Monday, June 24, 2013

Can industry win the shale gas PR battle in the Kimberley? - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Can industry win the shale gas PR battle in the Kimberley? - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Traditional owners of land in the Kimberley which is earmarked to be exploited for its vast shale gas reserves are challenging a State Agreement between the Government and the main proponents.
Source: 7pm TV News WA | 


  1. The power issue is now a total fiasco along with the budget and Barnett's pig headed pursuit of JPP.

    Barnett's mess set to get a whole lot worse.


    State expected to pay at least double for gas supply

    Western Australia's Energy Minister has conceded the price of gas from the Gorgon project could be more than 100 per cent higher than what the state has been paying.

    The increase is tied to the supply which is intended to replace cheaper gas from the North-West Shelf.

    The Greens energy spokesman Robin Chapple says he has been told by industry sources the wholesale gas supply price could be rising massively.

    "When our original gas contracts were let with the North-West Shelf, they're all coming to an end so now we have to enter new contracts and gas is an expensive commodity these days, it's not cheap," he said.

    "Even building gas plants are very, very expensive; these energy supplies are going to be astronomical."


    Gorgon is scheduled to be producing by 2015 and Mr Chapple says WA consumers are being left in the dark.

    "We're expecting gas prices to literally go through the roof because of the new contracts," he said.

    "Secondly, the other major problem is that those contracts are let with Gorgon and Gorgon as we know is significantly behind on its development and indeed its projected start-up date."

    Mr Chapple says insiders have told him the rise could be several hundred per cent but the government has been telling him the details are confidential.

    "I'd be more than happy if the minister could come out and say no that's not correct," he said.

    "One insider I spoke to said 'they well and truly got screwed'," he said.

    The Energy Minister Mike Nahan has attacked the claim but he has admitted the price could more than double.


    Government suspends work on Muja power station

    The troubled Muja power station will continue to operate at half-capacity after the State Government suspended all efforts to refurbish the facility.

    The government has spent millions of taxpayer dollars since 2009 trying to revive two of the station's four generators.

    Labor says it continued to approve funding even after discovering the facility's pipes were badly corroded, following a boiler explosion last year.

    It says the Government has spent about $250 million on the project.


    Mr Barnett says the refurbishment has been shelved, possibly forever.


    Report shows some boom regions lack social capital

    A snapshot of regional WA has revealed some of the state's mining communities are falling behind in some key areas.


    The Institute's Jack Archer says while the Pilbara performed strongly within the economic criteria, the analysis highlights the poor education and health standards that can exist within boom areas.

    "Their fundamentals are really good but if you look at the profile for some of those regions, you see that they're maybe not as strong in human capital and not as strong in technological readiness," he said.

    "It makes you wonder about what things will be like in the future when those economic conditions move on."



      150m take public transport

      Annual patronage on Perth's public transport system is on track to surge past 150 million for the first time.

      The landmark, which is likely to be achieved within days, will come just six years after the 100 million barrier was broken.

      The growth continues to surprise government officials and public transport advocates.

      It is higher than the State Government forecast in its 2031 Public Transport Strategy released in 2011.


      In the first 11 months of 2012-13, the Public Transport Authority recorded 137,735,956 "boardings" on Perth's trains, buses and ferries - in excess of five million more than the same period in 2011-12.

      The extraordinary growth is equivalent to commuters making an extra 15,000 journeys every day.

      Buses were up 2.9 million (3.9 per cent) and trains were up 2.5 million (4.4 per cent).

      All Perth's train lines recorded increases but patronage on the Fremantle line, which was closed by Sir Charles Court's Liberal Government in 1979 because of a lack of patrons, has jumped more than 10 per cent on last year.


      This year, Curtin University's sustainability expert Peter Newman described the patronage growth as "remarkable, higher than predicted" and "difficult to see how it can be sustained".


      Professor Newman said ferries would never be a viable public transport option in Perth until riverside developments came to fruition.

      Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the increase in traffic was an endorsement of the network and its effectiveness.



      Barnett cans Muja revamp

      The Barnett Government has finally halted the botched Muja AB project, announcing yesterday that no further taxpayers' money would be tipped into the refurbishment of the 47-year-old Collie power plant.

      The decision means two of four generation units will be mothballed indefinitely, cutting at least half the amount of power the refurbished plant was to produce.

      With the deadline to merge the boards of power generator Verve and retailer Synergy just six days away, _The West Australian can reveal that Cabinet has not yet decided who will be on the board of the merged company.

      There are increasing industry concerns about how the board will manage conflicts of interests when it is supposed to oversee two competing "ring-fenced" retail and generation business units.

      The Government has refused to reveal how much money has been tipped into the Muja joint venture between Verve and Geelong engineering company Kempe. It was supposed to cost taxpayers nothing when Premier Colin Barnett announced it in May 2009.

      Energy Minister Mike Nahan said last week $250 million had been spent on the refurbishment but has promised to make a further statement this week.


      Shadow energy minister Bill Johnston asked if Verve chairman David Eiszele, who is considered close to the Premier, would serve on the merged board given the Premier last week blamed Verve's bad advice for the decisions to plough more money into the Muja venture.

      Mr Barnett would not be drawn, saying he would not play the man.


      WA's $266m tax bill over bungled Muja

      West Australian taxpayers face a bill of $266 million for the bungled attempt to refurbish a 47-year-old power plant, which is only working at half capacity.

      The State Government admitted in parliament today that the bill for upgrading the Muja power station near Collie, south of Perth, had blown out past the Opposition’s estimate of $250 million.

      And State-owned utility Verve Energy provided new advice to the Government saying it would need another $167 million to finish the project.


      WA energy minister Mike Nahan, who last week suspended further work on the botched project, said the Government did not have confidence that more money would make any difference to the massive corrosion issues discovered in the plant’s boiler.

      The Government, through former energy minister Peter Collier, had previously approved additional money totalling nearly $75 million to keep the project going up until last month.


      Premier Colin Barnett yesterday promised a full report on the debacle would be unveiled this week, but backtracked to say that would follow Thursday’s ministerial statement.

      In response, WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the Barnett Government was engaging in a cover-up worthy of former US president Richard Nixon.
      Mr McGowan called for a public inquiry into the project.


    3. Muja fiasco final figure = $280 million.

      & $167 million + to finish it.

      So much for Barnett's promise " won't cost taxpayers a cent...'

  2. US president Barack Obama lays out new US plan to fight climate change

    US president Barack Obama has laid out a broad new plan to fight climate change, using executive powers to get around "flat Earth" science deniers who have blocked action in Congress.

    Mr Obama called for new restrictions on existing and new power plants to curb carbon emissions, pledged to push new generation clean energy sources and to lead a fresh global effort to stem global warming.

    Officials said the plan would allow the United States to meet a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, a pledge Mr Obama made at the inconclusive Copenhagen summit in 2009.

    Barack Obama's climate action plan

    Read Barack Obama's plan to tackle the issue of climate change in the United States.

    The president argued that Americans across the country were already paying the "price of inaction" against climate change, describing 2012 as the warmest year in human history, which parched farmlands in the US heartland.

    "As a president, as a father, and as an American, I am here to say we need to act," he said, in a speech delivered in the sweltering early afternoon heat outside Georgetown University, with an eye on his political legacy.

    Mr Obama said he had no patience for climate change deniers, including many in Congress, who dispute the science holding that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to a dangerously warming planet.

    "We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society," he said.

    "Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it is not going to protect you from the coming storm."


    Keystone pipeline put on notice

    Mr Obama also touched on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to carry oil from the tar sands of Canada to the US Gulf Coast and has become a cause celebre for environmentalists.

    He warned the project, currently under state department review to determine whether it is in the US national interest, should not be approved if it contributes to global warming.

    "Our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution," Mr Obama said.


    No support for coal-fired power plants abroad

    Mr Obama committed to withdrawing support for coal-fired power plants abroad and offered to discuss new initiatives with big emitters like India and China.

    He directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to write rules to impose new standards for carbon emissions on new and existing power plants.

    The plan calls for $US8 billion in loan guarantees to support investments in innovative technologies and aims for a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency in commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

    Some opponents of his approach have warned the plan could result in older coal-fired plants being taken offline and may thereby raise electricity prices for consumers, which could disproportionately hurt the poor.

    Officials counter that the plan will reduce the amount of electricity used thereby reducing fuel bills.


    The specifics of much of his plan were unclear, and many of Mr Obama's new rules could face court challenges that would delay their implementation.

    The president will be using the executive powers of his office since Congress - where there is widespread skepticism of climate change science and fear about the economic impact of mitigation efforts - has refused to act.

    Mr Obama also set a goal of reducing carbon pollution by three billion metric tons by 2030 - a figure equivalent to more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the US energy sector.

    Republicans have accused Mr Obama of waging a "war on coal" that would slap onerous regulations and unreasonable environmental targets on power stations.


  3. Obama's fracked-up climate strategy will guarantee global warming disaster

    Fatally flawed energy policies and inadequate emissions pledges cannot prevent dangerous climate change


    Central to the plan is Obama's reiteration of his commitment to cutting US greenhouse gas emissions 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. But this target is too little, too late - amounting to only a 4% cut in emissions compared with 1990 levels.

    Even before this target was enshrined into US law, scientists warned that the pledge "will not be enough to head off dangerous climate change" as global temperatures would still breach the 2C target accepted by governments as the safe limit for global warming.

    Indeed, one study found that:

    "The pledges on the table will not halt emissions growth before 2040... Instead, global emissions are likely to be nearly double 1990 levels by 2040 based on present pledges."

    A new study by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) out this month concludes that full implementation of the pledges would still lead to a 3.3C rise by 2100. Based on actual climate policies so far, however, CAT warned that governments are "less likely than ever to deliver on the Copenhagen pledges." If this continues, temperatures could exceed 4C by the end of the century, triggering positive feedbacks leading to further warming.

    In the mix of Obama's plan are nuclear power and 'clean coal' technologies, all of which have huge questions marks over their ability to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.


    .....exploiting America's domestic shale oil and gas reserves through fracking remains an integral part of the new plan.

    The defunct "net effect" argument has already been used to legitimise shale gas, officially touted as a clean bridge fuel. But shale gas is far from clean. In 2011, the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from shale gas in the journal Climatic Change found that:


    "The footprint for SHALE GAS is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years."


    In an updated analysis published last year, the study authors reiterated these findings:

    "... for most uses, the GHG footprint of SHALE GAS is greater than that of other fossil fuels on time scales of up to 100 years. When used to generate electricity, the shale-gas footprint is still significantly greater than that of coal at decadal time scales but is less at the century scale... We reiterate our conclusion... that shale gas is not a suitable bridge fuel for the 21st Century."



    What about carbon capture and storage (CCS), where we burn fossil fuels, but capture the carbon dioxide and 'sequester' it back underground? Some suggest we could capture half the world's emitted carbon in this way by the 2040s. Unfortunately, it sounds too good to be true - and it is. As environmental scientist Vaclav Smil calculates, to sequester just a fifth of current CO2 emissions:

    "... we would have to create an entirely new worldwide absorption-gathering-compression-transportation- storage industry whose annual throughput would have to be about 70 percent larger than the annual volume now handled by the global crude oil industry whose immense infrastructure of wells, pipelines, compressor stations and storages took generations to build."

    The financial and energy costs of CCS are therefore meteorically unsustainable.

    The problem here is simple. Obama's new climate plan, however well intentioned (or not), is tied to fatally flawed energy politics. The world needs a climate strategy based on science - not wishful thinking inspired by the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies.


  4. 2013 Alaska Heat Wave: Record-Breaking Temperatures Bake 49th State

    (people sunning in bikinis : This photo taken Monday, June 17, 2013, shows people sunning at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska. Parts of Alaska are setting high temperature records as a heat wave continues across Alaska.)


    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A heat wave hitting Alaska may not rival the blazing heat of Phoenix or Las Vegas, but to residents of the 49th state, the days of hot weather feel like a stifling oven — or a tropical paradise.

    With temperatures topping 80 degrees in Anchorage, and higher in other parts of the state, people have been sweltering in a place where few homes have air conditioning.

    They're sunbathing and swimming at local lakes, hosing down their dogs and cleaning out supplies of fans in at least one local hardware store. Mid-June normally brings high temperatures in the 60s in Anchorage, and just a month ago, it was still snowing.

    The weather feels like anywhere but Alaska to 18-year-old Jordan Rollison, who was sunbathing with three friends and several hundred others lolling at the beach of Anchorage's Goose Lake.

    "I love it, I love it," Rollison said. "I've never seen a summer like this, ever."


    State health officials even took the unusual step of posting a Facebook message reminding people to slather on the sunscreen.

    Some people aren't so thrilled, complaining that it's just too hot.

    "It's almost unbearable to me," said Lorraine Roehl, who has lived in Anchorage for two years after moving here from the community of Sand Point in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. "I don't like being hot. I'm used to cool ocean breeze."

    On Tuesday, the official afternoon high in Anchorage was 81 degrees, breaking the city's record of 80 set in 1926 for that date.

    Other smaller communities throughout a wide swath of the state are seeing even higher temperatures.

    All-time highs were recorded elsewhere, including 96 degrees on Monday 80 miles to the north in the small community of Talkeetna, purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, "Northern Exposure" and the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain. One unofficial reading taken at a lodge near Talkeetna even measured 98 degrees, which would tie the highest undisputed temperature recorded in Alaska.

    That record was set in 1969, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the online forecasting service Weather Underground.

    "This is the hottest heat wave in Alaska since '69," he said. "You're way, way from normal."

    It's also been really hot for a while. The city had six days over 70 degrees, then hit a high of 68 last Thursday, followed by five more days of 70 degrees and up.

    The city's record of consecutive days with temperatures of 70 or above was 13 days recorded in 1953, said Eddie Zingone, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service who has lived in Anchorage for 17 years.

    The heat wave also comes after a few cooler summers — the last time it officially hit the 80 mark in Anchorage was 2009. Plus, Tuesday marked exactly one month that the city's last snow of the season fell, Zingone said.

    "Within a month you have that big of a change, it definitely seems very, very hot," he said. "It was a very quick warm-up."


    Greg Wilkinson, a spokesman with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, said it's gotten up to 84 degrees at his home in the Anchorage suburb of Eagle River, where a tall glass front lets the sunlight filter through.

    "And that's with all the windows open and a fan going," he said. "We're just not used to it. Our homes aren't built for it."

  5. Methane in Water Seen Sixfold Higher Near Fracking Sites

    Water wells close to gas-drilling sites in Pennsylvania had methane levels more than six times higher than more distant wells, evidence that the boost in production is causing leaks, Duke University researchers found.

    The chemical fingerprint of the methane, the key component of natural gas, along with the presence of ethane and propane, indicate that much of the gas is from deep underground, such as the Marcellus Shale, according to a study released today. Production in the Marcellus is booming through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to break up rock and free trapped gas.


    “Distance to gas wells was, by far, the most significant factor influencing gases in the drinking water we sampled,” said Rob Jackson, an environmental sciences professor at Duke in Durham, North Carolina, and the study’s lead author. The evidence “all suggest that drilling has affected some homeowners’ water.”

    The peer-reviewed study, released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a follow-up and extension of a 2011 study by Jackson and his co-authors, which drew criticism from the drilling industry. That study tested drinking water supplies in northeastern Pennsylvania including the town of Dimock, where the state said gas wells failed and leaked. It found no evidence of the chemicals used in fracking in water wells; it did link drilling to elevated methane leaks.


    Cabot’s Study

    Industry scientists and advocates challenged the results, arguing that the methane appeared to come from more shallow sources, and might be the result of longstanding, natural migration pathways. Scientists affiliated with Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG)......


    Fracking Surge

    Gas production in Pennsylvania surged in the past few years as companies expanded their use of fracking, in which water, chemicals and sand are shot underground to break apart the rock and free the gas. The Marcellus Shale is about 5,000 feet underground in Pennsylvania, separated by thick rock layers from water aquifers, which are at most a few hundred feet beneath the surface.

    Still, a surge in fracking has been accompanied by a complaints from many homeowners who say their water has been contaminated, resulting in sick children, dead livestock and flammable tap water.....


    141 Wells

    Jackson and his colleagues sampled 141 different wells in northeastern Pennsylvania. They found the presence of methane in some levels in 82 percent of the wells. However, the concentration of the gas in wells within one kilometer (0.6 miles) of drilling operations was six times greater. The scientists also looked for ethane and propane in the wells, which indicate gas that has come from older, deeper formations. Ethane presence was 23 times greater near gas wells, and propane was only present in 10 wells near drilling sites......

  6. Cyprus Inks MoU for LNG Project with Delek, Noble and Avner

    The Republic of Cyprus, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in respect of the Cyprus Liquefied Natural Gas Project with Noble Energy International Ltd , Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership, that were granted in 2008 a Production Sharing Contract for Block 12.

    The MOU provides for the negotiation between the State and the Contractor of a definitive Cyprus LNG Project Agreement that will specify the technical and commercial basis on which an onshore LNG plant will be built at Vasilikos, Cyprus.

    The LNG plant will initially process natural gas from the “Aphrodite Field” and other fields that may be discovered in Block 12 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (“EEZ”) into LNG for export and delivery to international markets. It is intended that the LNG plant will be capable of being expanded to accommodate additional natural gas discovered in the Cyprus EEZ, either in Block 12 or in other blocks which have been licensed to date (Blocks 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11) or may be licensed in the future, as well as natural gas from neighboring countries.


    The current working interests of the Contractor parties are:

    Noble Energy (Operator): 70%
    Delek: 15%
    Avner: 15%

    “The LNG Plant at Vasilikos composes the fundamental and necessary infrastructure that will allow for the export of Cypriot natural gas to the European and global markets. It is an ambitious project of strategic importance that will also be the largest investment in the history of the Republic of Cyprus. It marks for Cyprus and its citizens a very positive outlook for economic growth, especially given the fact that it will be expandable to serve not only the Cypriot natural gas deposits, but potentially the deposits of our neighboring countries,” said Minister of Energy, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis at the signing ceremony.

  7. Japan gets first MOX nuclear shipment since Fukushima

    TAKAHAMA, Japan (AFP) - A vessel under armed guard and loaded with reprocessed nuclear fuel from France arrived at a Japanese port on Thursday, the first such shipment since the Fukushima disaster as utilities lobby to restart their atomic reactors.

    The cargo of mixed oxide (MOX), a blend of plutonium and uranium, arrived at the Takahama nuclear plant on the western coast of central Japan in early morning, an AFP journalist said.

    The fuel left the French port of Cherbourg in mid April bound for Japan, French nuclear group Areva has said. The vessel was specially fitted to be able to transport nuclear material and was escorted by an armed sister ship.

    Its route was not fully disclosed, but the ship was greeted by protesters and national media which captured images of the vessel from land and helicopters overhead.

    Dozens of anti-nuclear campaigners voiced their opposition with loudspeakers.

    "We do not accept MOX fuel," a protester shouted, wearing full radiation protection gear to make his point.


    Uranium reactors produce a mixture of depleted uranium and plutonium as a by-product of fission. These can be re-processed into MOX fuel, which can then be used in other reactors to generate more power.

    Japan has built its own nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, in northern Aomori prefecture, but its opening has been delayed by a series of minor accidents and technical problems.

    This has left Tokyo dependent on other countries -- namely Britain and France -- to deal with the plutonium it has produced.

    Plutonium can be diverted for producing nuclear weapons, and there are fears that it could fall into the wrong hands and pose a danger from rogue regimes or extremist organisations.


    According to a government report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japan has about 44.3 tonnes of plutonium, of which 35.0 tonnes are held and being processed in France and Britain, and the rest, 9.3 tonnes is stored in Japan.


    The fuel was originally due to be shipped back to Japan in the first half of 2011, but the disaster at Fukushima delayed its return and it has been stored in France.
    Since coming to power in December last year, pro-business Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly spoken of his desire to restart Japan's idle reactors, citing the need to ensure a stable electricity supply for the country's power-hungry industries.

  8. Browse’s near-shore channels our next oil province?
    Friday, 28 June 2013
    David Upton

    INNOVATIVE exploration by a low-profile Australian junior has generated a stratigraphic play in the Browse Basin with potential to yield almost 1 billion barrels of oil.


    Australia: IPB Petroleum increases Browse Basin acreage permit with award of WA-485-P

    20 May 2013

    IPB Petroleum has been awarded a 100% interest in Petroleum Exploration Permit WA-485-P in the Browse Basin offshore North West Australia for an initial period of six years
    The first three years of the committed work programme comprises studies in each year, 3D seismic in the second year and two exploration wells in the third year
    WA-485-P lies immediately north of IPB’s WA-424-P permit (IPB 75%, CalEnergy 25%) and immediately east of the Company’s WA-471-P permit (IPB 100%)
    The shallow M.australis oil play, which will be tested by the upcoming Pryderi-1 well, is interpreted to be present over a large part of the WA-485-P permit
    Oil discoveries at Gwydion and Cornea confirm the oil potential of the southern margin of the Browse Basin and with the addition of the new permit, IPB Petroleum has established a major position from which to benefit from potential success at Pryderi-1
    IPB Petroleum has announced that the Commonwealth–Western Australia - Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority granted to IPM West Pty Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of IPB Petroleum) a 100% interest in Petroleum Exploration Permit WA-485-P for a period of 6 years, commencing 14 May 2013.


    THE MAP.....blocks are within 100 klms of the Kimberley coast.


    Most famous US investor Warren Buffett now targets LNG engineering companies

    Thursday, 27 June 2013

    Warren Buffett, the best-known stock market investor in America, is now buying up shares in once unfashionable LNG engineering companies.


    IPB focuses on oil and gas assets, rather than Buffett connection

    Heard the rumour about Warren Buffett being linked to a new float on the ASX? If you have, your sources of information are a tad exaggerated but correct.

    The company is IPB Petroleum, a new oil and gas play, which began its initial public offering period on Tuesday. The Buffett connection is distant but comes from IPB's farm-in partner, CalEnergy Resources, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, which is 89 per cent owned by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway holding company.

    IPB managing director Brendan Brown politely grimaces when the Buffett question is raised and seeks to return the conversation to the assets: two offshore oil and gas permits about 80 kilometres off Western Australia's Kimberley coast.

    ''We have a discovery and that's what we are charged with delivering,'' he said.


    The assets have links to big names and not just because they neighbour Shell's Prelude field and the Woodside-operated Browse project.

    One of the offshore permit areas was explored by BHP a couple of decades back and while oil was found, it did not appear to be in sufficient quantities for the multinational.

    IPB has revisited the area and applied newer technologies, including a 3D seismic survey, and is confident further drilling will find more oil than BHP thought.

    ''We have an existing oil discovery in our permit, which gives us a certain amount of confidence because where you have discovered some oil there should be some more,'' Mr Brown said.

    ''We have an independent experts report that puts IPB's share of prospective resources at over 500 million barrels of oil at the mean prospective resource level … that's just in the one permit.''

    IPB is offering shares at 50¢ and the offer will remain open until April 5.

  9. Special Section: Energy - Expanding the Shale Gas Infrastructure

    Jesse F. Goellner



    Development of U.S. shale gas resources will require expansion of infrastructure assets ranging from roads and rails to pipelines and seaports to power-generation plants and ethane crackers, and more.

    The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) estimates that over the next 25 years, the U.S. will need to add approximately .... 14,000 miles of new lateral pipelines to and from power plants, processing facilities, and storage fields; and 12,500 miles of transmission lines with a capacity of 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to transport natural gas liquids (NGLs) (1). These infrastructure needs, however, are only part of the picture.



    There are more than 2.3 million miles of natural gas infrastructure in the United States in the form of gathering, transmission, and distribution pipelines.


    Pipelines the safe bet in the shale gas revolution

    Thursday, 30 May 2013 10:00am

    By James Feryhough | In Investment

    The US shale gas revolution will offer considerable low risk investment opportunities over the coming two decades, according to Magellan Asset Management senior investment analyst Jowell Amores.

    The gas industry has estimated over $200 billion will need to be invested in shale-driven infrastructure - predominantly pipelines - before 2035. But Amores said that that figure could be reached as early 2025.

    The US is leading the world in shale gas exploration and drilling. Thanks to high demand, relaxed regulations, plentiful reserves and permission-to-drill waiting periods of less than two weeks, there are copious incentives for investors at every stage of the supply chain. Infrastructure is the least risky link in this chain.


    Shale gas pipelines growing rapidly around Marcellus

    April 10, 2013

    By Oil & Gas Financial Journal Staff

    The abundance of shale gas and the resulting transportation needs have pushed investment in new gas transmission pipelines, and over half of the country’s newest lines are in the Northeast, where producers are looking to ship Marcellus shale gas to market, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.

    Of the roughly $2 billion spent on transmission pipelines nationally in 2012, over half can be attributed to Dominion Resources Inc., EQT Corp., and Spectra Energy Corp., the late-March report showed. These three midstream companies spent $1.1 billion on three transmission pipelines that run through Western Pennsylvania.


    Oil and gas companies can now ship an additional 3.2 billion cubic feet per day through the region, but with more than 7 billion cubic feet of capacity expected to come online in the Northeast this year, the drive for infrastructure in and around the Marcellus shale is expected to continue for years to come.


    “The largest volumetric and percentage gains were reported for Appalachian basin shales

    The region’s accelerating prominence in the US energy space should continue to draw investment for years to come. According to the EIA, the industry can expect infrastructure investments to remain between $1 billion and $2 billion annually through 2015, and with that, a peak of roughly 400 miles of transmission pipeline.


    Woodside buys exploration blocks in Porcupine Basin off Irish coast

    WOODSIDE Petroleum has agreed to buy controlling stakes in about a dozen deepwater oil and gas exploration blocks off the coast of Ireland, as the Australian company expands offshore to offset slow progress on planned developments at home.

    Woodside, Australia's biggest oil company by output after BHP Billiton, said it has agreed to buy an 85 per cent interest in seven blocks in the Porcupine Basin off Ireland's southwest coast from Petrel Resources.

    In a separate deal, it has also agreed to buy a 90 per cent interest in another six blocks in the same basin from closely-held Irish company Bluestack Energy.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed by Woodside.


    Woodside buys into Ireland acreage

    Woodside Petroleum has taken another step toward internationalising its business after buying into acreage off the west coast of Ireland.

    The Perth-based oil and gas company has struck deals with two companies to take a majority stake in multiple offshore blocks in an area known as the Porcupine Basin.

    The acquisitions follow Woodside's recent move into Israel, and attempts to buy acreage in Cypriot waters, as chief executive Peter Coleman continues his strategy to diversify the company away from just the North-West of Australia.

    Investors appear to like the strategy, with Woodside shares rising higher than the broader market this morning.


    The stock was 2 per cent higher at $35.40 shortly before 11am.

    Under the detail of today's deal, Woodside has farmed into 85 per cent of several offshore blocks held by London-listed company Petrel Resources.

    It has also farmed in for 90 per cent of the territories held by privately owned Bluestack Energy.

    Mr Coleman said there was growing excitement about what the Porcupine basin may contain.

    “The Porcupine Basin is an emerging oil and gas province which has seen increasing industry activity over the past several years,” he said.

    “Woodside has an outstanding track record working in deepwater environments and these opportunities fit with our core capabilities and corporate strategy.”

    Both deals require Irish government approval before being completed.

  11. 'Market forces drive energy security'

    WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett has defended the state's contentious domestic gas policy, despite suggestions from Santos and BHP Billiton that the stance is slowing the growth of a shale gas industry that could drive up supplies.

    Speaking at The Australian & Deutsche Bank Business Leaders Forum in Perth yesterday, senior Santos executive John Anderson said the US had been able to deliver a dramatic improvement in its energy security through free markets rather than government policy.

    Mr Anderson said a surge in the Henry Hub gas price helped inspire a wave of shale-gas exploration in the US that defined massive reserves of shale gas and a steep downturn in gas prices, with the country now working towards becoming an LNG exporter.

    "Five or six years ago, there was an estimate that the amount of LNG imports in the US was going to be around 80 million tonnes per annum," Mr Anderson said.

    That has completely flipped around. Now, they're looking at exporting LNG. It eventuated because there was a pricing signal to come and invest in that (shale gas) play."


    Mr Anderson said it was pricing, rather than policy restrictions, that had encouraged Santos to invest in developing WA gas projects for the domestic market.

    Mr Barnett said that while he didn't disagree with Mr Anderson's comments about the US, he continued to believe a domestic gas policy was necessary.

    "I think one of the great weaknesses of Australia is that energy is clearly critical for the nations in this century, we have great energy resources, and yet we really don't have an energy policy," Mr Barnett said.


    BHP Billiton iron ore chief Jimmy Wilson said that while the company was "completely neutral" on the domestic gas issue, given BHP is both a major gas producer and energy consumer, Western Australia's shale gas potential could be better realised if the market was left alone.


    "I actually believe that we should allow market forces to determine these things," Mr Wilson said. "If we could chase up the shale gas a little bit more aggressively and actually put that as an option, which clearly is obviously domestic, that is a great thing and I think there's an opportunity that has been missed there."

    Mr Anderson agreed there was "a cracking opportunity" in WA for shale gas. "I think it's exciting and it would be fabulous to see the encouragement to continue to invest in that space, just as we saw in the United States," he said.

    "I'm not suggesting we will get near that level, but the beauty of that investment will also be that there will be state-based royalties that get generated out of that shale and tight gas production if we can get that."


    International studies have identified WA as a potential global hotspot for shale gas, with the Canning Basin in the north of state believed to be capable of hosting hundreds of trillions of cubic feet in gas. International energy heavyweights like ConocoPhillips, PetroChina and Mitsubishi have taken interests in shale gas acreage in the Canning Basin in recent years.


    Fortescue Metals Group chief Nev Power said he supported anything that would drive a "highly competitive" energy industry in Australia. "At the moment it's ridiculous that it's cheaper and more competitive to import diesel and ship that all around the place than it is to use gas, which is right on our doorstep," Mr Power said.