the Japanese market exclusively.

      “The Japanese government is [prepared to make] a strategic investment for the purpose of developing a commodity market for natural gas, a more transparent and flexible market,” Mr. Maeda said on the sidelines of the Pacific Energy Summit, the platform picked by Japan to announce the plan.

      “The pipelines and export terminals are imperative. Therefore if it is needed, we are going to bring some capital to cover the cost of the infrastructure.”


      BRIEF-Progress Energy Canada and Petronas close LNG investment transaction with Japan Petroleum Exploration

      Progress Energy Canada Ltd., Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd. and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) have closed the previously announced transaction that saw JAPEX Montney Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. ("JAPEX"), acquire a 10 percent interest in Progress Energy Canada's natural gas assets in northeast British Columbia and in the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility on Canada's West Coast near Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

      As part of the transaction, JAPEX has agreed to buy a 10 percent share of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility's production for a minimum of 20 years for domestic use in Japan.


      The Manila Standard

      Govt eyes LNG from Canadian suppliers

      The Energy Department plans to secure liquefied natural gas supply from Canada and Brunei as the country braces for higher power demand in the future.

      Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said talks were ongoing with Canada and Brunei for a possible LNG supply agreement.

      LNG is natural gas converted into a liquid state for easier storage and transportation. Upon reaching its destination, LNG is regassified and can be distributed through pipelines as natural gas to target facilities.

      Petilla, however, said the department needed to study the LNG pricing to get the best price that would translate into lower rates to end-users.

      Petilla said Brunei Petroleum, the state-owned oil and gas company of Brunei, had expressed interest to put up an LNG facility in Mindanao.

      Petilla said shale gas in the US traded at around $4 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) while LNG delivered to Japan was around $17 per mcf. Malampaya gas is priced at around $11 per mcf.


      In the next 5 years Methane Hydrates,of which Japan has plenty,could bring about a change in the energy market even bigger than fracking.


      JPP will always be too expensive.
      Coal from the Canning Basin too expensive.
      It could well be that gas from the Canning will be too expensive and will never be exported through JPP.
      It also seems there is no hope whatsoever of Bauxite from the Mitchell Plateau being anywhere near competitive also.
      Let alone a smelter.


    3. Rio Tinto bauxite mine in Cape York approved

      AFTER a delay of more than a year, Rio Tinto has received environmental approval for a $US1 billion-plus bauxite mining project in Queensland, although it must meet conditions imposed by the federal government aimed at protecting marine wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef from shipping.

      Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke today said he was satisfied that with strict conditions the project could go ahead. The review process was halted in March last year and Rio Tinto ordered to consider the possible impact its activities could have on the protected reef that runs along the coast of Queensland.

      Initial construction was most recently scheduled to begin this year and last up to 36 months, with exports beginning in 2016. However, an internal decision to proceed with the South of Embley project would now come as Rio Tinto's focus has shifted to cutting costs and selling non-core assets in order to protect its balance sheet and single-A credit rating.

      The project on Cape York is intended to extend the life of bauxite mining in the area for another 40 years and feed China's rising appetite for the feedstock for alumina refineries and in turn aluminium smelters, providing as much as 50 million tonnes a year to supplement declining grades at Rio Tinto's Weipa mine. The plans include building a power station, a processing plant, warehouses and workshops, in addition to barge, ferry and ship-loading facilities.


      Pat Fiore, president of bauxite and alumina at Rio Tinto's Alcan aluminium division, said an investment decision would be taken before the project could proceed.


      ...the project could underpin the continued operation of Rio Tinto's refinery operations at Gladstone and more than 2000 jobs.

      Sam Walsh, chief executive of London-based Rio Tinto, yesterday told investors at a conference in Spain the company was committed to reducing capital expenditure and was on track to cut its cost base by $US2bn this year and another $US3bn by the end of 2014.

  9. They have got to be kidding what a headline to wake up to :

    Logging would be allowed in NSW national parks and a freeze imposed on the declaration of new conservation areas under recommendations of a state parliamentary inquiry.

    An upper house committee into land use chaired by the Shooters and Fishers Party MP Robert Brown has made the recommendations in a draft report, obtained by Fairfax Media.

    ...The Shooters and Fishers Party!?


    Uranium worry...

    It might surprise many Australians to know that Foreign Minister Bob Carr is moving forward with a deal to sell Australian uranium to the United Arab Emirates – a country with an illiberal government situated in one of the most volatile and insecure regions in the world.

    In Abu Dhabi last August, Carr talked up the deal which would see the UAE become Australia's first Middle Eastern uranium market as “underpinning jobs and investment in Australian uranium mines”.

    The value of the employment and economic contribution made by the Australian uranium sector is consistently exaggerated while its risks and liabilities are routinely played down.

    When it comes to jobs and dollars uranium is a small contributor to Australian export revenue and employment, but when it comes to global impact and risk Australian uranium is a major player.

    From 2002 to 2011, uranium sales averaged $627 million annually and accounted for only 0.29 per cent of all national export revenue. In the 2011-12 financial year, uranium revenue of $607 million was 4.4 times lower than Australia's 20th biggest export earner, 8.7 times lower than Australia's 10th biggest export earner and 103 times lower than the biggest earner, iron ore.

    The industry's contribution to employment in Australia is also underwhelming. The World Nuclear Association estimates 1760 jobs in Australia's entire uranium industry. This is the highest of all estimates yet it represents just 0.015 per cent of the jobs in Australia. While small industrial sectors can play an important economic role, the unique properties and risks of uranium mining relative to its meagre employment and economic benefits means it requires particular scrutiny.

    A recent Australian Conservation Foundation report, Yellowcake Fever: Exposing the Uranium Industry's Economic Myths, used industry data to examine the sustained gap between to promise and the performance of the Australian uranium sector to highlight the urgent need for an independent cost-benefit analysis and a comprehensive and transparent assessment of Australia's uranium trade.


    Santos chair Peter Coates takes parting shot at costs, regulation

    SANTOS has warned that Australia's gas industry faces the twin challenges of regulatory uncertainty and eroding cost competitiveness, raising the prospect of domestic gas shortages as well as the loss of new liquefied natural gas export development opportunities to emerging competitors in Canada, East Africa and the US.

    The group's retiring chairman Peter Coates, who is taking up an executive role with the recently enlarged Glencore Xstrata, told shareholders at yesterday's annual meeting in Adelaide that time was of the essence for governments and other policymakers in dealing with the challenges.

    He said regulatory uncertainty continued at both the state and federal level.

    "The industry now faces substantial duplication of processes, uncertainty about further changes to the regulatory framework and, frankly, not enough urgency on the part of governments to resolve these issues," Mr Coates said.

    "The result is a complex mix of regulatory and policy hurdles, without the appropriate co-ordination to ensure that developments can be assessed efficiently and effectively."


  10. Climate to drive species from house and home

    OVER half the world's plants and one-third of animals face losing at least half their natural range over the next six decades, new modelling suggests.

    An international study reported today in the journal Nature Climate Change predicts a massive reduction in natural “living space” unless carbon emissions are drastically reduced.

    The analyses of almost 50,000 species suggest about 55 per cent of plants and 35 per cent of animals will lose half or more of their “present climatic range” by the 2080s.

    Co-author Jeremy VanDerWal, of James Cook University, said it was the first modelling exercise of its kind. “There has been much research on the effect of climate change on rare and endangered species, (but) little has been known about how an increase in global temperature will affect more common species,” he said.

    “Losses in widespread species is a serious concern as even small declines in these species can significantly disrupt ecosystems and the services they provide.”


    Food web tracked in Roebuck Bay algal bloom

    A UWA ecologist says most benthic macro-invertebrate populations in Roebuck Bay’s intertidal zone have decreased significantly after blooms of the toxic blue-green algae Lyngbya majuscule.

    Dr Sora Estrella, who has been leading a study into the effects of Lyngbya blooms, says there was an initial increase in macro-benthic invertebrates numbers and species overall, but as the algae blooms continued some groups, such as Amphipods, showed a clear population decline.

    She identified two Lyngbya-resistant taxa: worms of the genus Sipuncula and sea-snails (Gastropoda), which appear to thrive on the algae blooms despite associated toxins and low oxygen levels.

    She says the diversity of benthic macro-invertebrates ultimately decreased as Sipuncula and Gastropoda numbers increased.

    These ecological changes affected the foraging behaviour of shorebirds such as the bar tailed godwit (Linwsa lapponica), which stays at Roebuck Bay for several months to feed after travelling from its breeding grounds in Siberia.

    “When these big blooms of Lyngbya occur, instead of feeding mostly on crabs they are feeding mostly on these sipunculids … because there were so many there that it was easy prey,” Dr Estrella says.

    She says her team made many trips to Roebuck Bay, taking samples of macro-invertebrates for taxonomic analysis and sampling sediment and water to analyse for nutrient concentrations.

    They also observed shorebirds’ foraging behaviour and took samples of their blood for stable isotopes analysis to determine the birds’ main prey and thereby track their supporting food webs.

    She says the biggest bloom occurred during the dry, sunny January and February of 2010 that followed a particularly wet December, when nutrient levels in the bay were elevated.

    “The benthic invertebrate community changed significantly after that bloom of Lyngbya in February 2010,” she says.

    She says the massive clearing of the new Broome North subdivision, with its associated red dust runoff, did not coincide with the biggest Lyngbya bloom.

    “We don’t have the data really to link … the correlation between Lyngbya blooms and what is occurring in the hinterland,” she says.

    “We focussed [on] what were … the triggers of Lyngbya blooms, if nutrients were playing a role.

    “The other main objective was finding the affect that Lyngbya can have in the ecosystem, so we didn’t track the leaking of the nutrients.”

    Dr Estrella says a further study of Roebuck Bay’s hydrology is in progress with the aim of identifying which, if any, human activities may be associated with the blooms.


  11. Food web tracked in Roebuck Bay algal bloom...cont...

    "Severe blue-green algae blooms have altered Roebuck Bay’s ecology, scientists say.

    Certain worms and snails managed to thrive during worst of the blooms, but it caused a decline in most bottom feeding invertebrates such as crabs which have not recovered.

    The massive land clearing for Broome North subdivision did not cause the worst of these blooms, which happened the year before.

    The was the wet season of 2009 – 2010, which included a very wet December and a dry sunny January and February."


    Rangelands NRM WA provided most of the funds for the project. Other organisations involved in the research project include Broome Bird Observatory, Yawurru Rangers, Roebuck Bay Working Group, Department of Environment and Conservation, Port of Broome, Global Flyway Network, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, Australasian Wader Studies Group and Broome Hovercraft. Dr Estrella’s latest paper is currently subject to the peer-review process.

    A further project studying the hydrology and nutrient entering in Roebuck Bay is being carried out by UWA PhD researcher, Gayan Lakendra Gunaratne under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Ryan Vogwill, Assoc. Prof. Matt Hipsey and Assoc. Prof. Ryan Lowe. The project is funded by UWA and DEC.


  12. Fracking in the US has seen a huge switch to gas away from coal - the effects are being felt worldwide.The US is scrambling to export its coal surplus to Asia with reports Indian companies are in the US to buy up coal mines on the cheap.

    Just one more reason Barnett's dream of a huge port based on coal exports to Asia will not be profitable - not at Point Torment or JPP.


    Glencore Xstrata shelves coal terminal

    Glencore Xstrata has cancelled plans for a coal export terminal in Queensland, citing the poor state of the coal market, along with the poor medium term outlook for the Australian coal industry.

    The company had been planning a 35 million tonne a year terminal to be located on Balaclava island, which on the Fitzroy river, 40 kilometres south of Rockhampton.

    The terminal was intended to service coal exports from the Surat and southern Bowen basins in Queensland, amid concerns that even with plans to expand the Wiggins Island terminal, export demand would still be in excess of capacity.

    The decision also comes in the wake of plans to scale back coal export capacity at Newcastle, in NSW, in light of the fall in export coal prices and declining returns amid the strong Australian dollar.

    "This decision has been made as a result of the poor current market conditions in the Australian coal industry, excess port capacity in Queensland, specific shipping limitations and concerns about the industry's medium-term outlook," the company said in a statement.

    The decision follows a review of the project after Xstrata's merger with Glencore.


    *(Burke had called Balaclava Island,"The garden of the GBR because of its sea grass meadows)


    1. US fracking impacts EU gas


      European gas industry in "disastrous" state -trade chief Cirelli

      BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European gas sector is in a disastrous state and without policies to boost investment, the power supply of some countries could be at risk, a top industry official said on Tuesday.

      Europe's gas sector has been hit by low growth in demand for electricity, the renewable energy boom and competition from coal-fired plants, Jean-Francois Cirelli, president of Eurogas, which represents the industry, said in a conference speech and in an interview with Reuters.

      Cirelli said EU gas consumption dropped two percent in 2012 after falling 10 percent in 2011. Half of the decrease was caused by lower gas consumption by power plants, the other half to a structural fall in final gas demand, notably the effects of energy efficiency and substitution.

      "The state of affairs in the gas sector in Europe is disastrous," said Cirelli, who is also vice-chairman of French gas company GDF Suez SA .

      Cirelli said gas, which represents a quarter of EU primary energy consumption and is used by 200 million citizens for heating, is no longer competitive in Europe because of the influx of cheap U.S. coal and rock-bottom CO2 prices.


      Cirelli's own company, GDF Suez, has mothballed or closed 7.3 gigawatts of power generating capacity during 2009-2013 and is set to take another 1.3 gigawatts offline, a total equivalent to the capacity of eight nuclear power plants.

      Cirelli said that, in the UK, the share of gas in the generation mix decreased to 25 percent from 40 percent between 2011 and 2012, mainly in favour of coal, whose share went up to 42 percent from 30 percent over the same period.

      As cheap shale gas displaces coal in U.S. power plants, U.S. coal exports to Europe rose 23 percent last year, pushing international coal prices lower. In some EU countries, the amount of electricity generated from coal is rising at annualised rates as high as 50 percent, Cirelli said.

      "The exports towards Europe make a mockery of the green EU policy. We reject shale gas and we import coal," he said.


      The European gas industry also hopes that U.S. shale gas, the source of much of its troubles, will benefit the EU gas industry when the United States starts exporting. But he added that, even if U.S. exports were approved, the earliest shale gas shipments would arrive in Europe in late 2016.

      With natural gas prices in the United States currently around $4.50 per mmBtu (million British Thermal Units), liquefaction costs at $3 to $4 and transport at $1 to $2 per mmBtu, U.S. gas would cost about $10 per mmBtu, about a dollar less than European gas.

      "A source of supply coming from the West is a plus because Europe needs diversification of suppliers," he added.


  13. The Emperors palace under siege from farmers.


    Farmers dump grain at Premier's office

    A farm lobby group has dumped several tonnes of grain on the road to the Premier's office this morning, protesting the size of the State Government's rescue package for farmers.

    Rural Action Movement president Greg Kenney said the organisation dumped about 12 tonnes of wheat at 5.45am.

    He said they had planned to leave the grain at Colin Barnett's office but could not get a gate open so dumped it on Parliament Terrace instead, blocking the road.

    The Salmon Gums farmer labelled the rescue package as inadequate and "an insult to the bush".


    Another of the Emperors shonky deals on trial.


    Barnett 'wrong' on Packer right to land

    The State's lawyers had undermined claims by Colin Barnett that James Packer's Crown had an "entitlement" to land for a proposed hotel after indicating they would not argue the point, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.

    Residents from units and townhouses in Mirvac's Burswood Peninsula development have taken legal action against the Barnett Government to halt its proposed sale of 5.8ha for the $570 million, six-star hotel.

    The Government intends to use the 1985 Casino Agreement Act to sell the land to Crown Limited for $60 million and exempt the casino from having to lodge its plans with the Town of Victoria Park or the WA Planning Commission.

    The Premier has said in Parliament that Crown has an "entitlement" to buy the land, which the Government intends to sell at a $35 million discount on the Valuer-General's valuation.

    However, the 23 residents taking action against the State and Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron argue that once the land is excised from the resort site so it can be sold, the planning exemption should no longer apply.

    In a pre-action discovery hearing before Master Craig Sanderson yesterday, Doug Solomon, lawyer for the residents, said a letter from the State Solicitor's Office in February said the State and Mr Waldron did not contend there was any entitlement or right.

    He questioned how Cabinet endorsed the first stage of preliminary works, as outlined in a separate letter from Mr Waldron to residents in January, when a sale had not been gazetted as required under the Act.

    Mr Solomon said the executive of Government was proceeding "with feet flat on the floor" but "on what basis, we don't know". He said though the outcome of the pre- action discovery, aimed at forcing the Government to hand over documents, would determine any further action "there was very dense smoke" about what had taken place.

    Alan Sefton, for the State, said references to Hansard in one of the affidavits raised questions about whether the plaintiffs sought to "question or impeach proceedings in Parliament".
    The matter was adjourned to give the Speaker of the Lower House notice on whether he wanted to take part in the proceedings.


  14. Wish I could cook!


    Union pay rates hit Ichthys

    Penalty rates that would see a cook paid about $230,000 a year threaten a cost blowout on Inpex's massive $34 billion Ichthys gas field off the WA coast, just weeks after rising bills scuttled Woodside's nearby $40 billion Browse venture.

    The latest Maritime Union wage claims are contained in a copy of the industry's current pattern bargaining push, obtained by _WestBusiness _.

    It specifies that cooks working on offshore oil and gas project support vessels with six, 28-day-shifts a year (working 10 hours each day) should be paid a base salary of $131,050.

    But a host of other conditions lifts this to about $230,000 according to calculations by specialists Nelson Consulting Group.

    These include that those working on the Japanese and French-backed project get an "Inpex allowance" of $250 a day.

    There are also tight restrictions on the use of foreign and non-union labour, and an allowance of up to $80 if onboard air-conditioning fails for a period of two or more hours where temperatures exceed 28C, or $30 below 28C.

    Industry groups have warned that the payments are symptomatic of broader worrying trends in the sector that are making Australia uncompetitive and scaring off investment for projects such as Woodside's James Price Point development.

    Just last week, former resources Minister Martin Ferguson warned unions not to "kill the golden goose" by demanding unreasonable conditions.

    An Inpex spokeswoman warned that there had already been a sharp jump in costs and that investors needed greater certainty for the massive projects.

    "Gas industry projects have very long time frames and require investment of an enormous scale and, as a result, require the greatest possible certainty about stability of operating costs," she said.

    "The continued development and growth of the gas industry requires a focus on productivity and reasonable wage growth . . . as an outcome for the current negotiations."

    Maritime Union organiser Will Tracey, who is understood to be leading negotiations for the union, did not return calls yesterday.

    But unions have argued that they are not to blame for the industry's woes and the remote, tough, jobs demand adequate remuneration.

    They have also criticised big oil and gas companies, including Chevron for bungled project management resulting in sharp budget blowouts on ventures such as the US giant's $52 billion Barrow Island site.

    Nelson Consulting Group director Darren Nelson said the closed shop nature of the wage claim was designed to limit international competition and would harm productivity.
    Inpex is targeting the end of 2016 for the first shipment of LNG cargoes from Darwin. The Federal Coalition has promised to re-establish the Howard Government's building watchdog, and extend its powers to offshore oil and gas. COOK UP 230K The amount the Maritime Union of Australia wants chefs working on the Ichthys project paid.


  15. Great Barrier Reef is at risk even if it doesn't make Unesco's danger list

    UN World Heritage Committee to rule on whether fossil fuel industry threatens Australia's reef, but its coral is already in peril


    It might be regarded as some sort of sick joke that the Great Barrier Reef happens to nestle beside the heart of Australia's fossil fuel export boom.

    When the coal ships leave the Queensland ports, the two become one as the captains make passage through the 2300 kilometre/1430 mile-long reef – the world's largest.

    Now environment groups and the United Nations World Heritage Committee have decided this joke just isn't funny any more.

    WWF Australia, the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Greenpeace are all engaged in campaigns to "save the reef" from the ravages of climate change and the construction of multi-billion dollar port facilities to ship coal and gas around the world.

    Greenpeace describes it as "one of the biggest environmental battles in our nation's history" and is pushing a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience.

    Next month in Cambodia, the World Heritage Committee will consider a "draft decision" to place the reef on its "danger list" in 2014 unless the State and Federal Governments can give some firm guarantees.

    Chief among these requests is that no more developments are approved along the Queensland coast that would "impact individually or cumulatively" on the reef's remarkable natural heritage.

    This pressure comes too late for work at Gladstone harbour, where 16 million cubic metres of sea floor have already been dredged in a project that will eventually remove 26 million cubic metres to serve the Liquefied Natural Gas plant being built on Curtis Island.

    This plant will have the capacity to export about 20 million tonnes of LNG a year and will use gas taken from the drilling and fracking of coal seams in rural Queensland.


    Put this together with the planned rapid expansion of Australia's already world leading coal export trade and you can see why environmental groups are worried.

    Ocean acidification and warming ocean temperatures, linked to increasing greenhouse gas emissions from burning all that coal and gas, are not friends of the reef. Neither are murky waters or increased nutrient levels when water runs off from farms.

    Being hit by coal ships doesn't help either (the grounding of the Shen Neng in April 2010 damaged or destroyed 115,000 square metres of Douglas Shoal reef, gouging a channel three kilometres/1.8 miles long).

    Australia has told the UN committee there are currently 43 other projects being assessed for their impact on the reef.

    A Greenpeace report "Boom Goes the Reef" says if all coal projects in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area were to go ahead, this would see exports rise from 156 million tonnes in 2011 to 944 million tonnes by the end of the decade.

    The reef has been a World Heritage site since 1981 but the prospect of being added to the committee's "danger list" - which currently numbers 38 properties - is an embarrassment.


    Researchers have re-created reef ecosystems in tanks – complete with corals, sediments, rocks, fish, crabs and plants – and then subjected them to the kinds of temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations expected near the end of this century. The lead researcher Associate Professor Sophie Dove describes what she is witnessing as the "slippery slope to slime".

    The mining industry's Queensland Resources Council has dismissed the concerns and says the reef can co-exist with industry, which it claims is working hard to keep impacts down. QRC says people should focus on activities "that actually impact on the reef rather than populist or emotive reaction".

    Yet the science suggests it is the activities of the fossil fuel industries in Australia and elsewhere that pose the greatest risk to the reef's future as a global natural wonder.

    That's no joke.


  16. America's first climate refugees

    Newtok, Alaska is losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate and for its residents, exile is inevitable.

    The people of Newtok, on the west coast of Alaska and about 400 miles south of the Bering Strait that separates the state from Russia, are living a slow-motion disaster that will end, very possibly within the next five years, with the entire village being washed away.

    The Ninglick River coils around Newtok on three sides before emptying into the Bering Sea. It has steadily been eating away at the land, carrying off 100ft or more some years, in a process moving at unusual speed because of climate change. Eventually all of the villagers will have to leave, becoming America's first climate change refugees.

    It is not a label or a future embraced by people living in Newtok. Yup'ik Eskimo have been fishing and hunting by the shores of the Bering Sea for centuries and the villagers reject the notion they will now be forced to run in chaos from ancestral lands.

    But exile is undeniable. A report by the US Army Corps of Engineers predicted that the highest point in the village – the school of Warner's nightmare – could be underwater by 2017. There was no possible way to protect the village in place, the report concluded.

    If Newtok can not move its people to the new site in time, the village will disappear. A community of 350 people, nearly all related to some degree and all intimately connected to the land, will cease to exist, its inhabitants scattered to the villages and towns of western Alaska, Anchorage and beyond.

    It's a choice confronting more than 180 native communities in Alaska, which are flooding and losing land because of the ice melt that is part of the changing climate.

    The Arctic Council, the group of countries that governs the polar regions, are gathering in Sweden today. But climate change refugees are not high on their agenda, and Obama administration officials told reporters on Friday there would be no additional money to help communities in the firing line.

    On the other side of the continent, the cities and towns of the east coast are waking up to their own version of Warner's nightmare: the storm surges demonstrated by hurricane Sandy. About half of America's population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. Those numbers are projected to grow even more in the coming decades.

    What chance do any of those communities, in Alaska or on the Atlantic coast, have of a fair and secure future under climate change, if a tiny community like Newtok – just 63 houses in all – cannot be assured of survival?

    But as the villagers of Newtok are discovering, recognising the gravity of the threat posed by climate change and responding in time are two very different matters.


    What is a climate refugee?

    The immediate image that comes to mind of “climate refugees” is people of small tropical islands in the Pacific or of a low-lying delta like in Bangladesh, where inhabitants have been forced out of their homes by sea-level rise.

    The broader phenomenon is usually taken to be people displaced from their homes by the impact of a changing climate – although the strict definition of a refugee in international law is more narrow including people displaced by war, violence or persecution, but not environmental changes.

    With climate change occurring rapidly in the far north, where temperatures are warming faster than the global average, the typical picture of the climate refugee is set to become more diverse. Sea ice is in retreat, the permafrost is melting, bringing the effects of climate change in real time to residents of the remote villages of Alaska.

    These villages, whose residents are nearly all native Alaskans, are already experiencing the flooding and erosion that are the signature effects of climate change in Alaska. The residents of a number of villages – including Newtok – are now actively working to leave their homes and the lands they have occupied for centuries and move to safer locations.


  17. PAT DODSON on ABC Kimberley this morning gave Buru and other frackers notice - we may not be able to stop you fracking our country but we can make sure it is done to the highest standards.

    He had some good ideas including having independent tests done separate from the government and frackers.



    The "Great Leader" - "Emperor Colon Barnett" is off to China again.

    As usual he will be asking the Chinese to dig deep into their pockets to fund some of his grand plans which the Japanese have backed away from.

    Namely,of course,Oakajee and Browse.

    "...are they prepared to pick up some of that slack?"The Emperor asked.

    He also said he had heard the Chinese making noises which he thought sounded positive but maybe they were only being polite.

    He was definitely not making any promises.


  18. Why has Barnett got it into his head JPP is the place for the supply base?

    The Worley Parsons report put JPP last on their list of sites and Broome Port first.

    Then this today from BCNGC :

    2.4.5 Industrial Land
    Industrial land comprises areas set aside for industrial
    development and other employment activities...

    1. To ensure that land is available for a range of industrial uses to
    support economic growth within the shire, which includes the
    development of the Browse LNG Precinct and Broome Port as
    the supply base for the Browse Basin.

    ...& so on...

    1. Provide general industry at Broome Road to accommodate the
    anticipated growth in the transport and construction sectors
    and other industries including expected growth from the
    development of the Browse LNG Precinct.
    2. Provide for general industry that supports the Broome Port as
    a supply base for the Browse Basin.

    ...& so on...


    ...3. Upgrade the port that is the supply base to the Browse Basin
    development to allow for container shipping whilst also
    retaining its tourism function.


    Yes it does have a map with a "proposed port" at JPP - BUT not a supply base.
    Barnett said a few years ago there would be no supply base at JPP it was for "other things".
    He wanted Inpex to build a supply base at Point Torment estimated at the time for $750 million although Barnett adjusted it to $500 million shortly after.
    Inpex of course nearly died of fright and chose Mermaid Marine at Broome Port for $20 million.
    Shells Darwin supply base cost them $25 million.

    ......... Precinct 5 (General and Port Industrial)
    Precinct 5 comprises of the industrial area along the western side
    of Port Drive and the Port to the south.
    1. Establish Precinct 5 as the General Industry and Port Lands
    precinct of the shire that provides the supply base to the
    Browse Basin.

    • Allow for only general industrial uses and port related
    industries within the precinct.
    • Provide a port that is the supply base to the Browse Basin
    development and allows for container shipping, whilst
    retaining its tourism function.
    • Consider and where possible avoid environmental impacts
    associated with drainage flooding and erosion.
    • A development strategy should detail the integration between
    the industrial and port land uses and provides for its future


    Again in the "Improvement Plan".

    ...At a Special Meeting on 28 June 2012, the Council of the
    Shire of Broome resolved to support the preparation of an
    Improvement Scheme but included in its recommendations that
    the objectives be modified to provide better guidance as to the
    intent of the precinct and to ensure:

    ...• that the Broome port remains the supply base port and that
    the port and the precinct only provides for directly associated


    7.9.2 Port
    Broome Port plays an important role in the movement of goods
    and equipment inwards and outwards for the community
    and business. It also performs an important tourism function
    by providing for the docking of cruise ships which could
    accommodate up to 2,000 passengers at a time.
    The Port will have an ongoing role in the transport of supplies
    and equipment for the Browse Basin. It will also experience
    significant increased use during the construction of loading
    facilities at the Browse LNG Precinct. The increased activity in
    offshore oil and gas industries places additional pressures on the
    port to provide support services to the broader region including
    the Pilbara.
    In addition to the Port itself, there will be increased demand
    for land in close proximity to be used as lay down areas for the movement of goods.


    NOW whatever could have changed to make Barnett think JPP is a good site for a supply base when clearly it isn't?


  19. From BCNGC thank you Robin it's getting interesting - cant wait to see the sums of money involved in this one - Barnetts latest Grande Follie !


    A Question on JAMES PRICE POINT

    Thanks to Robin Chapple. When will the Premier get the message?


    Wednesday, 15 May 2013

    Hon Robin Chapple to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for State Development

    I refer to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 May, 2013 in which the Minister for State Development was reported as stating that there was a lot of merit to building a port at James Price Point to service as a supply base for Woodside's Browse Basin operations as well as the Canning Basin shale gas ventures, and I ask:

    (1) Has the Department of State Development drawn up any plans to develop a port for a supply base for Browse Basin gas development at or near James Price Point or in any other area of the West Australian coast? If yes, will the Minister table the plans?

    (2) Does the Minister rule out the use of public funding to build:

    a. A port for a supply base for Browse Basin gas?

    b. A road to James Price Point to service the gas processing industry?

    (3) Has the Minister or the Department been in any discussions or meetings with companies other than Woodside interested in building gas refineries at James Price Point? If yes, who are these companies?

    (4) Has the government made a decision on the compulsory acquisition of land at James Price Point for gas refineries? If yes, when was this decision made?

    (5) If no to 4, when will the government make a decision on whether to proceed with compulsory acquisition?

    I thank the Hon. Member for some notice of this question. Department of State Development advises:

    The Department of State Development has not drawn up any plans to develop a port for a supply base for Browse Basin gas.

    (2a-b) The Government expects users to bear the cost of port facilities and associated infrastructure in Western Australia. The Broome Port Authority will manage the port facility at the Browse LNG Precinct under the jurisdiction of the Port Authorities Act 1999. The State will carry out commercial negotiations with potential users to determine the financial arrangements that will apply for the construction and operation of those facilities.

    (3) Government regularly promotes potential investment opportunities, including the Browse LNG Precinct, in a range of forums. The Hon. Member is encouraged to submit a FOI application for further information in terms of those present to ensure that appropriate commercial-in-confidence considerations can take place under the Freedom of Information Act.

    (4-5) The Government will make an announcement when it has made a decision.


    (Barnett will scare everyone off they will lock the doors and windows when they see him coming and hide under their desks.)




    Page 47 of this Worley Parsons "desk top" report has a map of the planned JPP supply base.


    Page 52 a map of the Point Torment supply base.


    Page 58 Derby.


    AND Page 37/38 - Broome.


    (Derby Port was ruled out because of the Fitzroy River leaving 3 sites)

    And LAST on the list...

    The matrix ranks James Price Point as the third preferred site for a supply base.

    "...The site rated
    less favourably than the other sites due to the large construction works involved for a breakwater and
    dredging of an access channel to construct a port that can be operated 24/7. Hard rock is likely to be
    encountered close to shore which makes dredging and wharf construction more difficult. The coastal
    site is exposed and has greater risk for construction downtime from cyclones and storms."



    MLC Peter Collier was friends with the WA Young Liberal member on Facebook when the then 16-year-old posted the photo, in which his private parts are visible, in late 2011.

    Mr Collier clicked the Like button on the photo, along with almost 30 others, but it emerged only recently after the teenager tweeted it to his followers.


    WEST Australian Education Minister Peter Collier has been forced to issue an apology over a Facebook photograph showing a teenage schoolboy exposing his genitals on which he clicked "like".


    The Australian understands Mr Collier has told colleagues he looked at the faces of the teenager and the other person in the photo, a man the minister thought might have been the teen's father, when he joined 27 others who also clicked "like" on the photo in late 2011.

    But the teenager was playing a prank called "sneaky nuts"' made popular by Chris Lilley's ABC television series Angry Boys. In the show, character Daniel enjoys ruining group photos by sneakily exposing himself to the camera.

    Mr Collier, a Liberal Party powerbroker and the most senior government MP in the WA legislative council, said yesterday that he was embarrassed.


    The teenager boasted about the prank on Twitter and named Mr Collier as one of the people who liked the photo. But the matter came to wider attention yesterday when Mr Collier's former chief of staff Darren Brown wrote about it in an online column and showed the photo. The teen's face and crotch were blurred in the version Brown uploaded on to his blog, as was the face of the older man in the photo.

    Mr Brown has been a strident critic of Mr Collier and claims the minister fired him without explanation in October 2011.

    (maybe collier and twiggy play "sneaky nuts" together?")


    1. Billionaire miners are real dirty over being asked to pay tax like most other people have to - people like nurses,police,carers etc.


      Mining industry being treated as ATM, says Gina Rinehart

      AUSTRALIA'S richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has accused the Australian government of using the mining industry like an automatic teller machine while blasting Aboriginal claims for compensation.


      The increasingly reclusive head of Hancock Resources latest address cites governments with "thoughts clouded by six record years of revenue".


      Her latest video comes the morning after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's budget reply last night, and echoes similar sentiments.

      She also cited Woodside Energy's abandonment of the James Price Point project as an example of how government costs were hurting the mining industry.

      However, Ms Rinehart failed to give any direct evidence state and federal government regulation had directly contributed to the scrapping of the JPP project.


      ( ALL THIS AS MINERS CONTINUE TO USE STOLEN COUNTRY AS THEIR OWN PERSONAL ATM - and look at the conditions Aboriginal people have to endure so foreign invaders can make their wealth from their country - and the people stealing it never stop whinging and want more more more)


      “In contrast, we’ve been saddled with bad government policies that make us uncompetitive, when we could instead make the north a productive food bowl and source of minerals, as well as a centre for medical care, tourism and services for not just Australia but our Asian neighbours,” she says.


      She says it is astonishing that Aboriginal leaders argued Woodside Petroleum and the Western Australian government were “morally obliged” to support a $1.5 billion compensation package even though a $40 billion gas plant near Broome had been shelved.



      She harks back to former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen, for axing death duties. Sir Joh was a kindred spirit to her late father, mining magnate Lang Hancock.


      Ms Rinehart said few Australians ''properly understand'' that the mining industry isn't a cash-cow, saying people in resource industries needed to stand up for themselves.

      The industry provided the only hope, she claimed, of Australia not spiralling into the debt of the same severity as Greece.


      On Friday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Mrs Rinehart was talking ''absolute nonsense'' and was not backed in by ''responsible economists'' or ratings agencies.

      ''What that is about, of course, is helping with the softening up campaign for more of [Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's] cuts,'' Ms Gillard said.

      Ms Gillard dismissed Mrs Rinehart's view that the government was using the mining industry as an ATM.

      ''What we are doing is taxing super profits in the mining industry...'' she said.


      Ms Rinehart will also use her conference address to take a stab at Aboriginal leaders who have argued Woodside Petroleum and the WA government were ''morally obliged'' to support a $1.5 billion compensation package, despite the shelving of a $40 billion gas plant near Broome.

      ''This is spending the money of a resource company without giving even the company itself the chance to first earn it,'' the Financial Review reported her as saying in comments that will do little to improve her contentious public image.

      She also wants Australia to borrow from the economic policies of Singapore, the report said, using low taxes to encourage investment and development. Ms Rinehart will call for the creation of special economic zones across northern Australia, arguing it has the natural resources Singapore lacks.


    2. Bergman playing the "poor hard done by" when it was his greed and corrupt process that spear headed the move to align the KLC with 3 people with very flawed judgement - Voelte,Barnett & Ferguson.

      He must think by erasing his memory of events everyone else will suffer the same amnesia.It's not going to happen Wayne.


      Rinehart comments labelled 'misguided'

      The former head of an Aboriginal land council has labelled Gina Rinehart's latest public spray as 'misguided'.


      The former CEO of the Kimberley Land Council Wayne Bergmann was a key negotiator for the traditional owners and says Aboriginal people deserve to benefit from the development.

      "I think Gina's comments are just misguided, she does not know the extent to which Aboriginal people were engaged and pressured during this negotiation," he said.

      "These assets belong to Western Australia and Aboriginal people are part of Australian citizens. They have an obligation to develop these projects in a way that better improve the lives of all Australians and Aboriginal people are one of the most disadvantaged groups."


  22. The shape of things to come.

    Green light given despite failure to address guidelines

    TASMANIA has approved an iron ore strip mine in the Tarkine region, despite failing to meet a requirement to assess its impact as part of broader plans for three neighbouring mines.

    The state's Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced Venture Mineral's plan to extract two million tonnes of haematite from the site, west of Tullah, could be managed in an "environmentally acceptable manner".

    However, it confirmed it had failed to address a guideline that it assess the cumulative environmental impact of the project with two others proposed for the same 15km stretch of the Tarkine.

    As well, the EPA ignored the recommendation of Venture's own consultants that a dusk-'til-dawn traffic curfew be imposed to protect endangered Tasmanian devils.

    And instead of including detailed protections of the devil as conditions on the approval, the agency accepted "commitments" from Venture that it would adopt necessary measures.

    All three Venture mines are located within an area that the National Heritage Council earlier this year recommended should be granted the added protection of national heritage listing - a move rejected by Canberra.

    Conservation group the Tarkine National Coalition slammed the EPA assessment - carried out as a joint federal-state process under a bilateral agreement - as "half-baked" and "farcical".

    "Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke must now admit that trusting the Tasmanian government to conduct assessments in his stead was a mistake," TNC campaigner Scott Jordan said.

    "Tony Burke said that the environmental impacts of the three mines, such as roadkill of devils, would be assessed in light of the cumulative impact. The EPA has just thrown that out entirely."

    Mr Burke must now decide whether to accept the EPA's assessment and approve the mine, which would create 60 jobs across its two-year life, or insist on further federal assessment or conditions.

    Last night Mr Burke said that despite the joint federal-state nature of the assessment, he would make the final decision.

    "The assessment will come to me for a decision on whether to approve the proposal under national environment law," he said. "In making my decision, I will look very carefully at the Tasmanian assessment report and any public comments received."

    EPA director Alex Schaap said the agency's board could not consider the cumulative impact of the three mines while only one was at the point of assessment.

    "The (EPA) board considers the proposal before it. If the other two Venture proposals that have been mooted do go ahead, then the cumulative impacts will be considered as each of those are addressed," Mr Schaap said.

    He said the potential impacts on devils were not judged to be significant enough to spell out detailed devil management plans in the approval conditions, a move that would have strengthened their regulatory force.

    Mr Jordan said this meant the only explicit condition relating to devils, a species on the brink of extinction, was that Venture report on how many it killed.


  23. Coal, gas 'won't fall off a cliff'

    AUSTRALIA'S decade-long surge in mining investment is expected to remain at high levels until 2015 and these plans should exceed total investment of the past three years, according to an industry survey.

    The findings of a client survey by the resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie is contrary to concerns raised by a number of prominent economists who have warned of an abrupt end to the boom triggered by slower growth in China.

    While Wood Mackenzie says investment will peak at a record level this year, its survey adds significantly to what is known about the state of the industry beyond this peak.

    Instead of dropping off a cliff, the survey found that ongoing investment in coal and gas projects should support medium-term growth in the industry.

    The survey supports and expands on Treasury's comments in this year's budget about mining investment remaining "elevated through to at least the middle of the decade".


  24. It seems Barnett isn't talking to his own government.
    Barnett says he will build a supply base at JPP.
    His government says it will upgrade Broome port for a supply base.


    Plans to upgrade regional transport infrastructure

    The State Government has released a 20 year strategy for the development of WA's regional roads, rail network and ports, including plans to construct a rail link between Geraldton and Kalgoorlie.


    In the KINBERLEY it proposes an upgrade BROOME'S MAIN WHARF, developing a MARINE SUPPLY BASE to service BROWSE BASIN... and the construction a heavy vehicle bypass around Kununurra.


    Does he want to beat the Kimberley into submission by denying us all other types of income?


    Ad ban 'will cripple tourism'

    WA’s tourism sector is up in arms over a Government advertising freeze it says will lead to wide job losses and cripple an industry already reeling.

    Tourism Minister Kim Hames also attracted Opposition fire yesterday for flying to Bali to present a sailing trophy three days after the Treasurer ordered a Government-wide ban on non-essential travel.

    Tourism WA, whose role is to attract visitors to keep the industry’s 90,000 employees in work, has been historically exempt from such advertising freezes.

    But though the Water Corporation, Racing and Wagering WA and Treasurer Troy Buswell’s Public Transport Authority were spared the ban, Tourism WA was told to cease its core function for six weeks.


    The freeze on advertising to June 30 is likely to save the Government $6.3 million.


    Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said the measures would devastate the industry already reeling from the high Australian dollar.


    “This is the worst possible time to do this,” he said. “This will destroy the tourism industry in BROOME if we are not going to market the peak period now.


    Australian Hotels Association chief Bradley Woods said Dr Hames promised an extra $6 million a year for TWA at the election and would face a backlash and heavy criticism if the decision was not reversed.

    A spokeswoman said Dr Hames’ trip to honour the winner of the second biennial Fremantle to Bali Yacht Race was planned before this week.


    THIS FROM JULY 4th 2012.



    Tourists told 'not to bother' with Perth

    ".....Mr Alwyn-Jones also criticised the high price of hotel rooms.

    He said he was shocked to pay $79 for two burgers, one draft beer and two draft ciders.


    He also said the state appeared to be preoccupied with mining and that was evident when Premier COLIN BARNETT spoke at the tourism event he was attending.

    "He announced he knew little about tourism, continuing to tell the travel audience all about the strength of MINING in WA and the state's relationship with China – very strange when considering the audience," Mr Alwyn-Jones said.


    Tourism Council of WA chief executive Evan Hall told ABC radio that there were cost pressures on the industry because of the increased activity in the state's resources sector."


  25. Barnett eyes projects to fill gap

    Premier Colin Barnett is looking three years into WA's future and sees a looming gap in new construction that needs to be filled with the next generation of big resources projects.

    Mr Barnett said he had not bought into hype at the height of the so-called mining boom and despite recent job losses, project deferrals and a growing chorus calling the peak of the mining construction boom he was equally sceptical about the extent of the gloom now facing WA.

    But he said WA needed to secure projects, such as the stalled Oakajee port, development of the shale gas-rich Canning Basin and the Ord River expansion to avoid a serious slowdown.


    We've still got a lot of construction under way or committed and there's a lot of activity that will go on for the next three years or so. I think where the question mark comes in my mind is, well, what will follow those projects?

    "If we don't get them (the next round of projects) up and going then we would face a gap in engineering and construction. So that's a challenge."


    Signs WA's mining-fuelled boom is losing steam have been growing for months, most recently with Woodside Petroleum's decision to shelve its $40 billion Browse project, warnings from aluminium giant Alcoa that conditions are tougher than in the global financial crisis and the State's jobless figures jumping to a three-year high.

    Thousands of jobs have been cut from WA mining companies and contractors in the past nine months, funding has dried up for junior miners and sky-high rents in some mining towns have fallen.


    .... one of the projects that had been a major hope for WA, Browse, has of course fallen over.

    "With most of the big iron ore and base metal projects nearing completion and some of the other ones that might have got the go-ahead being put in the bottom drawer again, the likelihood is there'll be a significant slowing in business investment by the resources sector in WA.

    "As those projects move from construction to production there will be a significant lift in exports and that will boost WA's GDP. But it won't contribute nearly as much to employment as the construction phase has been doing because there's typically far fewer people involved in operating a mine."


    WorleyParsons shares hit four-year lows

    Shares in engineering giant WorleyParsons plunged to four-year lows after it blamed a slowdown in Western Australia's mining industry for a profit downgrade.

    ...However the recent cancellation of Woodside Petroleum's $45 billion-plus Browse Basin gas hub is believed to have hurt earnings.

    It is the latest contractor to downgrade earnings and signify a staggering resources sector, with UGL cutting earnings guidance by more than 40 per cent this week and Ausdrill shaving expectations last month.

    WorleyParsons' shares sank by $2.79, or 12.5 per cent, to $19.50.


    Chief executive Andrew Wood blamed softening demand for resource infrastructure in WA and major cost cutting by resources companies, with commodity prices down.

    Its construction business in Canada, WorleyParsonsCord, will also make a smaller profit than expected because of a softening in construction activity in the Canadian oil sands market.

    But he said other WorleyParsons businesses would be able to make up for some of the lower than expected profits.

    "While Western Australia and WorleyParsonsCord have underperformed, a number of regions are performing strongly, particularly the United States, Canada and China," Mr Wood said in a statement.

    Given its earnings are dominated by the booming global oil and gas sector, the downgrade highlighted that activity in the minerals and metals industry must be very slow, Morningstar analyst Peter Rae said.

    "I think the extent of the slowdown and the way it's hurt them is a surprise, indicating quite a sharp slowdown in activity in the west," he told AAP.




    A Black Mound of Canadian Oil Waste Is Rising Over Detroit

    WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

    Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

    And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

    The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.

    The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum

    “What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oil production is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, more than 2,000 miles north.

    An initial refining process known as coking, which releases the oil from the tarlike bitumen in the oil sands, also leaves the petroleum coke, of which Canada has 79.8 million tons stockpiled. Some is dumped in open-pit oil sands mines and tailing ponds in Alberta. Much is just piled up there.

    Detroit’s pile will not be the only one. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, have pulled more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here.

    Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen.

    “Here’s a little bit of Alberta,” said Brian Masse, one of Windsor’s Parliament members. “For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we’re now seeing up front and center that we’re not.”


    Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

    While there is high demand from both those industries, the small grains and high sulfur content of this petroleum coke make it largely unusable for those purposes

    “It is worse than a byproduct,” Ms. Satterthwaite said.“It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.”


    The Keystone XL pipeline will provide Gulf Coast refineries with a steady supply of diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The plants on the coast, like the coking refineries concentrated in California to deal with that state’s heavy crude oil, are positioned to ship the waste to China or Mexico, where it is burned as a fuel. California exports about 128,000 barrels of petroleum coke a day, mainly to China.


    And what about the leftover coke? The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States...overseas companies saw it as a cheap alternative to low-grade coal. In China, it is used to generate electricity, adding to that country’s air-quality problems. There is also strong demand from India and Latin America for American petroleum coke, where it mainly fuels cement-making kilns.

    “I’m not making a value statement, but it comes down to emission controls,” Mr. Routt said. “Other people don’t seem to have a problem, which is why it is going to Mexico, which is why it is going to China.”

    “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. One of the world’s largest dealers of petroleum coke is the Oxbow Corporation, which sells about 11 million tons of fuel-grade coke a year. It is owned by William I. Koch, a brother of David and Charles.

  27. No surprises here - all this was forecast right here some years ago.



    The bigger the Boom - the bigger the Bust.


    The party is over

    WA Treasury has cut more than $2 billion from State revenue forecasts since February's pre- election financial update.

    The writedown over four years to 2016-17 is mostly from revised official State iron ore price and royalty forecasts and a smaller-than-expected national GST take.

    Treasury is also worried about a WA labour market that has deteriorated quicker than expected, which could mean lower payroll tax receipts.

    This will further imperil a planned but slim $241 million Budget surplus for 2012-13 and the Government's promise to always deliver surpluses.

    Amid the State's financial decline, Premier Colin Barnett backed calls yesterday from NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell for a "fair dinkum and honest discussion" about raising the GST from 10 per cent and possibly broadening it.

    A range of goods and services, including fresh food and most health and education services, are GST exempt.


    Population growth is also having a significant impact on expenses and demand for services.

    Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said Barnett was backing away from election promises.


    Slowdown to slug WA Budget

    WA faces a "bumpy" landing from the mining slowdown that could mean more unemployment, slower growth and the State Government forced to either cut spending or raise taxes, economists warn.

    Experts agree WA faces a slowdown but are divided on how serious it will be and how much a weaker Australian dollar and increased exports will cushion the effects of lower commodity prices and a lack of new construction.


    Business must shoulder some blame: Barnett

    The Premier said there was some truth in industry complaints about high wages and low productivity but "that should not be interpreted as the major reason for cost rises".

    "I think some of the management decisions haven't been that good and we've seen companies build up perhaps too big a workforce, too big an administration, perhaps paying too high wages and they've built up their cost structure, which they now struggle to sustain," he said.

    "A lot of people are running around politically blaming the unions and the workers and, yes, that's part of the story, but there's also been some less-than-good management decision- making and companies have built up their cost structure too high."



    Executive quits Muja vehicle

    Mystery surrounding Verve Energy's troubled $250 million bid to resurrect the Muja coal-fired power station in Collie has deepened, with senior executives from its joint venture partner resigning en masse.


    From the outset the Muja revival has been beset by woes and last year a boiler explosion, during operational trials, forced a re-think of the project and a cost blowout of $102 million. But the extra money was not enough to fix the problem.

    This year WA Treasury demanded a full report from Verve about the project and what would be required to fix it. "Further delays or cost increases in excess of those included in this (statement) may need to be considered as part of the 2013-14 Budget," Under Treasurer Tim Marney said at the time.


    _WestBusiness _understands the report has been delivered and advises that millions more will need to be spent before the plant is viable.


    .. The departure of Mr Kempe and Mr Williams raises questions about the future of the joint venture, and whether Verve has been forced to assume Inalco's stake, meaning taxpayers could be on the hook for the entire project.



    The rest of the world is catching up with gas that is much cheaper than his and WA's "Mega Dreams" will be overtaken by future developments in technology.


    Before the Flood.


    LNG risks rise as US approves gas terminal in Texas

    THE threat posed to future Australian liquefied natural gas projects by US shale gas has deepened with the Obama administration approving a terminal in Texas as the first allowed to send shipments to Japan.

    The decision to allow Freeport LNG to ship to the world's largest LNG buyer comes after heavy lobbying of the US government by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


    US shale gas may become export rival to Australia

    Fears that the US could become a gas export rival to Australia are firming, after the Obama administration approved more liquefied natural gas exports at the weekend.


    While the approval relates to just one LNG project, it is seen as an important indicator for how the US government will judge close to 20 other applications to export LNG.


    But the emergence of the US as a supplier to gas-hungry nations such as Japan and Korea could threaten the chances of more gas projects being approved in Australia, where billions are being spent on projects in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

    British bank Barclays recently predicted the US could be exporting as much gas as Australia within 12 years if the relaxation of export rules continued as expected.

    Australian gas projects are considered among the world's most expensive to build, and increased competition from low-cost producers in the US will only make it harder for Australian projects to get off the ground.

    Excessive costs have already been cited as the reason for Woodside Petroleum to reject plans to build a big gas hub at James Price Point near Broome.




    Rio Tinto's head of global energy slams court ruling on coalmine

    RIO Tinto's head of its global energy business has warned that more than 150 major NSW projects, worth tens of billions of dollars, are at risk following a court decision to block the expansion of one of its coalmines.

    Harry Kenyon-Slaney, Rio Tinto's Energy chief executive, said the NSW Land and Environment Court's move to stop the expansion of its Warkworth coalmine had set a precedent that could threaten the broader economic development of NSW well beyond the mining sector.




    Coal industry may gain from China's move to lift import standards

    THE struggling Australian coal industry, which generally ships better-quality thermal coal than its export competitors, could gain some momentum if China pushes ahead with plans to tighten its import standards

    News agency Platts said it had seen draft regulations released to the local coal industry by China's National Energy Administration that ban the import and domestic delivery of poor-quality thermal coal.




    Harvesting forests to reduce fossil fuels the next big boondoggle

    WE are all brought up to recycle paper to save trees. Indeed, environmentalism was born with a call to preserve the forests.

    But now, in the name of saving the planet from climate change, environmentalists are proposing a global campaign to cut down and burn trees to reduce fossil-fuel use. This could be dismissed as a weird irony if it weren't for its phenomenal costs, which include likely destruction of biodiversity, increased water use and reduced global food production. And it may increase global CO2 emissions to boot.




    Climate Warnings, Growing Louder

    The news that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas, have hit 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years increases the pressure on President Obama to deliver on his pledges to limit this country’s greenhouse gas emissions. is possible to adopt a robust climate strategy based largely on executive actions. The most important of these is to invoke the E.P.A.’s authority under the Clean Air Act to limit pollution from stationary industrial sources, chiefly the power plants that account for almost 40 percent of the country’s carbon emissions. The agency is reworking a proposed rule to limit emissions from new power plants. A more complex but no less necessary task is to devise rules for existing power plants, which cannot be quickly shuttered without endangering the country’s power supply, but which can be made more efficient or phased out over time.

    Mr. Obama can also order the E.P.A. to curb the enormous leakage of methane, a potent global warming agent, from gas wells and the pipes that bring natural gas to consumers. This is critical if America’s bountiful supplies of cheap natural gas are to become a cleaner bridge from coal to alternative energy sources like wind and solar power.

    He can hasten the development of less-polluting alternatives to older-generation refrigerants and other chemicals. He can order the Energy Department to embark on a major program to improve the efficiency of appliances and commercial and residential buildings, which consume a huge chunk of the country’s energy supply. And he can ramp up investment in basic research.

    All of this will take time, which is why it is important to get started.


    New Fracking Rules Proposed for U.S. Land

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Thursday issued a new set of proposed rules governing hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on public lands, moving further to address industry concerns about the costs and reporting burdens of federal regulation.

    The new Interior Department proposal, which is subject to 30 days of public comment and further revision, disappointed environmental advocates, who had pushed for full disclosure of the chemicals used in the drilling process and tougher standards for groundwater protection and well integrity.

    The new rule allows oil companies to keep some components of their drilling fluids secret and will allow them to run well integrity tests on one representative well rather than all wells in a field where the geology and well construction techniques are similar.


    The proposed regulation, which revises one proposed a year ago, also allows drillers to comply with state regulations in places where federal officials deem them as tough or tougher than the applicable federal rules.

    Environmental advocacy groups and industry officials were critical of the proposed rules.

    “Comparing today’s rule governing fracking on public lands with the one proposed a year earlier, it is clear what happened: the Bureau of Land Management caved to the wealthy and powerful oil and gas industry and left the public to fend for itself,” said Jessica Ennis, legislative representative for Earthjustice.



    Opponents to the JPP gas hub are happy the signs can stay.

    However the Section 18 is still waiting for a decision even though Woodside have scrapped their gas hub plans.


  32. Despite assurances that NO jobs would be lost on Gorgon after the cost blowout it now seems Chevron are laying off.


    Jobs lost at Gorgon: reports

    Bianca Bartucciotto
    Monday, 20 May 2013

    CHEVRON has allegedly cut staff at its Gorgon project, according to The Australian Financial Review.


    Chevron guarantees jobs as Gorgon blows out $9bn

    December 6, 2012, 7:07 pm

    Resources giant Chevron says no jobs will be lost, and recruitment will go ahead as normal.
    Even though it's just announced a cost blow-out of $9 billion on the massive Gorgon project.


    New offshore environmental legislation through

    Friday, 17 May 2013

    RESOURCES Minister Gary Gray has hailed the passing of amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act as a great day for the environment.


    What is currently proposed?

    ...The key stated aims of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation Amendment (Compliance Measures) Bill 2012 (Amendment Bill) are:

    to strengthen the offshore petroleum regulatory regime in respect of compliance, safety, integrity and environment management objectives, and
    to clarify and strengthen the compliance, monitoring, investigation and enforcement powers of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

    What are the key changes?

    The Amendment Bill proposes the following key amendments:

    two new categories of occupational health and safety offences: recklessness, and

    an increase to the maximum criminal penalties for occupational health and safety (OHS) offences for body corporates to $2,975,000 (from a current maximum of $850,000),
    the introduction of a civil penalty regime for certain offences with a maximum civil penalty of $1,912,500 for a body corporate (depending on the offence), and
    changes to the way in which NOPSEMA inspectors may discharge their functions.

    New OHS offences

    The Amendment Bill introduces two new tiers of OHS offences: recklessness and negligence. The effect of the new offences is to categorise the seriousness of offences under the OHS provision of the OPGGS Act. Each of the new OHS offences is subject to substantially increased penalties that are designed to align the penalty regime with the penalties that may be imposed under the newly harmonised onshore safety legislation.


    The National Regulator Act will amend the Offshore Petroleum and
    Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGSA), expanding NOPSA’s
    existing regulatory functions to include environmental management. The
    National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management
    Authority (NOPSEMA) will commence operations on 1 January 2012 as
    Australia’s single national regulator for offshore petroleum health, safety,
    well integrity and environmental management.
    Initially, NOPSEMA’s operations will be restricted to Commonwealth waters, however the legislative amendments
    include provision for the states and Northern Territory to confer responsibility for designated coastal waters to
    NOPSEMA. This conferral of powers would enable seamless regulation of the industry from the shore to the outer
    jurisdiction of Commonwealth waters.
    In order to provide further information on the transition from NOPSA to NOPSEMA, this information booklet is
    intended as a summary of the main aspects relating to offshore petroleum environment management regulation
    under the new arrangements, with a focus on environment plan assessment activities.




    Obama's Arctic strategy sets off a climate time bomb

    US National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritises corporate 'economic opportunities' at the expense of everyone else

    One week ago, the Obama administration launched its National Strategy for the Arctic Region, outlining the government's strategic priorities over the next 10 years. The release of the strategy came about a week after the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President at the White House Complex hosted a briefing with international Arctic scientists.

    Despite giving lip service to the values of environmental conservation, the new document focuses on how the US can manage the exploitation of the region's vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources in cooperation with other Arctic powers.


    US hinges success of Arctic strategy on diminishing sea ice

    At the heart of the White House's new Arctic strategy is an elementary but devastating contradiction between what President Obama, in the document's preamble, describes as seeking "to make the most of the emerging economic opportunities in the region" due to the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and recognising "the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment."

    Despite repeated references to "preservation" and "conservation", the strategy fails to outline any specific steps that would be explored to mitigate or prevent the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice due to intensifying global warming. Instead, the document from the outset aims to:

    "... position the United States to respond effectively to challenges and emerging opportunities arising from significant increases in Arctic activity due to the diminishment of sea ice and the emergence of a new Arctic environment."

    In other words, far from being designed to prevent catastrophe, the success of the new strategy is premised precisely on the disappearance of the Arctic summer sea ice.

    The document identifies three main US objectives in the region: advancing US "security interests" by increasing US military and commercial penetration "through, under, and over the airspace and waters of the Arctic"; pursuing "responsible Arctic region stewardship" by continuing to "conserve its resources"; and strengthening international cooperation to advance "collective interests" and "shared Arctic state prosperity" - all the while, somehow working to "protect the Arctic environment."


    Vast quantities of mineral resources

    But the most important strategic objective is all about Big Oil.

    Noting that "ocean resources are more readily accessible as sea ice diminishes", the strategy document points out that:

    "The reduction in sea ice has been dramatic, abrupt, and unrelenting. The dense, multi-year ice is giving way to thin layers of seasonal ice, making more of the region navigable year-round. Scientific estimates of technically recoverable conventional oil and gas resources north of the Arctic Circle total approximately 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the world's undiscovered gas deposits, as well as vast quantities of mineral resources, including rare earth elements, iron ore, and nickel. These estimates have inspired fresh ideas for commercial initiatives and infrastructure development in the region. As portions of the Arctic Ocean become more navigable, there is increasing interest in the viability of the Northern Sea Route and other potential routes, including the Northwest Passage, as well as in development of Arctic resources."

    The document emphasises that the Arctic is central to US "energy security", as the region:

    "... holds sizable proved and potential oil and natural gas resources that will likely continue to provide valuable supplies to meet US energy needs."

  34. cont...

    Empty promises

    Extraordinarily, the document offers just a single sentence acknowledging the potentially destabilising impact of rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice:

    "These consequences include altering the climate of lower latitudes, risking the stability of Greenland's ice sheet, and accelerating the thawing of the Arctic permafrost in which large quantities of methane – a potent driver of climate change – as well as pollutants such as mercury are stored."

    To address such risks, the document promises obliquely that:

    "Protecting the unique and changing environment of the Arctic is a central goal of US policy. Supporting actions will promote healthy, sustainable, and resilient ecosystems over the long term, supporting a full range of ecosystem services."

    Yet this generic promise offers no specific explanation of what US policy to "protect" the Arctic entails - particularly given that protecting the "changing environment of the Arctic" might well allude to a policy of doing nothing to stop the 'change' that is the diminishing of the sea ice.

    This is all the more alarming given that more than 180 native communities in Alaska are, according to this week's in-depth Guardian investigation, "flooding and losing land because of the ice melt that is part of the changing climate."

    Unfortunately, President Obama's new Arctic strategy offers nothing tangible for the country's "first climate refugees", despite giving copious lip service to consulting the region's indigenous communities already facing direct threats to their existence due to climate change.

    A strategy for global catastrophe

    But the strategy is not just bad new for so many Alaskan natives. It's also bad news for the rest of us.

    America's new Arctic strategy, if implemented, will dramatically accelerate the very processes of fossil fuel consumption that have already led to carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations reaching a record 400 parts per million. And as Damian Carrington reports:

    "... the last time this happened was several million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free, savannah spread across the Sahara desert and sea level was up to 40 metres higher than today."

    Studies based on paleoclimate data consistently show that conventional climate models of where this current business-as-usual trajectory is heading tend to underestimate the extent of the crisis.

    A 2011 paper in Science found that at the current rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions, by the end of the century they will reach levels last seen when the planet was 16C hotter - far more catastrophic than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) worst case projection of a virtually uninhabitable planet at 6C by 2100.

    According to lead author Jeffrey Kiehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the study "found that carbon dioxide may have at least twice the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate."

    Now a new study published last week in the same journal vindicates these conclusions, showing that at current atmospheric concentrations, the Arctic was 8C warmer:

    "One of our major findings is that the Arctic was very warm in the Pliocene [~ 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago] when others have suggested atmospheric CO2 was very much like levels we see today. This could tell us where we are going in the near future. In other words, the Earth system response to small changes in carbon dioxide is bigger than suggested by earlier models."

    So the new US Arctic strategy is not just short-sighted, ill-conceived and self-interested. If it proceeds as planned, it will condemn all of humanity to unimaginable disaster, just to sustain the near-term profits of a few giant energy corporations.


  35. BAD NEWS CONT.....


    Climate change: human disaster looms, claims new research

    Forecast global temperature rise of 4C a calamity for large swaths of planet even if predicted extremes are not reached

    ...Otto said the study found that most of the climate change models used by scientists were "pretty accurate". A comprehensive global study of climate change science is expected to be published in September by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, its first major report since 2007.


    Tar sands exploitation would mean game over for climate, warns leading scientist

    Prof James Hansen rebukes oil firms and Canadian government over stance on exploiting fossil fuel, which he says would make climate problem unsolvable

    Major international oil companies are buying off governments, according to the world's most prominent climate scientist, Prof James Hansen. During a visit to London, he accused the Canadian government of acting as the industry's tar sands salesman and "holding a club" over the UK and European nations to accept its "dirty" oil.

    "Oil from tar sands makes sense only for a small number of people who are making a lot of money from that product," he said in an interview with the Guardian. "It doesn't make sense for the rest of the people on the planet. We are getting close to the dangerous level of carbon in the atmosphere and if we add on to that unconventional fossil fuels, which have a tremendous amount of carbon, then the climate problem becomes unsolvable."

    Hansen met ministers in the UK government, which the Guardian previously revealed has secretly supported Canada's position at the highest level.

    Canada's natural resources minister, Joe Oliver, has also visited London to campaign against EU proposals to penalise oil from Alberta's tar sands as highly polluting. "Canada can offer energy security and economic stability to the world," he said. Oliver also publicly threatened a trade war via the World Trade Organisation if the EU action went ahead: "Canada will not hesitate to defend its interests."


    Survey finds 97% of climate science papers agree warming is man-made

    Overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed papers taking a position on global warming say humans are causing it


    Statutory limits prevent effective response to communities at climate risk

    Climate-induced forced migration requires a governance framework that can respond faster and more dynamically


    Zombie climate sceptic theories survive only in newspapers and on TV

    Study finds overwhelming scientific consensus that humans have caused global warming, but media still hasn't caught up


    Heatwave deaths in New York city could rise by up to 22%, study shows

    New temperature norms under climate change will increase weather-related deaths in metropolitan areas in coming decades


  36. Grassroots campaigns can stop fracking one town at a time

    City councils and local activists have stymied shale gas mining in New York, and could prove an example for others to follow

    Readers of the New York Daily News were treated to a little unsolicited advice from Ed Rendell recently.

    In Pennsylvania, Rendell effused, "thousands of solid jobs with good salaries were created, communities came back to life and investment in the state soared".

    What the Daily News failed to mention is that Rendell has lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency in favor of a driller company, Range Resources, and is currently a paid consultant of Elements Partners, a private equity firm with big stakes in several energy companies that are engaged in fracking.

    And what Rendell failed to mention is that the drilling of over 150,000 wells for natural gas has transformed large swaths of rural Pennsylvania into what basically are industrial zones, bristling with monster trucks, wastewater ponds, and traffic jams. Air pollution is higher in counties with drilling than those without and residents complain about round-the-clock noise.

    Ed Rendell also didn't mention the McIntyre family, who live in Butler County – western Pennsylvania's frack zone – and whose members suffer from projectile vomiting, headaches, breathing problems, mysterious skin rashes … the list goes on. The family dog died suddenly, after lapping up some water the family believes was problematic. The McIntyres no longer drink, brush their teeth, or do their laundry with the water piped into their home. northern Pennsylvania, Terry Gipson, a New York state senator, reported that, despite signs of renewed economic activity in the region, he couldn't help wonder what will happen when the gas boom goes bust, as all booms inevitably do. Gipson asks:

    "Envision a time when the trucks are gone, the lease money is spent, the trailers and the diners are empty, and all that is left is unusable farm land with a contaminated water supply. What will these people do then?"


    These sentiments have led to a groundswell of local rebellions against the gas companies. The Albany Times Union reports that there are already 55 separate municipal bans against fracking, and 105 moratoriums in the state. These local bans were challenged in court by the energy companies, who argued that the state alone has the regulatory authority to prohibit drilling. But earlier this month the state supreme court disagreed, ruling that the town of Dryden has the right to prohibit fracking within its borders.


    One such group formed in Vestal, New York,... Sue Rapp, the co-founder of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VeRSE) has been tramping from door to door with a petition that calls for the town council to ban drilling.


    Rapp told me that the recent court ruling has encouraged her, and she says it will free town boards from the fear that the gas companies will sue against any fracking bans. Now that this legal hurdle has been overcome, she expects that a lot more towns will soon vote to keep drillers at bay. Her organization is one of over 200 groups that make up NYAF...

    Rapp is proud, she says, that the movement against drilling in New York grew from the bottom up rather than the top down. Mainline environmental groups were initially ambivalent, believing that natural gas is cleaner than coal, and that its use in America's power plants would lead to significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Those reductions have occurred, but evidence has mounted that mining shale gas carries risks.

    But Sue Rapp doesn't see this as an environmental movement so much as an existential quest to preserve a peaceful way of life in the rolling hills of New York's bucolic Southern Tier. Maybe that is why their grassroots campaign appears – for the moment at least – to be succeeding where so many other environmental crusades have failed to ignite the public's imagination.


  37. TEXAS.

    Cargoes from the Freeport LNG export terminal "will help bring about structural changes to the Asian LNG market," a Chubu Electric Power Co. 9502.TO +1.85% spokesman said Monday by telephone.

    Freeport LNG has signed preliminary 20-year contracts to sell the supercooled gas to two Japanese buyers—Chubu Electric and Osaka Gas Co. 9532.TO -1.26% The deal was contingent on government approval for non-FTA countries, including Japan.

    (Japan and other Asian LNG importers want to set up an Asian Spot Market for gas which means it will be more competitive and they could re sell any surplus cargoes etc.)



    GDF Suez reveals huge U.S. LNG deal with Japanese firms

    The new LNG factory, built by Cameron LNG, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, will be established on the site of the company’s terminal for the transportation of methane gas at Hackberry in Louisiana.

    The plant will comprise three liquefaction lines capable of producing 12 million tons per year, and will be operated by Cameron LNG, said GDF Suez in a statement.

    Under the venture, GDF Suez, Mitsubishi and Mitsui will each acquire stakes of 16.6%. Sempra Energy will hold 50.2% of the shares in the existing terminal and in the liquefaction operations.

    Production is due to begin at the end of 2017.


    Freeport is the second LNG project the Obama administration has approved for exports to non-FTA countries after the Sabine Pass, La., which it approved in May 2011 and is slated to start exporting in 2015.



    The EIA forecasts that natural gas production would increase from 69.2 billion cu. ft. a day in 2012 to 70.1 billion in 2014. According to a new Barclays report, if all of the other 14 terminals seeking Energy Department export permits were approved, their total capacity would amount to 28.7 billion cu. ft. a day.


    28.7 billion cu. ft. a day.

    1.07 BILLION CUBIC METRES a day.

    Woodside Browse has about 15 trillion cu ft of gas.

    555.5 billion cu mts.

    So the US could be exporting a "Woodside Browse" every 18 months.

    If all that math is right that is a sh*tload of gas - on top of everyone else finding it!

    (Qatari officials have stated that target production for 2012 is about 8.7 trillion cubic feet (250 billion cubic metres))


    MAYBE the only way the Canning Basin gas could compete way out into the future would be to supply an existing export facility.

    OH YES way out to where Japan will cut it's exports,and others perhaps,because of all those Methane Hydrates.


    BUT that's only if,as in the words of the song,"...we are still alive...IN THE YEAR 2025..?"




    1. The drilling technology available today may not be advanced enough to get the oil and gas out of Canning Basin shale at commercial rates.

      The plan is for Buru to get the oil to market and use that money to pay the vast sums needed to hire the drill rigs that can handle 4000 to 5000 mts.

      If the current technology cannot persuade the shale to give up the oil - then they have hit the wall.

      Where are the "sweet spots"?
      Are they in flood prone areas or very remote?
      All weather roads to truck the stuff out are very expensive.
      Piping it out to the nearest bitumen road could also cost heaps.

      Only time will tell.

      And even if they get at some the oil must be trucked to a port with holding tanks that can berth tankers load them and then get them to a market at a price that makes enough money to hire the big rigs.

      (This oil may not be clean and may contain other stuff like water - trucking waste will cost them money)

      This story despite Barnett's big push and rush is far from certain.

      "Proof through Assertion" means nothing to people on the ground except more bullshit.


  38. IF IT IS TRUE and there is a link between the "weird weather" in the US these last few years and the vanishing ice in the Arctic then this opening salvo from Mother Nature for this years tornado season is ominous indeed.



    At least 91 people are dead after a powerful 3km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, destroying entire blocks of homes and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble.

    "It just looked like a big meat grinder, blender, just the... just the way the movies make it look. Absolute carnage. A sky full of things that needed to be on the ground. It was insane," one witness said.

    Key points
    3,000 homes were in the tornado's path.
    Children and teachers are being pulled from the rubble of a school, where more than 20 people are unaccounted for.
    Hundreds of people are still missing.
    17 counties declared as disaster areas, with the town of Moore (population 55,000) the worst hit.
    Meteorologists estimated the tornado to be 3.2km wide and say it left a path of destruction of about 77 square km.


    Witnesses describe 'absolute carnage' of tornado

    The tornado is the America's deadliest since 161 people were killed in Joplin, Missouri, in 2011. Oklahoma area hospitals reported at least 230 people injured, including 45 children.

    "It just looked like a big meat grinder, blender, just the... just the way the movies make it look. Absolute carnage. A sky full of things that needed to be on the ground. It was insane," one witness said.

    Another witness described how their house was torn apart.

    "It blew the end of the house out, blew the room next out... took out the north wall in the living room, blew out the windows. Blew the garage down."


    Obama has just held an emergency meeting over the Arctic which is now expected to be ice free by 2015 much earlier than previous forecasts which still had 1/3rd of the ice still there by 2100.

    If the connection is correct then things could get a lot worse from here on in.


  39. The Emperor will not like this!

    Clamp down on spending, Barnett told

    One of the world's big three ratings agencies has put Colin Barnett on notice to knock the State Budget back into shape and get spending under control.

    Fitch Ratings said despite clearly having the nation's strongest economy, the WA Budget had troubles mainly from its overall spending.

    Spending and State debt have both grown rapidly since the Barnett Government came to power in September 2008.

    Debt has almost trebled to $18.3 billion and is projected to grow to $23.7 billion in 2015-16, even before the Liberal and Nationals election promises are factored in.


    Jacob's answer : Just give up on everything.

    Cane toads here to stay: Jacob

    Environment Minister Albert Jacob has issued a sobering warning to groups worried about the advance of cane toads in the Kimberley, saying their march is unlikely to be stopped.

    Just two months after being appointed to Cabinet, Mr Jacob used his first wide-ranging interview as Environment Minister to hose down expectations cane toads could easily be eradicated.

    "Our best efforts seem to be at the most slowing that expansion and also trying to make sure we preserve as much as we've got."

    Touching on other issues in his portfolio, Mr Jacob said he had no objections to a cash-for-container scheme to lift recycling rates but would wait for a national consensus before acting.

    The 33-year-old said he had complete faith in WA's environmental regulation arrangements despite concerns about the way some things, such as onshore gas projects, were handled.

    He stood by the Barnett Government's record on the Swan River, saying declining rainfall was the biggest cause of its condition and nutrient inflow was being cut where possible.

    However, he stopped short of saying the Government would phase out or crack down on the use of water soluble fertilisers - the biggest source of nutrients into the Swan - by farmers.


    Contractors are reeling as mining giants slash costs

    IT'S no great shock that the big contracting firms have been revising their earnings across the past week. What has shocked the market, however, has been the extent of the cuts to their forecasts.

    The scale of the earnings revisions has produced a dramatic sharemarket backlash. Transfield shares plummeted more than 20 per cent after it released its downgrade.

    Disconcerting for the contractors would be the realisation that there is still an unprecedented amount of mining investment occurring on projects that were committed to and started before commodity prices began diving last year. That investment will peak later this year, then start to subside quite rapidly.

    The boom times for the miners, and their contractors, are over.


    Buffet gets new oil drilling permits off Kimberley coast.

    IPB Petroleum extends Browse Basin acreage


    IPB noted that water depths in WA-485-P are relatively shallow at about 100 metres.

    This together with the shallow interpreted reservoir depths of about 700 metres has allowed the company to bid two exploration wells as part of the permit work program for the equivalent cost of less than one exploration well in deeper parts of the Browse Basin.

    Besides the two wells in third year of the first primary three year term, the company has also committed to carrying out:

    - Year One: $250,000 worth of geophysical and geological studies;
    - Year Two: 610 square kilometres of 3D seismic worth $7.5 million and another $250,000 of studies; and
    - A further $250,000 worth of geophysical and geological studies after drilling the wells, which are estimated to cost about $24 million.

    IPB has also penned in a $19.75 million work program for the second three year term though this can be entered into at the company’s option at the end of the first term.

    Notably for IPB, the well is fully funded by farm-in partner CalEnergy, a fully-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.


  40. West Australians face paying international prices for gas from the North West

    Posted Fri May 17, 2013 9:55pm AEST

    Contracts for cheap natural gas struck in the 1980's which guaranteed a percentage of the gas be set aside for domestic consumption are about to expire.West Australian consumers could soon be paying up to 300 percent more for the vital energy source.


    Plans to mine for bauxite on the Darling Scarp is creating divisions in Bindoon

    Posted Fri May 17, 2013 10:05pm AEST

    An Australian-Chinese joint venture is proposing to mine the Darling Scarp for bauxite but they are facing opposition from a lobby group who are using their own mining experience to fight the plans.



    Fossil fuel divestment campaign's victory in Australia will be a moral one

    Global climate divestment campaigns led by and Bill McKibben will have a larger moral impact than financial one

    Journalist and climate activist Bill McKibben is in Australia in June on his epic Do The Math tour, which aims to highlight the danger of fossil fuel company oil and coal reserves and encourage divestment.

    The tour was kick started by McKibben's Rolling Stone article, Global Warming's Terrifying New Math, which argued that in order to stay below the 2C warming limit, the global economy has a budget of less than 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, fossil fuel companies have reserves of carbon from oil, coal and gas of almost 3000 gigatons — far exceeding the climate's safe limit if it were to all be burned.

    Tied to the tour is the sponsored carbon divestment campaign, targeting mainly students on campuses around the USA (and now Australia) to pressure their university administrations to dump investments in fossil fuel companies.

    The campaign has started to spread to churches, local councils, and in Australia, work is under way for activists to start campaigning to superannuation funds.

    And in the USA it has been remarkably successful. More than 300 American colleges have active Go Fossil Free campaigns.

    Last year, I had the opportunity to see McKibben and Naomi Klein at the Boston leg of the Do The Math tour and found it excellent and informative.


    Most UK species in decline

    An unprecedented stocktake of UK wildlife has revealed that most species are struggling and that one in three have halved in number in the past half century. The unique report, based on scientific analysis of tens of millions of observations from volunteers, shows that from woodland to farmland and from freshwater streams to the sea, many animals, birds, insects, fish and plants are in trouble.


    Widespread Greenland Melting A Sign of Things to Come

    .... the overall message is entirely consistent with what others have found: Greenland’s ice is under assault by rising temperatures, and whether or not 2025 will represent a milestone, the consequences over coming decades could be catastrophic.


    Plague of deforestation sweeps across south-east Asia

    Illegal logging and unchecked economic development are taking a devastating toll on forests

    The fate of the forests around Khe Sanh exemplifies what is happening today in Vietnam and the greater Mekong region, which also includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Although some large blocks of forest remain intact, the pace of deforestation is dizzying, threatening the region's remarkable biodiversity, which includes more than 1,700 species discovered in the last 15 years alone. Many of the forests in Vietnam have been cut down for the furniture export market and the trees replaced by coffee bushes; in less than 10 years, Vietnam has gone from zero to number two in global coffee production. So much forest has been cleared to feed the growing number of sawmills that loggers have moved across the borders into neighboring Laos and Cambodia, where they are illegally razing forests there.

    In addition to widespread, illegal logging, other factors driving this precipitous forest loss include the spread of agriculture in a region with soaring population growth and the construction of dams and other large-scale infrastructure projects.


  42. $80 billion reasons there will never be a gas hub at JPP : "....The deferred Browse LNG project was judged by the bureau to be worth $36 billion in deferred spending, but those close to the project believe it was set to cost closer to $80 billion before operator Woodside decided to investigate other options."


    End of boom in commodities

    Australia's top commodities agency has detailed a year of woe for the local resources industry and joined the Reserve Bank in declaring the peak of investment in the sector.

    The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics revealed sharp rises in the number of projects suffering cost blowouts or deferrals, and a steep fall in exploration spending.

    The findings will fuel perceptions that the resources boom is over and were released on the same day investment bank Citi said 2013 would mark the end of the ''commodities supercycle''.

    In its latest six-monthly report on major projects, the bureau estimated Australia had missed out on $149 billion of spending on resources projects over the past year, as a result of 18 big projects being deferred or cancelled. The sum is likely to be conservative given many of the 18 projects were listed with values far below what has recently been discussed in the market.


    The deferred Browse LNG project was judged by the bureau to be worth $36 billion in deferred spending, but those close to the project believe it was set to cost closer to $80 billion before operator Woodside decided to investigate other options.

    For projects going ahead, the bureau calculated that $28.5 billion of cost blowouts had been endured over the same period, with Chevron's Gorgon project heading the list.

    Those blowouts accounted for about 11 per cent of the $268 billion currently committed to resources projects in Australia, meaning the peak of investment in the sector would have been 2012 had the spate of cost blowouts not inflated this year's figures. In declaring 2013 to be the peak of the investment cycle, the bureau predicted that committed investment would fall by $8 billion next year and a further $63 billion in 2015.

    By 2017, committed investment was tipped to be back at 2007 levels at about $60 billion, but that judgment is based on the project pipeline, and does not allow for new finds or projects to come through the ranks.

    There was further grim news in the bureau's account of exploration spending, which was shown to be sharply lower long before the Labor government imposed tighter tax rules on exploration last week.

    High-risk ''greenfield'' exploration spending in the December quarter was $264 million, a 16 per cent fall from the September quarter and a 27 per cent reduction on the June quarter.

    It is likely to have fallen further since, given the accelerated spending cuts announced by many companies, including the new bosses of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

    Lower-risk ''brownfield exploration'' also declined but not as severely.

    ''This year should provide full affirmation that the commodity supercycle has finally ended and should usher in the first 'normal' year in over a decade in which, broadly, commodity prices end the year lower than when the year started,'' Citi analysts said.


    ...WELL... BOOM BOOM BOOM ....


  44. Barnett in town to offer Aboriginals $30 million "package" for JPP.

    Can he afford it?


    End of boom 'to hit WA hard'

    The resources investment boom is over, a new report has found, casting more doubt on the strength of the WA and national economies.

    Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics figures show for the first time since the boom began that the value of new mining and energy projects in the resources sector is falling.

    A handful of big liquefied natural gas projects, including WA's $53 billion Gorgon project, is all that is keeping resources investment steady.

    But based on its figures, the bureau predicted the value of projects to fall from $268 billion to $256 billion by year's end.

    For next year, it tipped a further drop to $248 billion and then to $185 billion by the end of 2015 - a 31 per cent fall in three years. Without new projects, the bureau believes total spending by miners and energy producers will be just $50 billion by 2018.

    In further signs of turmoil in the resources sector, about $150 billion worth of high-value projects have been delayed or cancelled since April last year and the bureau estimates cost blowouts on existing projects account for 11 per cent of the value of projects now on the books.

    Bureau chief economist Quentin Grafton said there had been a substantial fall in the number of projects getting the green light from resources companies.


    China HSBC flash PMI hits seven-month low, fans growth fears

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China's factory activity shrank for the first time in seven months in May as new orders fell, a preliminary survey of purchasing managers showed, adding to concerns that a recovery in the world's second-largest economy is sputtering.

    The flash HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for May fell to 49.6, slipping under the 50-point level demarcating expansion from contraction for the first since October. The final HSBC PMI stood at 50.4 in April.

    A sub-index measuring overall new orders dropped to 49.5, the lowest reading since September, suggesting China's domestic economy is not strong enough to offset soft external demand.

    "The cooling manufacturing activities in May reflected slower domestic demand and ongoing external headwinds," said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at HSBC.

    Asian stock markets outside of Japan extended early losses after the report. Oil, copper and rubber prices also fell, while the Australian dollar skidded by a quarter of a U.S. cent.


    Miners slump on weak China PMI data

    Australian miners have slumped shortly before midday after the release of sluggish economic data out of China.


    Bernanke leaves market sentiment teetering

    US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has managed for frighten markets by suggesting the current quantitative easing measures that have been pushing US growth could start to taper off as soon as June.

    The Dow Jones index immediately headed south - a lead that was followed by the Australian market on Thursday.


    AND HE WANTS SOMEONE TO STUMP UP A massive sum of money to put a supply base at JPP in the middle of nowhere.

    He is lying about Broome Port not having enough room - only a few things have to be close to the wharf - the rest can be out of town like just about every other port.

    HE IS PLAYING GAMES with Broomes future because he will not let go of the worst port and gas hub site ever JPP.

    People close to the Woodside JPP plan say the cost was closer to $80 billion!



  45. If Barnett needed any more evidence of his foolishness of wanting a port at JPP this is it.

    It would have cost Woodside $80 billion to build there.
    Canning Basin gas exports could be decades away.
    Aluminium in crisis.
    All Australian companies looking for cheaper ways to operate to compete.
    If Barnett did this simple sum :
    Road to JPP = $150 million
    JPP land purchase = $30 million
    Small boat facility = $75 million
    That's $255 million to upgrade Broome port and have a protected small boat facility incorporated into the supply base upgrade - easy.


    More coal cuts loom as prices retreat

    Australian coal miners are steeling themselves for years of production cuts, job reductions and asset sales as swelling shipments from international rivals lower hopes of a recovery in prices for coal.

    Prices have slumped around 30 per cent since their peak two years ago as coal flooded global markets, especially from the United States where cheap gas has cut domestic demand and led to a nearly 50 per cent jump in thermal coal exports last year. Even robust Chinese and Indian demand growth is failing to soak up the plentiful supply.

    To boost their thinning margins, miners in Australia such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Glencore Xstrata and Peabody have trimmed output and laid off thousands. Clinging to barely profitable operations, coal producers now face the prospect of further cost-cutting, which they fear could benefit rivals when the market recovers.

    "Everyone is waiting to see who blinks first," said Tom Sartor, an analyst with Morgans Stockbroking in Brisbane. "You don't want to be the one curtailing production knowing that it's going to benefit your competitor."

    Australia's coal industry has become a victim of its own success. In its rush to meet growing Chinese demand, producers churned out more and more coal, and miners are now stuck with more than they can sell.

    This has been compounded by the dramatic ascent of shale gas production in the United States, whose displaced coal has headed to the rest of the world.

    About a fifth of the United States' 56 million tonnes of thermal coal exports in 2012 went to Asia, Australia's main market, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    Australian thermal coal exports could even fall this year and growth rates are likely to remain weak in the next few years. UBS expects Australian coal exports to drop around 5 per cent to around 162 million tonnes, after increasing 31 per cent to 171 million tonnes in 2012.

    "The market is chronically oversupplied at the moment ... current supply capacity is adequate enough to take care of demand growth over the next couple of years," said Prakash Sharma, Wood Mackenzie's senior coal markets analyst for Asia Pacific.

    As a result, analysts estimate Australian thermal coal prices through the end of the decade to range from around $US90 per tonne now to $US105 per tonne, with a $US130 per tonne record high in 2011 seen as an anomaly.

  46. Coal cont...

    Tough for juniors

    While top miners have big balance sheets to help them weather the storm, junior miners face a bleaker outlook, with the funding environment the worst in a generation.

    "The market's pretty much dead. For many of the small coal companies, it's just not going to happen unless you have very deep pockets and even then nothing is certain," said Warwick Grigor, executive chairman of Canaccord BGF, a stockbroker specialising in the emerging mining sector.

    Aquila Resources was dealt a blow last month when Japan's Sumitomo Corp pulled out of their coal exploration partnership, in one of the latest examples of a setback for smaller miners.

    And global companies are bracing for more cutbacks as well, with BHP last week announcing its capital and exploration expenditure would be slashed, while Glencore Xstrata stopped work on a planned 35 million tonnes-per-year Australian coal export terminal.

    Rio Tinto is looking sell of part of its stake in its Coal & Allied subsidiary, which produces mostly thermal coal, as well as several other mines.

    According to the Australian Coal Association, the country's coal industry directly employs 50,000, and the downturn is already clear in its eastern coal towns.

    Just a year ago it was nearly impossible to rent an apartment in Queensland's Blackwater, whose name had become synonymous with the boom in coal as workers rushed there for jobs in mines run by firms such as BHP.

    But rents have since plummeted around 75 per cent after the wave of miners and contractors receded, leaving the boom years a fast-fading memory to many of the permanent residents of the town of 5,000.

    'Take or pay'

    Efforts to reduce supply and slash costs have been hampered, however, with some producers locked into long-term contracts with port and rail companies.

    Under 'take-or-pay' agreements, miners must either ship a minimum amount of coal or pay a hefty fine.

    "I don't see the supply-demand dynamic changing quickly, particularly in Australia with so many companies with take-or-pay commitments with ports," Whitehaven Coal Managing Director Paul Flynn told Reuters in an interview last month.

    "That really is an impediment to a rebalancing of the supply-demand equation in the short term ... You'd have to be losing more than your take-or-pay commitments to shut a mine down."

    The good news for miners is that appetite in China and India, the two biggest drivers of global coal demand growth, will cushion the sector's decline.

    The two nations currently account for around 30 per cent of the world's global coal demand, with that figure remaining relatively steady through the latter part of the decade, according to a UBS forecast.

    "We'll never really go back to the bad old days because (China and India) are two new kids on the block that aren't going away," said Tom Price, an analyst with UBS in Sydney.

    But as substantial producers of coal themselves, the two may also add volatility to the market as they swing between domestic supplies and imports, depending on price differences.

    China, the world's largest producer as well as consumer of coal, dug a whopping 3.1 billion tonnes of thermal coal in 2012, and had to import more to meet demand.

    "People forget just how much coal China produces. You're not getting that continuing stream of buyer demand," said Don Barnett, whose AustCoal consultancy has worked with numerous Australian coal producers.


  47. A COMMITTEE IN PERTH is looking into the effects of FLNG as the new model for LNG gas development.

    Woodside and Shell have been called.


  48. Anti-gas group snub Barnett

    Colin Barnett is demanding an explanation from anti-gas protesters after he flew to Broome to meet them and they cancelled the meeting.

    The Premier promised to meet the Broome Community No Gas Campaign group after being heckled during a pre-election visit to Broome in January.

    On a one-day visit to Broome yesterday, Mr Barnett had been under the impression a room had been booked for a meeting with the group at Lotteries House.

    Two hours before the meeting, the lobby group told his office they would not meet the Premier.

    "I think the community deserves some explanation as to why they would invite the Premier of the State to come and meet with them, the Premier of the State turns up as promised and two hours before the meeting they pull out," Mr Barnett said.

    "I don't think that reflects well on the group."

    The room booking was cancelled by the group.

    "Only six weeks into Government I come here to honour that commitment," he said. "There are clearly different points of view and clearly environmental issues but I can't read it - whether they couldn't get a crowd together or they simply lost interest."

    Broome Community No Gas Campaign spokeswoman Nik Weavers said anti-gas hub protesters met in Broome on Wednesday and decided not to proceed with the meeting.

    "This was partly because it was not going to be a public forum and partly because it was not going to be possible to ask a myriad of questions in an hour," she said.

    Mr Barnett confirmed he wanted to develop James Price Point as a world-class supply base for the offshore oil and gas industry - a process that would require compulsory acquisition of the land.

    "There needs to be a supply base somewhere," he said. "My greatest fear is that they will use Darwin as a supply base or Singapore.

    "That would mean no benefits to the local community."
    A supply base would provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment and training.


    It was a very bad site for a gas hub - it is an absolutely terrible choice for a supply base.

    This is more absolute financial madness from Barnett.

    He has said the government will not be paying for it and he wants a company to pay for it.

    Way too expensive the entire wharf side of the base would be a mammoth drill and blast dredging operation that would cost so much that just like the gas plant the project will collapse under it's own weight.

    He is a total dunce.


    I don't suppose this will stop the shonky "TO's" selling it to him for $30 million but.

    They would sell anything to anybody if there was a dollar in it for them.

    Same old same old.


    1. "There needs to be a supply base somewhere," he said. "My greatest fear is that they will use Darwin as a supply base or Singapore".

      If Barnett doesn't forget James Price Point they will leave for Darwin or Singapore.

      Upgrade Broome Port NOW.

      "Plans to upgrade regional transport infrastructure"

      The State Government has released a 20 year strategy for the development of WA's regional roads, rail network and ports, including plans to construct a rail link between Geraldton and Kalgoorlie.

      "In the KIMBERLEY it proposes an upgrade to BROOME'S MAIN WHARF, developing a MARINE SUPPLY BASE to service the BROWSE BASIN..."

      It's in his own governments infrastructure plans and in the Worley Parsons report!

      JPP is now a sickness with Barnett.

  49. From Kimberley Page





    NO GAS groups decline to meet the Premier

    In January this year Broome residents urged the Premier to attend an open community forum to discuss the social impacts of the proposed gas hub at James Price Point.

    Today however, community representatives of the NO GAS Campaign decided to decline the Premier’s offer to meet privately with a small group of delegates.

    “Given Woodside’s recent decision not to proceed with development of the gas hub at James Price Point, the threats to the social fabric of our town have receded, so a meeting on this topic is no longer relevant” said Campaign spokesperson Nik Wevers.

    Instead Campaigners are focusing on developing a locally-driven vision for Broome and the Kimberley, one that creates a strong, diversified and ecologically sustainable future for all.

    “We look forward to discussing this vision with the Premier in the near future”, said Ms Wevers.


  50. Qld CSG protesters won't back down

    From: AAP
    May 24, 2013 3:53PM

    A QUEENSLAND community group will ramp up blockades of coal seam gas operations, undeterred by reports shots were fired at their demonstration site.

    Protest group Stop CSG Tara says 45 activists have been blockading Queensland Gas Company (QGC) operations for five days to stop workers leaving their camps, or entering a worksite near Dalby.

    President Dayne Pratzky said three shots were fired early on Friday morning close to where protesters were blocking the main road heading into the Kumbarilla State Forest.

    He believes the shots weren't fired at protesters, but into the air.

    "It was unbelievable. One minute we're standing around blockading QGC's machinery, and the next minute we're lying face down in the dirt wondering who's shooting," Mr Pratzky told AAP.

    "I've got no idea who fired the shots, but it was very scary."
    . .
    Police told AAP officers at the scene have been unable to confirm the reports, and found no evidence of shell casings.

    A QGC spokesman said workers and security guards were unaware of the incident and didn't hear any shots.

    Protesters aren't backing down, and will march four kilometres to QGC's "Kenya" gas processing plant on Saturday.

    Mr Pratzky, an underground miner from Chinchilla, says locals are unhappy their property values have decreased, and are sick of the noise, traffic, and health issues they say have been caused by the operations.

    "We've got no other avenue. We've written letters, we've made submissions, we've met with the government, and it hasn't worked," he said.

    "And here we are, backs against the wall.

    "Until we get some type of help, this is far from over. We're at war with QGC."

    Mr Pratzky says the group will launch another campaign in July.

  51. A new report says the "gas boom" is at risk from higher costs caused by "red tape".


    Red tape limits oil and gas industry productivity

    A report released today reveals productivity in Australia's oil and gas industry is being limited by red tape, lengthy approvals processes and the high Australian dollar.

    It found that, if conditions for the industry's climate do not improve, Australian projects will no longer be competitive and money will be invested in other countries.

    Queensland University Associate Professor, John Steen, suggests more could be done to boost productivity in the sector.

    Ernst and Young's Bradley Farrell says he would like policy makers to consider a number of changes.

    "Reducing the time it takes to achieve approvals on projects, remove excessive, misaligned or duplicated regulations and red tape," he said.

    "And, make sure that there's appropriate certainty around environmental regulations."


    Gas boom at risk from rising costs

    AUSTRALIA is missing out on a $100 billion surge in the resources boom as exorbitant costs... force global companies to reconsider their investment plans.

    Workplace disputes and overlapping "green-tape" regimes are being blamed for driving up costs at major gas export facilities, as new research from McKinsey & Company shows the nation has lost a crucial pricing advantage when shipping gas to Asia.

    Company executives are stepping up the case for federal and state reform to lighten the cost load, warning that Australia faces a narrow "window of opportunity" to win the next wave of projects.


    Resources Minister Gary Gray will emphasise the sector's growth prospects in a speech to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Brisbane today, while also announcing a review into gas supplies on the east coast.

    The industry, however, is sceptical of Labor's commitment to reform and also casts doubt on whether a Coalition government would be willing to tackle the cost pressures.

    Labor's recent shift on "green tape" is being blamed for further challenging the sector, as the Gillard government proceeds with new regulations on gas projects despite promising last year to remove unnecessary duplication of state and federal rules.

    Origin Energy chief executive Grant King said the national interest was best served by clearing obstacles to development, given the LNG industry would pay about $13bn a year in tax by 2020 if the projects were completed. "Why would we not be doing everything to make sure that is delivered as efficiently and as quickly as possible?" Mr King said.

    Key obstacles to new projects included the debate over 457 visas for skilled workers, the latest federal regulations on coal-seam gas and industrial relations law, Mr King said.


    Ms Pickard said the "window of opportunity" would be open for about 18 months before alternative suppliers in East Africa and North America were able to snare future investment for projects. "We have momentum on projects and want to get through that window," she said. Ms Pickard said labour costs were about 30 to 50 per cent higher than in the US and that industrial relations and regulatory reform were crucial to keeping Australia's costs down.


    The industry objections to "green tape" deepened last month when the Gillard government began to legislate a new law to veto CSG projects according to their impact on the water table - duplicating state oversight of the industry.

    The McKinsey research finds Australian costs are almost 25 per cent higher than those in Canada...

    Santos chief executive David Knox, APPEA chairman, will warn today the cost of building LNG projects in Australia is now about 20-30 per cent higher than the global competition.


  52. What they mean is we want to go into areas that are more and more pristine and environmentally and culturally sensitive and we DO NOT want to hear "NO".

    IT IS also very hard to tell workers to take a pay cut when CEO's and upper management get sky high raises and obscene bonus schemes.

    ALSO as soon as someone says the words "resource project" rents soar past $2000 a week and prices for everyday things go through the roof.


    Plan to open Abrolhos for oil search

    The Abrolhos Islands - the heart of WA's lucrative rock lobster fishery and one of the State's most iconic environmental assets - could be exposed to oil and gas exploration under plans to be unveiled today.

    Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray will this morning announce which areas of Commonwealth waters will be opened for offshore petroleum exploration as part of the latest round of acreage releases.


    World Wildlife Fund WA director Paul Gamblin said any moves to explore for oil and gas around the Abrolhos would be resisted because the area was a critical coral reef habitat, tourism asset and fishery.

    Mr Gamblin also voiced concerns about the acreage release process, saying it was outdated and lacked transparency because the Government was not required to consult before nominating areas for release.


    Tougher standards to fight corruption in the resources industry

    More of the world's governments have signed up to measures designed to reduce corruption in the global resources industry.

    Around 3.5 billion people live in poor countries that are rich in resources but they do not see the trillions of dollars that flow from their mineral and energy reserves.


    About 40 countries have now implemented the voluntary scheme and about $US1 trillion in revenue has been disclosed.

    Australia has launched a pilot EITI scheme but is not yet fully compliant.

    Despite recent reforms in the US and the European Union, Australia does not require mining and energy companies to publicly reveal the taxes and royalties they pay to governments around the world for natural resources.

    Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Gary Gray said in his written speech prepared for the EITI conference in Sydney last week that transparency for transparency's sake was not necessarily the best policy.

    "While I recognise the benefit for governments to better understand and negotiate market conditions, exposure of sensitive project, contract and other market information will distort market competitiveness," he said in the speech.

    But the senior policy manager for extractive industries at Oxfam America, Ian Gary, says investor pressure is mounting in Australia for more openness.

    "I think Australia certainly needs to join the US as well as the European Union in putting in place mandatory disclosure requirements for companies that are on the Australian stock exchange," he said.


    Environmental NGO, Global Witness, has called EITI a "totemic reformers club", saying corrupt countries such as Nigeria are members.


    ...Mr Kaufmann says contract transparency and disclosure of the ownership of mining licence holders should be mandatory as CORRUPTION in the MINING and ENERGY industries is RAMPANT.


    Oxfam is also targeting the world's major oil companies, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell and Chevron, because of their support for legal action challenging disclosure rules for the oil industry in the US.

    The companies sit on the EITI board and Mr Gary says they need to change their stance.

    "It's completely unacceptable that those companies should participate on the board of an international transparency initiative while at the same time supporting this litigation," he told the ABC in an interview.


    Human rights concerns over resettlement

    Rio Tinto and Brazilian miner Vale are also under fire from Human Rights Watch.

    The NGO accuses the big miners of worsening the lives of people in northern Mozambique who were resettled to clear the way for coal mines.






    Top firms' tax haven links revealed

    Almost two-thirds of Australia’s top 100 companies listed on the stock exchange have subsidiaries in tax havens or low-tax jurisdictions, a new report shows.

    Thirteen of the top 20 companies, including two of the big four banks, have entities in well-known tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

    A Uniting Church report, Secrecy Jurisdictions, the ASX100 and Public Transparency, reveals 61 of the top 100 companies held subsidiaries in ‘‘secrecy jurisdictions’’ as of April 2011 that have been targeted by tax authorities for sheltering companies dodging tax.


    News Corporation, Westfield and the Goodman Group were among the worst offenders, the group said, holding more than 50 entities in low-tax jurisdictions each.

    The report shows that while many of the companies may do legitimate business in low-tax jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore, many subsidiaries exist with little evidence of commercial activity.

    A subsidiary owned by the Commonwealth Bank called Burdekin Investments can be traced to Ugland House, a resort-style office building in George Town, the capital of Caribbean tax haven the Cayman Islands.

    The building has become known for housing thousands of post-box companies that exist simply to take advantage of local tax rules. A spokesman for the bank said it was looking to close down the entity and would not explain what it did or whether it had any employees.

    The report shows 10 ASX 100 corporations have subsidiaries in Jersey, making it one of the most popular locations for offshore entities among Australian companies, after Hong Kong and Singapore.

    The Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Ber- muda were also popular destinations, with many companies owning multiple entities in each.

    “These are places that fail to meet international standards on transparency, on anti-money-laundering laws, and on tax law co-operation,’’ said Mark Zirnsak, the director of the church’s Justice and International Mission Unit and author of the report.

    “Companies should be willing to be transparent and public about why these subsidiaries are in these locations given the concerns around inadequate regulation.’’

    Mr Zirnsak said the report came at a crucial time for the federal government, which was struggling to fund essential services without making cuts.

    The report comes amid a global crackdown on the elaborate tax minimisation strategies of Apple and Google. This week, a US Senate inquiry exposed the elaborate corporate operating structure of Apple, which used subsidiaries in Ireland and Singapore to minimise its tax.


    The report also shows News Corporation has more than 70 subsidiaries across the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg and Mauritius. The company is registered in the US state of Delaware, which has attracted its own criticism for sheltering post-box companies taking advantage of the state's soft tax rules.

    Fairfax Media, owner of The Age, has two subsidiaries based in Singapore, and has closed a third that was based in Hong Kong.

    The heavy use of offshore units by banks, particularly Macquarie, to minimise tax, has led the federal government to clamp down on the practice in the recent budget.

    ''If we see gaping holes in our laws then we need to do our best to legislate to close them,'' Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said this week.

    Mr Zirnsak said the report was likely to be a ''significant underestimate'' of the number of subsidiaries in secrecy jurisdictions.


  54. Dear Redhand,

    hope you are enjoying your well earned break.

    I am happy to report that I have surpassed my previous record for posting comments by a significant margin.

    Love and Thoughts

    your highly "unintelligent reporter".

    (was 44 now well past 60 and counting)



  55. NSW gas wars.


    'Hard core' Greens hijacking coal seam gas debate, says Chris Hartcher

    THE "extremist" Greens have been blamed for derailing debate over coal seam gas as the NSW government fights off criticism of the way it toughened controls on major gas projects.

    NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said the argument over CSG had been captured by a "hard core" of opponents who refused to compromise because they wanted to shut down all energy from fossil fuels.


    Federal Liberals turn on Barry O'Farrell: fix the gas crisis

    THE federal Coalition has blasted NSW Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell for leading the nation's biggest state into an energy crisis that could add 30 per cent to household bills, opening a new flashpoint in relations after a bruising fight on education.

    The dispute broke out in public yesterday after months of frustration as federal Coalition leaders, backed by Tony Abbott, urged their state allies to unlock huge gas reserves to create thousands of resource jobs and cut costs for manufacturers.


    VOSER has his say.


    Australia must support LNG with positive tax, regulatory policy: Voser

    ROYAL Dutch Shell's global chief executive Peter Voser has warned Australia needs better tax policies and regulatory set-ups if it is to capture billions of dollars of potential new investment as worldwide liquefied natural gas demand doubles this decade.

    The departing Shell chief, whose company is planning $30 billion of investment here in the next five years, also called on government to work better with industry to overcome challenges facing the energy industry and for government incentives to drive innovation.

    Shell is a 25 per cent partner in the $52bn Gorgon LNG project on Western Australia’s Barrow Island and is building the $US12bn Prelude floating LNG project off the coast of WA. But it has been frustrated by the nation’s high costs, which have put two of its other projects – the $50bn-plus Browse LNG project off WA and the $20bn Arrow coal seam gas export plant in Queensland on the backburner.

    “Australia faces many of the same challenges as other countries that are blessed with abundant resources,” Mr Voser told the opening session of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Brisbane today.


    “By embracing innovation, partnership and collaboration, this nation will ensure it has a critical role to play for decades to come in meeting the world’s energy challenge.”


    Mr Voser, who has previously said Shell would delay new investments here until the heat comes out of the construction market, today said the main thing Australia needed to do was put in place “the right regulatory and tax policies to drive innovation and investment.”

    He did not expand on what these were, but his head of Australian operations, Ann Pickard, has on more than one occasion bemoaned the duplication in Australia’s environmental approvals systems at state and federal level. She has also warned about changing the tax systems through resources and carbon taxes.

    Shell promotes itself as a technological leader in the oil and gas world, pointing to its world-first Prelude floating LNG project and new coal seam gas drilling techniques being used in Queensland that reduces above-ground disturbance.

    Mr Voser called on government to better back innovation.



    Browse on track for new LNG plan

    WOODSIDE Petroleum and its partners in the controversial Browse LNG project look set to declare they will pursue a floating LNG plant development.

    The move follows last month's ditching of a plan to build a $50 billion-plus onshore plant at James Price Point near Broome.

    Woodside now says onshore development of any scope does not look viable and chief executive Peter Coleman said the company hoped to pursue one or two floating LNG plants. This could be followed by approvals for other floating facilities.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association conference in Brisbane yesterday, Mr Coleman said floating LNG -- an option pushed by Browse partner Royal Dutch Shell but campaigned against by West Australian Premier Colin Barnett -- was now the only option Woodside thought could go ahead.


    "The joint venture is very aligned with moving ahead with earliest possible development," said Mr Coleman, who has previously declared floating LNG could be developed years ahead of an onshore venture.

    Mr Coleman said the chances of onshore LNG plant development were slim, In contrast, Woodside last month said it remained an option, either through a small onshore plant at James Price Point or an expansion at Karratha.

    "I struggle to see it's got legs," he said.

    In the next couple of weeks, Woodside is expected to tell the federal and West Australian governments how much the abandoned plant at James Price Point would have cost and propose a way forward with the Browse site's retention lease.

    Mr Coleman said this decision was not far off but would not involve selecting a concept.

    He said he was very confident FLNG at Browse would be economic.

    "The joint venture is aligning around a preferred option; each of the houses is going through its own valuation but it's going to be sooner rather than later," Mr Coleman said.

    The initial final investment decision will probably be for one or two floating platforms.

    "It allows us to manage our capital requirements much better because you are not hitting the market with tens of billions of dollars at once," he said.

    "You come in, you do one; a couple of years later you come in and do another and a couple of years later you come in and do another."

    Woodside and Shell signed an agreement this month to use Shell's floating LNG technology if the Browse fields were developed. Shell is building the world's first floating LNG project to develop the Prelude field off the WA coast at a cost of $US12bn ($12.4bn).

    Woodside owns 31 per cent of Browse and Shell owns 27 per cent. The other partners are BP, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and BHP Billiton, which is in the process of selling its stake to PetroChina.

    Mr Coleman said the agreement with Shell meant Woodside would continue to operate Browse as an FLNG project and that technology work would be maintained in Perth.

    This will go some way to easing the concerns of Mr Barnett, who campaigned strongly for onshore development so WA could reap more benefits.

    "It will be multiple vessels and will lead to many years of work and Perth has a real opportunity to create a technology hub for us in the professional area," Mr Coleman said.


  57. Collier says Indigenous outcomes poor for spend

    Treasury estimates more than $2.3 billion of State Government money is spent on services for Indigenous people each year.

    The Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier says despite the large amount of money pouring in to Indigenous affairs, the outcomes are nowhere near good enough.

    Mr Collier says the Government is concerned the money is not delivering bang for its buck.

    "We've got to make sure if we are going to be spending literally billions of dollars on Aboriginal affairs each year that it's done effectively and efficiently," he said.


    The committee is made up of four senior Government ministers, including the Deputy Premier Kim Hames and the Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls.


    Barnett adviser paid $100,000 and no set hours

    One of Colin Barnett's key resources advisers has secured a contract worth an estimated $100,000 a year to be "on call" when the Premier needs him, with no set work hours.

    The Opposition called on the Premier to reveal whether the consultant was permitted to undertake strategically sensitive work in the Premier's office one day and work elsewhere in the resources sector the next.

    Geoff Wedgwood, a former Woodside employee, renegotiated his contract in April, weeks before Treasurer Troy Buswell ordered a temporary freeze on the use of consultants because of pressures on the Budget.

    Mr Wedgwood started working for the Office of the Premier on a $1500-a-day, three-day-a-week contract in August 2010 but is being retained on his new two-year, $190,000 contract with no defined work hours.

    Mr Barnett said Mr Wedgwood provided specialist resources advice on a range of State development projects "integral to the State's future".

    "He is on call and works on demand to provide expertise on all major projects as required by the Premier," he said.

    The Government resisted Opposition attempts last week in Parliament to ascertain how many hours a week Mr Wedgwood was expected to work or whether his contract was put out to open tender.

    Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said yesterday the Department of State Development existed to provide the services being contracted out to Mr Wedgwood.

    "It is highly irregular for such an arrangement to be put in place in the Premier's office," he said.

    "We don't know what sort of probity requirements are in place or other employers Mr Wedgwood may be working for while providing on-call advice to the Premier's office.

    "Once again, the Premier is spending an enormous amount of money on one of his friends while he's telling everyone else that there's no money.

    "There's one rule for the Premier and his friends and another rule for everyone else and it follows on from the $84,000 pay rise for his media director."

    The leader of the Government in the Upper House, Peter Collier, last week told Parliament Mr Wedgwood's contract was recommended by the "ministerial merit panel" set up to assess such appointments.
    Mr Wedgwood could not be reached for comment.


  58. Workers on 457 visas retained as Boggabri Coal slashes workforce

    By Matt Peacock


    Starts at 19.03 in.


    There are fears the next phase of the mining boom could involve more fly-in fly-out workers and further degrade communities.

    With the downturn in the mining industry, coal mines surrounding the northern NSW town of Gunnedah have begun to shed jobs.

    For workers at the Japanese-owned Boggabri Coal mine, when the end came, it was brutal.

    "I got a phone call," Sharon Partridge said.

    "It was very quick, very to the point, saying that your position in particular had been made redundant.

    "It is very hard, very tough at the moment. And trying to find employment in this area at this point in time is extremely hard."

    Jo Hall is a single mother who had one wage coming into her household.

    "Now it's gone," she said.

    "I have two children that need education. They've got sport, they've got commitments. I've got a mortgage to pay. I have to do whatever I can do."

    The mine's operator, Downer EDI sacked 106 workers this month - nearly a third of the workforce.

    What makes it worse for the Gunnedah locals is that while they have been sacked, six Papua New Guinean workers brought in on 457 visas have kept their jobs as diesel fitters on local pay and conditions, doing maintenance on the big coal trucks.

    "These people just flit into the town and flit back out," Ms Hall said.

    "It's frustrating ... It is. It just makes you feel dehumanised and worthless."

    Ms Partridge says she feels let down by the mining industry.

    "I feel ... cheated that they are bringing other people in when there are capable, skilled people here to do those jobs," she said.

    Downer EDI claims the Papua New Guinean workers have specialist skills unavailable in the local workforce, an assertion the mining union denies.

    A company skills chart obtained by 7.30 seems to confirm the union's position.

    Most of the sacked tradesmen have multiple qualifications.

    The Papua New Guinean workers are listed as having next to none.


    Camps built for transient miners

    Even as the coal companies are retrenching people, just outside town construction work is already underway in preparation for the next upturn.

    Only this time, it seems, the workers will not be locals.

    A temporary accommodation camp for transient miners is being built by the Mac Group to accommodate hundreds of workers from outside the area........


    Community warned businesses will lose out from fly-in fly-out

    Local woman Julie Bayley says residents do not want the camp in their area.

    "We don't want these people, these strangers living on our doorstep."

    The Mac Group, which has been unavailable for an interview with 7.30, claims the camp would bring revenue into Singleton, something nearby caravan park owner Barry McTaggart welcomes.

    "The people from the camp will come and make visits to the shops, the restaurants, their friends will probably stay at hotels and motels so on," he said.

    "As has happened in Narrabri where $6.5 million has been taken, this should be multiplied in Singleton."

    But not if the experience in Queensland's Bowen Basin is anything to go by, where the town of Moranbah has been effectively surrounded by transient camps.

    Moranbah Traders Association president Peter Finlay has even travelled south to warn Singleton residents what might be in store for them.

    "The bottom line is it will affect the business community, because fly-in, fly-out workers do not spend in town," he said.

    "They just don't do it. Even though the people who want the camp say yes, they'll spend a lot of money in town. Well, they don't spend any money in Moranbah."

    A camp this size in Singleton, according to locals Brad and Kelly Bates, would break down the close-knit community they love.......


  59. Not long ago Louise posted a couple of times that Campbell from the Broome Shire kept whispering to her,"The latest C.A. has fallen over too."

    Could this be why?

    ""The Lone Voice" and his plan for a "world class supply base" at JPP has been met with total silence,not a peep from anyone remotely interested.

    He is so alone no one even in his own government knows anything about it.

    So he has nothing to tell Burke and nothing to tell the judge at the Compulsory Acquisition hearing - not without committing perjury.

    Is it possible that as with the failed CA that didn't specify the areas to be acquired this one will fall over for not specifying WHY the land needs to be acquired?

    (his own governments transport infrastructure plan names Broome Port as the supply base and in the above articles Woodside clearly state JPP is not a viable option and have no further plans for JPP - and Buru have said many times they have no plans for JPP)"