Saturday, July 20, 2013

Anti-Fracking Activists Celebrate Cancellation of Gas Leases and Drilling Plans in NE Pennsylvania | Alternet

Anti-Fracking Activists Celebrate Cancellation of Gas Leases and Drilling Plans in NE Pennsylvania | Alternet


“I can’t believe it and I can’t stop crying,” Fox said, adding that he is deeply grateful for this “amazing victory.” “This proves that people passionate and organized can actually win sometimes. We won’t stop until we win everywhere.”
It’s no happenstance that the unprecedented mass lease cancellation occurred in a region that is home both to Josh Fox, fractivism’s heroic Pied Piper, and to the first fractivist organization founded in the Northeast U.S., Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS)— making it a triumph both for Fox and for the dedicated grassroots effort by a community of neighbors that began in 2007.

87 comments:

  1. Economists forecast the end of growth

    Unlimited GDP growth is over as we enter a new age of resource scarcity - we must transition to a new economy

    The last few weeks has seen bad news for the global economy, with the US and Europe facing growth slowdowns, and even much vaunted economic powerhouses Brazil, Russia, India and China faltering unexpectedly. While mainstream economists continue to predict an ongoing 'recovery', other leading experts point to the end of growth as we know it for the foreseeable future.

    Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed its quarterly forecasts for global GDP growth from 3.3% to 3.1%, and revised down growth estimates for other major powers. The US forecast was downgraded from 1.9% to 1.7%, and Europe is expected to contract 0.6% rather than the originally estimated 0.3%. The IMF also downgraded growth forecasts for 2014.

    Against this background, evidence has emerged that the era of booming economic growth is over, and that we are entering an age of permanently slow growth - at best.

    A new paper in the journal International Productivity Monitor finds that underlying the US recession is a long-term decline in productivity growth, interrupted briefly by the "dot.com revolution" for eight years, followed by a slump "to 1.47 in the past eight years."

    Study author US economist Prof Robert J Gordon of Northeastern University concludes:


    "... we face a significant possibility that the disposable income growth for the bottom 99% of the income distribution could be as low as 0.5% per year, or perhaps even 0.2%."

    This conclusion complements Gordon's previous prediction last year that by 2100, the US economy would return to an annual growth rate of 0.2%. He describes the second industrial revolution as the core driver behind rocketing growth experienced over the last 250 years, noting that the main factor behind the continuing slump since 1970 - escalating over "the last eight years", was a lack of sufficient industrial innovation capable of fundamentally "changing labour productivity or the standard of living."

    He argued:


    "Future growth in real GDP per capita will be slower than in any extended period since the late 19th century."

    The "headwinds" holding growth back include key economic issues such as "rising inequality", the "end of the 'demographic dividend'", the "overhang of consumer and government debt", as well as "the consequences of environmental regulations and taxes that will make growth harder to achieve than a century ago."

    While Prof Gordon has his naysayers, his outlook is surprisingly corroborated by other experts. HSBC Group chief economist Stephen D. King's new book, When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence, portends how the age of high economic growth will never return, largely due to the "exhaustion of various one-off productivity gains that boosted growth after World War II" and "a tripling in rates of consumer credit founded on an unsustainable increase in housing prices", among other factors. King disagrees with Gordon's worst-case scenarios, but agrees that the dividends that made high growth possible in the past appear largely "unrepeatable."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jul/19/economy-end-growth-resource-scarcity-costs

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  2. Oil Basins facing Derby block appeal

    Tuesday, 26 March 2013

    OIL Basins has been advised of a planned appeal against the National Native Title Tribunal’s ruling by the Nyikina and Mangala people to allow exploration of the company’s Derby block in Western Australia.

    ........



    WA clarifies Aboriginal protocols


    Monday, 22 July 2013

    A NATIVE title and Aboriginal heritage policy framework for the resources sector has been formally launched by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia to enhance its “social licence to operate”.

    ..........




    India's Petronet LNG asked to renegotiate supply deal for high-priced Gorgon cargoes

    Monday, 22 July 2013


    Indian state-owned natural gas utility GAIL is seeking to renegotiate India's most expensive LNG deal with the Australian Gorgon project that comes on stream in 2015 and could cost as much as $18 per million British thermal units for cargoes after regasification.

    ...............




    Browse Floating LNG developers face growing opposition from state premier

    Monday, 22 July 2013


    Australian energy company Woodside, Royal Dutch Shell and partners planning the reconstituted Browse Floating LNG project are facing growing opposition from Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett.

    ..............



    The changing of the guard


    Monday, 22 July 2013

    TO SAY OPEC dominates the oil world is a statement that causes little disagreement, just as saying Woodside is Australia’s biggest pure-play oil and gas company. However, what amuses Slugcatcher is the prospect of those “facts” being superseded in the next decade.

    ..............




    Total and UK's Centrica can now ship LNG from the US to South Korea and Singapore

    Monday, 22 July 2013


    French energy company Total and Centrica, the UK's largest domestic gas and electricity supplier, have now received permits to export LNG from the US to Latin America, South Korea and LNG hub builder Singapore.

    .................




    Petronas Canadian LNG project hit by process delays over pipeline route revisions

    Monday, 22 July 2013


    The Pacific NorthWest LNG project in Canada being developed by Malaysia's Petronas faces a delay over changes made to the route of its $5-billion pipeline after the start of the environmental screening process.

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  3. WOULD THE CANNING BASIN GAS LOOK MORE VIABLE IF AUSTRALIA HAD A TRUE NATIONAL GAS PIPELINE NETWORK?

    IT WOULD MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR SURE - BUT THE LATEST PLANS DO NOT INCLUDE WESTERN AUSTRALIA!

    WA TO MISS OUT AGAIN.

    ..


    West misses out again - Friday, 19 July 2013
    Noel Dyson

    IT WAS amusing to read a press release this morning from the Australian Pipeline Industry Association talking about a “national gas grid to open up potential for major new investments”.

    .....


    APA sees gas grid linking NT, east coast in a decade


    PIPELINE operator APA Group has pushed its vision for a national gas grid, chief executive Mick McCormack saying he would be "disappointed" if it did not occur in the next decade.

    Mr McCormack, speaking last night at the annual Australian Pipeline Industry Association's Darwin dinner, said with development of the gas industry in the Top End it made sense for APA to invest in connecting its east coast gas grid with the Northern Territory.

    "This has been discussed for some time . . . APA's engineering and transmission teams are already looking at how this link can be created cost-effectively," he said.

    "I would be personally disappointed if connection to the east coast grid doesn't become a reality within about a decade. From a security-of-supply perspective it is an important connection.

    "The NT's current gas supply from the Bonaparte and Amadeus Basins is sufficient to meet existing demand, but new supply will be required post-2020 to support market demand."


    The plan is to connect the Northern Territory gas markets with the eastern gas markets via a 700km pipeline joining existing gas infrastructure in the NT and Queensland.

    The Australian Pipeline Industry Association said such a connection would provide increased energy security for both markets and enable access to prospective shale-gas basins in Northern Australia.

    "Projects like this have the potential to unlock the development of Australia's unconventional gas reserves and increase the supply of gas to our largest local markets," APIA chief executive Cheryl Cartwight said.

    APA Group this week launched a $1.3 billion bid for the two-thirds of gas distributor Envestra it does not already own. The all-scrip indicative offer, which comes after the $1.6bn takeover of Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund last year, is only slightly higher than Envestra's share price and has received a cool reception from the target's board.


    .........................



    Pipeline giant may link NT to eastern gas grid

    AUSTRALIA'S biggest gas pipeline company APA Group met Chief Minister Adam Giles today to discuss plans to connect the Territory to the Eastern Seaboard grid.

    The move would revolutionise the Territory's gas supply network and open up land-locked gas deposits.

    APA Group managing director Mick McCormack said a spur line could run 700km from the existing Territory gas line at Tennant Creek to Mt Isa in Queensland.

    It would cost about $500 million to build, he said.

    The Northern Area Gas Scheme (NORGAS) grid would give the Territory security of supply, linking it to a vast network that already covers Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia.

    APA Group has $12 billion in assets, more than 14,000km of pipes and is the largest gas transporter in the nation, piping 50 per cent of all natural gas consumed in Australia.

    Mr McCormack is to give a speech tonight outlining his vision at the Australian Pipeline Industry Association dinner.

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  4. ORIGIN FARM IN OFF THE NORTH COAST HAS HIGH LEVELS OF CARBON DIOXIDE.

    .

    Origin farms into MEO acreage

    Origin Energy, one of the three Gladstone coal seam proponents, has made a rare upstream move in the west after striking a farm-in deal covering MEO Australia's acreage off the State's north.

    Origin will emerge with a 50 per cent stake and operatorship of WA-454-P, which contains the Breakwater gas-liquids prospect.

    The permit is surrounded by the Petrel, Frigate, Tern and Blacktip fields.

    Origin has a small stake in the Petrel field, which forms a key plank of plans by Santos and its French partner GDF Suez to develop the Bonaparte floating LNG operation.

    MEO said Origin would earn its stake in the Breakwater permit by funding 80 per cent of an upcoming exploration well, based on a capped total cost of up to $35 million.

    Origin would also reimburse MEO 80 per cent of $5.6 million in incurred exploration costs.

    MEO picked up the permit two years ago and has since acquired 3D seismic. It did not disclose when it and Origin expected to drill the first well.

    The area off WA's north and off the Northern Territory has proven highly prospective for liquids-rich gas fields, although many of them also contain high levels of carbon dioxide.

    Origin has long had a presence in the onshore Perth Basin where it is one of the biggest players.

    ..............



    No Irish luck for Exxon

    Woodside Petroleum's quest to strike oil and gas riches off Ireland has lost some shine after an expensive exploration push by ExxonMobil in the Porcupine Basin failed to live up to its high expectations.

    Providence Resources said yesterday that drilling of the Dunquin North well had been completed by operator ExxonMobil, having found a 250m-long "massive porous carbonate reservoir" appeared to be water bearing.

    Some analysts had estimated Dunquin North could contain as much as 1.7 billion barrels of oil-equivalent.
    The Dunquin North outcome would have been closely observed by Woodside, which late last month surprised investors with news it had farmed into several blocks in the northern part of the Porcupine Basin as part of its search for game-changing exploration opportunities.

    ..............



    Fukushima operators admit radioactive water is leaking into Pacific

    The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater has leaked out into the Pacific Ocean.

    The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been battling for months to stop groundwater leaking into the complex and becoming contaminated.

    Now the company has admitted that radioactive water from the site has leaked into the sea, although a spokesman insists the impact on the ocean will be limited.

    Earlier this month TEPCO revealed that groundwater samples taken at the Fukushima plant showed that levels of radioactive caesium had increased by more than 100 times in just a few days.

    The company acknowledged that it had no explanation for the soaring figures.

    The head of Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority believes contamination of the sea has been continuing since the explosions at Fukushima following the 2011 tsunami.


    .

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  5. Tidal energy power station approved near Derby

    The West Australian Government has approved plans to build WA's first tidal energy power station, in the West Kimberley.

    Tidal Energy Australia proposes to build the power station at Doctor's Creek, near Derby.

    By harnessing the energy in the town's extreme tidal movements, the facility will be able to generate 40 megawatts of electricity.

    It is enough to power 10,000 to 15,000 homes.

    The Environment Minister Albert Jacob has approved the project subject to 14 conditions.

    Derby-West Kimberley shire president Elsia Archer says she is excited about the extra jobs and power it will bring to the West Kimberley.

    "I guess at the beginning it's going to bring that construction phase in and I imagine that would mean quite a few people," she said.

    "Apart from that, it'd be a fantastic tourism icon for people to look at."

    The Member for Mining and Pastoral, Robin Chapple, says he does not see how the project could be environmentally or financially viable.

    "We already have electricity supply for the area," he said.

    "The proposal identified previously that they were going to sell electricity to the James Price Point proposal; well, that no longer exists so the market that they were talking about is gone."

    On its website, the company says it was established in 1996 to research and develop tidal power stations in WA.

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  6. Children at heart of bid to close gap


    A DRAMATIC expansion of the health system to focus on indigenous children's health and to include broader issues of child development is the central plank of a 10-year Aboriginal health plan to be unveiled today.

    The plan, which dictates where state and federal governments should focus their efforts, aims to deliver the policies required to eliminate the indigenous life expectancy gap by 2031.

    It commits governments to give more attention to and increase spending on "difficult and distressing issues of violence, abuse and self-harm".

    Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon will say today that the health plan places priority on social and emotional wellbeing and the issues that impact on it, including alcohol and other drugs. It also focuses on improving the wellbeing of indigenous people with a disability.

    The Rudd government says the 10-year National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan is "free of racism and inequality" and provides the "necessary platform to realise health equality by 2031".

    .

    "Importantly, in this health plan we signal the need to expand our focus on children's health to broader issues in child development," Mr Snowdon will say. "We have much more work to do in developing robust research and data systems. I am also resolved that we will tackle the difficult and distressing issues of violence, abuse and self harm." The government will commit to "drive health system improvements and maintain a clear priority on primary healthcare system reform", he will say. "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health services will continue to be supported to fulfil their pivotal role in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes."

    The government will report annually to parliament about measures and targets aligned to the new plan.

    "The health plan provides a clear focus on strategies to address racism and to empower people to take control of their own health," Mr Snowdon will say. "While we need to continue to strengthen healthcare we also need to enhance our focus on specialist care and hospital care in the secondary and tertiary systems."

    A series of 17 nationwide consultations was held with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, communities and groups, with more than 140 written submissions and a series of roundtables to gather expertise on a range of issues relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Projected funding for health programs specifically designed for and targeted at Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders is estimated to be about $12 billion to 2023-24.

    Mr Snowdon will also use the launch of the health plan to reiterate his call to state and territory governments to publicly commit their contributions to the new National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes.

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  7. Miners snaffle gas check experts


    THE poaching of top public service experts by resources companies has undermined capacity to monitor the coal-seam gas boom in Queensland properly, according to farmers who have set up a community-based network to watch over CSG operations.

    The farmers will today launch "CSG Watch", which will use both science and social media to increase public scrutiny of these activities.

    The initiative will be launched by the Basin Sustainability Alliance, a landholder group set up to deal with what it describes as the "unrestrained development" of the industry and related environmental, health and social impacts.

    Alliance chairman David Hamilton said the loss of experienced public service staff, lured to the resources sector, had weakened the capacity of government to monitor the industry in recent years. "If you take the most experienced technical staff out of the department, then you are diminishing government's ability to effectively regulate and police the industry," Mr Hamilton said last night.

    .

    CSG Watch was about "arming people with the tools and knowledge to perform credible scientifically based testing overseen by scientists".

    Queensland's Liberal National Party government has refused to disclose how many of its experienced staff have departed for jobs with resource companies.

    Under the previous government, about 70 staff from the Environment Department alone left for jobs with CSG companies in the two years to January last year, according to figures provided to The Australian. Departures to Santos in 2011-12 included the head of the newly established LNG enforcement unit, as well as another director, and a senior adviser in the department's petroleum and gas division.

    The department's former director-general Jim Reeves said yesterday some of these losses followed approaches made by the companies. He declined to cite examples.

    Asked whether those departures weakened the capacity of the government to regulate the sector, he said: "It was a stress when you lose good people with experience. They are difficult to replace."

    .

    A spokesman for Santos, which heads the Gladstone LNG project, denied the company approached public servants in order to elicit job applications.

    Wilkie Creek farmer Megan Baker said government inspectors had made only one visit to examine the nine wells on her property that were installed in May 2009.

    "In terms of what we've seen, the disappointing thing about the government monitoring is that it has always been at our request," she said.

    "It is never initiated by the government - they don't contact us to ask what is going on."

    One of the wells on her property still has a minor leak, though Ms Baker said the CSG company, Arrow Energy, had increased its monitoring of them following the government's visit to her farm.

    Darling Downs farmer Lee McNicholl said the government clearly lacked capacity, given the scale of the CSG boom under way. He had dealt with compliance officials regarding two "dud conventional gas exploration wells" drilled on one of his properties in the 1960s.

    "Old inadequately cased oil and gas exploration wells are now more likely to become methane gas vents as the CSG juggernaut rolls out," he said.

    "Is the government going to leave it up to the CSG companies to deal with fugitive emissions?" Queensland's slashing of the state public service also appears to be taking its toll on monitoring capacity, although the government maintains frontline positions have not been cut.

    The state's CSG compliance unit has 38 staff monitoring thousands of wells. A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment said the unit "utilises the expertise of 14 officers".

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  8. Buru have released a statement saying they will not be fracking in the Canning Basin for the rest of this year.

    Interesting....why?

    .

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    Replies
    1. ABC radio Kimberley at 0630 today.

      Don't laugh BUT according to a professor the reason IS....

      ...THE GAS IN THE CANNING BASIN IS NOT FINANCIALLY VIABLE AS IT IS WAY MORE DIFFICULT AND EXPENSIVE THAN THE US SHALE.

      .

      So we await further updates on this AS it completely scuttles any last ditch attempts by Barnett to pipe this VERY expensive gas out through a gas plant at THE very expensive JPP site.

      .

      NO ONE wants to build a supply base at JPP - SHEER lunacy to go there!

      SO that's it - STANDBY for a back flip by Barnett on FLNG for Browse and a likely scrapping of the no longer required CA.

      .

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  9. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-24/buru-says-more-kimberley-fracking-unlikely-this/4840690

    Buru says more Kimberley fracking unlikely this year

    Buru Energy has conceded it is unlikely it will conduct any further fracking in the Kimberley in 2013.

    The Canning Basin explorer has previously indicated its intention to continue accessing shale gas at its drilling sites east of Broome, where it conducted fracks in 2010.

    However, the company has not applied to the Department of Mines and Petroleum for permission to continue fracking and says it is not expecting to for the remainder of the year.

    Professor Peter Cook recently co-authored a report of the commercial viability of shale gas developments in Australia.

    He says the prohibitive costs could slow down projects across the country.

    "Drilling a well here will cost you two or three times more that it will in the United States," he said.

    "Getting a fracking crew will cost you a lot more here than it does in the US, so there are all sorts of things that are adding to our cost structure here in Australia and it is a concern.

    "The reality is if that is people can't make any money from shale gas, then they're not going to explore for it."

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  10. Workers Evacuated Following Blowout on Rig

    Forty-seven workers were evacuated from the jackup Hercules 265 (250’ MC) offshore Grand Isle, Louisiana following a blowout Tuesday, according to media reports.

    Efforts to regain control of the A-3 natural gas well at South Timbalier Block 220 that experienced a blowout are underway, rig owner Hercules Offshore said in a press release Tuesday. The company also has notified all necessary governmental authorities of the incident.

    The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated workers on two lifeboats from the platform, according to New Orleans TV station website WDSU.com. None of the workers sustained any injuries, a Coast Guard spokesperson confirmed to Rigzone. The workers are being transported to a secure location, Hercules said in a statement. A Coast Guard cutter and two aircraft are headed out to the platform to conduct an overflight assessment, WDSU reported.

    “Our first and foremost concern is for the safety of all personnel aboard our drilling rig and we have taken every necessary precaution to safely evacuate the rig,” said Hercules CEO and President John T. Rynd in a statement. “Furthermore, efforts are ongoing with our client, Walter Oil & Gas, to mobilize the necessary resources to regain control of the well and minimize any potential impact on the environment.”

    Hercules Offshore jackup Hercules 265 has been drilling for Walter at South Timbalier Block 220 in 154 feet of water, according to Rigzone’s RigLogix database. The rig was scheduled to go into shipyard in mid-August following completion of its work with Walter.

    Walter reported losing control of Well A-3 on an unmanned platform at South Timbalier Block 220, located 55 miles offshore Louisiana, while doing completion work on the sidetrack well to prepare the well for production, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported Tuesday.

    The well is flowing gas, and no oil is being released, BSEE said in a press release. BSEE inspectors conducting an overflight reported seeing a light sheen one-half miles by 50 feet in area which is dissipating almost immediately. BSEE inspectors will remain at a nearby platform to keep abreast of the situation.

    “BSEE is closely monitoring Walter Oil & Gas’ mobilization of its response efforts to stop the flow of gas and secure the well,” BSEE noted.

    The agency also is closely coordinating its response efforts with the Coast Guard and other federal agencies.

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  11. Report Shows Gas Prices in Australia Could Triple

    in eastern Australia are about to be hit with more gas price increases which could see wholesale prices triple, according to new research from The Australia Institute.

    The independent think tank’s paper Cooking up a price rise finds that wholesale gas prices will rise from around $3 or $4 a gigajoule to around $9 a gigajoule.

    “The increase is linked to plans to sell gas from eastern Australia overseas,” Senior Economist at The Australia Institute Matt Grudnoff said.

    “The minute Australia’s domestic gas market is linked to the world gas market, the Australian price will increase.

    “At the moment Australians pay relatively low prices for gas, and that’s why the industry is so keen to sell it to foreign markets instead.”

    The completion of the Gladstone liquefied natural gas facilities will enable gas companies in eastern Australia to sell gas overseas for the first time.

    “Many in the gas industry would like us to believe that public opposition to coal seam gas (CSG) is the reason for the impending price increases. But it’s the determination of the gas industry to sell to the highest bidder,” Mr Grudnoff said.

    “Interestingly, it’s not a lack of supply that is going to drive up gas prices. It’s the introduction of CSG as a new form of supply.”

    The report finds that without new CSG developments providing an additional source of gas, it’s unlikely that gas production in eastern Australia would be large enough to justify the construction of the export facilities needed to sell gas overseas.

    “Once gas from eastern Australia is being sold overseas, consumers will be at the mercy of world prices and domestic production will have little impact,” Mr Grudnoff said.

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  12. Australia: South Australian geothermal explorer Petratherm sets up PetraGas to explore shale gas opportunities in Tasmania

    South Australian geothermal explorer Petratherm announced last week that it has created a new subsidiary to explore opportunities for shale oil and gas in Tasmania. PetraGas has applied for a petroleum exploration licence covering an area spanning 3,900 sq km, north of Hobart, prospective for conventional and unconventional oil and gas.

    The move into unconventional oil and gas exploration is a 'low-entry costs, high potential gain' initiative for the group, Petratherm managing director Terry Kallis said. 'The tools and techniques used can help us leverage our core areas of expertise in basin geology and deep drilling and our knowledge of the gas and electricity markets.'

    Petratherm is developing its flagship Paralana power project from hot rocks in the state's north. Last month, it won approval for a $13 million Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant from the Federal Government for Paralana and is working towards meeting all the precursory conditions. The grant is on a matching funding basis and Petratherm has to secure an additional $5 million in equity within six months and the commitment of joint venture partner Beach Energy to a 21 per cent share of the matching funding costs.

    'It's an opportunity that aligns with our core skills. Our primary focus has been and will be our Paralana project. This move (into shale gas) is part of our commitment to shareholders to look at other projects that fit in with our skills and abilities.'

    PetraGas has replaced Petratherm's former solar thermal-focused subsidiary Heliotherm. Mr Kallis said Heliotherm did not exist anymore and 'the shell had been reconfigured to become PetraGas'. Heliotherm's exclusive agreement with the University of Adelaide to develop a solar thermal integrated project under a $794,268 grant from the Premiers Science and Research Fund has also been abandoned. 'The grant required matching conditions beyond what we were willing to contribute at that stage,' he said.

    PetraGas expects to get the licence to explore in Tasmania in two to three months time. PetraGas will 'arrange to meet with key stakeholders and the local community to ensure that a comprehensive two-way communication process is established from the outset'.

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  13. Report finds national regulation of fracking needed

    A report on the cost of shale gas mining has identified a need for Australia-wide regulation of the controversial 'fracking' practice.

    The Australian Council of Learned Academies recently released a report on the economic viability of shale gas mining in Australia.

    The study looked at gas reserves, extraction costs, environmental impacts and regulatory systems.

    Co-author Professor Peter Cook says the report found it would be best to establish a national approach to regulation.

    "Shale gas resources sometimes are very extensive and go over state boundaries and so on so you can't just restrict some of these things to a single state," he said.

    "That will mean that we've got to take a broader view and we felt there was a need to take a broader view of the regulations in general."

    Professor Cook says it would not be effective to regulate well by well.

    "You sometimes have to draw hundreds of wells to extract the resources in a cost effective way and obviously this has an overall accumulative effect," he said.

    "This can be regulated but you've got to be conscious of it, you've got to develop a strategic way of dealing with this rather than looking at individual wells."


    ..................



    Rivals to co-operate on gas exports

    The second-stage expansions of multibillion-dollar export gas projects being developed in Queensland will involve either consolidation or co-operation between existing players, British Gas says.

    ''The next wave [of projects] will see co-operation,'' the chairman of BG Australia, Catherine Tanna, said on Wednesday at an Australian Financial Review luncheon in front of shareholders in two of the other Queensland projects, Origin Energy and Santos.

    Along with a project in Queensland, BG is also developing an export gas project in Canada. If competitors go down the consolidation or co-operation path, ''we will have to follow'', Ms Tanna said.

    ''Australia has enormous opportunity to be part of that next wave,'' Origin managing director Grant King told the luncheon.

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    ''The projects are going to happen … those conversations [between shareholders in rival projects] are happening.''

    Earlier optimism that Origin would proceed with a phase-two expansion of its Asia-Pacific LNG project has faded for now amid investor caution over bringing the initial development on stream and within budget.

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  14. Louisiana Agency Sues Dozens of Energy Companies for Damage to Wetlands

    Louisiana officials filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against dozens of energy companies, hoping that the courts will force them to pay for decades of damage to fragile coastal wetlands that help buffer the effects of hurricanes on the region.

    “This protective buffer took 6,000 years to form,” the state board that oversees flood-protection efforts for much of the New Orleans area argued in court filings, adding that “it has been brought to the brink of destruction over the course of a single human lifetime.”

    The suit, filed in civil district court in New Orleans by the board of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, argues that the energy companies, including BP and Exxon Mobil, should be held responsible for fixing damage done by cutting thousands of miles of oil and gas access and pipeline canals through the wetlands. It alleges that the network functioned “as a mercilessly efficient, continuously expanding system of ecological destruction,” killing vegetation, eroding soil and allowing salt water into freshwater areas.

    “What remains of these coastal lands is so seriously diseased that if nothing is done, it will slip into the Gulf of Mexico by the end of this century, if not sooner,” the filing stated.

    A spokeswoman for BP said the company would have no comment. A spokesman for Exxon Mobil said the company had no comment at this time.

    Gladstone N. Jones III, a lawyer for the flood protection authority board, said the plaintiffs were seeking damages equal to “many billions of dollars. Many, many billions of dollars.”

    Mr. Jones acknowledged that the government, which has strong protection against lawsuits, might bear some responsibility for the loss of wetlands. But he noted that Washington had spent billions on repairing and strengthening hurricane defenses since the system built by the Army Corps of Engineers failed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. By taking the companies to court, he said, “we want them to come and pay their fair share.”

    The role of the industry is well documented in scientific studies and official reports. In calling for remediation efforts, a 2012 report by the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority stated, “Dredging canals for oil and gas exploration and pipelines provided our nation with critical energy supplies, but these activities also took a toll on the landscape, weakening marshes and allowing salt water to spread higher into coastal basins.”

    The suit argues that the environmental buffer serves as an essential protection against storms by softening the blow of any incoming hurricane before it gets to the line of levees, flood walls, and gates and pumps maintained and operated by the board. Losing the “natural first line of defense against flooding” means that the levee system is “left bare and ill-suited to safeguard south Louisiana,” the lawsuit says.

    The “unnatural threat” caused by exploration, it states, “imperils the region’s ecology and its people’s way of life — in short, its very existence.”

    John M. Barry, an author and a member of the flood protection authority board, noted that there were other causes of coastal wetlands loss, including decisions by the Corps of Engineers over the decades to design navigation and flood control systems for the Mississippi River that kept its waters from delivering the sediment that once nourished the wetlands. Still, he said, “we just want them to fix what they broke.”

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  15. Chevron to Spend $844 Million on Remote Projects

    ABERDEEN, Scotland — Chevron said on Tuesday that it had awarded contracts worth more than £550 million, or more than $844 million, on its planned Rosebank and Alder oil and gas development projects in British waters.

    If the company decides to proceed with the projects to produce oil and gas from the fields, it would wind up spending billions of pounds on platforms, drilling equipment and undersea systems. The key subsea contract announced on Tuesday appeared to be won by a joint venture between the oil services giant Schlumberger and the American valve maker Cameron International — perhaps best known in lay circles as the maker of the blowout preventer that failed in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster in 2010.

    Others that won Chevron contracts announced Tuesday included Aker Solutions, a Norwegian oil and gas equipment maker, and Technip, a French oil services management company. Peter Blake, chief of Chevron’s subsea operations, said all of the underwater equipment for the project would probably be made in Europe.

    Rosebank, an oil and natural gas field, is on what is becoming one of Europe’s key fossil-fuel frontier areas, the margins of the Atlantic Ocean west of the Shetland Islands off Scotland. Alder, a gas field, is in the central North Sea, which is also attracting major new investments. Northeast Scotland has evolved into the hub of Britain’s and in some respects Europe’s oil industry, with hundreds of suppliers of high-tech services and undersea gear.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Australia: Oilex receives significant interest in farmout of Canning Basin SPA-0055

    Oilex has advised that following the receipt of the 'Preferred Applicant' Letter for the Canning Basin SPA-0055 as announced to the ASX on 19 April 2013, it has fielded a number of approaches from international and Australian energy companies as well as private equity firms, expressing interest to farmin to the Company's Wallal Graben acreage in the Canning Basin.

    Thus far a number of those interested parties have received comprehensive management presentations, have reviewed the project data room and undertaken detailed technical reviews of the resource potential. As a result of the early interest from several parties, Oilex is currently managing the farmout process internally in order to expedite the activity.

    Also on 19 April 2013, the Company announced it submitted bids on the gazettal blocks L12-08 and L12-09 adjacent to the awarded SPA 0055. The Company is awaiting a decision by the Department of Mines and Petroleum on these two gazettal blocks. If the Oilex bids are successful, the entire interpreted Wallal Graben play fairway will have been secured by the Company.

    Commenting on the announcement, Oilex's Managing Director, Ron Miller said: 'We are encouraged by the early interest expressed by industry participants who have provided us with a further source of independent verification of the potential associated with both the unconventional and conventional plays within SPA-0055. We look forward to updating the market on progress with our potential farmout activities in due course.'

    ..............



    Origin extends northern gas exploration

    Origin Energy has extended its offshore exploration interests off the north-west coast of Australia, investing in a gas drilling venture run by junior MEO Australia that is thought to have the potential to host an LNG-scale resource.

    ...............



    Another giant oil play on the northwest coast Thursday, 25 July 2013
    David Upton

    INNOVATIVE thinking by MEO Australia’s exploration team has produced another play for a giant oil field near the shores of Australia’s northwest coast.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ice-free Arctic in two years heralds methane catastrophe – scientist

    Professor Peter Wadhams, co-author of new Nature paper on costs of Arctic warming, explains the danger of inaction

    A new paper in the journal Nature argues that the release of a 50 Gigatonne (Gt) methane pulse from thawing Arctic permafrost could destabilise the climate system and trigger costs as high as the value of the entire world's GDP. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf's (ESAS) reservoir of methane gas hydrates could be released slowly over 50 years or "catastrophically fast" in a matter of decades – if not even one decade – the researchers said.

    Not everyone agrees that the paper's scenario of a catastrophic and imminent methane release is plausible. Nasa's Gavin Schmidt has previously argued that the danger of such a methane release is low, whereas scientists like Prof Tim Lenton from Exeter University who specialises in climate tipping points, says the process would take thousands if not tens of thousands of years, let alone a decade.

    But do most models underestimate the problem? A new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) projects that the Arctic will be ice free in September by around 2054-58. This, however, departs significantly from empirical observations of the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice which is heading for disappearance within two or three years according to Nature co-author and renowned Arctic expert Prof Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar ocean physics group at Cambridge University.

    If Prof Wadhams is correct in his forecast that the summer sea ice could be gone by 2015, then we might be closer to the tipping point than we realise. To get to the bottom of the scientific basis for the Nature paper's scenarios, I interviewed Prof Wadhams. Here's what he had to say:

    How long do we have before the Arctic summer sea ice disappears?

    Given present trends in extent and thickness, the ice in September will be gone in a very short while, perhaps by 2015. In subsequent years, the ice-free window will widen, to 2-3 months, then 4-5 months etc, and the trends suggest that within 20 years time we may have six ice-free months per year.

    Why do the climate models not match empirical observations - and why is your estimate of the Arctic sea ice disappearance so different from most model projections?

    The modellers did not pay sufficient regard to observations, especially of ice thickness. They considered certain physical processes in the model, then when the rate of retreat greatly outstripped the predictions of the model, they ignored the observations and stuck with the model. A very great physicist, Richard Feynmann, said that when a model comes up against measurements that contradict it, it is the measurements that must be preferred and the model must be abandoned or changed. Scientists who have a lot of their credibility bound up in a model are reluctant to do this. Then there are a number of key processes that can only be represented if the model has a very fine grid scale, such effects as the break-up of ice due to waves generated in the large areas of open water that we now have in summer; or the additional weakening of the ice by meltwater pools that melt their way right through the ice sheet. A modeller who represents all these fine scale processes is Wiselaw Maslowsky (Monterey) and his models agree with my empirical predictions.

    Our global emissions trajectory is already on track to breach 2C in coming decades. What does a 2C world imply for the Arctic melt and the potential for methane release?

    We are already in a 2C world in terms of the heating potential of carbon dioxide that we have already put into the atmosphere. The heating will reach 2C before 2050 and will then go on to 3-4C globally by the end of the century. Even a 2C world involves the probable loss of Arctic sea ice for much of the year (and 4C for most of it), which will ensure maximum methane release from the exposed shallow seas of the continental shelves.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ice-free Arctic in two years heralds methane catastrophe – scientist

    cont....

    What does the loss of the Arctic summer sea ice mean for the climate? How will this impact on society and the economy?

    Our own model shows that the methane release from the ice retreat will add about 0.6C to global warming by 2040. Adding on the faster sea level rise, and trend towards greater extremes in weather (due to jet stream displacement) means increased risk of catastrophic floods in less developed countries and a decrease in food production at a time when world population is rapidly increasing.

    What is the link between permafrost melt, methane release and the loss of the Arctic sea ice? After 2015, if the Arctic becomes ice free in the summer, is there a heightened danger of methane release?

    The loss of sea ice leads to seabed warming, which leads to offshore permafrost melt , which leads to methane release, which leads to enhanced warming, which leads to even more rapid uncovering of seabed. If a large release has not occurred by 2016 the danger will be continuously increasing. It is thought that at 2-3C of global warming, which means 6-8C of Arctic warming, methane release from permafrost on land will be greatly increased.

    Some people say that a catastrophic methane release over 10 years - your worst-case scenario - is a very low probability event and we don't really need to worry about it. What's your response to that?

    Those who understand Arctic seabed geology and the oceanography of water column warming from ice retreat do not say that this is a low probability event. I think one should trust those who know about a subject rather than those who don't. As far as I'm concerned, the experts in this area are the people who have been actively working on the seabed conditions in the East Siberian Sea in summer during the past few summers where the ice cover has disappeared and the water has warmed. The rapid disappearance of offshore permafrost through water heating is a unique phenomenon, so clearly no "expert" would have found a mechanism elsewhere to compare with this.

    Would Arctic experts agree with you?

    I think that most Arctic specialists would agree that this scenario is plausible.

    What about scientists like Prof Tim Lenton, a climate tipping point expert, who argues that a methane release is a long-term problem, not an immediate danger?

    His earlier conclusions are out of date. His oft-cited paper on tipping points is two years old now and was based on literature surveys rather than direct research. An ice-free summer (September) Arctic is clearly nearly upon us, and will be achieved within three years or less - this is plain from the observational data on ice extent (satellites) and thickness (submarines and altimeter satellites). I am sure that he is about to revise his views if he hasn't already done so.

    Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books

    ReplyDelete
  19. Arctic thawing could cost the world $60tn, scientists say

    Methane released by a thinning permafrost may trigger catastrophic climate change and devastate global economy

    Rapid thawing of the Arctic could trigger a catastrophic "economic timebomb" which would cost trillions of dollars and undermine the global financial system, say a group of economists and polar scientists.

    Governments and industry have expected the widespread warming of the Arctic region in the past 20 years to be an economic boon, allowing the exploitation of new gas and oilfields and enabling shipping to travel faster between Europe and Asia. But the release of a single giant "pulse" of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian sea "could come with a $60tn [£39tn] global price tag", according to the researchers who have for the first time quantified the effects on the global economy.

    Even the slow emission of a much smaller proportion of the vast quantities of methane locked up in the Arctic permafrost and offshore waters could trigger catastrophic climate change and "steep" economic losses, they say.

    The Arctic sea ice, which largely melts and reforms each year, is declining at an unprecedented rate. In 2012, it collapsed to under 3.5m sqkm by mid September, just 40% of its usual extent in the 1970s. Because the ice is also losing its thickness, some scientists expect the Arctic ocean to be largely free of summer ice by 2020.

    The growing fear is that as the ice retreats, the warming of the sea water will allow offshore permafrost to release ever greater quantities of methane. A giant reservoir of the greenhouse gas, in the form of gas hydrates on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), could be emitted, either slowly over 50 years or catastrophically fast over a shorter time frame, say the researchers.

    The ramifications of vanishing ice will also be felt far from the poles, they say because the region is pivotal to the functioning of Earth systems, such as oceans and climate. "The imminent disappearance of the summer sea ice in the Arctic will have enormous implications for both the acceleration of climate change, and the release of methane from off-shore waters which are now able to warm up in the summer," said Prof Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar ocean physics group at Cambridge University and one of the authors of the paper published in the journal Nature.

    "This massive methane boost will have major implications for global economies and societies. Much of those costs would be borne by developing countries in the form of extreme weather, flooding and impacts on health and agricultural production," he said.

    According to the authors, who using the Stern review, calculated that 80% of the extra impacts by value will occur in the poorer economies of Africa, Asia and South America. "Inundation of low-lying areas, extreme heat stress, droughts and storms are all magnified by the extra methane emissions," they authors write. They argue that global economic bodies have not taken into account the risks of rapid ice melt and that the only economic downside to the warming of the Arctic they have identified so far has been the possible risk of oil spills.


    ReplyDelete
  20. Arctic thawing could cost the world $60tn, scientists say

    cont....

    But, they say, economists are missing the big picture. "Neither the World Economic Forum nor the International Monetary Fund currently recognise the economic danger of Arctic change. [They must] pay much more attention to this invisible time-bomb. The impacts of just one [giant "pulse" of methane] approaches the $70-tn value of the world economy in 2012", said Prof Gail Whiteman, at the Rotterdam School of Management and another author.

    The Nature report comes as global shipping companies prepare to send a record number of vessels across the north of Russia later in 2013, slashing miles travelled between Asia and Europe by over 35% and cutting costs up to 40%.

    According to Russian authorities, 218 ships from Korea, China, Japan, Norway, Germany and elsewhere have so far applied for permission to follow the "Northern sea route" (NSR) this year. This route uses the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska and is only open for a few months each year with an icebreaker.

    But following 2012's record collapse of the Arctic sea ice, shipping companies are gaining confidence to use the route. In 2012, only 46 ships sailed its entire length from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans and in 2011 only four. The route can save even medium-sized bulk carrier 10-15 days and hundreds of tonnes of bunker fuel on a journey between northern Norway and China.

    Satellite data collated from the US National snow and ice data centre in Boulder, Colorado this week showed ice loss now accelerating and, at 8.2m sqkm (3.2m square miles) approaching the same extent as during last year's record melt. Over 130,000 sqkm of sea ice melted between July 1 and 15. "Compared to the 1981 to 2010 average, ice extent on July 15 was 1.06m sqkm (409,000 square miles) below average," said a spokesman.

    ReplyDelete
  21. TALK ABOUT ONE LAW FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME - FORREST MUST BE THE MOST TWO FACED ASSH*LE ON THE PLANET!

    Forrest's resistance on Ashburton River threatens $29bn project


    FORTESCUE Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest's hostility to miners entering his ancestral land in the Pilbara is threatening to delay Chevron's nearby $29 billion Wheatstone LNG project, according to the company seeking to mine sand on the billionaire's pastoral station.

    Onslow Resources director Warren Slater said his small company had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees fighting Mr Forrest's resistance to it excavating sand from the Ashburton River.

    "But we won't fold -- he can throw everything he likes at us," Mr Slater told The Australian.

    "He (Mr Forrest) is holding up the supply of sand to the Wheatstone project -- it will be a disaster for Wheatstone."

    Onslow Resources has a contract to supply concrete sands to Boral for the massive Wheatstone project, which is under construction near the town of Onslow on the Pilbara coast.

    But Mr Slater said the lengthy delays in gaining access to Minderoo had become such a concern that Western Australia's Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Marmion, was aware of the increasing potential for delays.

    .

    Mr Slater said Minderoo's previous owners, who sold the property to Mr Forrest in 2009, had not objected to mining on the property.

    The station had been in the Forrest family's hands for 120 years until Mr Forrest's father, Don, was forced to sell it in 1998.

    Mr Forrest bought it back for $12 million and has spent millions of dollars restoring the property.

    Onslow Resources lodged an application with WA's Environmental Protection Authority yesterday to mine sand on a mining lease that is about 3km from the Minderoo homestead.

    In its application, Onslow said its project was crucial for regional development due to the lack of readily available construction materials in Onslow. It said mining activity would take place in a relatively uninhabited region only used for pastoral activities.

    Mr Forrest has objected to applications for mining on at least seven other tenements covering his 280,000ha Minderoo station.

    His opposition is considered unusual given that the mineral rights underneath pastoral stations belong to the crown and usually leave pastoralists little room to object to mining and exploration applications.

    In January, magistrate Stephen Wilson recommended that Yarri Mining, a company also owned by Mr Slater, be granted two mining leases covering 141ha on Mr Forrest's property.

    Mr Forrest had argued Yarri's sandmining operations would affect the "infrastructure and pastoral improvement of Minderoo" and cause environmental damage to the pastoral land.

    But Mr Wilson said it was difficult to fathom how mining leases covering such a small area could have any real impact on Minderoo. Mr Forrest has not appealed against the ruling.

    Mr Forrest also opposed an application by Perth mining identity Tony Sage's Cauldon Energy to explore for uranium on Minderoo.

    Objections to five other leases lodged by Yarri are still before the Wardens Court, with judgments expected soon.

    Construction at Wheatstone is scheduled for completion in 2016.

    The project will create an estimated 6500 direct and indirect jobs and involve spending of $17bn on Australian goods and services over the life of the project.

    Chevron and Mr Forrest could not be reached for comment last night.

    ReplyDelete
  22. China to spend $300 billion tackling pollution as coal consumption grows

    China has announced plans to spend more than $300 billion to tackle the country's notorious air pollution.

    Smog has been a major source of social discontent in China in recent years.

    The money will be spent on reducing concentrations in the air of particles caused by burning coal that can cause lung damage.

    Across China, levels of those particles, known as PM2.5, regularly exceed limits suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    A state media report said officials aim to reduce PM2.5 emissions in key cities including Beijing by about 25 per cent of 2012 levels by 2017.

    The plan would mean PM2.5 concentrations in Beijing will reach about 60 micrograms per cubic meter by 2017 - still several times above the WHO's limit.

    The report did not provide details of how the targets would be met. China's environmental ministry was not immediately available to comment.

    .

    China is mostly reliant on coal for power and its consumption of fossil fuels grew rapidly in recent decades as the country's economy expanded to become the world's second largest.

    China's coal consumption is expected to continue to grow - although Beijing has set a target of raising non-fossil energy use to 15 per cent of its total consumption by 2020, up from 10 per cent in 2010.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Scientists call for more investment and research into efficient water technologies

    Australia's top scientists say far greater investment in research into efficient water technologies is required to see Australia become the food bowl of Asia.

    When you tuck into a bowl of fried rice, chances are you are not thinking of the amount of water that has gone into producing it - let alone the kind of science that has gone into making production more efficient.

    The CSIRO says in the 1950s, rice yields were about five tonnes per hectare and now it is double that.

    Production has become more water-efficient too - but scientists say farmers are now at a crossroads.

    "I think that we've been very successful in terms of agriculture around water use," the CSIRO's Dr John Hornbuckle said.

    "As we move into the future we'll need to continue to ramp up those activities within the next 10-15 years to meet the ongoing challenges which we find in the agricultural industries."

    The Federal Government's National Food Plan paints Australia as being the food bowl for Asia.

    .

    Consumers need to pay 'proper price' for food

    With the Murray-Darling Basin Plan cutting water entitlements by thousands of gigalitres - whether people like it or not - changes are coming.

    London water expert Professor Tony Allan says people should consider the concept of virtual water when they eat.

    "Virtual water is the water needed to produce something - so if it's a tonne of wheat you need [that's] 1,000 tonnes [of water]," Professor Allan said.

    "For a tonne of beef, it's 16,000 [tonnes of water].

    "So it takes some water to grow some things and an awful lot to grow others."

    .

    Australia is one of the largest net exporters of virtual water and GHD civil engineer Mike Muntisov says there needs to be more emphasis on the true price of water.

    "Those highly [water] intensive crops will start to be produced less and less due to market forces," Mr Muntisov said.

    "Enhancing the market pricing so that we're starting to reflect the real price of water - the closer we get to that - will make a big difference and that will drive the innovation and efficiencies."

    ReplyDelete
  24. WA biosecurity disaster waiting to happen: whistleblower

    A State Government whistleblower says WA has never been more exposed to a biosecurity disaster after it dropped quarantine safeguards at airports, railways and highway entry points.

    The Department of Agriculture and Food WA expert said biosecurity was severely compromised by budget cuts that put people and key agricultural industries in jeopardy.

    His warning came with the Health Department and DAFWA still unable to determine the cause of a mystery disease causing mouth lesions in humans and horses.

    WA grape growers are also stepping up protests against imports from California they claim are a biosecurity threat to vineyards.

    The whistleblower said yesterday gaping holes in the biosecurity safety net were showing.

    This year a cattle wasting disease prompted movement bans on stations in the Kimberley, another cattle disease, bovine anaemia, was detected in WA for the first time and almost 100 ducks and chickens on two farms outside Perth were slaughtered as a precaution after avian influenza was found.

    WA has remained free of a host of plant and animal diseases that have gained a foothold in the Eastern States.

    The whistleblower said there was no longer a quarantine presence at Karratha airport, which had direct links with Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin.

    "There used to be quarantine services across the Kimberley and North West but now there is no one at Port Hedland or Derby," he said.

    Weekend inspections on passenger trains were scaled back and there were no biosecurity checkpoints on four roads that carried an increasing number of vehicles into WA from interstate.

    The roads allow traffic from northern Australia to bypass a checkpoint at Kununurra, which plays an important role in slowing the spread of cane toads.

    .

    The number of full-time animal biosecurity staff at DAFWA has been cut from 209 in 1989 to 84. The number of entomologists is down from 15 in 2008 to nine.

    .

    Agriculture Minister Ken Baston could not be contacted.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Landholders cry foul over Campbell Newman's links to gas industry


    MEMBERS of Queensland's GasFields Commission and their families enjoy lucrative financial interests in the state's controversial coal-seam gas industry that endanger the statutory body's independence, landholders and activists claim.

    The commission, an election commitment by Campbell Newman's Liberal National Party, purports to promote sustainable co-existence between CSG miners and farmers - but critics say it is captive to industry.

    .

    Mr Clapham said landholders were concerned about the commissioners' links to gas companies. "To many people it appears the commission is there to facilitate the industry, not to even up the power imbalances. It's there to grease the wheels of the industry," he said

    The son of commission chairman John Cotter is the founder and major shareholder of a Brisbane-based consultancy that has close links to the British-owned Queensland Gas Company, one of four firms developing the state's $65 billion CSG industry.

    John Cotter Jr's Flinders Group is involved in the $100 million construction of a jetty at Curtis Island at Gladstone, from where exports of liquid natural gas will begin next year. The Flinders Group has also advised resource firms, including QGC, on accessing land in more than 10 major projects, involving agreements with 1000 landholders.

    .

    Activist Drew Hutton said the Flinders Group "scopes areas where coal-seam gas companies might need to target properties for gas wells and other infrastructure".

    This was in direct conflict with Mr Cotter Sr's role in assisting farmers in dealing with mining companies, he said. "It's another case of where the Queensland government has structured things so landholders are disadvantaged against the might of the coal-seam gas companies."

    Mr Cotter Sr, a grazier at Goomeri northwest of Brisbane, said he had no role in his son's business.

    .

    Another commissioner, Don Stiller, a farmer from Wandoan in central Queensland, has done extensive business with gas companies. Mr Stiller said that he and his family had three pipelines, two pumping stations, two communications towers and a worker's camp on their properties for which they had been compensated.

    .

    He also had a small interest in a company that owned a quarry on his property that was providing sand for a water pipeline.

    The 120km Woleebee Creek to Glebe Weir Pipeline will transport treated CSG water from QGC's LNG project to mining and irrigation customers along its route.

    Mr Stiller, a former mayor of the Taroom Shire Council, is the father of the Queensland LNP politician Deb Frecklington, who is the assistant minister for finance, administration and regulatory reform in the Newman government.

    Mr Stiller said he had declared all his pecuniary interests to the commission, and that if he wasn't a commissioner he "would go much harder" in seeking CSG-related business. CSG had provided a means of diversifying his business with income that did not depend on the weather, he said.

    .

    The commission includes community leaders where the CSG industry operates, a landholder representative and a resources industry representative.

    It was intended that the six-man commission would address a power imbalance between wealthy mining firms and farmers and concerns such as the impact of mining on groundwater.

    Commissioner Ian Hayllor confirmed he had been compensated for water trials on his Dalby property by Queensland's Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, which is researching possible connectivity between underground water used for agriculture and the coal seams.

    A spokesman for the GasFields Commission said the part-time commissioners "were selected for their experience and expertise and any potential conflicts of interest were required to be disclosed under legislation".

    ReplyDelete
  26. AS Woodside's plans unravel there must be a big sigh of relief down south that the JPP disaster didn't proceed.

    ..

    Israeli export uncertainty a blow for Woodside's Leviathan gas hopes


    WOODSIDE Petroleum's involvement in a $US1.25 billion ($1.34bn) deal on the giant Leviathan offshore gas project in Israel is in doubt, held up by uncertainty over domestic gas export laws seven months after it was signed.

    Adding to the uncertainty, which has been driven by domestic debate about how much gas the Middle East nation should export, project operator Noble Energy has now flagged an increasing emphasis on domestic and regional supplies at the expense of the LNG exports Woodside would operate.

    Noble president Chuck Davidson said finalisation of Woodside's conditional agreement to take a 30 per cent stake in Israel's biggest gasfield had been held up by a high court challenge over whether the gas export policy, which was approved by the cabinet, also needed to be approved by the parliament.

    "Closing of these agreements (with Woodside) has been delayed primarily due to the uncertainty over exports," Mr Davidson told US investors in a briefing on Thursday night. "Hopefully we are nearing closure on that issue."

    He said the company was expecting an indication from the high court "in a few weeks" of what path the policy, which limits Israel's gas exports to 40 per cent of its reserves, would take.

    The call to force the policy to clear not just cabinet but also the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, comes from opponents of the policy who want more gas reserved for domestic needs, a debate that has been running in Australia too.

    Mr Davidson confirmed that the policy approved by cabinet did not mean individual gasfields would be limited to 40 per cent exports. Larger fields, including Leviathan, would be able to export more than 40 per cent of their reserves, he said.

    In what will be seen as a nod to domestic concerns, Mr Davidson said some Leviathan gas volumes that had been seen as likely to be exported as LNG were now more likely to stay local. "We've got increased demand in Israel and other regional demand that has been growing," he said.

    "As a result, that might move some of this gas from an LNG export to a regional export."

    Under the Woodside deal, the Australian company would operate an LNG plant to export the gas and Noble would operate domestic and regional gas exports, likely to be delivered by pipeline.

    Woodside yesterday declined to comment on the Noble briefing or the status of negotiations over its stake in the project.

    Since announcing in December that it had agreed to participate in what it called one of the biggest recent global gas discoveries, Woodside has held back its initial $US696 million payment.

    The company has not revealed why it has not paid the initial amount or what the conditions were but has said there has been haggling about what would trigger the payment.

    The December deal release did not link the original payment to Israeli gas export policy but said a second, $US200m payment would be contingent on laws permitting LNG export.

    A final $US350m payment would be made if a final investment decision was made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THIS on top of the bad Irish results........

      See above story :"No Irish luck for Exxon"

      Delete
  27. Whale threat to cray industry

    WA Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell claims the Federal Government is threatening to all but shut down WA's lucrative rock lobster industry because of a sharp rise in the number of whales tangled in craypot lines.

    Likening it to Canberra's dramatic decision to ban cattle exports in 2011, Mr Buswell said the $200 million rock lobster industry was facing a similarly devastating fate unless it resolved the issue.

    His remarks, made at a commercial fishing industry function on Thursday night, come as the number of whales entangled in craypot lines this year is already more than five times higher than normal.

    According to Mr Buswell, there are usually only three entanglements each year as whales migrate up the west coast to breeding grounds off the Kimberley.

    But this number has risen to about 20 since May.

    Mr Buswell said he had received a letter from former environment minister Tony Burke, warning that the crayfishing industry would lose its right to export if the problem was not addressed.

    "The (former) Federal Minister for the Environment - he's a nice guy, just go ask the cattle industry - has written to your industry and to me and he's said, 'If you don't fix this problem up by 2015, then I will probably remove your right to export'," Mr Buswell said.

    "And if you don't think he will, come with me next time I go to the Kimberley - I will get all the cattle producers from the Kimberley to come and talk to you.

    "We don't matter to whale lovers and to Federal politicians whose core constituency is the east coast of Australia."

    Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler declined to answer questions, instead referring to the letter by Mr Burke in which he reapproved the industry's export licence while noting concerns about entanglements.

    Under this approval, the WA Fisheries Department was ordered to demonstrate measures being taken to reduce interaction between the fishery and whales.

    .

    Western Rock Lobster Council chairman Basil Lenzo said that though he thought Canberra's warning was less severe than Mr Buswell suggested, the loss of the industry's live export licence would be disastrous.

    He said 95 per cent of lobster caught in WA was exported live to countries including China.

    Being deprived of the trade would at least halve the value of the product. Mr Lenzo said such an outcome would cost many operators their livelihoods.
    He said the industry would work with the Commonwealth to develop solutions before it came to a head.

    ReplyDelete
  28. OUT OF SIGHT - OUT OF MIND.

    If this was anywhere near parliament house an emergency would have been declared ages ago.

    ..

    Call to remove asbestos-ridden building in the Kimberley to protect children

    Residents, community leaders and politicians are demanding urgent action to remove asbestos-ridden buildings in the Kimberley.

    It has been confirmed abandoned buildings close to schools in the Beagle Bay and Bayulu communities contain the toxic material.

    Photographs show exposed walls and crumbling building material where local children play.

    Both structures are the responsibility of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs which, after months of appeals for action, has fenced off the buildings and starting removing the asbestos this week.

    Labor MP Stephen Dawson, who toured the sites last week, says the response is not good enough.

    "What I'm saying is that the Government needs to get cracking and demolish these buildings as soon as possible," he said.

    "And I've got to say, this is a remote community in the Kimberley.

    "If this was in the metro area, people would have acted a hell of a lot sooner."

    ...........................



    Concern development plans for Port Hedland may be hindered by iron ore dust

    "We're now in a stage of our development we really need to enhance the living experience of being here, everyone accepts that it's critical we get social amenity into the town."

    That's Port Hedland real estate agent Morag Lowe.

    She's lived in the town for almost 10 years and witnessed the community grow on the back on the booming iron ore game.

    While the industry has continued to grow and flourish, its residents have languished.

    But there's plans to change that with a multi-million-dollar development of the foreshore in the town's West End, near the port.

    It's something residents have long called for.

    "The economic viability of the town going forward I think is virtually guaranteed, this is definitely a project that would go a long way to creating a fabulous recreational project for people to enjoy," Ms Lowe said.

    The $152-million precinct would have high rise apartments, a cafe strip on the waterfront and a marina to cater for hundreds of recreational boaters.

    But it doesn't end there, there are also plans for a privately funded block of high density apartments on land across the road from the marina, which currently houses the old and disused hospital site.

    Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett says it will become a key component of the precinct, providing short stay accommodation, cafes and offices.

    "The Finbar site is really important, there's a linkage between the development for the site and the plans for the marina precinct," she said.

    "Together they would create that amenity, that recreation, that cultural experience of being able to recreate and be beside the water."

    ReplyDelete
  29. Texas oilman and fracking pioneer dies


    BILLIONAIRE Texas oilman George Mitchell, considered the father of the oil and gas production technique commonly known as fracking, has died aged 94.

    Mitchell, the son of a Greek immigrant, became one of the wealthiest men in the US. His dogged pursuit of the natural gas he and others knew were trapped in wide, thin layers of rock deep underground brought a new - and enormous - trove of oil and gas within reach.

    His controversial breakthrough led to a revolution in oil and gas production in the US, one that is expected to migrate around the world.

    The US is now the world's largest producer of natural gas and is on track to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer by the end of the decade, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    The fracking boom sent natural gas prices plummeting, reducing energy costs for US consumers and businesses. And by boosting US oil production, it has sharply reduced oil imports.

    .

    For the entire oil and gas age, drillers had searched for hydrocarbons that had seeped out of layers of sedimentary rock over millions of years and collected into large pools. Once found, they were easy to produce. Engineers merely had to drill into the pools, and the natural pressure of the earth would send huge volumes of oil and gas to the surface.

    These pools are exceedingly rare, though, and they were quickly being tapped out as the world's consumption grew, raising fears that the end of the oil and gas age would soon be at hand and raising prices to alarming levels.

    Mitchell's idea: Go directly to the sedimentary rock holding the oil and gas, essentially speeding up geological processes by thousands of millennia.

    He figured out how to drill into and then along layers of gas-laden rock, then force a slurry of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into the rock to crack it open and release the hydrocarbons. This process, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is now common industry practice.

    Engineers after Mitchell learned to adapt the process to oil-bearing rock.

    A family statement said Mitchell "will be fondly remembered for flying in the face of convention - focusing on what could be, with boundless determination - many times fighting through waves of skepticism and opposition to achieve his vision".

    This year, the annual Forbes list of wealthiest Americans ranked Mitchell 239th with a net worth of $US2 billion ($A2.18 billion).

    Over his career, he participated in drilling some 10,000 wells. His company, Mitchell Energy & Development, was credited with more than 200 oil and 350 natural gas discoveries.

    The firm spent nearly two decades developing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, finally finding success in the 1990s.

    Mitchell sold his energy company in 2002 for $US3.1 billion.

    ReplyDelete
  30. THE NEED TO DIG MORE HOLES MUST NOT BE SLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

    ..

    Falling exploration expenditure in the mining industry prompts call for tax changes

    A national decline in mineral exploration spending has prompted the mining industry to renew calls for amendments to tax laws.

    Exploration expenditure across the resources industry dropped by 22 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

    It is the third consecutive quarterly decrease and there is concern a trend is forming.

    The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy's Shannon Burdeu says a number of incentives need to be considered now to help boost the exploration spend.

    "Something we all acknowledge in WA is the increasing cost in doing business that we have here as a state and there are certainly a lot of government initiatives and also company initiatives in order to increase the attractiveness of WA as a place to do business," she said.

    The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) wants a policy introduced that would allow current eligible company losses to be passed back to their Australian share owners in the form of tax credits.


    ***

    AMEC's Simon Bennison says it would stimulate the greenfield exploration sector, lead to more sites being mined and create future revenue for the government.

    ***


    "We'll work closely with both the Government and coalition to get their support to make sure they adopt this as a policy position," he said.

    "We obviously certainly need this for the future revenue flows that eventually go back to government."

    ReplyDelete
  31. Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence After Gulf Spill

    HOUSTON — Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of critical evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

    The oil services company said it would pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000 and will be subject to three years of probation. It will also continue its cooperation in the government’s criminal investigation. Separately, Halliburton made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

    The Justice Department filed one criminal charge against the company. In a statement, Halliburton said that the violation was a misdemeanor associated with the deletion of records created after the accident. Additionally, the company said, “The Department of Justice has agreed that it will not pursue further criminal prosecution of the company.”

    .

    The Justice Department said Halliburton had recommended to BP, the British oil company, before the drilling that the well include 21 metal centralizing collars to stabilize the cementing. BP chose to use six instead. During an internal probe after the accident, Halliburton ordered workers to destroy computer simulations that showed little difference between using six and 21 collars, the government said, after which the company continued to say that BP was neglectful to not follow its advice.

    The development was not entirely unexpected after the first phase of the civil trial in New Orleans. Lawyers representing businesses and others that suffered from the spill had long accused the company of conducting undocumented cement tests and hiding the results. BP had accused Halliburton of destroying evidence of its cement testing.

    But during the trial this year Thomas Roth, a senior company executive who was in charge of cementing operations when the spill occurred, acknowledged that because of the well design and other factors, “the cement placement was going to be a job that would have a low probability of success.”

    .

    The failure of the cement foam seal set off a complex and ultimately deadly cascade of oil and gas up the well casing that exploded into flames to engulf the Deepwater Horizon rig. The blowout preventer, which is supposed to contain a well bore breach, also failed.

    The presidential commission that investigated the accident reported that Halliburton officials knew before the explosion that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the bottom of the well was unstable but still went ahead with the cementing.

    The commission also found that at least one of three laboratory tests was given to BP, the operator of the drilling site, but it neglected to respond.

    “There is no indication that Halliburton highlighted to BP the significance of the foam stability data or that BP personnel raised any questions about it,” the report said.

    .

    It may also work in favor of BP, which has argued that while it made serious mistakes it shares responsibility for the accident with Halliburton and Transocean.

    Last November, BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in penalties and pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the explosion.

    .

    In recent years, the giant energy services company has had remarkable success as a leader in the oil and gas shale drilling revolution that is making the United States less dependent on foreign energy supplies.

    But in the not-to-distant past, Halliburton found itself under scrutiny over accusations that it performed shoddy, overpriced work for the United States military in Iraq, bribed Nigerian officials to win energy contracts and did business with Iran at time when it faced sanctions.

    “It’s another bad day for Halliburton and a very good day for BP,” said Fadel Gheit, a senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Polar Thaw Opens Shortcut for Russian Natural Gas

    YURKHAROVSKOYE GAS FIELD, Russia — The polar ice cap is melting, and if executives at the Russian energy company Novatek feel guilty about profiting from that, they do not let it be known in public.

    From this windswept shore on the Arctic Ocean, where Novatek owns enormous natural gas deposits, a stretch of thousands of miles of ice-free water leads to China. The company intends to ship the gas directly there.

    “If we don’t sell them the fuel, somebody else will,” Mikhail Lozovoi, a spokesman for Novatek, said last month with a shrug.

    Novatek, in partnership with the French energy company Total and the China National Petroleum Corporation, is building a $20 billion liquefied natural gas plant on the central Arctic coast of Russia. It is one of the first major energy projects to take advantage of the summer thawing of the Arctic caused by global warming.

    The plant, called Yamal LNG, would send gas to Asia along the sea lanes known as the Northeast Passage, which opened for regular international shipping only four years ago.

    Whatever blame for the grim environmental consequences of global warming elsewhere in the world that might be placed on the petroleum industry, in the Far North, companies like Novatek and Total, Exxon Mobil of the United States and Statoil of Norway stand to make profit.

    “It’s a reality of what is available today, and commercially it is a route that cuts cost,” Emily Stromquist, a global energy analyst at the Eurasia Group, said in a telephone interview.

    Because of easing ice conditions and new hull designs, the tankers will not even require nuclear-powered icebreakers to lead the way — as is the practice now — except through the most northerly straits.

    Novatek’s alternative was extending the natural gas pipeline that goes to Europe over hundreds of miles of tundra, at great cost. While shipping the gas from the field on the Yamal Peninsula, one of the long, misshapen fingers of land that extend north of the Urals in Russia, remains expensive, it is relatively cheap to drill and produce from these rich fields, making the overall project competitive.

    In addition to making it easier to ship to Asia, the receding ice cap has opened more of the sea floor to exploration. This has upended the traditional business model of using pipelines to Europe. Thawing has proceeded more slowly in the Arctic above Alaska, Canada and Greenland, but one day what is happening in Russia could happen there.

    Still, the Arctic waters are particularly perilous for drilling because of the extreme cold. Tongues of ice that descend from the polar cap for hundreds of miles obstruct shipping and threaten rigs. After a rig ran aground last year, Shell canceled drilling this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.

    This is not the first Arctic venture to benefit from newly cleared sea lanes. The decision to open the Arctic Ocean to drilling passed Russia’s Parliament in 2008 as an amendment to a law on subsoil resources. Exxon and Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, are already in a joint venture to drill in the Kara Sea, and last month they agreed to expand to seven new exploration blocks in the Arctic. Fourteen wells are planned.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  33. Polar Thaw Opens Shortcut for Russian Natural Gas..........cont..........

    What is new in the Novatek project is an oil industry business plan that relies explicitly on the Northeast Passage. Though Russian ships have moved goods along the country’s sprawling Arctic coastline for more than a century, and the route was opened to international shipping in 1991, it became apparent only recently that climate change would make the trip profitable.

    The German shipping company Beluga made the first international commercial transit in 2009. The first transshipment with fuel, a cargo of gas condensate bound for China, crossed in 2010. By last summer, just three years after the first passage, 50 ships crossed above Russia, including eight tankers chartered by Novatek to test the route.

    Novatek has said it needs bank guarantees for $16 billion in project financing, while it and its partners will finance the rest. To secure these loans, the company needs a change in Russian law lifting Gazprom’s monopoly for exports.

    President Vladimir V. Putin, in a speech at an economic conference on June 21, said the law would change before this year was out, signaling that Yamal LNG had full Kremlin backing.

    If Russia can ship large volumes of gas to Asia, it could send ripples through the Asian markets and put a damper on plans to build liquefied natural gas export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico. The United States and Russia are the world’s two leading gas producers.

    Novatek has been experimenting with commercial models to complement the new shipping route. To fulfill contracts in the winter, when the northern route is more hazardous, the company can ship gas west over northern Russia, then around Europe, through the Suez Canal, and onward to Asia.

    It has also negotiated with Qatar, a major Middle Eastern natural gas exporter, for a swap arrangement to save tanker fuel and time: Qatar would fulfill Novatek’s Asian contracts during the winter while Novatek, in exchange, would fill Qatar’s contracts to European customers during those months.

    The company intends to open the Arctic plant by 2016. It has already asked for bids for two ice-hardened tankers, which should be able to navigate the sea lanes toward China seven months a year and the routes to the west year round.

    It says it has mastered building in the Far North where, counterintuitively, Russians labor mainly through the cold polar night in winter, when the tundra is more accessible to heavy equipment.

    The company, Mr. Lozovoi said, is keeping an eye on climate studies of the Arctic.

    He said that because of engineering tolerances built into the ship designs, “even if the climate turns toward cooling, and the ice thickens, we will make money.”

    ReplyDelete
  34. Looks like the "Port of Pearls" case against Elite Cranes for the shoddy state of the old 100 tonner may be all over.

    ..

    Gatto pal fears for life after tape leak

    A covert recording of a conversation between gangland figure Matt Tomas and detectives from Victoria Police's Purana taskforce about a sensitive murder investigation has been leaked to Melbourne's underworld, including members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

    Mr Tomas, who is a business partner of Mick Gatto, is understood to have provided information that could assist police during the discussion, which was taped by a concealed recording device.

    .

    ....a source close to Mr Tomas expressed grave fears for Mr Tomas' safety.

    The source claimed there were similarities between the leaking of the secret recording of Mr Tomas and the ''Hodson case'', referring to the execution murders of police informant Terence Hodson and his wife Christine.

    Hodson had implicated former police officer Paul Dale in the theft of $1.3million in drugs and cash from an Oakleigh house in 2003, but the investigation collapsed when the Hodsons were killed in 2004. Mr Dale was charged with the murders in 2009, but the case was dropped when Carl Williams - who allegedly told police that Mr Dale had asked him to arrange the hit - was murdered in 2010. Mr Dale has always maintained his innocence.

    Tommy Ivanovic, who was present when Williams was murdered, was charged in September last year with conspiring to kill Mr Tomas. Fairfax Media is aware of at least one other plot to kill Mr Tomas, who founded Elite Cranes with Mr Gatto in 2002.

    A former driver for slain underworld figure Alphonse Gangitano, Mr Tomas was acquitted of murder in 1996, after he and two other men were accused of stomping a teenager to death in a Carlton restaurant.

    The leaking of the secret recording of Mr Tomas follows revelations that allegedly corrupt police officers had accessed confidential police files, which could have been passed on to underworld figures and possibly compromised active investigations.

    ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mick Gatto's crane company near collapse

      A Brooklyn-based crane company owned by prominent debt collector Mick Gatto and business partner Matt Tomas is on the brink of collapse after failing to pay its own debts to a subcontractor.

      The looming insolvency comes as Fairfax Media revealed on the weekend that a secret recording of Mr Tomas providing assistance to Victoria Police as part of a murder investigation has been leaked to dozens of figures in Melbourne’s underworld.

      Elite Cranes faces a liquidation order in the Supreme Court next month over the failure to settle a $67,057 debt with another crane-hire company APAC Cranes.

      In October last year, the Magistrates Court ruled that Elite Cranes owed the money to creditors of APAC Cranes, which was placed into administration in 2011 with debts of more than $1 million, according to documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

      Advertisement

      Mr Gatto resigned as a director and secretary of the company in December 2012, but remains a 50 per cent shareholder in the embattled crane hire business.

      .

      According to building industry sources, Elite Cranes has also failed to pay union fees on behalf of its employees to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

      .

      Delete
  35. The Perth Liberal Party involved in strange goings on with the supernatural reminiscent of Hitler and the occult.

    (Wikipedia : The Nazi Party reportedly grew out of several occult groups that sprang up in the late 19th century as a reaction to the advanced materialism and technology of the era. These groups spoke of the coming of a new Messiah that would save Germany. Hitler developed the notion that perhaps he was the chosen one to save the German people.

    The political parties created in the wake of the country's defeat in World War I combined nationalistic sentiment and occultist practices to forge an image of a superior German people.)

    ..

    ENVIRONMENT MINISTER ALBERT JACOBS INVOLVED!

    .

    Liberal ties with church of supernatural

    A northern suburbs church, which embraces supernatural healing and speaking in tongues, has become closely aligned to the Liberal Party with two church members - Environment Minister Albert Jacob and Joondalup MP Jan Norberger - already elected to Parliament.

    At least six other members of the Globalheart Church in Joondalup hold senior positions in the Liberal Party's Moore division or have taxpayer-funded jobs in the electorate and ministerial offices of Mr Norberger and Mr Jacob.

    A son of Globalheart's husband-and-wife pastors, Gerard and Sue Keehan, is employed in both MPs' offices. But neither MP would discuss the connections when contacted by The Weekend West and issued brief statements in response to a number of specific questions.

    "The religious views of the minister have no relevance to his role as a member of Parliament, to his position in Government or his portfolio responsibilities," a statement from Mr Jacob's office said.

    He said his staff had been chosen on merit and their religious beliefs were irrelevant.

    Mr Norberger said there was "no relationship" between his political party and his church, but during his maiden speech to Parliament in April, the MP thanked more than a dozen Globalheart members for their support.

    At least one of those thanked is now working in his electorate office.

    "The selection of my staff is strictly merit-based," he said.

    "Their own religious beliefs are their own private matter. Similarly, my own religious views have no relevance to my role as the member for Joondalup."

    Mr Norberger and the party's Moore division vice-president David Harding, also a senior figure in Globalheart, are involved with the church's business networking group Kingdom First.

    Between 2010 and last year, Mr Harding worked in Mr Jacob's Ocean Reef electorate office.

    City of Wanneroo councillor Ian Goodenough, who is the Liberal candidate for the Federal seat of Moore, also supports Kingdom First.

    The group is open to "women and men, who are in management" and hold key positions in industry and politics.

    In a 2011 magazine interview with Pastor Keehan, Mr Jacob said it was important for Christians to get involved in politics because government was impeding on "everyday lives".
    "This trend will inevitably lead to restrictions on our freedom to worship, our freedom of association and out freedom of speech," he said.

    .

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  36. REMEMBER LYNTON CROSBY? HE IS THE AUSTRALIAN (ex Howard advisor known as the "Wizard of Oz")INVOLVED IN THE BRITISH SCANDAL OVER PLAIN PACKAGING AND FRACKING AND HAS STRONG CONNECTIONS TO AUSTRALIAN MINING AND CSG. (see stories under comments for "Help stop the Kimberley becoming a polluted gas field")

    HIS COMPANY Crosby Textor DID THE RESEARCH HERE.

    ..


    Ideological activists 'risk gas future'


    TWO of Australia's business leaders have lashed anti-gas activists and their influence on government policy as the industry launches a multi-million-dollar campaign against "ideological opposition" to gas developments it warns could cost 150,000 jobs and $40 billion in exports.

    Origin Energy managing director Grant King told The Australian last night that activism against the gas industry had "materially influenced public policy and resulted in more onerous and duplicative legislation which adds overall to unnecessary costs across the industry".

    And Santos chief executive David Knox, in a letter to staff, warned that "left unchallenged, this vocal minority can create misinformation that greatly impacts the understanding of our industry by communities, government, and even you the people who underpin our success". "It can also have a disproportionate effect on public policy," he writes.

    The comments come as the gas industry launches a campaign amid rising opposition to coal-seam gas developments in NSW and Queensland and industry concern about the impact of the federal government's water trigger legislation on CSG development applications. In the past month, The Australian has run a series of reports from the frontline of the battle between the CSG industry and opponents including landowners, farmers and environmentalists.

    .

    The new industry campaign, run by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, will involve millions of dollars worth of print, TV and social media advertising and publicity. It will argue the national gas industry can provide the next wave of the resources boom but will warn it could be threatened by ideological opposition.

    The campaign is understood to be backed by key APPEA members and is believed to include a fighting fund of about $5 million for the next two months.

    APPEA external affairs director Michael Bradley said the campaign would send a clear message that opposing gas developments was not "consequence-free".

    He said the next parliament must address Australia's sliding competitiveness "before we lose the next wave of mega-projects to North America or East Africa".

    .

    Mr King said: "There are potential impacts for our business, our contractors, our investors, the thousands of jobs we support, and the enormous economic benefits we bring to Australia.

    "My biggest concern is not the facts of the matter, it's that there is clearly a small group of people who have an ideological opposition to what is happening and who don't feel bound to that same level of facts that we do."

    .

    As part of the campaign, APPEA released Crosby Textor research showing only 16 per cent of households surveyed believe their financial situation will get better over the next 12 months, 46 per cent believe it will stay the same, while 35 per cent believe it will get worse.

    Immigration tops the list of major issues facing Australia (nominated by 17 per cent of households). It was followed by economy and finances (15 per cent), cost of living (10 per cent) and employment (9 per cent).

    Mr Bradley said developing new gas supplies was "absolutely critical if Australia wants to put downward pressure on energy prices, meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring on the next wave of Australia's prosperity".

    ReplyDelete
  37. Boom's $190bn windfall 'wasted'


    AUSTRALIA has squandered nearly all of the $190 billion windfall from the resources boom over the past decade through a raft of unsustainable government spending programs and tax cuts.

    With cabinet today expected to discuss savings and tax measures for Chris Bowen's planned economic statement to combat a predicted $8bn slump in revenues, a report from the Melbourne-based Grattan Institute think tank warns of a significant, long-term budget deficit.

    Even if the economy was recording healthy growth, the budget would remain deep in deficit at normal commodity price levels, the study warns.

    "The benefit of record commodity prices was treated like recurrent income, and tax cut and spent away as if it would last forever," the study's author Jim Minifie said yesterday.

    Soaring commodity prices have brought a combined benefit to the commonwealth budget of $190bn over the past decade. Of this, $182bn has been either spent or devoted to tax cuts by the Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments. This does not include the combined $87bn of stimulus spending by Kevin Rudd and then-treasurer Wayne Swan following the financial crisis.

    While most of the reduction in revenue occurred during the Howard era because of personal income tax cuts and more generous superannuation concessions, most of the spending increase has occurred under Labor.


    ......................



    Mine boom money 'squandered'

    The mining boom delivered the nation far more benefits than costs, an independent analysis has found, which also claims governments of both persuasions squandered the financial boost provided by the resources sector.

    The Grattan Institute analysis of the decade-long boom also questions the assertion that the manufacturing and tourism sectors had been wiped out by the mining sector.

    Institute productivity program director Jim Minifie said the benefits of the boom, though concentrated in areas such as WA and the Northern Territory, had spread across the country.

    Although there were concerns about what would happen when the boom ended, it appeared suggestions of a post-boom recession were overblown.

    "People worry about permanent damage caused by the high dollar, the impact of the boom on non-mining regions and the risk we will turn into a quarry economy," he said. "These concerns are all understandable, but they're not borne out by the evidence.

    "There is always the risk of a downturn as resources investment and prices decline, but Australia has low inflation and a recession is far from inevitable."

    The report found the decline in some areas of the manufacturing sector, though accelerated by the resources boom, were driven by long-term spending pattern changes.

    People were no longer spending most of their money on manufactured goods but on services.

    And manufacturers in high-end or food had actually grown through the resources boom.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Analysis - China leaders play safe on reforms as growth sags

    BEIJING (Reuters) - For all the strong rhetoric, China's latest policy actions suggest a shift in focus on the economy to mix relatively pain-free reforms that burnish Beijing's credentials for change with measures to prop up sagging growth.

    While Premier Li Keqiang provides a drip-feed of easy reforms, he will avoid more radical moves for fear of tipping the world's second-biggest economy over the edge.

    Analysts from top government think-tanks say there is no reason to doubt the government's commitment to rebalancing China's economy away from an investment- and credit-driven growth model to one that relies more on consumption and innovation.

    But the leaders are aware they are walking a fine line and the economy's weaker-than-expected performance this year has underlined the need to tread carefully. Reform may well secure future growth, but if they push too hard now they could cause an economic shock that forces Beijing to resort to old-school pump-priming, prolonging the very economic model they are trying to dismantle.

    "The government has to safeguard its bottom line in growth, while restructuring the economy. It's very difficult to balance," said He Qiang, an economist at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing and an adviser to parliament.

    "Economic restructuring cannot be achieved overnight and it should be a gradual reform, not a revolution."

    Since President Xi Jinping and Li were appointed in March to lead China they have pressed the reform message to wean the country off a diet of breakneck expansion and easy credit that fuelled double-digit growth for three decades and catapulted China to the top table of global economies.

    Just last week Xi was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency on the need "to deepen reforms in all aspects" although he also acknowledged the line between "being courageous and walking steadily".

    In a nod to growth concerns, Beijing has unveiled a series of small steps in recent weeks that analysts say are geared to providing quick help to the economy.

    Last week, Beijing said it will scrap tax for six million small businesses, speed up railway investment and offer more help to exporters.

    That means radical reforms, such as full interest rate liberalisation, are off the table for now although they may be tackled in October, when the Communist Party holds a key meeting that will set its economic agenda for the next decade and which may also include some political reform.

    Until then authorities will reach for low-hanging fruit: uncontroversial reforms that move in the right direction and could have some, even if only modest, impact on growth, but which are limited in scope and ambition.

    The central bank's decision earlier this month to remove the floor on bank lending rates is an example. It was welcomed as a largely symbolic prelude to removing caps on deposit rates, a much more difficult task that will take time.

    The central bank says a deposit insurance scheme and other preparations are needed before a move on deposits and economists said besides concerns it would squeeze banks' profits there is also concern about its near-term economic impact.

    "They dare not to liberalise deposit rates now as that could push up borrowing costs," said Liang Youcai, an economist at State Information Centre, a government think-tank. The working assumption is that lending rates would rise to pay for the higher cost of deposits.

    ReplyDelete
  39. IPB Petroleum to make oil splash in Browse Basin

    A junior oil exploration company’s hard work is set to pay off with predictions they are sitting on close to 1 billion barrels of oil. Vicky Validakis spoke to IPM Petroleum about their stratigraphic play, and what it means for oil production in Australia.

    The Melbourne-based company was formed in 2009 by former BHP technical engineer Brendan Brown, who is now managing director of IPB.

    Brown said the development of a number of oil fields off the northwest coast of Australia is the focus of IPB, with drilling planned for the fourth quarter of this year.

    The company have three offshore permits in the Browse Basin which total 14,000 square kilometres in acreage position.

    In the first permit, WA-242-P, there is a oil discovery called Gwydion, which was first drilled by BHP in 1995, where they discovered oil on the surface.

    Through the use of 3D seismic surveying Brown said the company was able to fully realise the potential of the region.

    .

    Drilling Pryderi is the next step for the company who are aiming to spud the well in the fourth quarter of this year, at an estimated cost of around $15 million.

    In 2012 IPB signed an agreement with CalEnergy which puts the junior explorer in a great commercial position.

    As part of the deal CalEnergy is the operator of WA-424-P, and holds a 25% interest in the whole permit as well as a 60% interest in the Gwydion discovery.

    Within three months of drilling at Pryderi, CalEnergy can increase its stake to 60% by funding additional work up to a total of $32.4 million.

    “We would then have a discovery and an appraised discovery with a residual 40% interest in the permit so it puts us in a good position because it de-risks the play and we get our prospect drilled which is pretty important because we’re not just testing a prospect, we’re testing a play so there’s a lot of other on-trend leads interpretively at the same reservoir level,” Brown explained.

    If the planned drill goes well later this year, Brown said a quick turn-around was possible, with first oil produced as early as 2017.

    Brown said there has been strong interest in the project from both overseas and locally as the massive potential of the play becomes more apparent.

    “We’re conventional,” Brown explained.

    “We’re offshore oil in shallow water and have a shallow reservoir depth which all bode well for economics and that’s the wish list if you want everything.”

    “We’ve got drilling activity and big strategic positions so we’d like to think that we have a lot of upside.”

    “If this works, it’ll keep the company busy for 20 plus years.”

    ReplyDelete
  40. FMG plans gas pipeline to cut costs

    Fortescue Metals Group wants to build a gas pipeline linking its Solomon and Chichester iron ore mines as part of a long-term strategy to lower Pilbara operating costs.

    .

    Fortescue has given its project the working title Pilbara Gas Pipeline, in a nod to the GGP, and is undertaking early-stage studies into building a link from Port Hedland (where the gas would enter the line) to its Solomon mine hub.

    Fortescue is also looking at extending the pipeline to its yet-to-be constructed 30 million tonne a year Nyidinghu mine, which will have its own gas-fired power station, and in the process also supply the nearby Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines, which make up the Chichester hub.

    Fortescue's pipeline proposal could further threaten the decades-old East Pilbara Link, a $1 billion Government proposal to fill in the gaps in the region's electricity distribution network to create a modern and cost efficient system.

    The timing of Fortescue's pipeline and its likely cost - estimated to be in the hundreds of millions - remain unclear, as does the proposed corridor. It could make sense to lay the pipeline parallel to the company's Port Hedland-Chichester-Solomon rail network.

    Given Fortescue is focused on reducing its big debt burden and has been offloading non-core assets, a pipeline push in the short term appears unlikely unless it can secure a third party, such as a utility or pipeline operator, to fund and develop the network based on long-term gas offtake contracts.


    ........................




    Coal fires as prime electricity source

    Soaring domestic gas prices have allowed coal to re-emerge as WA's dominant electricity fuel source, sparking claims from green groups the State is failing to tackle greenhouse emissions from the sector.

    The latest snapshot of the South West electricity system - which services about 90 per cent of WA's population - shows the proportion of power generated by coal has jumped almost a third in six years.

    The increase means coal accounted for almost half of the State's total electricity supply in the 12 months to December 31 last year compared with less than 40 per cent in 2007 - shortly after the market was deregulated.

    In contrast, the proportion of electricity sourced from gas fell marginally over the same period to about 37 per cent. This was despite predictions the commodity would become WA's primary fuel when the former Labor government shunned coal and chose a gas-fired base-load power station in a landmark decision in 2005.

    Although much of the increase in power generation from coal has flowed from the introduction of the Bluewaters power stations near Collie, it is also believed coal-fired power from the troubled refurbishment of the nearby Muja units has contributed.

    The changes reflect coal's position as the most cost-effective fossil fuel for generating electricity.

    The Independent Market Operator, the State Government body charged with running the wholesale electricity market, and which released the figures, also noted renewable energy generation had risen sharply.

    Total electricity output from sources such as wind farms rose 75 per cent over the six years.

    Sustainable Energy Association chief executive Kirsten Rose welcomed the growth in renewable generation, but expressed concern over the resurgence of coal, saying it was one of the dirtiest fuel sources. Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen said the predominance of coal was "an appalling situation".
    "In a State where we have such abundant renewable energy and even gas, to have the share of coal - the most polluting fossil fuel - go up by such an extent is really alarming," Mr Verstegen said.

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  41. Industry must reduce whale tangles

    The WA Fisheries Department head has warned the rock lobster industry is likely to face closures from next year unless it can show how it will reduce the number of whales being entangled in pot lines.

    In a move operators said could slash the profitability of the sector, Fisheries director-general Stuart Smith said he was "of a mind" to close the Western rock lobster fishery during peak whale migration periods.

    It emerged last week that Canberra only reapproved the industry's lucrative live export licence until 2015 on the condition it acted to prevent whale entanglements in lobster pot lines after a rise in incidents.

    The salvo prompted WA Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell to claim the Commonwealth was threatening to effectively close the $200 million fishery - WA's biggest - and led to Mr Smith's intervention.

    In a letter to commercial lobster fishermen this month, Mr Smith asked for advice about specific actions the industry was proposing to reduce the risk of whale entanglements by October 11.

    He said "in the absence" of satisfactory answers, he would be inclined to shut the fishery during peak periods - in winter - when whales migrated up the WA coast to breeding grounds off the Kimberley.

    "In the absence of specific alternative action(s) being proposed, I am currently of a mind to close relevant fisheries during peaks in the whale migration season for all operators not using an approved method to minimise the potential for interactions," Mr Smith wrote in a letter to the Western Rock Lobster Council.

    "Approved methods may include pots and floats fitted with acoustic receivers, 'pingers', corrosive anodes, negatively buoyant rope and other technologies."

    WRLC chairman Basil Lenzo said the lobster industry, which has enjoyed record prices since the shift to a 12-month season, understood Mr Smith's urgency because "the last thing we want to do is close the fishery".
    "We have had some very significant advantages going to a 12-month season and the premium the industry is receiving is because of that."

    ReplyDelete
  42. Water model crosses the cultural barrier

    AN INTER-disciplinary team has been developing a model to assess the likely ecological consequences of changing water-management practices in the central Kimberley.

    The model incorporates scientific hydrogeological knowledge and indigenous ecological knowledge.

    CSIRO ecological modelling specialist Dr Adam Liedloff says his colleague Dr Emma Woodward spent several years with Goonyandi elders developing a seasonal calendar, based on traditional knowledge of the upper Fitzroy and Margaret River catchments.

    He says Goonyandi seasons are based on observations of natural phenomena, not fixed dates.

    “The seasonal calendar focuses on aquatic species (mainly fish), their ecological attributes and association with aquatic habitats across the annual seasonal cycle,” the paper says.

    “At the beginning of Moongoowarla (cold weather time) when the river is high, the appearance of red dragonflies confirm that it is a good time for catching fat (good eating condition) sawfish.”

    The paper also says that Marchflies arrive when all the fish are fat and are believed to protect the Freshwater crocodiles who are laying their eggs.

    “Gooniyandi people know that when the river and creeks are running it is time to target catfish, Long-necked turtle, Barramundi and Spangled perch,” it says.

    “However, once the Moongoowarla wind starts blowing from the east, the weather cools and fish are reported to ‘shut their mouths’, making fishing challenging.”

    These changes are an example of the data that the researchers correlated with observations of the lower Fitzroy River water levels and flow provided by hydrologist Dr Glenn Harrington, to develop a Baysian predictive model.

    “He puts together the understanding of the water and what will happen as we start diverting surface water and extracting ground water,” Dr Liedloff says.

    “Emma [Woodward] came in with a very detailed understanding of the Indigenous ecological knowledge and I came in with the modelling understanding.

    “We put them all together with the hope that the model might produce some insight into what the change in water management might mean to the Indigenous understanding, and bring those two together.

    Dr Liedloff says the next step involves taking the model out into the field and explaining the changes to the elders from their perspective.

    “Because their perspective is built into it, it’s not a foreign model, to try and explain what the future might hold,” he says.

    “Because it’s a scientifically published model that has some rigour it can also be used on the policy and planning side.”

    Notes:

    This story is based on an interview with Dr Liedloff and the paper Liedloff et al Integrating indigenous ecological and scientific hydro-geological knowledge using a Bayesian Network in the context of water resource development which has been peer-reviewed and is due to be published in the Elsevier Journal of Hydrology this year.

    The research was a joint venture of CSIRO and the Tropical Knowledge and Coastal Research Program (TRaCK).

    A similar ecological study incorporating an Indigenous calendar is available here and research into flora and fauna’s ability to regenerate after drought in the Gulf of Carpentaria can be seen here.

    ...

    From Kimberley Page.


    ..

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  43. Native title covers uranium project

    Traditional owners from Wiluna in the northern Goldfields have been officially acknowledged by the Federal Court, enshrining their rights ahead of final negotiations over WA's first uranium mine.

    At a ceremony in the remote town 950km north-east of Perth yesterday, Justice Neil McKerracher ended 16 years of process by formally recognising the native title determination of the Wiluna claim group.

    Touted as momentous and "a long time coming", the decision grants the Wiluna traditional owners native title rights over a vast area of central WA that includes working pastoral stations and mine sites.

    It comes at a delicate time, given well-advanced plans by Adelaide-based uranium miner Toro Energy to build the State's first yellowcake project near the town on land owned by the claimant group.

    Then Federal environment minister Tony Burke approved the project this year, but it is believed a crucial mining agreement between the company and traditional owners is yet to be struck.

    Mike Allbrook, a lawyer for the Central Desert Native Title Services, said the determination - at least legally - confirmed the Wiluna group's unbroken physical and cultural relationship with the land.

    "The Wiluna mob has been fighting a long time for recognition and they've finally got it," he said.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  44. Fears for Channel Country


    THE Channel Country could be the next frontier for coal-seam gas with fears the Queensland government is considering new laws opening up the far western desert flood plains to exploration.

    Mines Minister Andrew Cripps is due to address a hand-picked Western Rivers Advisory Panel in Longreach tomorrow.

    He is expected to give the first indication of how the Newman government plans to amend the Wild Rivers legislation that gives the fragile ecology sweeping protections.

    The advisory panel last month delivered a mixed report on how the government should proceed.

    Peak mining and agriculture groups have argued for a relaxation of protections for the river beds and floodplains, despite majority recommendations that mining continue to be banned in floodplains, rivers and wetlands.

    Any changes are being closely watched by environment and indigenous groups throughout the Channel Country and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

    .

    Carpentaria Land Council director Murrandoo Yanner has called on Premier Campbell Newman to reaffirm his pledge that there would be no changes to Wild Rivers laws in the Gulf.

    Traditional owner for Mithaka country near Windora George Gorringe said he was concerned the Queensland government would push ahead with changes in the Channel Country without proper consultation.

    "Wild River declarations protected the special parts of these rivers by setting aside a small area of the catchments and saying mining, gas and oil projects should not take place," Mr Gorringe said. "High-risk activities may carry on in the remaining 90 per cent of the land.

    "We know these projects need to happen to provide jobs and money for Aboriginal people.

    "But under this new state government, we have a Minister for Natural Resources and Mines who is looking to remove the Wild Rivers Declarations and in all likelihood put a much weaker level of protection in place."

    Mr Gorringe said indigenous groups did not want to stop mining as long as it was not in the floodplain or the river.

    "The oil and gas has been in there for a long time without problems," he said.

    "But the coal-seam gas scares the hell out of me."

    The Georgina Diamantina Cooper Aboriginal Group chairman Gerry Fogarty said he was concerned Aboriginal people in the Channel Country had not been fully consulted.

    "All Aboriginal people in the Channel Country have very strong views on the protection of these three natural river systems," Mr Fogarty said.

    "All Aboriginal people strongly supported the Wild Rivers legislation, which ensures that all three rivers are protected now and into the future."

    In a submission to Mr Cripps, the Queensland Resources Council said the industry believed the philosophy of ecologically sustainable development should be the cornerstone of any legislation that aimed to protect the environment, including the western rivers.

    "The existing declarations cover one-third of Queensland's land area and completely fail to recognise the over-arching concept of ecologically sustainable development with the sole focus being on environmental values only," the QRC said.

    "The existence of rivers should be treated as a requirement to ensure a high standard of environmental control, under adequate appropriate conditions, not as a trigger for blanket prohibition of use."

    The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and Mr Cripps's office did not respond to requests for comment.

    ReplyDelete
  45. THE more I read these articles the more I hear..."mining is all that can save us from doom and gloom...BUT mining can only exist if there is no green tape no red tape no limits on where we can mine...and while we are at it... NO taxes...in fact the tax payers must subsidise us...this is the way...the ONLY way to the dream of the promised land..."

    ..

    Mining sentiment in free fall


    CONFIDENCE in the mining sector is in "free fall", with top executives displaying a gloomy outlook and slashing capital expenditure, an influential report has warned.

    The 2013 Mining Business Outlook report by Newport Consulting has revealed a sharp negative shift in sentiment among industry leaders over the past year. It is also the first time in the report's four-year history that miners have declared they are reducing capital expenditure -- not just postponing or moderately increasing it.

    A key driver for the spending halt was the uncertain economic climate. The report warned that if that hold on investment continued, Australia would reinforce its status as a less attractive investment destination.

    David Hand, managing director of Newport Consulting, said a year ago miners had just realised that commodity prices had come off and that their business models were in trouble.

    "There was always that statement that if commodity prices came back they will be OK. But a year has gone by and commodity prices have not come back," Mr Hand told The Australian.

    "Many of them now believe it is a survival issue, and unless they can get their costs under control they will start shutting their mines."

    The renewed focus on costs meant miners were now "talking tough" with suppliers...

    "Mining companies are talking tough because of the real challenge that if they do not get their costs down they will not be in business," Mr Hand said.

    "The service companies have enjoyed the benefits on the way up, and they can share some of the pain and get onboard to support the sector on the way down."

    The negative outlook was evidenced by 44 per cent...

    ............


    Policy on the run killing us, say miners


    MINERS are seeking a "coherent" vision from the Rudd government to determine the industry's role in the nation, warning that policy on the run is beginning to hit the sector as the resources boom cools.

    ANZ chairman John Morschel has backed the call, saying the government needs to streamline the approvals process for significant new projects. He also argues that lengthy delays witnessed throughout the resources boom have created uncertainty and risk for investors, and have ultimately resulted in unnecessary costs for the industry.

    Mr Morschel, a former chairman of Leighton Holdings and former director at Rio Tinto, made the comments in the latest Mining Business Outlook report, which reveals that top mining executives have a significant antipathy towards government policy.

    The annual report, by Newport Consulting, concludes there is strong dissatisfaction among mining leaders with the government, particularly around union strength, inflexible IR regulations and poor national infrastructure.

    "The sector is calling for a clear vision from government about the role of the resources sector in our society...

    "There is a strong sense that the government has been looking over its shoulder at the ballot box...

    Mr Morschel said issues the next government should focus on to support the sector could include investment in infrastructure required to reach export channels and the promotion of greater certainty at state and federal levels over mining taxes and royalties.

    The respected business leader said there was an opportunity for the government to help create conditions that ensured the highest potential projects are prioritised.


    ..............



    OH...and no unions
    lower wages - but only for blue collar - management need more pay.
    and as Gina says WE need more - so those pesky Aboriginals must have less - just ask Twiggy he knows.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Buswell baffled by sea parks

    Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell has had to defend the State Government's marine park agenda after joking he had "no idea" what the reserves do and implying they were driven by green groups.

    In its first term, the Government shored up its green credentials by setting up major marine parks and announcing plans for more, with Colin Barnett hailing them as key conservation measures.

    But Mr Buswell appeared to undermine that message when he told fishermen last week that marine parks were simply "lines on a map" that in some places duplicated existing protections.

    "I love marine parks - I have no idea what they do," he said.

    "Every time someone says to me 'We need a marine park', I say 'What's it going to do?'

    "In the Kimberley we have a marine park in Camden Sound to protect whales which are already protected."

    He said marine parks were driven by a small, select group of people. "We don't have to mention them by name," he said. "We all know who they are."

    Yesterday Mr Buswell sought to clarify the comments by saying any marine park needed to have a proper purpose that was reflected in its management plan.

    He would not say if he was concerned about any of WA's marine reserves but pointed to his letter to the Federal Government that called for changes to Commonwealth marine park plans.

    Though the Premier would not be drawn on Mr Buswell's remarks, he backed his minister.

    "I don't know what Troy said, but you have two systems of marine parks," Mr Barnett said.

    "The WA Government has expanded marine parks in the capes area in the South West and the Kimberley. They are the marine parks that most people interact with."
    Shadow environment minister Chris Tallentire said the benefits of marine parks were well established and it seemed odd Mr Buswell would disparage a policy his Government championed.

    .....................


    Obviously Troy is going off the rails again...SO this should be a warning to "the chair sniffing bra snapper".

    .

    'Fifty shades of red' as firies help with handcuffs

    The popularity of erotic fiction like the bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey could be to blame for the dozens of incidents of people being trapped in handcuffs firefighters have been called out to over the past three years, an English fire brigade says.

    London Fire Brigade said on Monday it had turned out to 79 such incidents - and nine instances of men with rings stuck on their penises - and urged people to "always keep the keys handy".

    The brigade said its crews had also been called to a man whose penis was stuck in a toaster, and another with his penis trapped in a vacuum cleaner.

    "Some of the incidents our firefighters are called out to could be prevented with a little common sense," third officer Dave Brown said.

    "I don’t know whether it’s the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up.

    "I'm sure most people will be fifty shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them."

    The brigade has attended more than 1300 incidents involving people being trapped or stuck, often in everyday household items, since 2010.

    Each incident costs taxpayers at least STG290 ($A485), meaning they have cost at least STG377,000.

    .

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  47. Some lead and some follow.
    We lead and they follow.

    This proves it - from BCNGC.

    ..

    Why Kimberley gas might burn Barnett again

    By ABC's Ben Collins
    Updated Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:03pm AEST

    Incredible amounts of gas have been found in the Canning Basin, but as WA Premier Colin Barnett has found out, it is not simply a cash cow waiting to be milked, writes Ben Collins.

    Premier Colin Barnett's latest Kimberley project to pipe gas to the domestic market faces a serious economic hurdle according to a major academic study of Australian shale gas.

    It's the same problem that sank Mr Barnett's other ambition for developing a gas-based industry in the Kimberley at James Price Point. Woodside's plans for an LNG processing plant north of Broome just didn't stack up economically. No amount of political pushing and shoving could get the controversial project, which was found to be too expensive, over the line.

    Although Mr Barnett hasn't completely given up on James Price Point, acquiring the land in case an industry of the future decides they can afford to use the site, he has turned most of his attention to the onshore Canning Basin.

    Underlying much of the western half of the massive Kimberley region, this vast sedimentary basin holds extraordinary amounts of gas that makes Woodside's Browse Basin interests look measly.

    Premier Barnett was able to bounce back from his disappointment over James Price Point by signing a deal with Canning Basin gas and oil company, Buru Energy. The Natural Gas Agreement Bill was passed by the WA Parliament in June this year and provides Buru with long-term security of tenure on its Canning Basin tenements.

    In return, the company has agreed to an ambitious deadline for making a final investment decision on building a pipeline from the Canning to the Pilbara by mid-2016. This pipeline would link to the Dampier to Bunbury pipeline, connecting the isolated gas resource to both domestic and international markets.

    A colossal gas resource just a pipeline away from market sounds like money in the bank. As investors started to realise that Buru Energy was sitting on a mountain of gas in the Canning Basin, the share price soared. Buru Energy was the S&P/ASX 200 top performing company in the financial year to June 2012, with shares almost quadrupling in value. But since that time, and despite Buru moving towards commercialising a conventional oil find east of Broome, the share price has halved.

    While there are myriad influences on energy resource markets including a softening of economic growth in China, the excitement over the incredible amounts of gas found in the Canning Basin is being tempered by the realisation that it is not simply a cash cow waiting to be milked.

    Woodside's decision not to build an LNG processing facility on the Kimberley coast demonstrated the power of high costs in being able to derail a project. While Canning Basin gas resource estimates put it at one-and-a-half times bigger than all of WA offshore reserves, the catch is that the majority of Canning gas is unconventional gas.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ben Collins wakes up...cont....

    Unlike the conventional offshore gas reserves where a well is drilled into porous gas bearing rock and the gas is drawn off, unconventional gas refers to gas locked in low-permeability rock. The rock needs to be fractured with high pressure fluid laced with sand and chemicals. Shale gas is typically much deeper than coal seam gas and requires deep and thus expensive wells. And this fracking may need to be done repeatedly, with wells possibly needed every square kilometre to release the gas.

    The decade old boom in US unconventional gas is showing that while fracking may have inspired a movement opposing the process on environmental grounds, a bigger problem may be that unconventional shale gas is too expensive.

    Unlike oil which is traded on a global market, gas markets are regionalised with different prices around the world. In 2008 the US market was paying $US12 per gigajoule ($US12/GJ). But with the flood of domestically produced unconventional gas, the US price crashed to $US$4/GJ in 2012.

    A major study of Australian shale gas by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), a peak body representing the country's four Learned Academies made up of the nation's leading academics, found that at the current price, most dry shale projects in the US are not viable. This confirms what has been reported in US media since the initial excitement around their fracking industry has subsided. It means there's a lot of gas in the US looking for a better market which is why LNG exports from the US to Asia are on the cards.

    But the possibility of competing with US gas exports in Asia is not the only challenge facing Australian shale gas. The ACOLA study found that while you need a high market price to make the costs of shale gas viable in the US, it's even more expensive to extract unconventional gas in Australia.

    Rigs and skilled workers are more expensive and basic infrastructure like roads, water and power doesn't exist over much of our unconventional gas fields. The result is that Australian shale gas is three to four times more expensive to produce than US shale gas. The ACOLA study concludes that Australia's remote shale gas resources such as the Canning Basin probably aren't viable under short-term market prices unless they can also produce petroleum liquids such as condensate which attract higher prices.

    But petroleum liquids aren't likely to encourage investment in a gas pipeline and Buru Energy has to convince shareholders and its joint venture partners to do just that by Premier Barnett's 2016 deadline.

    The political risk is that the Canning Basin may be a longer term prospect for a future energy market prepared to pay higher prices. This could see it join the list of Kimberley gas projects that haven't made the grade under Premier Barnett's reign.

    Inpex took their Browse development to Darwin shortly after Mr Barnett became Premier in 2008. Woodside have taken their Kimberley project offshore this year. With the next WA state election in early 2017, the Canning Basin could become a ticking time bomb for the Barnett Government.

    Buru Energy and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association were contacted for this article but had not responded at the time of publication.

    Ben Collins is the Cross-Media Reporter for ABC Kimberley.

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  49. Fears for Channel Country well founded.

    .

    Rocky waters as river act scrapped


    MINING, farm, indigenous and environmental groups are on a collision course in western Queensland following the Newman government's decision to scrap Labor's Wild Rivers Act and allow oil, coal-seam gas and shale gas exploration in the Channel Country.

    The Queensland Resources Council said the decision had opened the door to a potentially "world-class" resource, but the farmers' lobby group AgForce said it wanted a moratorium on gas developments until there was a better understanding of the science and the industry's effect on water. Indigenous leaders called for more consultation, and environmental groups said the state government had "torn up a sensible compromise".

    Bob Morrish, the natural resources delegate at a briefing by Queensland Mines Minister Andrew Cripps in Longreach yesterday, said there were few details of how the new system would work.

    He said Mr Cripps "promised stringent controls but wouldn't tell us what they were".

    .

    Mr Cripps said the government had ruled out open-cut mining and capped water extraction on the Georgina and Diamantina rivers and Cooper Creek, but he opened the way for oil and gas developments in areas that had been out of bounds under wild rivers legislation.

    The Channel Country is the world's largest unspoilt ephemeral waterway. Irregular floodwaters from northwest Queensland spread over kilometre-wide systems of channels to make their way slowly to Lake Eyre in central Australia.

    ,

    Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche welcomed the decision, which he said had taken a "precautionary approach to future development of the Channel Country as a result of lengthy and transparent consultations with all stakeholders".

    "This is a sensible improvement on the previous government's approach of declaring large swaths of Queensland off-limits to development to appease Brisbane-based environmental pressure groups," Mr Roche said.

    Wilderness Society national campaign director Lyndon Schneiders said environment groups would campaign to maintain strict protections.

    "The resource industry should be careful what they wish for. They have now clearly been responsible for stripping back high-level protection in a sensitive environment," he said.

    "Environment groups have invested enormous time and effort with the local community to get sensible protection in that country. The mining industry must realise it has just torn up a sensible compromise."

    AgForce senior policy adviser Dale Miller said farmers had been supportive of finding an alternative framework. However, there were concerns about the expansion of the unconventional gas industry. "Our position on CSG is for a moratorium in those regions until there is adequate scientific knowledge about the potential impacts," he said.

    Australia's Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, said policymakers needed to get regulations and policies in place "ahead of the game".

    In an address to the National Press Club, he said: "We've just released recommendations of a report on shale gas, about six weeks ago, and one of the recommendations in that is that we get the policies and regulations in place before it becomes a problem."

    Indigenous elder Gerry Fogarty, representing the Georgina and Diamantina catchment areas, said he was not satisfied enough people had been given a say on the proposed changes.


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  50. Tarkine mine fight to resume


    WORK to construct a new iron-ore mine in Tasmania's Tarkine is due to start within days, creating a potential flashpoint in the conflict between mining and conservation in the region.

    Perth-based Shree Minerals yesterday told The Australian it would begin work at the Nelson Bay River site "soon", while government expected site works to start next week.

    The developments came after federal Environment Minister Mark Butler issued a fresh approval for the $20 million open-cut mine, putting the project back on track after the Federal Court quashed Canberra's initial green light.

    Save the Tarkine, a group headed by former Greens leader Bob Brown, threatened further court action to halt the project, while not ruling out mass protest at the mine site.

    Dr Brown said the decision could lead to the extinction of the Tasmanian devil and he called on all Australians to voice their opposition to unchecked mining in the sensitive region.

    .

    "It does require the people of Australia to recognise that this is a national heirloom -- it was recommended for National Heritage status and it is of World Heritage status," Dr Brown said. "Australians should be appalled at what this minister in this Rudd government has done today."

    However, the decision was hailed by the mining lobby and the federal Labor MP for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom, whose marginal seat takes in the Tarkine, in the state's northwest.

    "Tasmania needs responsible economic development and yet time and again extreme green groups have stood in the way with no real regard for the livelihood and the future of our people," Mr Sidebottom said.

    Save the Tarkine campaign coordinator Scott Jordan said the decision -- which seeks to plug legal gaps in an earlier approval -- was clearly "political".

    "It's a decision more about getting Labor re-elected in Braddon than it is about the Tasmanian devil," he said.

    Earlier this month, the Federal Court ruled the first approval for the mine invalid because then-minister Tony Burke failed to take account of conservation advice on the endangered devil.

    Mr Butler's new decision imposes one new condition relating to the devil, but generally reflects the earlier approval.

    Conditions include that Shree contribute $1m to threatened species programs and pay $48,000 per devil killed after two devil deaths in each year.

    Mr Jordan said he had sought the reasons for Mr Butler's decision and that a further court injunction to halt work on the mine was "highly likely" and protests at the site entirely possible.

    Shree welcomed the decision, saying it had adopted "outstanding social and environmental practices, well beyond simple compliance".

    "We plan to start soon in compliance with all necessary approval conditions," said spokesman Richard Gerathy.

    Mr Butler said he was "very confident" his decision fully addressed the court's previous judgment and that conditions protected endangered species.

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  51. Fracking not going down well in Pommy Land.

    ..

    Once, the Tories understood rural Britain. Not any more

    The anti-fracking protest in Balcombe is just the tip of the iceberg. All over Britain, a new countryside rebellion is brewing

    Sight unseen, you would hardly have expected an explosion of rage in the West Sussex village of Balcombe. It sits just to the north of that well-known hotbed Hayward's Heath, and suggests a mixture of chocolate-box cutesiness and commuter-belt quiet – hardly the most obvious setting for a carnival of dissent that has been supported by droves of local people, and such visitors as Bianca Jagger. There again, neither does Balcombe look like the kind of place that prospectors might identify as a potentially rich source of oil: even though we have long had a small-scale inland industry, oil is a resource that most British people have always understood as coming exclusively from under the North Sea.

    Now, though, with George Osborne in a state of high excitement, freshly announced tax breaks and planning exceptions, and the word "fracking" all over the media, a new reality is upon us. For the moment, the Balcombe stand-off is its most obvious manifestation – though the big story is less about oil than natural gas, and the supposedly plentiful supplies that lie in shale rock deep beneath whole swaths of the country. The British Geological Survey reckons that Lancashire's Bowland basin could supply the UK's gas needs for 40 years. Meanwhile, prospecting licences for shale gas, coalbed methane and new oil supplies cover such diverse locations as Dorset, the Mendip Hills, the New Forest, and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

    All over the country, an old story is back with a vengeance: the power of corporations and government colliding with much more human imperatives, and sparking trouble. It's there in an increasingly widespread juxtaposition of hi-vis jackets, drilling kit and security guards, and serene British countryside. It was also evident in this week's claims by the Tory grandee Lord Howell – George Osborne's father-in-law – that though some parts of the country might have justified fears about fracking, in such "desolate" places as the rural north-east we should just get on with it.

    ..............



    Two more arrests at fracking protest

    Site near Balcombe in West Sussex receives first delivery in a week after police move demonstrators from road

    Police at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe, West Sussex, pushed back demonstrators on Wednesday afternoon to allow the entry of an articulated lorry carrying pipes. It was the first successful delivery of equipment to the site since the protest began last week.

    Earlier in the day two people were arrested over the ongoing protests against plans to drill for oil at a site a few miles outside the village.

    The pair – a man and a woman – had glued themselves together at the gates of the site in an attempt to prevent machinery from being brought through the gates. Sussex police said the pair had been arrested under section 241 of the Trade Union Labour Relations Act.

    It brought to 25 the total number of arrests at the site since last week. Police said there were 75 officers at the site on Wednesday.

    ............


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  52. Fracking can take place in 'desolate' north-east England, Tory peer says

    Remarks by Lord Howell, former adviser to William Hague and George Osborne's father-in-law, blasted by environmentalists

    Fracking should be carried out in the "desolate" north-east of England, a former Conservative energy adviser has said, prompting criticism and claims the remarks highlighted the party's "problem with the north".

    Lord Howell, who advised William Hague on energy policy until April and is the father-in-law of the chancellor, George Osborne, drew gasps of astonishment in the House of Lords on Tuesday for suggesting that the controversial form of gas production could take place in the north-east without any impact on the surrounding environment. Howell later apologised for "any offence caused" by his comments and said he didn't believe the north-east was desolate.

    During Lords questions, he asked: "Would [the minister] accept that it could be a mistake to think of and discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go? I mean there obviously are, in beautiful natural areas, worries about not just the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, and the delivery, and the roads, and the disturbance."

    The peer, who lives in southern England, said: "But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the north-east where there's plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody's residence where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment." Lady Verma, energy minister and a fellow Conservative, replied: "As members are aware, fracking is at its early stages of exploration and there will be areas of landscape that won't be suitable for fracking, as you rightly point out. But we are in its early stages and as the government is determined to ensure that we are not dependent on coal but more on gas, and low-carbon energy sources, I think you make some very important points." Howell later clarified that he thought there were "parts of the country less densely inhabited than others".

    His full clarification read: "I apologise for any offence caused. I certainly did not intend to suggest that the North East is desolate and I do not believe it to be the case. There are parts of the country that are less densely inhabited than others.

    "That includes parts of the North East but also other areas in the south of England as well. The shale gas industry should be encouraged to develop in a sustainable way where it is appropriate to do so and in way that ensures communities benefit, which could be in many different parts of country."

    Lord Beecham, a Labour peer who is also a councillor in Newcastle, said: "Neville Chamberlain spoke of pre-war Czechoslovakia as 'a faraway country of which we know nothing'. Lord Howell clearly has a similar view on the north-east and his comments once again highlight the Tories' problem with the north."

    The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: "North-east England very beautiful, rugged, welcoming, inspiring, historic, advancing, not 'desolate' as was said in House of Lords today."

    Howell, 78, was brought up in London and attended Eton and Cambridge University before going on to become energy secretary under Margaret Thatcher. In November 2012 undercover filming by Greenpeace revealed Howell saying that Osborne was "putting pressure" on David Cameron over "absurd" climate change targets. a government spokesman said Howell had not been a government adviser since April 2013, though no announcement of his stepping down was made at the time.

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  53. US fracking industry 'wasting $1bn a year in gas flaring'

    New report calculates flaring of gas from North Dakota fracking industry leading to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to putting one million cars on the road

    The full scale of the gas flaring undertaken by the North Dakota fracking industry has been laid bare, after a new report suggested the practice resulted in approximately $1bn of gas being wasted last year.

    The new study from the Ceres group of sustainable investors draws on official figures from the North Dakota Industrial Commission and reveals that the state's oil and gas developers flared 29 per cent of the natural gas they produced during May 2013. The proportion of gas being flared has actually fallen from a peak of 36 per cent in September 2011, but the rapid expansion of the sector means that the total volume being flared is continuing to rise.

    The analysis calculates that flaring throughout 2012 saw $1bn of gas burnt, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to putting an additional one million cars on the road.

    "The US is now one of the top 10 flaring countries in the world, primarily due to the rapid growth of flaring in North Dakota," said Ryan Salmon, the report's lead author and manager of Ceres' oil and gas program, in a statement. "Although the state's oil and gas industry is stepping up its efforts to curb flaring, the total volume of flared natural gas continues to grow. Investors are looking for producers and regulators to take more aggressive action to prevent the loss of this valuable fuel."

    The high cost of oil relative to gas means many developers who are drilling for oil are failing to invest in the infrastructure needed to capture the gas and natural gas liquids that are released alongside the oil.

    Investors and officials in North Dakota are now expected to step up pressure on developers to limit levels of flaring and ensure that gas is captured and sold.

    For example, the state has set a target of limiting flaring to 10 per cent of production, although it is yet to set a date for when the target should be met.

    Investors are similarly calling on developers to bring an end to the wasting of a valuable resource. "The flaring of natural gas is a tremendous economic waste, and it threatens the oil and gas industry's license to operate, as well as the environment," said Pat Zerega, senior director at Mercy Investment Services, which successfully urged leading North Dakota oil producer Continental Resources to set a flaring reduction goal earlier this year. "As oil and gas developments expand into more remote regions like North Dakota, the issue of flaring will continue to be a concern for investors, the environment and the industry.

    However, the report, entitled Flaring Up, warns that the continued expansion of the industry means that unless the percentage of flared gas falls below 21 per cent volumes of flared gas will continue to rise through to 2020.

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  54. China Fracking Quake-Prone Province Shows Zeal for Gas

    China won’t let earthquakes hinder its quest for energy.

    Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and China National Petroleum Corp. are starting to drill for gas and oil in shale rock in Sichuan, the nation’s most seismically active province, a process geologists say raises the risk of triggering quakes.

    “For the Sichuan basin, earthquakes are a problem for shale gas and shale oil production because of the tectonic conditions,” said Shu Jiang, a professor at the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute in Salt Lake City. “The siting of the wells could cause some artificial earthquakes.”

    China’s shale gas reserves may be almost double those of the U.S., where unlocking the commodity slashed energy costs, reduced imports and raised the prospect of energy independence.

    The U.S. shale boom may add as much as $690 billion a year to GDP and create 1.7 million jobs by 2020, according to a study by McKinsey & Co. For China, emulating the U.S. would provide greater energy security and help curtail dependence on burning coal that blankets cities in smog.

    “Once they crack the code on shale, they’ll want to push aggressively on it,” said Neil Beveridge, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., referring to geological and regulatory issues surrounding development.

    Heavily Faulted

    A key step in producing shale gas is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, where millions of gallons of pressurized water, chemicals and sand are injected underground to shatter rock and release trapped gas. Afterward, some of the liquids return to the surface and often are disposed of in underground wells.

    Disposal of waste fluid has been linked to quakes in the U.S. and China.

    Sichuan lies at the crossroads of some of the earth’s most active fault lines.

    “The Sichuan basin is at the edge of the biggest continental collision in the world, India smashing into Asia,” said Julio Friedmann, chief energy technologist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and former research scientist at Exxon Mobil Corp. “That’s stressing the continental crust.”

    More than 2,700 quakes of varying magnitude were recorded around an underground injection well in Zigong, Sichuan, during a three-and-a-half year study by the Earthquake Administration Bureaux of Sichuan, Hebei and Zigong Municipality.

    “With the beginning of increased water-pressure injection, seismic activity around the test well showed a significant increase,” researchers led by Zhang Zhiwei wrote in a 2012 paper.

    Fracking was linked to minor earthquakes near Blackpool, England. The U.K. placed a moratorium on the process for 18 months to assess the well. Drilling resumed in December.

    Since 2000, a flurry of mostly small, yet unusual temblors were recorded in the central part of the U.S., prompting the Department of the Interior to commission a study of the events in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Ohio and Arkansas.

    .

    Shell, which plans to invest $1 billion a year in China’s shale gas industry, declined to comment directly on earthquake hazards in Sichuan. China National Petroleum, Shell’s partner, didn’t respond to an e-mailed list of questions. China Petrochemical Corp., which is also drilling in the area, didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Arctic methane catastrophe scenario is based on new empirical observations

    Critics of new Nature paper on costs of Arctic warming ignore latest science on permafrost methane at everyone's peril

    Last week, the journal Nature published a new paper warning of a $60 trillion price tag for a potential 50 Gigatonne methane pulse from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) over 10-50 years this century. The paper, however, prompted many to suggest that its core scenario - as Arctic permafrost thaws it could increasingly unleash dangerous quantities of methane from sub-ice methane hydrates in as quick as a decade - is implausible.

    The Washington Post's Jason Samenow argued that "most everything known and published about methane indicates this scenario is very unlikely." Andrew Revkin of the New York Times (NYT) liberally quoted Samenow among others on "the lack of evidence that such an outburst is plausible." Similarly, Carbon Brief concluded: "The scientists we spoke to suggested the authors have chosen a scenario that's either implausible, or very much at the upper limit of what we can reasonably expect."

    Both the Post and NYT quoted Prof David Archer, an expert on ocean sediments and methane at the University of Chicago:


    "For methane to be a game-changer in the future of Earth's climate, it would have to degas to the atmosphere catastrophically, on a time scale that is faster than the decadal lifetime of methane in the air. So far no one has seen or proposed a mechanism to make that happen."

    Dr Vincent Gauci, a methane expert at Open University, similarly argued:


    "It's not a given all the methane will end up in the atmosphere. Some could be oxidised [broken down] in the water by bacteria, and some could remain in the sediments on the seafloor."

    The problem is that these reservations are based on outdated assumptions that sea floor released methane would not make it into the atmosphere - but all the new fieldwork on the levels of methane being released above the ESAS shows this assumption is just empirically wrong.

    Atmospheric methane levels in the Arctic are currently at new record highs, averaging about 1900 parts per billion, 70 parts per billion higher than the global average. NASA researchers have found local methane plumes as large as 150 kilometres across - far higher than previously anticipated.

    Dr Gavin Schmidt, climate modeller at NASA, was also cited claiming lack of evidence from ice cores of previous catastrophic methane pulses in the Earth's history in the Early Holocene or Eamian, when Arctic temperatures were warmer than today. But the blanket references to the past may well be irrelevant. In the Early Holocene, the ESAS was not an underwater shelf but a frozen landmass, illustrating the pointlessness of this past analogy with contemporary conditions.

    Dr Schmidt also overlooked other issues - such as new research showing that the warm, Eamian interglacial period some 130,000 years ago should not be used as a model for today's climate due to fundamental differences in the development of the Arctic ocean. Ice core methane records are also too short to reach back to the entire Cenozoic - another reason suggesting lack of past evidence is no basis for present complacency; and even Prof Archer himself recognises that ice cores will not necessarily capture a past catastrophic methane release due to fern diffusion.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Arctic methane catastrophe scenario is based on new empirical observations

    cont....

    Finally, the Post and NYT refer to a range of scientific publications - a 2008 report by the US Climate Change Science Programme and a 2011 review of the literature by Carolyn Rupple also in the journal Nature - essentially arguing that a catastrophic methane release would be, for all intents and purposes, impossible within such a short time-frame, with actual methane releases taking place over hundreds if not thousands of years.

    Yet in my interview with Prof Peter Wadhams, co-author of the Nature study and head of Polar ocean physics at Cambridge University, he told me that the scientists who rejected his scenario as implausible were simply unacquainted with the unique dynamics of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, the nature of permafrost melting there, and its relationship to ongoing releases of methane in recent years which have been wholly unexpected within established models based on reconstructions of Earth's historical climate:


    "Those who understand Arctic seabed geology and the oceanography of water column warming from ice retreat do not say that this is a low probability event. I think one should trust those who know about a subject rather than those who don't. As far as I'm concerned, the experts in this area are the people who have been actively working on the seabed conditions in the East Siberian Sea in summer during the past few summers where the ice cover has disappeared and the water has warmed. The rapid disappearance of offshore permafrost through water heating is a unique phenomenon, so clearly no 'expert' would have found a mechanism elsewhere to compare with this... I think that most Arctic specialists would agree that this scenario is plausible."

    In a rebuttal to the original Post article, Wadhams points out that none of the scientists rejecting his scenario understand the unique mechanism currently at play in the Arctic, and all were citing research preceding the empirical evidence which unearthed this mechanism - which has only become clear in recent years in the context of the rapid loss of summer sea ice.

    While Wadhams refers directly to an actual empirical phenomenon unique to the Arctic seabed resulting in unprecedented methane venting - uncovered by Dr Natalia Shakhova and Dr Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Center - the critics refer instead to general theoretical dynamics of methane release but show little awareness of what's actually going on in the north pole:


    "The mechanism which is causing the observed mass of rising methane plumes in the East Siberian Sea is itself unprecedented and hence it is not surprising that various climate scientists, none of them Arctic specialists, failed to spot it. What is actually happening is that the summer sea ice now retreats so far, and for so long each summer, that there is a substantial ice-free season over the Siberian shelf, sufficient for solar irradiance to warm the surface water by a significant amount – up to 7C according to satellite data.

    That warming extends the 50 m or so to the seabed because we are dealing with only a polar surface water layer here (over the shelves the Arctic Ocean structure is one-layer rather than three layers) and the surface warming is mixed down by wave-induced mixing because the extensive open water permits large fetches.

    So long as some ice persisted on the shelf, the water mass was held to about 0C in summer because any further heat content in the water column was used for melting the ice underside. But once the ice disappears, as it has done, the temperature of the water can rise significantly, and the heat content reaching the seabed can melt the frozen sediments at a rate that was never before possible. The authors who so confidently dismiss the idea of extensive methane release are simply not aware of the new mechanism that is causing it."

    ..

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  57. Mark Butler approves iron ore mine in Tasmanian devil's stronghold

    Environment minister gives go-ahead for project that court halted amid concerns for tumour-threatened species

    The federal environment minister, Mark Butler, has given the go-ahead to a controversial mine that the courts halted amid concerns it could drastically affect the last stronghold of the Tasmanian devil.

    Butler said he had granted approval to Shree Minerals to proceed with its iron ore mine at Nelson Bay River in the north-west of Tasmania, subject to 30 conditions.

    However, the Save the Tarkine campaign group, which successfully convinced the federal court to block the mine two weeks ago, said it would launch a further legal challenge, claiming that Butler had not taken the time to make a full assessment of the mine's impact.

    The federal court had ruled that Tony Burke, the previous environment minister, had erred by failing to properly consult departmental advice relating to the mine's adverse implications for the Tasmanian devil.

    Around 80% of the Tasmanian devil population has been ravaged by a facial tumour disease, with the last remaining tumour-free population found in the Tarkine, where the mine is to be located.

    Conditions placed on the mine by Butler include a ban on travel to and from the site outside daylight hours to reduce the chance of devils being run over by trucks. Shree employees will also have to get to the mine via a bus, rather than travel there in their own cars.

    Shree will have to monitor devil populations and contribute $350,000 to the Save the Tasmanian Devil program. The company will have to pay $48,000 for each devil killed, as well as fund the eradication of feral dogs and cats should a spotted-tailed quoll, another endangered marsupial, die.

    Butler has also demanded that Shree put $400,000 towards research into four rare orchids found in the vicinity of the mine.

    "I have imposed conditions that I am confident will protect those species," Butler said.

    "These conditions include a range of avoidance and mitigation measures that will reduce the likely impacts. Where significant residual impacts remain likely, however, the company must take other action to compensate for the impacts, known as offsets.

    "These conditions will ensure that there are strong environmental protections in place for a development with significant economic potential for north-west Tasmania."

    Scott Jordan, head of the Save the Tarkine group, told Guardian Australia that Butler's decision was rushed and would be challenged in court.

    "They've fast-tracked the mine with a window dressing reassessment that contains most of the conditions of the previous approval," he said. "Today's decision is a decision in favour of extinction of the Tasmanian devil."

    "The minister has had 10 days where he hasn't done a reassessment, he's just got a briefing and met with a bunch of stakeholders not relevant to the decision. The departmental advice is clear that this mine would introduce disease to devils in their last disease-free area in Tasmania.

    "It's a great concern that this advice has been ignored. We'll be getting our legal team to go through this as this decision doesn't address the massive failure identified by the federal court."

    The mine has been strongly backed by the state Labor government, the Coalition and resources industry. It's estimated that the $20m project will employ around 70 people in an area that has struggled, compared with the rest of Australia, to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

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  58. Myanmar-China Gas Pipeline Officially Inaugurated

    On July 29, the Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline was inaugurated in northern Myanmar’s Mandalay and started to deliver gas to China.

    Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun, Energy Ministers U Than Htay and U Zeya Aung, China National Energy Administration Deputy Director Zhang Yuqing, and a South Korean representative jointly started up the commissioning button.

    Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun said at the commissioning ceremony that operation of the gas pipeline and its distribution system in Myanmar would improve Myanmar’s economy by boosting energy supplies and fueling industrialization. He especially expressed his appreciation to the project company for its outstanding works in environmental protection and care to local communities during pipeline construction.

    The Myanmar-China Gas Pipeline runs 793km from Kyaukphyu, in Rakhine State, Myanmar, to Ruili in Yunnan Province, China, with a pipe diameter of 1,016mm and annual delivery capacity of 12 billion cubic meters. It is jointly invested, built and operated by China National Petroleum Corp, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, Daewoo International Corp, Korea Gas Corp, Oil India Ltd and GAIL India Ltd. Construction of the pipeline began in June 2010.

    .......



    An alternate history of eastern Australia: Part oneThursday, 1 August 2013
    James McGrath

    IF it was not for those darn polluting LNG projects on the east coast of Australia, we would be awash in cheap gas and nobody would ever have to worry about energy again. Despite the ridiculousness of this premise for those in the industry, it is one that is gaining momentum.

    ..........


    More feed-gas for Tanzanian LNG



    July 29 (LNGJ) - Ophir Energy, the UK explorer, made its ninth discovery offshore Tanzania in East Africa with successful results at the Mkizi-1 well. Ophir holds 40 percent of Blocks 1, 3 and 4. BG Group operates with 60 percent. The two UK companies are planning to be part of a Tanzanian LNG project with the feed-gas.

    *note...that makes 9 out of 9 for them....Woodside must be soooo jealous.

    .........


    Sinopec mulls Canadian LNG stake



    July 25 (LNGJ) - Malaysian energy company Petronas is reportedly in talks to sell part of its 90 percent stake in the Canadian Pacific Northwest LNG project to China's Sinopec to share its huge $20 billion development costs. In March 2013, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. agreed to purchase a 10 percent stake in the venture plus 1.2 million tonnes per annum of LNG.

    ...........


    Noble East Med gas at 38 Tcf



    July 25 (LNGJ) - Noble Energy said the Tamar gas field, which will have an LNG component, became fully operational in the second quarter and a natural gas discovery was also made at the Karish prospect offshore Israel with an estimated resource range between 1.6 and 2.0 trillion cubic feet. Total discovered gross mean resources in the Levant Basin are now estimated to be around 38 Tcf. Appraisal drilling of a natural gas discovery offshore Cyprus was initiated during the second quarter.

    *note...but Woodside's Leviathan deal is thought to be "up in the air" due to Israel wanting to keep much more of the gas for domestic use.



    ReplyDelete
  59. The long doomed project is dead and buried but in a macabre Frankenstein like way Barnett and the KLC/Jabirr Jabirr are still praying for a miracle and for a Zombie like resurrection of the JPP gas plant.

    Strange goings on in WA.

    ..

    Woodside Says Variation to Browse Retention Lease Approved

    PERTH, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Woodside Petroleum Ltd said on Friday changes to its Browse gas field retention lease that would allow it to pursue a wider range of development options have been approved.

    The company decided in April to shelve a plan to develop the gas field via a $45 billion onshore plant and said it would instead consider a variety of other options, such as a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant or a smaller onshore plant.

    "The joint venture participants still need to actually choose a final concept for the development," Laura Lunt, Woodside spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.

    The variation to the Browse retention leases, granted by the state of Western Australia, will apply to the end of 2014.

    Woodside and its joint venture partners in the development are widely expected to opt for a floating LNG plant. Analysts estimate that choosing to use floating LNG technology would mean a cost savings of 20 percent.

    Global energy firms have invested $140 billion into six LNG plants in just two and half years as Australia ramps up production on its way to becoming the world's largest exporter of the clean burning energy source.

    But Australia's LNG sector has seen investor interest cool due to cost overruns and with competition from North America, where new supplies of gas have been exploited from shale.

    Earlier this year, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said a floating facility has "the potential to commercializes the Browse resources in the earliest possible time frame."

    Woodside also signed a technology agreement to develop Browse using technology owned by Royal Dutch Shell.

    Shell, the second-largest shareholder in Browse and a 24 percent owner of Woodside, is considered to be the global frontrunner in developing floating LNG technology and has lobbied to use it to develop the Browse gas field.

    Other joint venture partners include BP Plc, PetroChina, Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp.

    ...............



    Australia: Minister Gray Paves Way for Browse

    Resources Minister Gary Gray announced his decision to vary conditions on five Browse retention leases, paving the way for the earliest possible commercialisation of the Browse hydrocarbons field.

    “The decision to vary the Browse retention leases was taken to ensure the timely development of these gas resources for the benefit of the Australian, Western Australian and Kimberley coast economies,” Mr Gray said.

    “It was clear that the Browse Joint Venture did not consider the development of James Price Point to be commercially viable. I take the view that companies, not governments, are best placed to determine which developments are commercially viable, subject of course to environmental and regulatory requirements.”

    Mr Gray said his decision restored the browse retention lease to a lease consistent with other Commonwealth leases.

    The revised conditions do not specify any particular development concept, consistent with the government’s belief that this should be a commercial decision.

    .

    “Australia, Western Australia and the communities of the Kimberley cannot afford to delay any longer, which is why I have made this decision.”

    Mr Gray said he had advised WA’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Marmion, of his decision.

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  60. Gray moves Browse gas project a step closer

    Andrew Burrell


    FEDERAL Resources Minister Gary Gray has paved the way for Woodside Petroleum to develop its huge Browse gasfield off Western Australia's Kimberley coast after he agreed to change the conditions on retention leases that previously stipulated the project must be developed onshore.

    The Browse venture partners -- Woodside, Shell, BP, Mitsubishi/Mitsui and PetroChina -- requested in June that their retention lease on the gasfields in the Browse Basin be varied to allow them to study developments other than building a $40 billion-plus gas plant at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome.

    It is believed the venture is now planning to develop Browse using floating LNG technology.

    .

    "The decision to vary the Browse retention leases was taken to ensure the timely development of these gas resources for the benefit of the Australian, Western Australian and Kimberley coast economies," Mr Gray said. "It was clear that the Browse joint venture did not consider development of James Price Point to be commercially viable. I take the view that companies, not governments, are best placed to determine which developments are commercially viable, subject of course to environmental and regulatory requirements."

    .

    The main stumbling block to the project going ahead is WA Premier Colin Barnett, who is strongly opposed to the use of floating LNG. Woodside said last night the Browse joint venture had applied to the WA government for the amendments to the state leases but was still waiting on a decision from Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion.

    The Browse leases are in state and federal waters, meaning Woodside must seek approval from both governments.

    ...............




    Woodside upbeat on Israeli gas deal despite hurdles

    by: Matt Chambers


    WOODSIDE Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman has left no doubts over his desire to move into Israel's giant offshore Leviathan gas field, but remains silent on the extent of hurdles the group is facing in its non-binding $US1.3 billion-plus buy-in deal.

    Speaking to a closed conference in Melbourne yesterday, Mr Coleman said Woodside was pursuing the deal despite it not being finalised eight months after its December announcement.

    "The opportunity to buy in to a resource like Leviathan is a once-in-a-decade opportunity," Mr Coleman said.

    "It is one of the largest recent gas discoveries worldwide, ideally located to produce gas for Israel's domestic market and export to Asia, Europe and neighbouring pipeline customers."

    .

    Subsequent unsourced Israeli press report said pipeline exports to Turkey were becoming a more appealing option for the partners and that because of this, Woodside might need to pay more to enter the joint venture.

    Delek Group, Leviathan's Israeli shareholder, is also reportedly unhappy with the terms Woodside had signed up on.

    Noble also revealed there had been a high court challenge over whether Israel's gas export policy needed to be approved by parliament, rather than just cabinet.

    "With the Israeli High Court to rule as early as today (Thursday) on the government's process in determining this policy, we look forward to this issue being resolved so we can finalise our agreement with the Leviathan joint venturers," Mr Coleman said.

    He confirmed the Israeli export policy allowed 50 per cent of Leviathan's reserves to be exported, despite limits of 40 per cent of total Israeli gas reserves. This is in line with Woodside's understanding when it signed the deal.

    When the agreement was signed, Delek said it hoped to have a binding agreement by February.

    Under the deal, Woodside was to pay an up-front payment of $US696 million, followed by a $US200m payment when Israel's gas export laws were passed. Another $US350m payment would be made when a final investment decision on an LNG plant was made.

    On top of this, Woodside faced other payments of up to $US1bn if LNG prices rose above unspecified levels.


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  61. Exxon mum on WA gas outlook

    ExxonMobil appears to be in no rush to start work on a big Australian gas project with BHP Billiton, after giving a restrained account of the Scarborough LNG project.

    Exxon and BHP have been jointly appraising the big gas deposit off the West Australian coast, and even submitted design documents to the government's environment department in April.

    Exxon had told environmental regulators that a final investment decision on the project could be made in 2014, with first gas coming into production from 2020.

    But on Friday, Exxon vice-president David Rosenthal said he could not name a date for final investment decision on Scarborough, nor any of the company's early stage gas prospects.

    Advertisement

    ''We don't have an outlook for [final investment decision] and costs on any of those, or certainly not relative competitiveness,'' he said during the company's quarterly results briefing.

    ''We are evaluating the potential for floating LNG at the Scarborough prospect and those evaluations continue. But again, I wouldn't want to position that relative to any other project.''

    In a further dent to Scarborough's chances, Mr Rosenthal said he had not seen any significant improvement in the cost of doing business in Australia, despite widespread job losses in the resources industry over the past year.

    But Mr Rosenthal was far more loquacious when asked about Exxon's LNG project in Papua New Guinea. The project is a partnership with several companies - including Santos and Oil Search - and has even attracted funding support from Australian taxpayers.

    Mr Rosenthal said the two processing units at PNG LNG could be joined by a third if gas supply talks with two other companies were successful.

    ''We certainly have the ability to as rapidly as possible expand that facility over the course of the next few years,'' he said.

    ''We do view that project as quite attractive for us and we certainly look forward to bringing forward some expansion opportunities and continuing to improve even further on those economics.''

    BHP and Exxon have a long history of working together in Australia, most notably in the Bass Strait oil and gas fields.

    If they do proceed with Scarborough, it's most likely to be through new floating LNG technology, similar to Shell's plans to use WA's Prelude gas field.

    Floating LNG technology allows companies to target oil and gas in deeper and more distant fields that would be too expensive to develop from onshore processing plants.

    Woodside Petroleum and its partners in the Browse LNG project are also expected to opt for a floating LNG vessel, after deciding an onshore plant at James Price Point simply would cost too much.

    ReplyDelete
  62. USA: Exxon Mobil Says Q2 Profit Down by 57 Pct

    Exxon Mobil said on Thursday its earnings of $6,860 million decreased $9,050 million or 57% from the second quarter of 2012 reflecting the absence of a prior year net gain of $7.5 billion associated with divestments and tax-related items.

    ...........



    USA: Chevron Earnings Drop

    Chevron Corporation reported earnings of $5.4 billion for the second quarter 2013, compared with $7.2 billion in the 2012 second quarter.

    Sales and other operating revenues in the second quarter 2013 were $55 billion, compared to $60 billion in the year-ago period.

    .

    “Our second quarter earnings were down from the very strong level of a year ago,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson. “The decrease was largely due to softer market conditions for crude oil and refined products. Earnings were also reduced as a result of repair and maintenance activities in our U.S. refineries.”

    “We continue to advance our major capital projects. An important milestone was achieved in the second quarter with the loading of the first cargo of liquefied natural gas at the Angola LNG project, one of the largest energy projects on the African continent.” Watson continued, “This marks an important step in the development of our LNG business. Additional LNG growth is expected in the coming years from our Gorgon and Wheatstone projects in Australia.”

    .

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    Replies
    1. Shell's earnings down in North America in part because of shale investments.

      ..

      Earnings at Shell and Exxon Fall Sharply in 2nd Quarter

      Royal Dutch Shell, continuing to struggle with its operations in Nigeria and North America, on Thursday announced earnings that fell below analysts’ forecasts, and Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil producer, posted a 57 percent year-over-year earnings decline.

      Shell’s second-quarter income, adjusted for one-time items, was $4.6 billion, compared with $5.7 billion in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected the company to earn $5.8 billion. “This is one of the worst set of Shell results that we can remember,” analysts from Bernstein wrote in a note.

      Shell’s shares were down 4.7 percent in trading in London.

      Exxon Mobil reported second-quarter earnings of $6.9 billion, down 57 percent from the same period in 2012. The company said that earnings, excluding divestments and other one-time charges, were down 19 percent for the quarter. The company’s shares were down 5.7 percent in trading in New York.

      .

      Shell’s chief executive, Peter Voser, told reporters that the situation in Nigeria, where Shell normally obtains close to 9 percent of its world production, was worsening. The country has long been a mainstay for Shell, but production there has been dogged by political and environmental issues.

      Problems in Nigeria during the quarter had lowered production by about 100,000 barrels a day, or around 40 percent, and had cost the company $250 million, Shell said. Nigerian output was hit not only by the usual sabotage aimed at stealing oil from pipelines, but also by a legal dispute between the Nigerian maritime authorities and a liquefied natural gas facility in which Shell is a partner. In the most serious episode, the maritime authorities kept L.N.G. tankers from landing at the plant from late June to mid-July until they received a large payment from the operators.

      Mr. Voser said oil theft and disruptions to gas supply were causing widespread environmental damage and could cost the Nigerian government up to $12 billion a year. “We will play our part, but these are problems Shell cannot solve alone,” he said, adding that the company was reviewing its Nigeria operations.

      Shell also said it was reviewing its exploration and production portfolio in North America, where it has been losing money. The exercise, the company said, will lead to divestments and a focus on fewer projects.

      Over the last five years, the company has invested heavily in shale gas and oil properties, building a $28 billion portfolio. Based on drilling and exploration results in recent months, Shell is writing off about $2 billion after taxes in the shale oil areas after taking previous write-downs on shale gas acreage. The write-downs drop the book value of the portfolio to about $24 billion.

      Mr. Voser said that the write-downs represented a low proportion of the North American shale portfolio, but that they reflected continued problems in the Americas, an important area for Shell. Bernstein estimated that Shell lost $4.54 for every barrel it produced in the Americas, the location of almost one-quarter of its output.

      Delete
  63. Karoon seeking buyers for stakes in Australian gas, Brazil oil projects


    KAROON Gas Australia is seeking buyers for stakes in a major natural gas discovery in Australia and oil assets in Brazil, according to people familiar with the matter, in moves that could raise more than $600 million.

    Karoon emerged as one of Australia's most promising mid-sized explorers in 2009 when it discovered the Poseidon natural gas field offshore Western Australia state in a joint venture with ConocoPhillips. Subsequent oil discoveries by Karoon in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil have helped keep investors on board and the company has a market value of around $1.27 billion.

    However, success with the drill-bit has raised concerns about Karoon's ability to fund projects that are still in their early stages and will cost billions more dollars to develop.

    Melbourne-based Karoon has opened separate data rooms for each of the assets and is targeting the sale of 10 per cent of its Poseidon discovery and 15 per cent of the Brazilian assets to help fund further exploration and appraisal drilling, two people familiar with the matter said.

    .

    Following a company briefing to investors in Melbourne earlier this month, analysts at Macquarie Group estimated Karoon could get around $US360 million if it sold 10 per cent of the Australian assets and up to $US250 million for 15 per cent of the Brazilian assets. Macquarie said the company is facing funding commitments of between $US450 million and $US650 million over the next 18 months. It had about $200 million cash at June 30.

    Edward Munks, Karoon's chief operating officer, told The Wall Street Journal in March the company had several funding options. "Having a discovered resource with high equity levels gives you a lot of flexibility," Mr Munks said. The company confirmed at the time that it was opening a data room for a minority stake in its unexplored Peruvian assets.

    In Australia, Karoon and Conoco have drilled several wells to assess the size of the Poseidon discovery. Another well, Proteus-1, is currently being drilled. One of the people said a stake sale isn't likely before that well is completed.

    Natural gas could support the development of a new liquefied natural gas export facility in Australia. Alternatively, it could be piped onshore to Darwin if ConocoPhillips chooses to expand its existing LNG plant there.

    Australia's natural gas industry is under intense pressure from high costs and the potential for cheaper competing LNG supplies from North America and East Africa. However, that hasn't stopped large energy companies from buying stakes in significant discoveries. Woodside Petroleum last year sold a 14.7 per cent interest in its Browse gas field to Japanese investors for $US2 billion, while Conoco sold a 20 per cent interest in Poseidon to PetroChina for an undisclosed sum.

    In Brazil, Karoon has discovered oil in two out of three wells and wants to drill up to six more to assess the discoveries.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Miner fined for desecrating Aboriginal sacred site

    A mining company has been fined $150,000 for desecrating an Aboriginal sacred site in the Northern Territory.

    It is the first case of desecration brought against a mining company under Australian law.

    OM Manganese has been found guilty of two charges of damaging a site known as Two Women Sitting Down at the Bootu Creek mine, north of Tennant Creek, in July 2011.

    The company had pleaded guilty to causing damage at the site but not guilty to desecration.

    .

    In a lengthy legal battle, the Darwin Magistrates Court heard that the company had used explosives to break up ground in the area.

    Some blasting had taken place about 25 metres from the sacred site.

    The court had been told that OM Manganese was issued a clearance in 2004 to mine in the area but was advised of sacred sites in the area.

    It had been warned to be cautious near the Two Women Sitting Down site when cracks began to appear in the rock early in 2011.

    Earlier this year, former mine manager Paul Carrick told the court that the damage would not have happened if blasting had taken place further away from the site.

    In making her ruling today, Magistrate Sue Oliver said the damage to the site was significant.

    She said it was important to send a message to mining companies that sacred sites must be protected.

    The maximum penalty was almost $400,000.

    In determining how much to fine the company, Ms Oliver said there was "some risk that companies might be willing" to do a "cost-benefit analysis" where they would weigh up the fines of desecrating sites with the financial gains of mining.

    OM Holdings chief executive Peter Toth said the company did not intend to cause damage or hurt through its mining, and there was no cost-benefit analysis involved.

    "We genuinely believed at the time that our mining methods and the pit design was sufficient to technically achieve our objectives in terms of developing the pit while protecting and preserving the site," he said.

    He said the mining company deeply regrets the damage to the site.

    ReplyDelete
  65. OM Manganese fined $150k for desecrating Aboriginal sacred site


    A MINING company convicted in a landmark ruling of desecrating an Aboriginal sacred site has apologised after being fined $150,000 for the damage.

    In the first successful prosecution by a government authority of a mining company for desecration under Australian law, OM Manganese was found to have caused a "horizontal arm" of rock to break off, reducing its sacredness to traditional owners and damaging its spiritual connections.

    In the case, brought by the NT Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, a magistrate found the mining company guilty of desecrating the sacred site known as Two Women Sitting Down, about 170 km north of Tennant Creek.

    The company had previously pleaded guilty to damaging the sacred site by causing it to split in half, sending thousands of tons of rock and debris tumbling down into a nearby excavation.

    .

    In her judgement handed down this morning, magistrate Sue Oliver found OM Manganese had made decisions that favoured "business and profit" over its obligations to protect the sacred site.

    .

    "The company never intended to harm, damage or disrespect the sacred site. We sincerely regret the damage and the hurt caused and I unreservedly apologise to the site's custodians and traditional owners," he said.

    .

    During the hearing, traditional owner Gina Smith described sacred sites as like railway stations connected by song lines, which she said were like railway lines.

    The site was located next to an open cut mining area known as Masai Pit, part of the company's Bootu Creek manganese mining operation.

    The story of the Two Women Sitting Down site depicts dreaming figures whose skin names were Namakili and Napanangka. One was a bandicoot and the other a type of marsupial rat. They had a fight over bush tucker fruits and their blood spilled onto the rocks in the area.

    Ms Oliver found the company had deliberately mined at a steeper angle around the sacred site in order to extract more ore.

    Indigenous traditional owners testified that they had been consulted about the steeper mining angle and had agreed to it, but had not properly understood what the company was doing.

    "In my view, arranging a meeting with the three gentlemen to essentially obtain approval for the steeper batter angle approach was either a cynical or a naive exercise on the part of the Defendant," Ms Oliver found.

    "The custodians had no individual authority to approve a mining plan that posed a risk to the integrity of the sacred site."

    Ms Smith also testified that the destruction of a "horizontal arm", a flat piece of rock that broke off during mining, had made the site "much less sacred".

    "It will always remain a sacred site to us, but it has been ruined and we don't know what to do because this has never happened to the old people," she said.

    Ms Oliver found the loss of the horizontal arm had desecrated the site by diminishing its sacredness and interfering with its spiritual connections.

    She found the fragile arm had fallen off due to mining activity rather than due to natural causes, as the company had argued.

    AAPA CEO Ben Scambary said the case was a timely, precedent-setting reminder that disregard for Aboriginal sacred sites would not be tolerated by the law.

    "When a sacred site is desecrated or damaged it tears the social fabric of the affected community as the harmony of those people is inherently linked to that sacred site," he said.

    "Sacred sites are important to all Australians as most of this nation's cultural integrity, historical significance and tourism appeal comes from the 50,000 years that Aboriginal people have been caring for their country, their seas and their sacred sites."

    ReplyDelete
  66. Paladin to keep Langer mine stake, raise about $87m, take $180m charge


    PALADIN Energy has scrapped plans to sell a stake in a African uranium mine, saying low prices for the nuclear fuel meant it couldn't attract high enough bids.

    Paladin had been discussing the sale of a minority stake in the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia with two nuclear power companies for several months, and last month signalled to investors that it was closing in on a deal that could shore up its balance sheet.

    On Friday, the Australian company instead launched a share issue to institutional investors equivalent to around 15 per cent of its stock. The price of the new shares will be determined via a bookbuild process, Paladin said.

    A person familiar with the deal said the capital raising has a price floor of 70 cents a share, which represents a 30 per cent discount to Paladin shares' last traded price of $1.00.

    UBS is advising Paladin on the capital raising, which would raise $87.9 million if priced at the low end of the bookbuild, the person said.

    .

    In the three months to March 31, the Langer Heinrich mine produced 1.23 million pounds of uranium oxide, down 13 per cent from the previous quarter due to technical problems related to water treatment.

    Paladin also said it will take a further $180 million impairment charge in its financial results for the year to June 30. It said the writedown relates to a mine in Malawi, its exploration portfolio in Niger and "other smaller items".

    Prices for uranium fell dramatically after an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The accident triggered reactor shutdowns around the world and subsequent reviews of new reactor builds in various countries. Many nations, including the US and China, remain committed to nuclear power in their energy mix.

    ReplyDelete
  67. AGL warns of gas plant closures as carbon price falls and gas prices rise


    AGL Energy chief executive Michael Fraser says some of the nation's biggest baseload gas power stations could face closure as the carbon price falls and gas prices rise.

    Mr Fraser said baseload power stations in Queensland, South Australia and NSW might not survive.

    Liquefied natural gas plants worth $60 billion being built at Gladstone to export Queensland's vast coal-seam gas resources are expected to triple east coast gas demand in coming years and more than double prices.

    New gas-fired plants will not be able to compete with coal-fired power under current carbon prices, let alone the reduced or non-existent carbon prices likely in future.

    AGL, which is being forced to lock in contracts at high prices, has been in arbitration with suppliers Santos and BHP Billiton/ExxonMobil over price increases.

    Mr Fraser said both new and existing baseload plants would be hit.

    .

    But the owners of three of the plants rejected the suggestion that their plants could close.

    Energy Australia, which runs Tallawarra and has previously said the new scenario could make the plant uneconomic and promote coal-fired power, said its plant could also operate in a peaking role.

    "A tighter gas market is expected to increase gas prices, making gas-fired electricity generation less competitive than coal," an Energy Australia spokeswoman said.

    But she agreed some gas-fired plants were in danger of closure.

    ....................



    Sun shines on AGL's $450m solar energy project


    THIS week's landmark announcement that AGL Energy will build a $450 million solar power station in outback NSW put the spotlight on the problems facing the renewable energy source but it was also cause to rejoice for those willing to pay more for cleaner energy.

    Despite big recent advances in solar technology, taxpayers will need to stump up more than half the total amount.

    This is not to make the technology comparable to gas or coal-fired power, but just to make it as cost-effective as wind -- under even more renewable subsidies that it will receive.

    It is not clear whether the Rudd government's headline on its announcement, which declared the two projects would cover an area "four times the size of Sydney" to power the equivalent of a town the size of Tamworth, was supposed to be a positive. Further down the press release it explains they were talking about the Sydney CBD, still not a small area.

    But the federal and NSW taxpayers are not just forking out a combined $232m to power 50,000 homes in the outback.

    .

    The project is designed to kickstart utility-scale solar in Australia in the hope it will provide greater experience to rapidly bring down costs.

    .

    The AGL project consists of two solar farms, one in Broken Hill and one in Nyngan, that will provide a combined 155 megawatts of capacity. The Nyngan plant, at 102MW, will be the biggest solar plant in the southern hemisphere.

    First Solar, the US firm that is building the project, says solar costs in Australia should rapidly improve once local industry becomes more familiar with building the technology.

    Savings of 60 or 70 per cent should be seen within three or four years, provided plants keep being built, according to Jack Curtis, First Solar's head of Asia-Pacific development. "The gap (between solar and fossil fuels) will continue to close," he says.

    "The first gap solar is concentrating on closing is becoming a competitive renewable source.

    "The next target is fossil, which we believe will happen sometime towards the end of this decade," Mr Curtis said.

    The Clean Energy Council has the same message.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Barnett poised for fight over Browse gas

    .....Under the changes Woodside Petroleum and its partners will spend more than $1 billion over five years on project planning.

    The companies have also asked WA to change the state leases which require the plant to be built onshore.

    But Colin Barnett remains committed to onshore development of the gas and has described the Federal Government's decision as rushed.

    Financial commentator Tim Treadgold says it is time Mr Barnett faced up to reality.

    "The Premier is out of step with the financial aspects of what's happening and he's also out of step with what is common sense from a government level," he said.

    "The simple fact is that onshore gas developments has become prohibitively expensive, we are the most expensive country in the world."

    "The Premier can't do anything because whether he likes it or not, he's a minor player in the business of developing offshore oil and gas."


    ...........



    Woodside gains federal approval to develop the Browse Basin gas field

    Mr Gray said his decision restored the Browse retention lease to a lease consistent with other Commonwealth leases.

    The revised conditions do not specify any particular development concept, consistent with the Government's belief that this should be a commercial decision.

    Mr Gray said it was important to take advantage of the current window of opportunity to develop the LNG industry.

    "The risk is that if Australia does not provide the environment for commercial decision-making now, we may miss out altogether," he said.

    "Already it has been more than 40 years since the first Browse fields were first identified, and over a decade since development options were first considered."

    There are a total of seven leases covering the oil field.

    Five are controlled by the Federal Government, and the remaining two are controlled by the WA Government.

    Mr Barnett has previously stated those leases expire at the end of 2014 and he does not see the need to change them before then.

    He has been contacted for comment.


    ............



    THE OUTCOME OF THE COURT DECISION RE WA ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVALS COULD REALLY PROVE TO BE THE BIG DECIDER ON THE ISSUE OF HOW FAST BARNETT HAS TO BURY THIS DOOMED PROJECT.

    The decision is due for release any day now.

    Federal environmental approvals were halted in April after Woodside cancelled the project.

    .

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  69. Another mine gets approved for the Tarkine

    Conservationists opposed to mining in Tasmania's Tarkine have been dealt a second blow in a week, with another large resource project in the region winning federal approval.

    Venture Minerals on Monday was granted permission to proceed with its Riley Creek iron ore proposal in north-western Tasmania.

    Environment Minister Mark Butler says the mine will operate for two years, subject to strict conditions.

    Just last week Mr Butler gave the green light to a $20 million Shree Minerals' iron ore mine at Nelson Bay River in the contentious northwest region of the state.

    The Tarkine, home to a population of healthy Tasmanian devils and one of the world's largest temperate rainforests, is fast becoming the state's new environmental flashpoint.

    Green groups have gone to court to try and stop mining projects, but the area also has a long mining history and has been the scene of pro-mining rallies sponsored by unions.

    In granting Venture permission to proceed, Mr Butler says he considered the impact of the development on endangered species in the area, including the Tasmanian devil and spot-tailed quoll.

    But he's confident the conditions will work.

    Venture must make a contribution to Tasmania's ongoing efforts to protect the devil, and pay around $50,000 to a rehabilitation program for every devil it kills above two every year.

    The Tarkine contains one of the last populations of devils, free of the facial tumour disease that has wiped out up to 80 per cent of the species.
    Similar conditions were imposed on Shree's iron ore mine at Nelson Bay River.

    ReplyDelete
  70. (Global) LNG capex tipped to surge


    GLOBAL capital expenditure on LNG facilities will skyrocket to nearly $228 billion in 2013-17, an increase of 109 per cent over the preceding five years, a new report predicts.

    Activity in the forecast period is underpinned by huge financial commitments to both liquefaction projects and gas imports, the World LNG Market Forecast report from Douglas-Westwood says.

    The liquefied natural gas developments will drive expenditure, with Australasia and North America playing a fundamental role in bringing new supply into the international market over the period to 2017.

    Australia has the world's fastest-growing liquefied natural gas industry and with $200bn of projects under construction or recently completed, it is generally accepted that by 2020 the nation will have jumped from the fourth-biggest exporter in 2011 into the leading position.

    Australia's planned projects and those under development include Chevron's $52bn project on Barrow Island in Western Australia, the $34bn Ichthys LNG plant in the Northern Territory and the three separate LNG plants on Curtis Island, near Gladstone in Queensland.

    .

    Report author Michelle Gomez said activity over the next five years would be underpinned by huge financial commitments to both LNG projects and gas import facilities.

    "Spend will peak in 2015 and decline slightly in 2016 and 2017, which is due to the surge of Australian LNG export projects reaching completion," she said.

    The report by the market research and consulting company outlines that the spending surge includes capital expenditure on baseload onshore and offshore fixed LNG plants, carriers and re-gasification operations. Steve Robertson, a director at Douglas-Westwood, said he expected continued change in the focus areas for LNG export projects.

    "While the Middle East remains one of the top exporters, the region will see very little expenditure in the forecast period," he said.

    "Australian spend, however, will surge, peak and start to decline somewhat. As in many other sectors of the oil and gas industry, reducing the costs of LNG projects remains a major challenge."

    The LNG industry was evolving as economic conditions and technology changed, the report concluded.

    "A strong recovery in the LNG business is now under way."

    ReplyDelete
  71. Fortescue probed on 'insolvent trading'


    SENIOR executives of Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest's Fortescue Minerals Group face examination by a liquidator over allegations the group traded while insolvent during last year's iron ore price slump, causing it to wrongfully terminate a contract worth more than $8 million.

    It's claimed that the actions by the world's fourth-largest iron ore miner sent a contractor on its Pilbara iron ore project, Queensland-based Fuel-Sys Installations, to the wall.

    FSI had a $17m lump sum contract with milestone progress payments for the Solomon hub diesel storage facility which includes two mines, Fire Tail and Kings.

    Lawyers for the liquidator to the failed contractor wrote to Fortescue's board yesterday claiming that witnesses, including its own former project manager, allege that a Fortescue executive had said it could not make payments on the construction of a fuel facility project at its Solomon project in the Pilbara.

    According to a legal letter obtained by The Australian, FSI claims that Fortescue was probably insolvent when the comments were made last September.

    .

    Trading while insolvent can result in personal fines of up to $200,000 against director and criminal sentences of up to five years in some cases.

    The Australian Securities & Investments Commission may also launch a civil compensation claim on behalf of creditors. The liquidator informed Fortescue that if it would agree to discuss a compromise, the liquidator would seek to formally examine executives on insolvent trading and begin legal action to recover outstanding monies.


    .........................



    Rio, BHP profits expected to fall sharply


    MORE evidence that the mining boom has run out of puff is on its way as industry leaders Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton set about reporting sharply lower profit results, along with a new zeal for cost-cutting and capital discipline in response to weaker commodity prices and concerns about global economic growth.

    Massive profits from iron ore will be a feature of the earnings reports. But the resource's price strength is also seen by most in equity markets as the Achilles heel of the two biggest diversified miners, given the broad expectations that strong supply growth will eventually undercut prices.

    Rio is most exposed to that scenario and starts the ball rolling for profit season for the big end of town with its June-half interim report, to be released on Thursday. One group of analysts expect underlying earnings of $US4.23 billion ($4.75bn), down 18.6 per cent from $US5.2bn in the previous corresponding period.

    Deutsche Bank equity analysts are a touch higher at $US4.3bn.

    .

    Rio's reliance on iron ore will come under new focus in the result, given the expectation by Deutsche that the division's contribution to net profit after tax at $US4.87bn (consensus is $US4.51bn) will actually be more than the expected underlying profit. Losses in aluminium and energy (uranium and thermal coal) provide the explanation. JPMorgan is also expecting underlying earnings of $US4.3bn. It said the key focus for investors in Rio's results would be commentary about the timing of its $US5bn commitment to build supporting mine capacity to take Pilbara iron ore production to an annual rate of 360 million tonnes, and progress on Rio's plan to extract $US3bn in cost savings on a sustainable basis from 2015.

    ReplyDelete
  72. BARNETT'S MAD OBSESSION CONTINUES.....

    $2b trade-off hope for gas base

    Colin Barnett has hinted the Woodside Browse consortium would need to fund a $2 billion oil and gas supply base at James Price Point in return for keeping key Browse Basin retention leases.

    Mr Barnett yesterday expanded on his disappointment that Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray had waived the conditions that demanded the consortium process its Browse gas at James Price Point. Mr Gray made the decision on Friday because, he said, commercial realities for land-based processing were not viable and it was in Australia's best interests to ensure the gas was developed as quickly as possible, even if it was through floating LNG.

    But Mr Barnett, a vocal opponent of FLNG, hit back yesterday, saying the Federal Government had gone "soft" and suggesting his Government would demand trade-offs before it granted the Woodside consortium relief from the James Price Point gas processing condition.

    The consortium's three gas fields - Calliance, Brecknock and Torosa - are spread across seven retention leases, of which five are in Commonwealth waters.

    Mr Gray's determination removes the James Price Point processing condition from five leases but leaves the conditions on the two WA-controlled leases.

    Mr Barnett yesterday hinted that a commitment from the consortium to build a supply base at James Price Point, to service the broader Browse Basin oil and gas industry, could be sufficient for his support to axe the contentious development condition.

    "At the end of the day, and it's not my perfect result, if we were to have the supply base built at James Price Point that would be something acceptable to the State Government because that would then start the development of (a broader precinct at) James Price Point for future LNG to come onshore," he said.

    "There are other companies operating in the Browse Basin that intend to do LNG onshore, not offshore the project."

    Asked whether he thought it would be appropriate for the Commonwealth Future Fund to fund an economy-building project such as James Price Point, Mr Barnett said that should not be necessary for a supply base he said would cost $1 billion to $2 billion.
    "The (oil and gas) industry is big enough and rich enough and with deep enough pockets to fund its own infrastructure," he said. "Taxpayers shouldn't have to do that."

    ReplyDelete
  73. Gorgon gas can't beat Canada on cost, claims Chevron

    Further expansion of the giant Gorgon export gas project off Western Australia will be in direct competition with exports from North America, which have a cost advantage, an investor in both sets of projects has declared.

    Chevron, which is pushing to develop the Kitimat export gas project in Canada, reckons this project would be cheaper than a further expansion at Gorgon, while declaring a ''horse race'' between the two prospective developments in seeking outlets for the gas from the two projects.

    Partners in Gorgon are spending an estimated $50 billion to develop a project with three gas processing plants, or trains, with capacity to handle 15.6 million tonnes of liquefied gas annually. The first gas is to be shipped from 2015.

    Chevron has a 47.3 per cent stake in Gorgon with Shell and ExxonMobil each holding 25 per cent. There has been recurrent speculation of plans to add a fourth unit, which would add a further 5.2 million tonnes a year of capacity.

    Advertisement

    In North America, Chevron has a 50 per cent share of Canada's Kitimat project, with the final decision to proceed with this development expected in 2014. It is planned to have an initial two processing units.

    It is the most advanced of the estimated five gas export projects in British Columbia vying for government approval. Participants in other projects there include Shell, BG and Malaysia's Petronas, which are all involved in gas export projects in Australia.

    ''In the case of Gorgon train four … we are happy to see both of them move'' forward, Chevron vice-chairman George Kirkland told analysts late last week, referring to the competition with Kitimat. ''[There is] a bit of a horse race between them at this point.''

    Shipping gas to north Asia from Canada is cheaper than exports from Australia, he said, although the challenge is to find markets for the gas. ''The development cost at Kitimat … may end up being less than in the case of Gorgon,'' he said, which ''has the benefit of [being a] brownfield development on the plant side''.

    ''We're going to offer volumes … and interest in the plant as a combination,'' Mr Kirkland said of the Kitimat marketing plans. ''We think that's a big advantage.

    ''Our goal is to maintain our … first-mover advantage … We have had some initial discussions with Asian buyers.''

    Partners in the $C4.5 billion Kitimat project aim to have 60-70 per cent of the export gas volumes under long-term commitment prior to a final investment decision, he said.

    The decline of the Australian dollar in recent foreign exchange trading has helped to improve the cost competitiveness of Chevron's Australian projects, Mr Kirkland said.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Radioactive water leaking into Pacific Ocean in new Fukushima 'emergency'

    Japan's nuclear watchdog says there is a state of emergency at the shattered Fukushima nuclear plant over ongoing leaks of radioactive water.

    An official from the Nuclear Regulation Authority says contaminated groundwater has risen above a shore barrier meant to contain it and is seeping into the Pacific Ocean.

    Speaking to the Reuters news agency, Shinji Kinjo revealed the leak is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge.

    Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima nuclear complex, are only a temporary solution, Mr Kinjo added.

    "Right now, we have an emergency," he said.

    TEPCO has been struggling to contain hundreds of tonnes of groundwater entering the plant everyday - water that quickly becomes contaminated.

    But the company has also been roundly condemned for failing to make public leaks of radioactive water into the Pacific, despite knowing about it.

    In the early weeks following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government allowed TEPCO to dump tens of thousands of tonnes of toxic water into the Pacific in an emergency move.

    That prompted heavy criticism by neighbouring countries as well as local fishermen, and the company has since promised it would not dump irradiated water without the consent of local townships.

    In a bid to prevent more leaks into the bay of the Pacific Ocean, plant workers created an underground barrier by injecting chemicals to harden the ground along the shoreline of one of the reactor buildings.

    But that barrier is only effective in solidifying the ground at least 1.8 metres below the surface.

    By breaching the barrier, the water can seep through the shallow areas of earth into the nearby sea.

    More seriously, it is rising toward the surface - a break of which would accelerate the outflow.

    The regulatory task force overseeing accident measures of the Fukushima station, which met last Friday, "concluded that new measures are needed to stop the water from flowing into the sea that way," Mr Kinjo said.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Scandal in South Korea Over Nuclear Revelations

    SEOUL, South Korea — Like Japan, resource-poor South Korea has long relied on nuclear power to provide the cheap electricity that helped build its miracle economy. For years, it met one-third of its electricity needs with nuclear power, similar to Japan’s level of dependence before the 2011 disaster at its Fukushima plant.

    Now, a snowballing scandal in South Korea about bribery and faked safety tests for critical plant equipment has highlighted yet another similarity: experts say both countries’ nuclear programs suffer from a culture of collusion that has undermined their safety. Weeks of revelations about the close ties between South Korea’s nuclear power companies, their suppliers and testing companies have led the prime minister to liken the industry to a mafia.

    The scandal started after an anonymous tip in April prompted an official investigation. Prosecutors have indicted some officials at a testing company on charges of faking safety tests on parts for the plants. Some officials at the state-financed company that designs nuclear power plants were also indicted on charges of taking bribes from testing company officials in return for accepting those substandard parts.

    Worse yet, investigators discovered that the questionable components are installed in 14 of South Korea’s 23 nuclear power plants. The country has already shuttered three of those reactors temporarily because the questionable parts used there were important, and more closings could follow as investigators wade through more than 120,000 test certificates filed over the past decade to see if more may have been falsified.

    In a further indication of the possible breadth of the problems, prosecutors recently raided the offices of 30 more suppliers suspected of also providing parts with faked quality certificates and said they would investigate other testing companies.

    “What has been revealed so far may be the tip of an iceberg,” said Kune Y. Suh, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University.

    With each new revelation, South Koreans — who, like the Japanese, had grown to believe their leaders’ soothing claims about nuclear safety — have become more jittery. Safety is the biggest concern, but the scandals have also caused economic worries. At a time of slowing growth, the government had loudly promoted its plans to become a major builder of nuclear power plants abroad.

    The scandal, Professor Suh said, “makes it difficult to continue claiming to build reliable nuclear power plants cheaply.”

    South Koreans say they are already suffering for the industry’s sins. The closing of the three reactors, in addition to another three offline for scheduled maintenance, has led the country’s leaders to order a nationwide energy-saving campaign in the middle of a particularly muggy summer. At university campuses, students have deserted the libraries for cooler Internet cafes, and major corporations have turned down air-conditioning.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Scandal in South Korea Over Nuclear Revelations

    cont......

    President Park Geun-hye has kept off her own air-conditioning even when she hosted foreign guests, including Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook. And some entrepreneurs have capitalized on the troubles, selling “cool scarves” made of a special fabric that, after being dipped in water, keeps wearers cool for hours. But the modeling and creativity have not stopped the grousing, or alleviated anger at the industry.

    Critics of South Korea’s nuclear industry say there were plenty of warning signs.

    Last year, the government was forced to shut down two reactors temporarily after it learned that parts suppliers — some of whom were later convicted — had fabricated the safety-test certificates for more than 10,000 components over 10 years. But the government emphasized at the time that those parts were “nonessential” items and that the industry was otherwise sound.

    As it turned out, the problems went much deeper.

    The investigation that began this spring suggested that the oversight within the supply chain may also be more deeply compromised. A company that was supposed to test reactor parts skipped portions of the exams, doctored test data or even issued safety certificates for parts that failed its tests, according to government investigators. And this time the parts involved included more important items. Among the parts that failed the tests were cables used to send signals to activate emergency measures in an accident.

    “This is not a simple negligence or mistake; this is a deliberate fabrication by those who were supposed to safeguard the reliability of parts,” said Kim Yong-soo, a professor of nuclear engineering at Hanyang University in Seoul. “It raises serious questions about the immune system of our nuclear power industry.”

    Although much remains unclear with the investigations under way, experts say they know enough to pinpoint the underlying cause of the scandal: an industry that is even more highly centralized than Japan’s, with poor oversight on the relations among the major players.

    .


    “In the past 30 years, our nuclear energy industry has become an increasingly closed community that emphasized its specialty in dealing with nuclear materials and yet allowed little oversight and intervention,” the government’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a recent report to lawmakers. “It spawned a litany of corruption, an opaque system and a business practice replete with complacency.”


    .

    But the problems appear to go beyond testing. At the home of one of the Korea Hydro officials, investigators found boxes of cash amounting to several hundred thousand dollars. Investigators tracing the origin of the money recently arrested officials of Hyundai Heavy Industries, a major parts supplier, on bribery charges. Prosecutors said the money was meant to ensure contracts for Hyundai Heavy and appeared not to be part of the scandal over testing certificates.

    In a statement jointly issued in June, Korea Hydro, Kepco E & C and two other state-financed nuclear industry companies promised “self-purification measures.” To “root out corruption arising from collusive ties,” they said they would make it mandatory for senior officials to make public their personal assets, ban all employees from buying stocks in suppliers or getting jobs there after retirement, and reduce the retirement package benefits for those fired for corruption.

    Amid a public uproar, the government fired the heads of both the Kepco subsidiaries. It also promised to enact new laws and tighten regulations to ban retirees from the two subsidiaries from getting jobs at suppliers and test agencies.

    Political opposition parties, which control some seats on the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission — the top nuclear watchdog, which has long been criticized as being too cozy with the industry — recently added two critics of nuclear power to the regulatory group. But many worry the changes, and promised changes, will not be enough.

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  77. US shale gas boom a one-off, says BG

    Senior executives at BG Group, a leading supplier of liquefied gas to industrial nations, predict it could be a decade or more before widespread development of shale gas reserves occurs outside the US.

    In 2011, the FTSE 100 company became the first exporter to strike a deal for shale gas from the Gulf Coast of the US, agreeing a contract with Cheniere Energy running from 2015 and estimated at $8bn.

    But, in spite of BG Group’s move to include US shale as part of its mix of LNG supplies to energy-hungry countries in Asia and Europe, executives suggest that the rapid boom in cheap shale gas supplies in North America is unlikely to be replicated elsewhere in the short term.

    “We don’t see a big wave of shale development globally in the near term,” said Matt Schatzman, executive vice-president for global energy marketing and shipping at BG Group. “Our position is that you’ve seen a tremendous change in the US, and the US was, really, in terms of developing unconventional, a sweet spot. Our view is that we’re sceptical that’s going to be fully replicated anywhere else as quickly as we’ve seen it in the US.”

    The remarks come despite optimism expressed by politicians and fracking industry supporters in the UK and beyond that shale gas can emerge as a key element of power supply.

    Last month the UK’s chancellor, George Osborne, outlined plans to create the world’s most generous tax regime aimed at accelerating shale gas development. He said shale gas was “a resource with huge potential to broaden the UK’s energy mix”, adding: “I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution.”

    However, President François Hollande of France has ruled out exploration for shale gas during his presidency on environmental grounds. Meanwhile in Poland, in spite of enthusiasm from government, some US companies have withdrawn their interest in exploring for shale gas after early drilling disappointment.

    The hunt for shale gas and oil opportunities outside North America among supermajors has led Chevron of the US to strike a deal last month with Argentina’s YPF to invest $1.24bn in the country’s Vaca Muerta shale formation.

    Despite its overall caution, BG Group is assuming China will have developed material amounts of shale gas supplies by the beginning of the next decade. But the global gas supplier still predicts that, amid growing demand for the fuel, China will remain a major destination for imported LNG supplies.

    “Beyond that [China], we see developments being slower in some of the other places, South America, Argentina, Europe etc, that’s to do with both the fundamentals of the rocks and the development environment, the investment environment, constraints like water,” said Mr Schatzman.

    “We do see shale gas development occurring globally in places other than the US,” he added. “But . . . it won’t be as easy to develop shale gas in these other places.”

    Andrew Walker, vice-president of global LNG at BG Group, said any progress outside North America in developing shale gas production over the next decade was likely to coincide with increased demand, coming as supplies from existing gasfield development face depletion.

    He predicts LNG will grow from about 11 per cent of total gas consumed at the moment worldwide, to about 14 per cent by 2025. He estimates that, even allowing for projects under construction, a supply gap of 150 tonnes in the global LNG market will require $400bn of investment to plug.

    “To put it into context, that is volumetrically equivalent to 10 Gorgon projects in Australia,” Mr Walker said. Chevron’s Gorgon LNG venture in Western Australia has a development budget of $52bn.

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  78. How Can I Find Truck Finance, Isuzu Lease, Truck Lease and Operating Lease Perth

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