Monday, July 8, 2013

8054 - HERITAGE FIGHT | Melbourne International Film Festival

8054 - HERITAGE FIGHT | Melbourne International Film Festival

The inside story of the fight against one of the world's biggest mining developments.
In 2008 a consortium of miners and politicians decided to build the world's second biggest natural gas plant in Broome, trampling over the concerns of residents, environmentalists and traditional owners alike. Yet in April this year - in a stunning victory for the resolute, peaceful community opposition - Woodside announced they were shelving the entire $45 billion project.
Documentarian Eugénie Dumont's Heritage Fight tells the story of this battle from the trenches in which it was won. Matching glorious cinematography with candid on-the-ground footage and revealing interviews with the key players, Dumont offers an impassioned portrait of the Indigenous and environmental activists fighting to halt the development, and the power of a united community to take on the world.


  1. LOL.

    Go back to China: Clive Palmer's tirade

    CLIVE Palmer has been recorded lashing out in angry, expletive-laden tirades of abuse against executives of one of China's largest companies, which is spending more than $7 billion in Australia.

    In one of the recorded rants, obtained by The Australian, the resources tycoon and prime ministerial aspirant twice instructed an executive of CITIC Pacific to "tell your chairman to stick it up his arse".

    Mr Palmer, who describes himself to Australian voters as a lifelong friend of China with deep and respectful relationships, told the executive: "I've had enough of you, so just pack up all your f . . king gear and get back to China."

    In the same recording, dated 2010 and now on The Australian's website, Mr Palmer added: "You people give me the shits. And if you continue to not pay your way we are going to throw you off to the point where we close your project down.

    "I'm chairman of this f . . king company, and I don't want to ring up little shits like you because you won't pay your bloody, your bloody rates or pay your rent."

    The Australian has been told that the highest levels of China's political leadership have received reports of Mr Palmer's antics, including yelling and swearing at Chinese executives of CITIC Pacific, part of parent company CITIC Group. The state-owned CITIC Group, China's international investment arm, which was founded with the blessing of China's former leader Deng Xiao Ping, is one of the world's largest companies.


    Mr Palmer now offers advice to Australians who want to be successful in business with China, saying it comes down to communicating properly and striving to "build friendship, trust or things that really matter in life". He has also called on politicians "to be fair and treat the Chinese people and Chinese government with the dignity they deserve".

    However, Mr Palmer said last year that he sometimes regretted his outbursts. "I do say some terribly infuriating things. I say, 'Did I really say that?' when I go home and think about it."

    While Chinese executives have incurred his wrath in private, insiders employed by Mr Palmer claim the tycoon has also directed crude abuse at his staff.


    Mr Palmer's letter said their commercial disputes could be resolved by working together "in a friendly manner based on mutual respect and understanding".

    "If in the course of the conflicts that have developed since the execution of the documents any CITIC party or any of their directors, officers or employees have been given reason to feel aggrieved in relation to any matter, then Mineralogy sincerely regrets this and apologises for any misunderstanding," the letter says.


    No there is no misunderstanding Clive - the Chinese understood perfectly.


  2. Tony Abbott's climate policy is just a figleaf developed by deniers

    Abbott's direct inaction policy would condemn Australia to even worse heatwaves, extreme floods and bushfires

    Tony Abbott is the alternative prime minister of Australia, and later this year he will face an election presenting a climate change policy that is frankly insulting and potentially dangerous.

    The Coalition's climate change policy amounts to a bullet point in a pamphlet – the "Real Solutions for Australians" plan – number 10 of 12 such bullet points. It reads:

    "We will take direct action to reduce carbon emissions inside Australia, not overseas – and also establish a 15,000-strong Green Army to clean up the environment."

    Digging down, the direct action "policy" comprises of:

    An "Emissions Reduction Fund" of $3bn to fund projects that would reduce carbon emissions, based on a tender process.
    Support for projects such as "soil carbon technologies and abatement".
    A commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 5% by 2020.

    Not directly part of any climate policy, but related to the environment, the Coalition would implement the discredited Howard Murray Darling Basin plan, "reduce reliance" on desalination plants, build more dams, "streamline" (read: weaken) environmental approval processes, and support the industrial fishing industry in marine protected areas. Lenore Taylor reports on Guardian Australia that some in the Coalition are calling for the renewable energy target to be reviewed or scrapped.

    To understand this "voluntary approach" to climate change policy, you need to understand where Abbott and the Coalition are coming from: a position of denial that climate change is real and driven by human activity. In addition to saying "climate change is crap", in a more considered interview with the ABC's Four Corners, Abbott said:


    If you don't believe that global warming is real, then the "direct action" policy could be considered "credible".

    An increasing number of Coalition members are climate denialists.


    Australian heatwaves 'five times more likely due to global warming'

    Human activities will account for at least half of extreme summer temperatures likely to hit Australia in the future, say scientists

    Global warming has increased five-fold the probabilities that Australians will bake in record hot summers, according to new research from the University of Melbourne.

    And human activities - including greenhouse gas releases from fossil fuels - must account for at least half of these extreme summer temperatures of the future, the scientists say.

    Sophie Lewis and David Karoly report in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, that they used climate observations and more than 90 climate model simulations to deliver their verdict, and to highlight the unexpected nature of the events of the first months of 2013, the hottest in the country's observational record.


    But there was no El Niño: if anything, the ocean heat was turned down a little in a counter phenomenon called La Niña. So the extreme heat, catastrophic flooding and devastating bushfires early this year - the southern hemisphere summer - were certainly not expected.

    "This extreme summer is not only remarkable for its record-breaking nature but also because it occurred at a time of a weak La Niña to neutral conditions, which generally produce cooler summers", said David Karoly. "Importantly our research shows the natural variability of El Niño-Southern Oscillation is unlikely to explain the recent record temperatures."

    Sophie Lewis, who is also at the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, warned that such extreme summers will become even more frequent and more severe in the future, as the planet warms further.


  3. Northern China's air pollution reduces life expectancy by 5.5 years – study

    High levels of air pollution will cause 500 million people to lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years from their lives

    Air pollution causes people in northern China to live an average of 5.5 years shorter than their southern counterparts, according to a study released on Monday which claims to show in unprecedented detail the link between air pollution and life expectancy.

    High levels of air pollution in northern China – much of it caused by an over-reliance on burning coal for heat – will cause 500 million people to lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years from their lives, the authors predict in the study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The geographic disparity can be traced back to China's Huai River policy which, since it was implemented between 1950 and 1980, has granted free wintertime heating to people living north of the Huai river, a widely-acknowledged dividing line between northern and southern China. Much of that heating comes from the combustion of coal, significantly impacting the region's air quality.

    "Using data covering an unusually long timespan – from 1981 through 2000 – the researchers found that air pollution … was about 55% higher north of the river than south of it," the MIT Energy Initiative said in a statement.

    "Linking the Chinese pollution data to mortality statistics from 1991 to 2000, the researchers found a sharp difference in mortality rates on either side of the border formed by the Huai River. They also found the variation to be attributable to cardiorespiratory illness, and not to other causes of death."

    The researchers, based in Israel, Beijing, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gauged the region's air quality according to the established metric of "total suspended particulates (TSP)," representing the concentration of certain airborne particles per cubic meter of air.

    The study concluded that long-term exposure to air containing 100 micrograms of TSP per cubic meter "is associated with a reduction in life expectancy at birth of about 3.0 years."

    Air pollution has been the subject of widespread public outrage in China since January, when Beijing's air quality index (AQI) – a similar metric to TSP – regularly exceeded 500, the scale's maximum reading, for weeks on end. On 12 January, Beijing's AQI hit a record 755, 30 times higher than levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation.

    Past studies have established a link between air pollution and reduced life expectancy. One recent large-scale study concluded that air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010.

    Yet according to Michael Greenstone, an economics professor at MIT and one of the study's authors, this study is the first to precisely quantify their relationship. "Demonstrating that people die a bit earlier [because of pollution] is interesting and helps establish that pollution is bad," he said. "But the most important question, the next question that needed to be answered, is what's the loss of life expectancy? How much should society be willing to pay to avoid high levels of pollution? This study was structured so we could answer that question."

    China's central authorities are keenly aware that environmental degradation has become one of the country's leading causes of social unrest. Last month, China's cabinet revealed 10 new measures intended to combat air pollution, and state media reported that Chinese courts can now impose the death penalty on serious polluters.

  4. Gray goes in to bat for Woodside

    According to The Australian, federal resources minister and former Woodside executive Gary Gray is actively lobbying WA state premier Colin Barnett to make the Browse project easier to develop using floating LNG technology.

    Sources told the paper Gray was asking Barnett to remove the Browse lease conditions that stipulated the project be built onshore.

    Given the Browse resource is partially in state and partially in commonwealth waters, the retention lease conditions being held onto by the state could be a stumbling block in developing the project.

    However, Gray may have just gotten Barnett’s back up, with the paper suggesting Barnett was angry at Gray’s insistence he remove the lease conditions immediately, and is considering how to respond.

    The state retention leases do not expire until next year.


    The problem of east meeting west

    Monday, 8 July 2013

    THERE are few situations more difficult than when you are caught between two opposing forces – a “meat in the sandwich” experience. This is how Slugcatcher suspects the Australian gas-export industry is going to feel in the next few years.

    The squeeze, which is another way of describing what’s happening, is also an event that defies the Rudyard Kipling advice of more than a century ago that “east is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet”.

    In the Chinese oil and gas market, east and west are meeting and Australia is the meat in that sandwich as those forces, in the form of rising Russian petroleum exports and the threat of US gas exports, collide to satisfy Asian demand and potentially drive down prices.

    If that image is too difficult to grasp consider what is going to happen after Russia and China sign a big oil supply deal (which they did last week), and what might happen after the US starts exporting LNG with the fast-growing Asian region as the primary target.

    Both Russia, and the budding US oil and gas export industry, are targeting Australia’s backyard market of China, Japan and the rest of Asia. They are doing this for a very obvious reason – they are growing, whereas Europe (Russia’s traditional petroleum export market) is not.

    The potential entry of the US into the LNG export business has been well flagged and is going through a government approvals process, a debate over allowable export levels, and the building of LNG terminals, or their conversion from import to export.

    In time, perhaps within two-to-three years, cargoes of US LNG will start to arrive in Asian ports with a trickle perhaps making it to Europe where demand is fading and an ability to pay is questionable.

    Russia, meanwhile, also has made a major strategic decision of walking away from Europe as a preferred market to re-direct the focus of its oil and gas export industry towards Asia.

    Understand those twin forces of Russia and the US targeting Asia, along with the traditional suppliers in the Middle East, and you start to see a crowded market developing – just as big Australian LNG projects come on line.

    It is, of course, likely the changes underway will be absorbed into the highly fluid market that is the world oil trade and, increasingly, the LNG trade, as it evolves from a closed loop of dedicated supplier/customer connection into a traded commodity where gas carriers seek out the highest-priced market.

    However, what set The Slug down this voyage of discovery about Asian oil and gas demand (and supply) was news from Russia that its exports of oil to Europe have plunged to a 10-year low while exports to China are setting records and will continue to grow rapidly – along with gas in the form of new Far East LNG projects.

    The big deal, which was signed after months of negotiations, is a monster $US270 billion agreement for the Russians to supply China with 365 million tonnes of oil over the next 25 years.


  5. The problem of east meeting west ....cont....

    China, the country with the cash, has reportedly made a one-off pre-payment of more than $US60 billion to kick the deal into play and, presumably, to help the Russians expand what is a modest pipeline system connecting the two countries, which have been long-term rivals and occasional enemies across a disputed border.

    Delivering more oil to China is one stage in the new-found alliance with Russia. A second is an agreement to expand gas production in eastern Siberia, a region that has had limited oil and gas development so far thanks to a preference for the western Siberian oil and gas that has been flowing into Europe – a declining market.

    For Australian LNG producers the advent of a Russian/Chinese energy deal is interesting news, especially as it will mean more Russian gas reaching Chinese industry, either via pipeline delivery or LNG from several new or proposed projects.

    Russian LNG developments include an emerging deal between that country’s gas giant, Gazprom with a Japanese consortium near the far east port of Vladivostok; a second deal involving the Rosneft/Exxon LNG project on Sakhalin island with Japan’s Marubeni; and a third deal involving emerging Russian player, Novatek.

    Novatek wants to develop a LNG project on the Yamal peninsula with China’s national petroleum company, CNPC.

    So far, most comments about the changing Russian/Chinese oil and gas relationship have been about the Russian shift from looking west to looking east.

    For Australian LNG producers that is an interesting development. When it is layered onto the potential for US LNG exports to start heading into the Asian market it becomes more than interesting.

    In fact, it becomes concerning because Australia is the world’s high cost LNG producer and will soon find itself at the end of the queue when it comes to marketing gas into Asia where eastern gas is meeting western gas – and there is the potential for a gas glut and lower prices.



    1. The International Monetary Fund trimmed its global growth forecast on Tuesday for the fifth time since early last year due to a slowdown in emerging economies and the woes in recession-struck Europe.

      The Fund said China's slowdown was a particularly big risk, as the world's second-largest economy navigates a shift to consumption-led growth. Any slowdown could hit commodity exporters, such as Australia, as China is one of the world's biggest energy consumers.

  6. 11th FLNG Asia Pacific Summit to Take Place in Seoul

    The 11th FLNG Asia Pacific Summit this year will take place in Renaissance Seoul Hotel in South Korea from October 21 to October 23. The Summit is is timed to follow the World Energy Congress so that delegates can cover future energy shifts from world leaders, while meeting global experts to gain insights on how the scaling and replicating of large Floating LNG designs is forever changing the face of the business.

    The Summit will bring you the latest major developments and design advances in the global lucrative FLNG market as project delivery becomes the next focus. With market shifts impacting on FLNG profitability and project returns, the FLNG Asia Pacific Summit 2013 will provide you with competitive updates on the technical design challenge solutions which are enabling projects to stay viable and on track so that you can capitalise on this burgeoning sector.

    Get essential insights from key stakeholders to:

    - Learn of the latest progress of current exceptional FLNG projects amid industry changes

    - Capitalise on emerging opportunities to replicate scaled FLNG facilities to develop “stranded” gas

    - Adopt new approaches to financing, cost sharing and effectively project managing FLNG delivery

    - Resolve the unique technical and safety challenges of FLNG projects including, mooring, storage, offloading, sloshing and topside system integration

    - Examine growth opportunities with the surge in distinctive FLNG terminals and carrier design developments.


    Pacific Northwest applies for export licence

    Monday, 8 July 2013

    PACIFIC Northwest LNG has applied to Canada’s National Energy Board for a licence to export 19.68 million tonnes per annum of LNG from its proposed LNG export facility in Port Edward, British Columbia.

    The permit application is for 25 years, starting from 2019.

    Pacific Northwest LNG president Greg Kist said the filing of a NEB permit was an important step towards bringing the project to reality.

    The facility will represent an investment of up to $11 billion and will create up to 3500 jobs during construction.

    Pacific Northwest LNG will be supplied with natural gas primarily sourced from Progress Energy Canada’s assets in northeast British Columbia.

    The export project is ultimately owned by Petronas – which bought Progress Energy – with a 90% interest in the project. JAPEX owns the remaining 10%.

    The project submitted its project description to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in February.

    CEAA has issued environmental impact statement guidelines that will act as terms of reference for the project’s environmental assessment.

    Pacific Northwest LNG expects to submit its environmental assessment to CEAA in late 2013.


  7. Gas in Eastern Mediterranean: Will It Be the Game Changer

    The Eastern Mediterranean Sea is witnessing an era of revolution in term of gas discoveries backed by the recent technological advancements in offshore and deepwater drilling.

    A recent U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the basin holds close to 3,450 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil. The Nile Delta Basin, in the south-east Mediterranean, situated in Egypt’s and Cyprus’s EEZ, is estimated to hold even more natural gas (6,315 Bcm) and oil (1.8 billion barrels).

    Together with the Aegean Basin offshore Greece, it appears that the Eastern Mediterranean has huge oil and gas potential, and it is clear why there is worldwide interest in exploration of the region.

    Israel is taking the lead in developing its natural gas discoveries. Tamar and Leviathan, fields where large deposits of natural gas have been found, will, it is sometimes claimed, supply Israel with all the energy it needs for decades to come. A claim frequently cited in the media, for example, predicts that the fields have “enough gas to supply the country for 150 years.”

    The Tamar field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, estimated to hold 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas; Israel started gas production from the field in March 2013, in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence and save a projected 1 billion shekels ($274 million) a month, according to the government. The field is being developed by a group that includes Noble Energy Inc., Delek Drilling-LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP and Isramco Negev 2 LP.

    Meanwhile, the Leviathan Field, discovered in 2010 with an estimated 19 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas, was the world's largest offshore discovery of the past decade.

    "Leviathan is actually the reservoir that can potentially bring Israel to be totally independent from an energy perspective and also position Israel as an exporter of natural gas rather than importer," said Yossi Abu, chief executive of leading Israeli natural gas company, Delek Drilling.


    WELL it's official - we have now reached an all time high in the "unintelligent" stakes thanks to Barnett's insane obsession with his grand folly at JPP.

    Barnett's poor decision making is now on full show to all.

    "How to loose investment and scare the hell out of everybody"

  8. Shell Appoints Downstream Director as CEO

    Royal Dutch Shell reported Tuesday that it has found a new CEO to succeed Peter Voser, who announced his retirement in May. Ben van Beurden will become the next CEO when Voser leaves Shell next year. His appointment will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

    Shell, which said in May it would look both internally and externally for candidates, in the end opted to appoint someone from within the company. Van Beurden, a Dutch national, joined Shell in 1983 and since January 2013 he has been Downstream Director. He has held a number of technical and commercial roles in both the upstream and downstream parts of the business, including 10 years in the firm's liquefied natural gas business. He has worked for the company in the Netherlands, Africa, Malaysia, the U.S. and the UK.

    “I am delighted to announce Ben van Beurden as the next CEO of Royal Dutch Shell,” Shell Chairman Jorma Ollila said in a company statement.

    “Ben has deep knowledge of the industry and proven executive experience across a range of Shell businesses. Ben will continue to drive and further develop the strategic agenda that we have set out, to generate competitive returns for our shareholders.

    “Van Beurden’s selection came after a comprehensive assessment and review of internal and external candidates led by the Board Nomination and Succession Committee.”

    In May, Shell told Rigzone that the departure of Voser would not mean a change of strategy for the company and that Voser's surprise decision to leave the business had been a personal one.