Friday, July 19, 2013

Help stop the Kimberley from becoming a polluted gasfield | Clean Water, Healthy Land

Help stop the Kimberley from becoming a polluted gasfield | Clean Water, Healthy Land

The WA State Government has introduced legislation into the WA Parliament to open up the vast and spectacular Kimberley region to toxic gas fracking at a scale never seen before in Australia!
The proposed laws would promote the development of thousands of gas fracking wells across the unique Kimberley region.
Without consultation or environmental assessment, these laws would commit the state of Western Australia to supporting an industry that will have a devastating impact on the cultural and environmental values of one of the most precious places on Earth.
In his rush to see this legislation passed as soon as possible, Premier Barnett has even attempted to suspend usual Parliamentary process in an attempt to rush the bill through!
Use the form opposite to send an urgent message asking your local Member of Parliament to vote this appalling legislation down
Shale gas fracking is a highly risky process. A cocktail of chemicals are pumped underground at extreme pressures- high enough to fracture deep underground rocks to release trapped gas.
If this legislation is passed unopposed, then the gas industry will have a red-carpet welcome to pollute and destroy one of the most precious places on Earth.
Please take action now to stop the Kimberley being turned into a toxic gasland.
Your message will go to your local Member of Parliament, with copies forwarded to Premier Barnett and Environment Minister, Albert Jacob.


  1. Thankyou for keeping this excellent info going, I look for updates daily. Obviously Barnett does not read the unintelligent report, otherwise he would realise THE SHIP HAS SAILED! Buru or conoco, or anyone has no hope of extracting export quantities of gas from the canning basin, let alone at a price that anyone would want to buy it. Dont waste anymore taxpayers money on useless pipelines or land aquisitions. And no more ord river SCAMS. Barnett you sir are the biggest looser...goodbye

    1. Given the state of the planet the report is indeed "highly unintelligent".

      I love to read the news everyday and the main thing I find is that even though the facts of the matter are out there the various media that report these "facts" do so from such biased angles.

      eg - we sell shares - we rely on these people for adverts - politically we support this/don't support this - we cant say this or that/cant afford to upset this one/that one and so on etc.

      But if anyone is willing to spend the time to strip away the bullshit and get to the nuts and bolts it is very interesting and rewarding and funny/scary.

      I'm sure Barnett does not read the "unintelligent report" - but someone from his mob does - even if it's the spooks.


      OK a simple case is the mysterious case of the JPP gas plant and how it became such a huge conflict.

      For Barnett the reason goes back to his endless pursuit of the "magic canal" which will transport water from the Kimberley to Perth and require no power to do so as "it is all flat country so the water will run downhill to Perth."

      He sees himself as "the great WA premier".
      A master strategist who knows how to do the big stuff better than all others.

      It is this belief and his total failure to see the true big picture that make Barnett the fool that he is.


      The other fool is of course Don Voelte and for much the same reasons.

      Before "the Don" became Woodside CEO in April 2004 he worked for Chroma Energy a company (ironically given Woodsides ongoing problems finding gas for Pluto) that specialises in technology that finds oil.Before that he spent many years at Mobil looking for oil.

      But it was what was happening with other US CEO's especially in Australia that must have caught the Don's eye.

      Most notably Paul Anderson, an American appointed to restructure the group in 1999.
      Anderson completely restructured BHP then merged it with Billiton to make the biggest miner on the planet.

      Anderson stepped down in 2002 and was replaced by the South African born Brian Gilbertson who resigned over "irreconcilable differences" 6 months later receiving about $12.4 million in payments and shares related directly to six months as chief executive, plus a pension for life of $1.5 million a year for 32 years of service with the group and its predecessors.

      He was replaced by another US CEO Chip Goodyear.Appointed CEO (2003) and retiring from the position on 30 September 2007 and BHP Group on 1 January 2008.

      So that was the backdrop to Voelte getting the top job at Woodside which he started on April 5 2004.There is no doubt that as he started the job he was heavily influenced by the huge publicity and goings on at BHP that featured these heavy duty US CEO's and that he felt a need to prove himself equal to and like Barnett a sense that his time had come.


      But alas just like Barnett he had failed to do his homework and became reliant on "proof through assertion" and slowly but surely his dreams became separated from reality.


    2. the mysterious case of the JPP gas plant and how it became such a huge conflict.

      cont.....(sorry 'bout the typo's but I'm still hungover from Fridays session)


      I immediately became interested in how Voelte would go at Woodside because of this "big time US CEO" backdrop and the big shot American psych.Sort of like a bulldozer in a chinashop approach.I wasn't disappointed.

      Voelte declared he would build an LNG train every two years and this is where his trouble started.

      He used the Woodside influence to corrupt governments any way he chose to move his plans forward.This included getting them to scrap planned new taxes and environmental concerns.He famously said about the Burrup that Woodside didn't realise it was important to have a relationship with Aboriginal peoples.

      But the statement that really got my attention was the one about turning back the clock to the days of the Pilbara pioneers when projects were bought in under time and under budget.

      To replicate the feats of the TI's on the railroads and break records for construction.

      The first thing I thought was this is it he's lost the plot - back in the day there was one thing they didn't have that would apply to Voelte and bring him unstuck - WORKSAFE.

      The other was the people who worked in the north in those days did so because they really wanted to be there and morale was sky high.In those days it was a case of 12 months on for a 3 week break in many cases compared to the misery of the FIFO's who don't seem to like being north at all for 2 weeks out of 4.

      This all came to a head with Pluto and the Dons dreams lost touch with reality.

      "Pluto is set to become the fastest developed LNG project from discovery of the gas field in 2005 to first LNG...."

      But the rush rush rush that became the climate of urgency began to backfire.

      It is now clear Voelte cooked the books to make Pluto look viable when in fact he proceeded without enough gas to build the extra trains that would make it so.

      There was Voelte's unforgivable rudeness to the East Timorese more or less asking them if they wanted to become human by letting Woodside have their way over Sunrise or remaining apes by going against the Woodside plans.A situation that remains unresolved to this day.

      And of course our beloved JPP.


      Years ago the math was pretty simple : if it costs $15 billion to build 1 train in a perfect sheltered spot with rock for foundations then how can anyone possibly build 3 trains at a most exposed spot with pindan for foundations for the same amount.

      Long before it was widely reported it had already been said here the cost would be in excess of $45 billion in fact that "they wouldn't get much change out of $70 billion" and ongoing costs like dredging and pipeline maintenance would be on top of that.

      In short the project would never proceed and would collapse under it's own weight.


      So this is where Barnett and Voelte found themselves pitted against a local grass roots campaign that after Black Tuesday spread around the world assuring them worldwide headlines on their every move.


      BUT it was the expectations and egos of these two men that made the insanity of JPP possible.

      How is it that we can see the outcome of these projects and we earn nothing for writing these blogs and yet someone like Voelte who earned over $8.3 million in 2010 can not see the wood for the trees?

      How is it that Barnett with all the resources at his fingertips as WA premier can not see past the end of his nose?


      The answer of course is just plain old pig headed stubborn resistance to the truth when things begin to slide.

      Deny deny deny and hope you can last out long enough to be replaced and begin to re write history to make sure your legacy ( as you imagined it ) really happened.

      Just leave the rest to that media of the Murdochracy and Fairfax ( fair facts - maybe not ).

      - OLD BOY!

    3. the mysterious case of the JPP gas plant and how it became such a huge conflict.

      AND OF COURSE we couldn't finish without mentioning all their other little helpers in Broome and surrounds who also couldn't count to 3.

      The Broome Shire.

      The Broome Chamber of Commerce.

      The Kimberley Land Council.

      Why is it that these 3 outfits ceased to function when someone said the word "billions"?

      AAAAhhhhhh well that would just be good old fashioned greed - at the expense of everyone else of course!

      The BCC who have lost Chinatown and want the ratepayers to fund some foreign dipstick $4 million to find it and who insisted that anyone who didn't borrow to the hilt to buy new gear to get work on the gas plant would miss out on everything.

      The Shire who would not listen to our concerns but who now expect ratepayers to stump up the $8 million they wasted trying to push JPP forward.

      And the KLC who will never again be able to claim they exist to stop another Noonkanbah but will be forever remembered as the outfit who tried to steal someone elses country and sell it to Woodside and could not heed the clear warnings from the wider community that the project was doomed!




      AND OF COURSE COLEMAN who is tasked with trying to clean up the mess this meeting of the 2 great egos have caused.

      Well I bet that if he can put up with the sh*t they have caused for 10 years he will retire with the job not done.

      Such is life.

    4. The Kimberley: The Right Thing Or Ka-Ching?

      By Geoffrey Cousins July 19, 2012

      am sitting in a nondescript meeting room in the Sydney business district, facing two men. One is Michael Chaney, chairman of National Australia Bank and Woodside Petroleum, one of the doyens of Australian business — some would say the doyen. The other is the then-CEO of Woodside, Don Voelte, a voluble American.

      Voelte is running true to form, and words pour forth from him in a never-ending stream about the benefits of Woodside's plans to industrialise the Kimberley and bring rivers of milk and honey to the mouths of the Aboriginal communities who live there. Chaney doesn't speak at this meeting in October, 2010. He fixes me with what I assume is his steeliest gaze. He seems pleased with it.

      Even when Voelte (who in late June was appointed chief executive of Seven West Media) launches into a scurrilous and defamatory attack on an Aboriginal leader I have been meeting with, or "getting into bed with" as the good Don puts it, Chaney sits there silently. He doesn't interject; he doesn't question his CEO for describing this person as "a criminal and a drunk". He sits there.

      But suddenly the distinguished face comes to life, and a finger is pointed at me, jabbed towards me in fact, with these words almost hurled across the table:

      "You are acting unethically."

      This comes as somewhat of a surprise. We have never met before, and whilst I wasn't expecting to be presented with Woodside's Citizen of the Year Award, as I am a strident opponent of its planned massive gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley, nor was I expecting my ethical behaviour to be brought into question.


      I ask Chaney to explain. He takes up the opportunity with relish.

      "You are trying to deny the Aborigines in the Kimberley the benefits we will bring to them," is his response.

      Ah, yes. This is the cry of the mining companies wherever they want to go in Australia where indigenous people live or have ever lived. "We will bring benefits that only our activities can bring. These will be employment, health and educational benefits that will help to solve the enduring problems of Aboriginal communities." So the issues the miners put front and centre aren't the obvious environmental risks; it's really all about helping people.

      Woodside, and Chaney in particular, have perfected this piece of sophistry; perhaps they've come to believe it. And they are wholeheartedly supported in it by the West Australian government. When Premier Colin Barnett was asked why these benefits wouldn't still flow to the Jabirr Jabirr and Goolarabaloo people if the gas hub was located somewhere in WA other than the sensitive Kimberley coast, he replied, "No. They won't get them unless it's here."


      I would have liked to quote Michael Chaney these words from Patrick Dodson in his inaugural Mahatma Gandhi Oration: "In the midst of the mining boom many Aboriginal people are finding immediate relief from the poverty besetting many of our communities by gaining employment in the mining industry. But I question whether in the long term our participation in unbridled exploitation is not in fact adding to the diminishment of our custodial responsibilities to humanity, global sustainability and resilience."


      These words were not spoken by Pat Dodson until much later — not in fact until January 30, 2012. But they destroy the short-term promises of the mining snake-oil salesmen in two elegant sentences. As the father of Reconciliation and a person who lives these issues rather than reading about them, Pat Dodson may make some modest claim to believability on the matter.


    5. Right thing or....cont....

      October of 2009, Premier Barnett said, "This is not an industrial complex as someone would try and describe it. It is basically a large refrigerator." Some refrigerator.


      So, why not pipe this gas to the Pilbara, an area already pockmarked by mining excavations and processing operations? Why not use a floating platform as Shell is doing at its Prelude Field in the Browse Basin? No environmental groups have voiced any opposition to this initiative, despite the cry from the mining companies that nothing will ever satisfy them.

      Not viable. Not possible. Can't be done. One by one, the negative responses roll out.


      JP Morgan published a report in 2009 saying there were a number of these sites that were economically viable. Out of date, irrelevant, is the response. Why not the floating option like Shell, as the James Price Point gas is likewise in the Browse Basin? Not possible because of the weather, Chaney replies. Different weather conditions prevail in this area that would make it dangerous for workers.

      These responses were puzzling at the time, but more so later. I meet with Shell, and I'm told by the senior executive responsible for their investment in this proposed project that there's no technical reason a floating platform can't be used at James Price Point. I then check the government approval documents given to Shell for the Prelude Field, and find that one of the conditions for development is that the platform must be able to withstand a one-in-ten-thousand year weather event. The weather at the Woodside field must be something to behold.

      Then why the insistence on James Price Point as the site? Because the state and federal governments wrote that into the lease renewal documents, the Shell executive says.


      When the riot squad, now travelling with a reality TV show film crew as well, arrived on Manari Road at James Price Point to remove a group of protesters who were blocking access to the construction site, including a number of prominent Aboriginal leaders, the disquiet lifted several notches. Late that day, after the media and the reality television program had left, the riot squad returned, formed a flying wedge and smashed the protesters off the road.

      When I visited the site a short time later I spoke to several of these people, including an elderly Aboriginal woman who said she'd been knocked down into a roadside ditch. While we were speaking, we were constantly filmed by private security personnel employed by Woodside. Every car that passes their checkpoint, set up on a public road, is filmed — every number plate, every face. On a public road. In Australia.


      What am I doing expending all this time and energy on a place Premier Barnett describes as "a rocky wasteland"? He also says, "James Price Point has a beach, not remarkable". Are these remarks reminiscent of former Tasmanian Premier Robin Gray's description of the Franklin River when the dam protests were on as just a "leech-ridden" ditch?


    6. The right thing or.....cont....

      And the sea here is as unique as the land. The area off James Price Point is one of the largest migatory areas for humpback whales. Not to mention other remarkable sea creatures, such as dugongs, massive rays, maybe marine life as yet undiscovered. I do mention the whales to Michael Chaney.

      "Nonsense, it's not a major whale area," he says.

      Really? But what about the Curtin University report that says it is.

      "It's rubbish", he replies. "I spoke to the Vice Chancellor. They're ashamed of it."

      I try another tack. "How about the report of sightings of whales and calves over many years at James Price Point by the two naturalists who live there?"

      "Never heard of it," says Chaney.


      And they express their growing dislike for this project. In January 2012, Macquarie Bank publishes a report about the project headed "Has it missed the boat?" The proposed joint venture partners, including Shell, BHP Billiton, Chevron and BP, have also expressed reservations at various times. So the Woodside CEO tries to head off any further uncertainty by stating that if any of these companies choose not to take up their allocations, Woodside will buy them out.

      Really? Just like that? The CEO of a public company would change the entire structure of the biggest non-government industrial project in the country's history, without any reference to shareholders or anyone else? Now that's corporate governance for you.

      But what to do if after all this you didn't want to go ahead? If you are the board of Woodside, how could you get out of this project altogether or move it to a more acceptable site, without looking as if you've suffered a loss at the hands of a ragtag group of activists? Would you wait and fight it to the death or seize the day and somehow turn it to your advantage?

      Woodside isn't a company like Gunns once was. It is stronger financially; in my opinion it has a more experienced and better credentialed board; it has less political baggage. At the moment. But as I see it, all these strengths are at risk in this one project and can disappear in a surprisingly short time. Once confidence in a company begins to crumble, chairmen can become casualties, reputations can suffer, shareholder value can erode in a flash.

      So if you're smart, you move. You take the initiative, you gain kudos for choosing the right path and engage your opponents instead of keeping them at arm's length. You come out of the bunker before the walls crash around you.

      This is where Woodside is right now. It's a fascinating dilemma — the sort that is increasingly common in business today. Ignore community concerns, plough ahead with hubris and contempt for contrary views, and you can end up with a new board apologising for the sins of the old before you know it.


      or the protesters who camp by the roads or climb the trees and live off hope and a love of wild places, or people in the local communities who risk being ostracised because they might take a dollar or two out of someone's wallet in order to save a way of life, or the volunteers in any number of environmental groups who suffer abuse from many quarters.

      Is it possible a major Australian company like Woodside would just walk away from its responsibilities in an issue such as this? It's possible because companies have tried to engineer ways to dodge difficult issues in the past, but I would like to think not here. It is increasingly unlikely that the project will proceed in the Kimberley.

      The gas will be piped to the Pilbara or the Northern Territory as logic suggests. So surely Woodside could take the initiative and lead the change. I will applaud them if they do. My main aim for 2012 is to sit across that table again from Michael Chaney and be able to say: "You're acting ethically, Michael. Congratulations."

  2. Australian oil and gas producers are certainly more interested in the Eastern States than the NT or the West.

    So it seems Australia is to remain a 3 gas market country for some time.

    Even with the Barnett government tipping in $100 million a year from Royalties for Regions and tax and royalty breaks the pace is snail like with lack of infrastructure and distance to markets cited as the main drawbacks to proving up these fields.

    The US is charging ahead and now the Poms are serious about fracking their shale for gas and oil.


    George Osborne unveils 'most generous tax breaks in world' for fracking

    Environmental groups furious as chancellor sets 30% rate for shale gas producers in bid to enhance UK energy security

    George Osborne has infuriated environmentalists by announcing big tax breaks for the fracking industry in a bid to kickstart a shale gas revolution that could enhance Britain's energy security but also increase its carbon emissions.

    The Treasury has set a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production. That compares with a top rate of 62% on new North Sea oil operations and up to 81% for older offshore fields.

    So far, no shale gas has been produced in Britain, but exploratory drilling is under way and the British Geological Survey recently whetted prospectors' appetites by revealing there could be huge resources waiting to be unlocked, possibly enough to supply the country for 25 years.

    "Shale gas is a resource with huge potential to broaden the UK's energy mix," said the chancellor. "We want to create the right conditions for industry to explore and unlock that potential in a way that allows communities to share in the benefits.

    "This new tax regime, which I want to make the most generous for shale in the world, will contribute to that. I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution – because it has the potential to create thousands of jobs and keep energy bills low for millions of people."

    But the generous allowances were condemned by environmental groups worried about the chemicals used in fracking and fearful that burning more gas will make it impossible to hit carbon reduction targets designed to mitigate climate change.

    It also comes after a survey showed that nearly 80% of those who were polled believed that the UK should reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

    Lawrence Carter, a Greenpeace energy campaigner, said: "The chancellor is telling anyone who will listen that UK shale gas is set to be an economic miracle, yet he's had to offer the industry sweetheart tax deals just to reassure them that fracking would be profitable.

    "Experts from energy regulator Ofgem to Deutsche Bank and the company in receipt of this tax break, Cuadrilla, admit that it won't reduce energy prices for consumers. Instead we're likely to see the industrialisation of tracts of the British countryside, gas flaring in the home counties and a steady stream of trucks carrying contaminated water down rural lanes."

    Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said it was a disgrace to offer handouts to polluting energy firms when the rest of Britain was being told to tighten belts. "Ministers should be encouraging investors to develop the nation's huge renewable energy potential. This would create tens of thousands of jobs and wean the nation off its increasingly expensive fossil fuel dependency," he said.

  3. An Aussie involved in the fracking scandal.


    David Cameron under attack over fracking firm links to Lynton Crosby

    George Osborne announces tax breaks for shale gas as prime minister accused of evasion over top election adviser

    David Cameron was accused on Friday of giving evasive answers about the Tories' chief election strategist as the Labour party highlighted Lynton Crosby's role in promoting shale gas companies in his native Australia.

    As a cross-party committee of MPs accused the government of "utterly unacceptable" behaviour over the preparation of a new bill on lobbyists, Labour warned of a "lobbying scandal" in Downing Street after George Osborne unveiled tax breaks for the fracking industry championed by Crosby.

    Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, pointed out that the lobbyist's firm Crosby Textor represents the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association. One of its members, Dart Energy, has a UK subsidiary, Dart Europe Limited, which has an interest in the Bowland Shale site in Lancashire and Yorkshire, which contains 1,300tn cubic feet of gas.

    The chancellor announced on Friday that the government would set a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production, compared with the top rate of 62% for North Sea oil operations. Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said it was a "disgrace" to offer tax breaks to "polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment".

    The fracking industry association in Australia, which has been advised by Crosby's firm, has been highly critical of environmentalists. Stedman Ellis, the chief operating officer for the Western Region of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, told the Australian newspaper last month: "The opportunity provided by shale gas is too important to be jeopardised by political scare campaigns run by activist groups."

    Trickett said that Crosby's role in advising the fracking industry raised further questions about the man who will run the Tories' 2015 general election campaign. Cameron is already facing pressure after refusing to say on at least 12 occasions, according to Trickett, whether he discussed government plans to abandon plain cigarette packaging with Crosby, whose firm has advised the tobacco giant Philip Morris.

    Trickett said: "David Cameron's failure to come clean over his relationship with Lynton Crosby has created a situation where his decisions are open to question. Whether it's tobacco, alcohol, lobbying and now fracking, we need to know what role lobbying has played in deciding what our prime minister does.

    "David Cameron must make clear exactly what sort of conversations he has had with Lynton Crosby on government policy. He must force Lynton Crosby to name his clients and the prime minister must be clear about them and their influence.

    "We need answers but all we get is evasion from the prime minister. Politics needs to be above suspicion and work for everyone, but what we've got is a prime minister who continually stands up for the wrong people and either can't or won't clean up what is looking more and more like a lobbying scandal at the heart of No 10."

    1. Lynton Crosby has been blamed by the Australian health minister for the British governments recent decision to dump plain packaging laws for cigarettes.


      David Cameron's Aussie aid Lynton Crosby under fire over tobacco link

      BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron is standing by his Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby despite mounting criticism over the lobbyist's links to big tobacco.

      The conservative government last week shelved plans to follow Canberra's lead by introducing plain packaging for cigarettes.

      Labour says that's because Mr Crosby has ties with Philip Morris.

      Opposition Leader Ed Miliband on Wednesday said the government had legislation in the pipeline "but changed its view after he (Mr Cameron) hired Lynton Crosby who also happens to work for big tobacco in the shape of Philip Morris".

      "Are we really supposed to believe that's a coincidence," the Labour leader said in the Commons.

      "He (Mr Cameron) is the prime minister for Benson and Hedgefunds and he knows it.

      "Can't he see there is a devastating conflict of interest between having your key adviser raking it in from big tobacco and then advising him not to go ahead with plain packaging."

      The prime minister, however, insisted Mr Crosby "has never lobbied me on anything".

      Mr Cameron said the strategist's role was to advise him "how to defeat a divided and useless Labour party".

      Mr Crosby is often referred to as the Wizard of Oz in the British press after he helped former Liberal prime minister John Howard win four consecutive terms.

      It's been reported that since he was put in charge of the Tory's 2015 election campaign he's fallen out with pro-gay marriage advisors.

      The conservative party has also increasingly appealed to voters' perceived prejudices on immigration.

      Mr Cameron on Wednesday insisted the tobacco decision was taken by himself and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

      "If you don't agree with that decision then you can attack me for making it," the PM said.

      Although Mr Cameron claimed he'd never been lobbied by Mr Crosby on the issue, the PM refused to say whether the pair had spoken about plain packaging.

      Australian Health Minister Tanya Plibersek earlier this week said: "It's very clear Lynton Crosby has been a key adviser in this move to dump plain packaging in the UK."

      Under Canberra's world-first laws, which came into effect in late 2012, all cigarettes must be sold in drab olive-brown packs with large graphic health warnings and brand names in a small, generic font.

      Mr Cameron on Wednesday also back-pedalled on plans to impose a minimum unit price on all alcohol.

    2. Tobacco giant hid details of meeting

      A TOBACCO company linked to David Cameron's Australian political adviser Lynton Crosby blocked the release of details of a meeting where plans to impose plain packaging on cigarette manufacturers were discussed.

      An agreed note of the meeting between the world's biggest tobacco manufacturer and British health officials was published yesterday, almost six months after it was held.

      Philip Morris, which hired a consultancy run by Mr Crosby, the British Prime Minister's election strategist, in November to advise on a “range of matters”, warned in the meeting that there was “limited evidence from Australia as to what the effect of standardised packaging (was) so far”.

      It is understood that Mr Crosby's company, CTF, worked with the manufacturer to lobby against the policy. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said on Friday that he wanted more time to understand the impact of plain packaging in Australia, which became the first country to introduce the measure in December.

      The note of the meeting, held at the end of January, read: “Philip Morris asked what evidence the Department of Health had about the impact of plain packaging on smoking initiation and cessation rates since its introduction in Australia. The Department of Health agreed with Philip Morris that it was, as yet, too early to tell.”

      The department had twice rejected a request from The Times for an official note of the meeting to be made public under the Freedom of Information Act, saying that it was still “agreeing and finalising” it. Three other multinational tobacco companies met health officials at the beginning of the year and the notes had been released by May.

      Anna Soubry, the British Health Minister, came under pressure to explain to the House of Commons why publication of the minutes had been delayed.

      Diane Abbott, the shadow public health minister, asked whether the government was “trying to cover its tracks about its relationship with Lynton Crosby and its clients”.

      “Isn't it the truth that when it comes to the decision to drop plain packs effectively for this Parliament, all roads lead to back to No 10 and Lynton Crosby?” asked Ms Abbott.

      Ms Soubry, who had previously expressed strong support for the cigarette packaging proposal, said that Philip Morris had caused the delay because “unfortunately the tobacco company did not agree the minutes, and there was some to-ing and fro-ing”.

      The Department of Health declined to state what Philip Morris had disagreed with, but said the minutes had been signed off yesterday by both parties. However, it is understood that parts of the meeting about Australia were behind the delay.

      A spokeswoman for Philip Morris said: “In the interest of transparency it was important to us to ensure the minutes of our meeting earlier this year with Department of Health officials accurately reflected what was discussed during the meeting, which took some time to achieve.”

      Further details of Mr Crosby's UK clients emerged when a spokesman for Heathrow Airport Ltd confirmed that Mr Crosby's company Crosby Textor had been engaged by the company's predecessor, BAA plc.

      William Hague was also forced to admit that he was unaware that Mr Crosby, a former adviser to John Howard, had worked for one of Syria's main opposition groupings, the Syrian National Council.

      The Times

    3. LINKS TO ABBOTT....


      Lynton Crosby's lobby firm linked to Australian fossil fuels

      Crosby Textor co-founder Mark Textor helps Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott to shape his messages

      UK prime minister David Cameron's key political strategist Lynton Crosby now finds himself in the place where few lobbyists really want to be – in the public eye.

      Earlier this month, the government announced it was going to dump plans to sell cigarettes in plain packaging.

      Lynton Crosby's international lobbying firm, Australia-founded Crosby Textor, lists tobacco as being among the industries it represents. The Guardian reports that one of those clients is cigarette giant Philip Morris.

      Labour Party shadow health minister Andy Burnham claims Crosby chaired a strategy meeting with tobacco bosses to discuss ways to block the plain packaging plans.

      Labour leader Ed Milliband told Prime Minister Cameron the revelations represented a "devastating conflict of interest". Cameron disagrees and says Crosby has never lobbied him about tobacco and advises him on strategy, not policy.

      You might be wondering why this is all relevant for a blog on environment issues in Australia.

      But Crosby Textor is just one example of a lobbying company with influences in the highest offices that also work for clients with a direct interest in environmental regulation and policy, climate change and campaigns to shape public perceptions.

      Lynton Crosby, an Australian, has a long history of working directly for conservative leaders. He is known among some British conservative political strategists as the "Wizard of Oz".

      His company profile lists campaigns for former Australian Prime Minister John Howard. There have been two campaigns for London Mayor Boris Johnson – the first won Johnson his mayoral robes and the second kept them on his back.

      Crosby Textor also says it works with the mining industry, oil and gas, retailers and renewable energy companies. Its website declares it has run "700 research projects, 250 campaigns, in 57 countries."

      The other founder of the Crosby Textor empire is Mark Textor and his company profile says:

      Mark's direct clients have included governments, premiers and opposition leaders in six countries and the CEOs and Boards of major Australian and multi-national companies in a broad range of industries, including; mining, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), pharmaceutical, retail, financial services, banking ("Big Four"), tobacco, renewable energies, oil, gas and farming sectors.

      Just as Lynton Crosby is part of Prime Minister Cameron's inner circle, Textor is a key figure in the office of the Australian conservative Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott.

      Mark Textor is Tony Abbott's "pollster" and a recent profile for Australia's Power Index acknowledged his skill with the focus group.

      He's a genius at transforming raw research into compelling communication – someone who presses people's emotional buttons, identifies points of division, and boils complex issues down to their core.

      A story from the Australian Financial Review, republished on the Crosby Textor website, is headlined "Who's in Tony Abbott's inner circle".

      Abbott also has the services of … pollster Mark Textor. Textor's role can't be overstated – based, as it is, on relentless qualitative analysis of polling trends.

      While writing this blog, I came across Mark Textor as he took to Twitter to defend his business partner Lynton Crosby in the wake of the tobacco lobbying controversy.

      Textor Tweeted quotes from an article by UK Daily Telegraph blogger, anti-wind farm activist and climate science denier James Delingpole.

      ...BBC – or its print equivalents.. They're so in thrall to the leftist lobby groups, so instinctively against business, that it simply wouldn't occur to them (BBC / UK print equivalents) to ask whether less regulation might sometimes be a good thing.



      I asked Textor on Twitter which companies were on the Crosby Textor books right now. He said it was none of my business (a few other things were said too, archived here).

      I also asked if he had been behind a recent controversial statement from Tony Abbott, where the Opposition Leader described emissions trading schemes as "a market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one." Textor didn't respond.

      Yet it is possible to know a little about some of Crosby Textor's paying clients in Australia, by looking at the registers of lobbyists maintained by state governments.

      In Queensland, New South Wales (link goes to a pdf) and Western Australia, Crosby Textor declares it is paid to lobby on behalf of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.

      APPEA is the peak industry group for the oil and gas industry and among other things, speaks on behalf of Australia's booming coal seam gas industry.

      Crosby Textor also carries out research for industry groups such as the Queensland Resources Council – the peak body for mining in the state.

      Crosby Textor also lists on the lobby registers other clients including Research In Motion (the makers of BlackBerry), property developers, a plastics company, a recycling firm, a business making biofuels and a charity that aims to better protect cyclists.

      Leaving Crosby Textor aside, I've argued before on ABC's The Drum that Australia's lobby registers are in fact opaque.

      These registers do not detail which individuals lobby for which company, who they have met, how much they are paid or what pieces of legislation they are working on.

      The lobby registers and the offices of major resources and energy companies, and industry groups representing them, are riddled with the names of former politicians from both sides of the spectrum. High-ranking civil servants are also popular recruits into lobbying posts.

      In at least one state (Queensland) new rules have been introduced where lobbyists do have to enter details about who they have met, but this information is not openly published.

      Neither do the registers account for the activities of in-house lobbyists – people who lobby for the interests of the company that employs them.

      If companies in Australia decide they want to influence the public by sending money to a think-tank, then the public knows even less.

      Think tanks in Australia don't have to disclose their funders or provide details in financial statements, even though some are actively trying to influence policy decisions and public opinion.

      In the climate change space, the issue of lobbying and the lack of transparency has frustrated leading climate scientist James Hansen, the former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. I'll leave you with his words.

      Public doubt about the science is not an accident. People profiting from business-as-usual fossil fuel use are waging a campaign to discredit the science. Their campaign is effective because the profiteers have learned how to manipulate democracies for their advantage.


      The European Australian Business Council.

      2013 Confirmed Speakers

      The Hon Tony Abbott MP
      Leader of the Opposition

      The Hon Colin Barnett MLA
      Premier of Western Australia

      Lynton Crosby AO
      Co-Founder, Crosby|Textor


      UK MP hits out at 'Australian huckster'

      THE health of thousands of people has been put at risk because the Conservatives were influenced by an "Australian huckster", the British shadow public health minister says.

      Labour MP Diane Abbott said the influence of the Tory strategy chief Lynton Crosby was clear after plain packaging for cigarettes and minimum pricing for alcohol were not included in Wednesday's Queen's Speech, despite the government previously suggesting it welcomed both proposals.

      A Tory source previously denied the influence of Crosby after former GP-turned-MP Sarah Wollaston demanded "clarity" on the role he had played in the government's decision not to include the two proposals in the legislative program.

      Abbott told the Commons during day two of the Queen's Speech debate they know that Crosby's company Crosby Textor is on a retainer with British American Tobacco in Australia to fight plain packaging.

      Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

      Kevin Rudd keynote speaker at Filipino community dinner

      Kate Middleton

      Police generic

      Michael Clarke

      Rudd: No boat people will be allowed to settle here

      Bert Trautmann


      Long-term jobless numbers rise

      End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

      "I put it to the House that it is no coincidence that a man who made his money fighting plain packaging in Australia, for considerable sums of money, he turns up as the Conservative Party's chief political strategist and suddenly they drop their commitment to plain packaging," she said.

      Abbott said the government's change of mind could not be based on the evidence, which had received large support from campaigners and even from coalition government MPs.

      "The idea that thousands of people may have their health endangered going forward because of the 'malign' influence of Lynton Crosby on Tory party policy - that is very, very regretful indeed, because the House must remember that tobacco remains the biggest cause of health inequalities in relation to death rates of any other factor," she said.

      Abbott also raised the subject of a minimum price for units of alcohol.

      "We are seeing rising levels of liver disease all to do with consumption of cheap alcohol and at one point David Cameron was saying he was persuaded of the arguments for a minimum price, there were very brave statements made by the Home Secretary and then what happened?

      "Lynton Crosby comes in as chief political adviser and the commitment to minimum price for alcohol disappears again to the detriment of the health of thousands of our people going forward.

      "This is the Lynton Crosby Queen's Speech. It's disgraceful that he is able to abuse his position as a political adviser to interfere with the legislative program of this government and thousands more people will suffer in health terms as a result of his interference."

      She described Crosby, former federal director of the Australian Liberal Party, as a huckster, a person who can be defined as using questionable methods to promote or sell products.

  4. This was a great project just a few years ago until the US shale gale blew it away.


    Even Neptune did not foresee the shale gale that hit US LNG market

    Thursday, 18 July 2013

    It was called Neptune LNG, after the Roman god of the sea, but became one of the most ill-fated projects in maritime trading. Even Neptune did not foresee the shale gale that hit America.


    Neptune Deepwater Port Suspends Operations Due to Market Conditions
    July 17, 2013 Link

    The U.S. Maritimes Administration has approved Neptune LNG LLC's (Neptune) request for a temporary five-year suspension of its Deepwater Port license. Neptune, which operates an LNG import facility located approximately 22 miles northeast of Boston and 7 miles southeast of Gloucester, Mass., stated that gas market conditions in the Northeast region had caused the port to be inactive over the past several years, and the port will likely remain inactive for the foreseeable future. Read more in the Federal Register notice.


    On May 24, 2012, MarAd received a written request from Neptune for authorization to temporarily suspend operations at the Neptune Deepwater Port, located approximately 22 miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts and 7 miles south-southeast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. In the request, Neptune indicated that recent conditions within the Northeast region's natural gas market had significantly impacted the Neptune Port's operational status and its ability to receive a consistent supply of natural gas imports. As a result, the Neptune Port has remained inactive over the past several years and will likely remain inactive for the foreseeable future. For these reasons, Neptune requested MarAd's authorization to suspend port operations for a period of five years.

    After conducting a thorough evaluation and consultation with various Federal agencies, MarAd accepted Neptune's request and authorized amendment of the Neptune Deepwater Port License including a five-year temporary suspension of port operations. The amendment is applicable to Articles 2 and 6 of the License.

  5. Australia: Karoon Provides Proteus-1 Progress Report

    At 06:00 WST on the 19th of July Proteus‐1 ST1 was drilling ahead in the 6‐1/2” hole at a depth of 4583 metres.

    Since the last update the 7‐5/8” liner was cemented and pressure tested before running in hole and drilling ahead with the 6‐1/2” drilling assembly.

    ConocoPhillips is the operator of the jointly held WA‐314‐P, WA‐315‐P and WA‐398‐P Browse Basin permits containing the previously announced Greater Poseidon gas discoveries. Karoon Gas Australia Ltd holds a 40% equity interest in permit WA‐315‐P and WA‐398‐P, and a 90% interest in permit WA‐314‐P.

    Proteus‐1 is the third well in the exploration program. Proteus‐1 is located in permit WA‐398‐P on a large tilted fault block approximately 14 kilometres south south east of the Poseidon‐1 discovery well.

    The Transocean Legend semi‐submersible rig is drilling the exploration well, which is operated by ConocoPhillips.

    Upcoming Well Program

    The exploration program, operated by ConocoPhillips, plans to utilize the Transocean Legend semi‐ submersible rig for the entire campaign and is expected to continue through 2013.

    A minimum of six wells will be drilled during the second phase Browse drilling campaign. The principal objective of the exploration program is to better define the size and quality of the hydrocarbon accumulations within the exploration permits which contain the greater Poseidon trend.


    Santos makes second gas find in week and may make available to existing LNG plant

    Thursday, 18 July 2013

    Australian LNG developer Santos has announced its second natural gas discovery in a week in the prolific Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia and said the feed-gas could be available for existing third-party LNG infrastructure.


    Papua New Guinea LNG project is 90 percent complete as Santos plans review

    Friday, 19 July 2013

    Australian energy company Santos said the Papua Guinea LNG project was 90 percent complete and just before production started Santos would review its capital management options.


  6. US LNG export capability will be measured quarterly by new Baker Hughes well count

    Friday, 19 July 2013

    In preparation for more precise data on shale-gas development and production for US LNG exports, the energy services company Baker Hughes Inc. is introducing a new index that goes beyond its well-known basic rig count.


    G'day y'all for Magnolia LNG

    July 19 (LNGJ) - The only Australian presence in a US LNG export project, LNG Ltd.'s Magnolia LNG venture, as received overwhelming support in letters sent by local state of Louisiana mayors, politicians and bodies to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The supporters included the mayors of the cities of Lake Charles, Sulphur and DeQuincy.


    DOE Grants Sabine Pass Additional LNG FTA-only Export Authorization
    July 19, 2013 Link

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued two orders approving Sabine Pass Liquefaction's (SPL) applications to export additional domestically produced LNG volumes from its LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, La., to nations having a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.


    Advocacy Group Says Delays in Approving LNG Export Applications Are Hurting the U.S. Economy
    July 17, 2013 Link

    The American Council for Capital Formation has released a paper stating that U.S. Department of Energy delays in approving pending LNG export applications are depriving the U.S. economy of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.


    Bipartisan Group of 34 U.S. Senators Requests Expedited Review of LNG Export Applications
    July 17, 2013 Link

    A bipartisan group of 34 U.S. Senators, led by Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), recently sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz urging DOE to expedite processing of pending LNG export applications.

  7. I am extremely surprised by the data of this weblog and i am happy i experienced a search over the site. Thank you so considerably for sharing this sort of great information.