Thursday, October 17, 2013

RIGZONE - Woodside Says May Build 3 Floating LNG Plants for Browse

RIGZONE - Woodside Says May Build 3 Floating LNG Plants for Browse

DAEGU, South Korea Oct 15 (Reuters) – Woodside Petroleum could build three floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants for its Browse project, the chief executive of Australia's biggest oil and gas firm said on Tuesday. The firm, which plans to make a final investment decision on the project in 2015, scrapped a $45 billion onshore proposal for Browse this year and opted for cheaper floating LNG plants. "The next big signal for the marketplace is when the project enters front end engineering and design which we hope will be in the middle of next year," CEO Peter Coleman told Reuters. 

"The basis is three floating vessels for Browse. That will be firmed up as we finalise the basis of our design." With $190 billion worth of LNG projects underway, Australia is set to become the world's largest LNG exporter by the end of the decade, but more than half of the seven LNG plants currently under construction have suffered large cost blowouts. According to analyst estimates, choosing to use floating LNG technology would mean a cost savings of 20 percent. 

Woodside has already signed on Shell, a joint venture partner and considered to be the global front-runner in floating LNG technology, to develop the Browse gas fields. Other joint venture partners include BP Plc, PetroChina , Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp. - See more at:


  1. PNG seafloor mining project set to be world first

    Canadian company Nautilus Minerals could begin seafloor mining at a second site in the Pacific in as little as four years.

    The company hopes to be the first in the world to mine copper and gold from the deep ocean at its site in the Bismark Sea in Papua New Guinea.

    Natuilus's CEO, Mike Johnson, has been keeping a low profile in the media since last year when its dispute with the PNG government was referred to international arbitration.

    Now that the dispute has been resolved, the company is pushing ahead with its plans in PNG and elsewhere in the Pacific.


    Woodside - Sell

    Santos - Buy

    Santos is using "improved techniques" to extract gas.

    Woodside have just announced a 17.4% production decrease

    and a drop in sales revenue of 26.8%

    due to the Vincent FPSO being off station for shipyard maintenance and the "unplanned outage" of the Pluto gas train.

    All the gushing headlines like "Pluto Woodsides star" are all looking a bit bashed and dented because as reported here several years ago - having a 1 train plant is great until it goes offline and there is no back up train to keep things going.

    I guess all the polishing of the Dons reputation need to be done over again.

    Another award perhaps?

    The oil and gas industry seem to have an endless supply of them for this very purpose - most likely to justify these huge salaries for white men who can't count to 3 yet.

    A highly unintelligent business.


  2. So much of the "unintelligent report" has been about Australia losing it's "only kid in town" status to poorer countries with lower costs.

    However I have been struck this morning by the wealth of "unintelligent reports" coming from the new Abbott governments and their Liberal state counterparts in WA and Queensland.

    ALL this at the same time as some highly unintelligent goings on over in Washington featuring the Tea Party crackpots who now bear an uncanny resemblance to the Broome Chamber of Commerce - led by the failed "oil and gas consultant" Proctor and his spouse on the Shire Bloom.

    SO a highly "unintelligent report" bought to you by the many "Yes Minister" teams who now seem to be on steroids!


    I'll start with "Tangles" Abbott and his pal "Sweaty" Joe Hockey.


    Why isn't Abbott acting on the 'budget emergency'?

    Tony Abbott has wisely left Australia's fiscal settings exactly as they were under Labor, putting the lie to his hysterical pre-election economic rhetoric, writes Stephen Koukoulas.

    Almost two months after a thumping election victory, there is not one hint of any economic policy change from the Abbott Government that will deal with the budget bottom line. Yet until the day before the election, this was painted by the Coalition as an "emergency" or "crisis".

    The reason is obvious. The budget is in triple-A shape and in the complete opposite of an emergency.

    If there were a budget emergency, Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Government would have acted with the same speed on spending and revenue measures as they have shown over abolishing the carbon price and implementing their boats policy.

    Which goes back to the main point.

    The six years of Labor Party government through to September 2013 were characterised by pragmatic, prudent and ultimately successful management of the economy. While some of the politics was astray, Australia's economy is in tip-top shape as a result of this record of first class economic management.

    The economic runs on the board delivered by Labor include six extra years of unbroken economic and employment growth, a halving of the inflation rate, further solid increases in per capita GDP, and ongoing prosperity. If Tony Abbott can maintain the same record as Labor in his term in government, even without the negative shocks from the global economy, he will have done well.

    This strong economic performance between 2007 and 2013 was despite the world economy crashing to its weakest point since the Great Depression of the 1930s, when financial market ructions threatened to completely undermine the functioning of global trade and the world economy.

    It was truly extraordinary that Australia, in these circumstances, managed to dodge a recession and at the same time hold the unemployment rate below 6 per cent for whole period where unemployment rate hit double digits in most other advanced economies.

    The reasons for this remarkable economic performance are simple: policy pragmatism and foresight. The fiscal stimulus measures, which saw the budget balance move by 6 per cent of GDP, was vital to supporting economic growth.


    To be sure, some of the rhetoric from the Labor ministers around the budget was misplaced, such as promises to return to surplus in 2012-13 come hell or high water, but the actual runs of the board and the bottom line policy settings were almost always right.

    The fact that Mr Abbott and his team have seen fit to hold fiscal settings exactly as they were under Labor - with no mini-budget and no policy changes to alter the path of government spending or to change the momentum on economic growth - speaks loudly about the economy that Labor managed over their term of office, and draws into question the hysterical electioneering claims of economic incompetency and budget emergency.

    Stephen Koukoulas is a Research Fellow at Per Capita, a progressive think tank.

  3. Qld govt grasps at absolute power

    King Charles I believed he was accountable to God alone and tried to give himself absolute power.

    But eventually the English parliament and the courts got fed up with his excesses and cut his head off in 1649.

    Power in the Westminster system has long been separated between the executive, the legislature and judiciary.

    In Queensland, the government controls daily administration of the state, the parliament creates the laws and the courts enforce them.

    After winning an overwhelming parliamentary majority in the last election, the Liberal National Party government has run the state and created the laws.

    But this week the government changed the rules so it can enforce the laws as well.

    Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie will decide if an organisation or club is criminal or not, how long sex offenders will spend in jail and if workers injured on the job can seek compensation.

    The former conveyancing lawyer has been heavily criticised for being too young and inexperienced, but Queensland University of Technology's Dr Mark Lauchs says people are attacking the man and not the ball.

    "I don't think age or experience matters at all, it's a bad decision, it's wrong," he told AAP.

    "You can set up a law specifically to cause harm to an individual or group and make sure it goes into effect.

    "The safety we had in the old system was that, yes, I could make a law with intention of harming someone, but I didn't get to decide whether or not they were found guilty because there would be a separate, independent judiciary.

    "Now it's absolute power. Those in power can do anything they like with no appeal."

    King Charles I set up his own court, the Star Chamber, to arbitrarily punish dissidents, people who didn't agree with him and those who refused to testify.

    After the revolt against him, the criminal justice system in common law excluded involuntary confessions, upheld the presumption of innocence and required proof of criminal charges beyond reasonable doubt.

    But with Queensland's government now deciding who is guilty and what their punishment will be, Dr Lauchs says we've returned to the old ways.

    "I'm not saying the attorney-general is going to abuse this new power, but in the current situation it can be abused," he said.
    "That's a huge shift away from Western democracy and way beyond anything that's acceptable under any Westminster principles."


    Statue of Liberty on the Swan

    Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has approached the Premier about building a monument the scale of New York's Statue of Liberty in the middle of the Swan River in time for Perth's bicentennial celebrations in 2029.

    Ms Scaffidi revealed her idea for a Perth landmark at a Committee for Perth lunch yesterday discussing the topic of what Perth can learn from major cities of the world.

    "In my six years of travelling to different cities as Lord Mayor, I have often found myself mulling over the question - what would be Perth's Statue of Liberty," she said.

    Ms Scaffidi said she had written to Premier Colin Barnett to discuss her idea of Perth "giving itself a gift" for the bicentennial anniversary that would show the world how far the city had come in 200 years.

    "We all know the story about the Bell Tower - how it was meant to be in the river, how it was meant to be bigger but was drawn back," she said.

    "I would personally love to have not just the biggest observation deck in the city but a sculptural art piece that could you could catch a ferry out to and elevate up to see the spectacular views. We don't have a building where you can go and see a high-rise view of Perth.

    "I do think we should have something whimsical and beautiful out there - we deserve it."


  4. 'Trust-me Tony's' silence on expenses is curious

    When Tony Abbott wasn't casting the election as a referendum on the carbon tax or border security, he was framing it as a referendum on trust.

    Restoring trust in government, voters were assured, was the bare minimum Australians were owed after the multiple breaches of the Rudd/Gillard period.

    Measured against this imperative, the Prime Minister's studied silence on the ongoing expenses scandal ensnaring some of his own MPs is curious.

    It is jarring to see how quickly the public's reasonable expectation of probity in its political representatives has been superseded by the reflex to secrecy and self-protection in the new political class.

    A series of reports by Fairfax Media exposing the imprecise world of MP's expenses claims, has raised genuine questions. Questions which go to the integrity of the system, and by extension, the quality of individuals involved.

    This, it must be acknowledged is a difficult area to police. In many respects, the MP's job is a unique one and the totality of tasks and responsibilities, hard to codify.

    What constitutes legitimate "work" can be a matter of some perspective, which is why the system is so self-regulated and thus intrinsically open to abuse.

    Most taxpayers would say attending a wedding is not work under any circumstances. Ditto for attending big sporting events – the kind that many taxpayers cannot afford the entry to let alone the airfares and accommodation they find themselves unwittingly funding.

    The inscrutability of the Government and faux indignation of many MPs that their claims on the public purse are being scrutinised is about the only thing genuinely transparent here.

    Spectacular examples of rorting, such as those in Britain's House of Commons, make constant public vigilance a necessity.

    Mr Abbott's reluctance to reset the standards and be seen to prosecute fraudulent behaviour, suggest the government has already switched to putting its own political interest above those of voters.

    And this before Parliament's even convened for the first time.

    Asking the Australian Federal Police to intervene, Labor MP Rob Mitchell cited "a consistent and deliberate abuse of taxpayer funds for personal gain." It has happened on both sides of the aisle.

    The new government is fond of mentioning its mandate. Well, it cuts both ways. Public trust in the political class has gone backwards since the election.

    The Prime Minister must be seen to be acting unambiguously for the taxpayers if a further decline in the standing of our politicians is to be arrested.

  5. "REDUCE red and green tape!" - "Yes Minister".


    Red tape ruckus will amount to nothing

    Michael Pascoe

    Can you remember any wannabe government not promising to cut red tape? Like kissing babies and rorting entitlements, it’s standard parliamentary fare. The next question is whether you can think of any government that left behind less regulation. No, I can’t either.

    Which makes the Coalition’s bold promise – reiterated by assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos over the weekend – to cut $1 billion worth of red and green tape each year a very brave decision indeed, Minister. What it overlooks is that the private sector’s red tape burden often is a revenue source for one or more of our three levels of government.

    The immediate get-out for the promise is how “$1 billion worth” might be measured. From Tony Abbott’s viewpoint, repealing the carbon tax could be claimed to represent several years’ worth of red-and-green tape reform – as long as you overlook the mess that “direct action” promises to be.

    On a smaller scale, Senator Sinodinos’ speech to the Association of Financial Advisers faithfully repeated the advisers’ claim that “red tape overreach” in the previous government’s Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms will cost $700 million, plus an annual $375 billion compliance burden. There’s a quick billion then if the government is prepared to give advisers what they want in watering down the conflict of interest reforms at the heart of FoFA.

    With few members of the outer ministry allowed to say anything much, Sindonos’ speech is worth closer scrutiny than it received in a couple of brief “FoFA too complex” stories. It contained hints of some interesting threats and promises.

    Sinodinos has a great deal on his plate as assistant treasurer, never mind whatever role he will play in the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigation of Eddie Obeid’s Sydney Water Holdings investments. The senator’s direct role in the government’s overall anti-tape crusade has been somewhat reduced by Josh Frydenberg taking over responsibility for the deregulation agenda as parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, but Sinodinos’ previous public service experience puts him streets ahead of his colleagues in understanding tape’s intractability.

    A key hint from Sunday’s speech was in the sentence: “But we are only too well aware, from talking with business and not-for-profits, that the cumulative effect of Commonwealth law, State law, and local regulation is stifling innovation and creativity – ultimately it is holding back Australia's economic development and prosperity.”

    It’s easy for a federal politician seeking government to rail against red tape, but the reality is that most of the burden on small businesses in particular comes from state and local governments with their plethora of licences, fees, duties and permits. What’s more, a great deal of that state and local government red and green tape is state and local government revenue – and both of the lesser layers of government are desperate for money. The regulation monster that has developed over the past several decades feeds its local and state masters. They have become dependent on it and won’t willingly give it up without compensation that the “budget emergency” feds won’t want to pay.

    Of course there’s federal stuff the feds can deal with. Hope springs eternal that a new broom might actually do some sweeping. Sinodinos trotted out the promises:

  6. Red tape ruckus will amount to nothing

    Michael Pascoe


    “As part of our deregulation agenda, the Government will also overhaul the process for creating, implementing and reviewing new regulations. To this end, we will implement a process within Government where we carefully balance the costs and benefits of additional regulation.

    “We will also drive cultural change throughout government. That includes the Cabinet and Parliament, as well as the public service. We are establishing Ministerial Advisory Councils in every portfolio, made up of business people, consumers, and not-for-profits who are impacted by regulation. They will be charged with providing concrete examples of unnecessary red tape and solutions on how the Government can remove it. The performance of senior public servants will be assessed, inter alia, on their success in identifying and reducing unnecessary red tape.

    “We will set aside at least two Parliamentary sitting days each year for the express purpose of repealing counterproductive, unnecessary or redundant legislation.”

    Which all sounds wonderful, but doesn’t actually mean much. Oh, those two parliamentary sitting days will be nice, but they’re likely to be dealing with mainly low-hanging fruit of the mentioned redundant legislation. Business will always live in hope.

    As a quick measure of commitment, ASIC is a source of federal red tape and regulation – and a valuable revenue source. All those forms generate a very healthy profit for Canberra, even while ASIC is repeatedly found under-resourced and asleep at the wheel when it comes to corporate skulduggery and investor fraud. If Senator Sinodinos is genuine, one might suspect either ASIC’s many fees would be cut to a level of user-pays, or the revenue generated would be fully invested in getting ASIC up to speed. I’ll bet neither happens.

    Any genuine red tape reform across all levels of government therefore is likely to await the outcome of the government’s taxation review, however brave it might prove to be. The ease with which even the possibility of GST reform was abandoned doesn’t bode well for maintaining the fire in the belly necessary to push major reform.

    Still, it sounds like Sinodinos will be up for a fight, even if the prime minister and treasurer are not. With an eye to the states’ financial problems and the nation’s infrastructure needs, he sent a clear privatisation message to the premiers, especially those running scared of it (take a bow, Campbell “Casino” Newman):

    “The effective deployment of state balance sheets…should start with the sale of existing assets to fund higher priority greenfield investments. It is important to optimise the use of existing infrastructure and send the right signals for new investment.”

    Within his own assistant treasurer territory of superannuation, Sinodinos is no doubt hearing from what he identified as the industry’s three distinct components – the retail, industry and self-managed sectors. There’s a question though about to whom he might be most listening.

    “We strongly believe in competition. Greater competition in the superannuation sector through increased transparency and a more informed market can only lead to better outcomes for fund members. I want a superannuation sector that operates on a level playing field for all stakeholders in the industry.”

    A level playing field? The Big End hates SMSFs being able to borrow and gear into property when they can’t – you see, it’s not a level playing field. And then there’s the matter of industry funds enjoying default privileges under awards – that’s not a level playing field either. And there’s a matter of transparency about trustees’ costs and fees…

    Roll on the reforms where the desire is greatest.

    Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor

  7. No easy revenue raisers up the Coalition's sleeve

    Last week, the Grattan Institute's John Daley gave a speech at the National Press Club which countered the budget emergency rhetoric of the Government while in opposition, but still found some budgetary health problems.

    Using the analogy of health, Daley disagreed that our budget was in crisis, but rather that the federal and state budgets were "unfit, overweight, and smoking - and now they have high blood pressure and chest pains. Most worryingly, the patient has gone into denial and is eating more cheese."

    So it seems while the budget doesn't need a trip to the emergency ward, a visit to the local GP might be in order.

    The crux of the issue is the structural deficit of the budget which Daley believes occurred because, "we failed to realise that the income from the mining boom wouldn't last. And we failed to realise that spending increases through the GFC would last."


    The 2013-14 budget forecast future expenditure growth to remain around 2 per cent on average, but history shows this promise is more honoured in the breach than the observance.

    So if we are to cut, where to cut? John Daley informs us that sadly there is actually not much middle-class welfare to cut. As I've noted before, Australia's welfare system, with its tendency towards means testing, is very targeted and efficient, though of course that will change once Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme begins. I doubt, however, Joe Hockey has the clout to get Mr Abbott to change his mind on that policy.

    Similarly our health spending is also quite efficient...

    So what to do? Daley suggests raising the pension age. I would argue the rise to 67 years is already well enough, and given the 67 year mark only occurs in 2023, I can't see any shift on that. On the revenue side, there is always the GST issue - especially as raising income tax is political death.

    Daley noted in his speech that there was no easy way out, saying that few countries have been unable to solve their debt and deficit issues by "simply growing out of trouble". That might be some concern to Tony Abbott given in April, he said, "If we get rid of the carbon tax, get rid of the mining tax ... we'll get economic growth up and that will certainly help with this revenue problem that the government likes to talk about."

    Similarly, in a warning regarding Joe Hockey's desire to shift infrastructure investment to the private sector, Daley noted that there was no magic solution to be found by "the private sector taking infrastructure spending off the government's balance sheet. Often these schemes are merely an exotic (and usually expensive) investment banking structure in which governments ultimately promise to pay away future tax revenues."

    And in a final slap to those who believe that Liberal governments are somehow inherently good at improving the budget bottom line, he referred to the Howard government's reduction of debt by recalling, "the Howard Government reduced debt by $58b between 1997 and 2002, and sold around $40 billion of assets, including Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank, and several airports." Alas, Daley noted, "it is not obvious that the Commonwealth Government has many sellable assets worth this kind of money today."

    All of which suggests that if the Abbott government is going to follow through its rhetoric of opposition to "pay back the debt", he and Joe Hockey will need to make tough decisions.

    The questions remain whether they will do so, who they will target, and how intense they will be. Margaret Thatcher liked to say of her austerity that the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live. We wait and see whether Mr Abbott and Hockey's cure is worse than the disease.

  8. Nationals senator rebels over paid parental leave scheme

    A NATIONALS senator is threatening to oppose Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme because the economy is not strong enough to support the $5.5 billion plan. NSW senator John Williams said the Coalition had inherited a "bloody financial mess" and he was concerned the economy was not strong enough to handle the Prime Minister's generous plan.

    "I said during the election campaign I don't have a problem (with the paid parental leave scheme) so long as we have a strong economy," Senator Williams said.

    But his definition of a strong economy involved unemployment under 5 per cent and growth around 4 per cent. Unemployment dropped from 5.8 to 5.6 per cent last month but the fall came after 100,000 people left the jobs market. Growth is projected to continue below 3 per cent this financial year and at 3 per cent over the next three years.

    The Coalition is promising 26 weeks' pay at the mother's full wage, meaning a woman on the average female full-time salary of $65,000 a year would receive $1250 a week.

    There is no means test but no mother can get more than $75,000 -- the equivalent of six months of a $150,000-a-year salary.

    Fathers would be eligible for two of the 26 weeks at full pay.


    Aboriginal jobs program a complete disaster, says Nigel Scullion

    THE remote indigenous jobs scheme launched by Labor in July is in "crisis", with people not turning up to work and some retreating to alcohol, prompting the Abbott government into emergency talks to try to rescue the $1.5 billion national program.

    "It's just a complete disaster, all we know for sure is that people are disengaged," Senator Scullion told The Australian.

    Under the Remote Jobs and Communities Program, a single provider in each region is contracted to work with individuals, communities and local employers to help more people into jobs and build stronger communities.

    Senator Scullion said he had been told participants had left the scheme and returned to drinking.

    "People have told me privately that the people who were working are now 'sad'," he said. "I can tell you that is code for a very bad state of mind. They are drinking more. This is a disaster well beyond what I expected.

    "We need to move very quickly. With the wet season coming on and Christmas coming on, if people are disengaged for five months, to re-engage them after decades of work will be very difficult."Senator Scullion cited the example of 61 people who had been on an indigenous work-for the-dole-program in Gunbalanya, 300km east of Darwin. "Now they have gone home, but they are still getting paid, so they are completely disengaged from employment," he said.

    "You couldn't think of a worse possible outcome.

    "The RJCP was designed to provide a more integrated and flexible approach to employment and participation services for people living in remote areas. Most of the communities involved are in the Northern Territory.

    Senator Scullion said a new community development fund - the centrepiece of the new scheme that provides $237.5 million in funding over five years - was not providing an adequate level of support for providers to run meaningful programs.

    As a result, indigenous people were being sent home or choosing to leave. Senator Scullion said the program was contracted out for a five-year period and the department would need to look at ways of improving it within its legal obligations. "We are making this a priority," he said. "We need the people to re-engage with whatever system we have.

    "I have a great deal of sadness about it and I know there was no mischief from the previous Labor government but they have got it so badly wrong that it can only take a couple of days to disengage and it can then take months to re-engage."


  9. THE US spent trillions on the illegal Iraq war so as Halliburton could inherit the oil and gas of the Middle East - led by Dick Cheney one of the Tea Parties crackpot idols.

    CHINA has now all but taken these over with it's big cash diplomacy.

    NOW another Tea Party turnout has just handed another big slice to a more strident and confident China.


    United States' financial jitters could provide a boost to China's financial system

    The political brinkmanship in Washington might be almost over, but it seems the reputation of the United States as a global economic power has been damaged.

    US Treasury bills, regarded as the world's safest investment, have been hurt by the uncertainty with interest rates rising in recent days.

    The director of the Institute of Global Finance at the New South Wales University, Fariborz Moshirian, believes the damage could also be exploited by China.

    The world's second biggest economy has been positioning its currency as an alternative to the US dollar, which for now remains the world's reserve currency.

    "I think in the medium term the damage to the US as an economy is quite severe simply because the US currency is used as a major world currency," he said.

    "And now other countries, particularly China, will think that their currency could emerge over time as a competitor to the US dollar."

    Dr Moshirian says the crisis has provided with an opportunity China to deepen its capital market, attract foreign investors and ensure that its banks are more competitive with those in Europe and the US.

    "China's economy has not been affected," he said.

    "China didn't need to rescue her banking system, and they are sitting on massive amount of foreign exchange reserves and so Chinese financial market is very strong.

    "During the Great Depression the UK was the largest creditor and US basically took over that. And now in this new era we are seeing that the US becoming the largest debtor and yet China is becoming almost a larger creditor in the world."


    US reputation hammered by political crisis, Barack Obama warns

    ..........Obama urged Congress, specifically Republicans in the House of Representatives, to now come together to pass stalled legislation on agriculture and on reforming America's immigration system.

    "These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy," Obama said.

    "Probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we've seen these past several weeks," he added.

    "It's encouraged our enemies, it's emboldened our competitors and depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership."

    The compromise plan hashed in the Senate and passed by the House only funds government until January 15 and extends US borrowing authority until February 7.

    It remains unclear if Republicans, politically wounded by their tactics this time around, will seek to use the levers of shutdown and default again.

    Thousands of federal workers trooped back to work on Thursday - trains into Washington DC were again packed and the city's downtown hummed with activity after being eerily empty in recent weeks.


  10. SO a highly unintelligent situation.

    There has been no "low hanging fruit" since the end of the Vietnam War.

    After the Second World War the US built it's V8 yank tank paradise on this low hanging fruit.

    It is now all long gone.

    The likes of the Tea Party and the Abbott & Newman & Barnett governments - and for that matter the Broome Shire and the Broome Chamber of Commerce have to realise that the more mess they make of the environment THE more it will cost them to fix up peoples health and restore the health of what they have wrecked.

    We have past the point where the old system - put on emergency life support by the likes of Cheney and the Koch Brothers - can deliver any real profit.

    The denial of the dinosaurs just won't cut it.


    Air pollution can cause cancer, says World Health Organisation

    Pollutants from traffic and industrial fumes are linked to lung and bladder cancer, finds team charged with monitoring risks

    Outdoor air pollution has been officially classified as carcinogenic by the cancer arm of the World Health Organisation.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said air pollution from traffic and industrial fumes was a definite cause of lung cancer and also linked to bladder cancer. The strong verdict from IARC, a cautious body that pronounces only when the evidence is strong, will put pressure on governments to take action.

    "The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances," said Dr Kurt Straif, head of the IARC monographs section, which assesses evidence and publishes official warnings. "We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths."

    Air pollution is already known to increase the risks for other diseases, including heart and respiratory disease. The numbers of those exposed to air pollution have risen rapidly as countries have industrialised. The most recent data suggests there were 233,000 deaths from lung cancer caused by air pollution around the world in 2010.

    IARC monitors studies on cancer risks and issues official monographs when it has come to conclusions about a potential carcinogen. It has put out warnings about individual chemicals in the air. Diesel engine exhaust, solvents, metals and dusts have all been labelled carcinogenic. This is the first time it has classified air pollution in general as a cause of cancer.

    "Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants," said Dr Dana Loomis, deputy head of the monographs section.

    "The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution."

    The main sources of air pollution are traffic, power stations, industrial and agricultural emissions and heating and cooking fumes from the home, the IARC said. The levels of air pollution vary from place to place, but every country in the world was affected and should do something about it, it said.

    "Classifying outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans is an important step," said the IARC director, Dr Christopher Wild. "There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay."

  11. Shell defends Browse plan by:

    RICK WALLACE From: The Australian October 18, 2013

    ROYAL Dutch Shell chief executive Peter Voser has defended the oil major against attacks from West Australian Premier Colin Barnett over its concerted push to develop the massive Browse gasfields using radical floating LNG technology, or FLNG. In his first public comments on the brawl that has erupted between Mr Barnett and the Woodside Petroleum-led Browse joint venture in which Shell owns a critical 27 per cent stake, Mr Voser said it was simply not possible to have developed the project onshore in the Kimberley as the Premier had insisted.

    Shell is believed to have been a driving force behind the Browse venture's decision this year to abandon Mr Barnett's preferred onshore site at James Price Point and to instead process the gas using FLNG technology, which is pioneered by the Anglo-Dutch giant at its $US12 billion ($12.5bn) Prelude project, now under construction.

    Former Shell Australia chairman Ann Pickard led the charge in campaigning for FLNG at Browse, hailing the technology as the "saviour" of an industry saddled with escalating costs. Mr Barnett is furious with Woodside and Shell for the move to adopt FLNG, which he says will cost thousands of jobs in his state.

    But Mr Voser said the decision was based on economics. "In the end you want a project which is profitable, which is doable," he said during a tour of the Prelude construction site in South Korea.

    "And an onshore project in WA was just not possible. It is not a question of whether it's a floating or an onshore project, it is whether it's floating or no project.

    "Mr Voser's comments came a day after tensions between Woodside and Mr Barnett spilled into the open after the Perth-based company claimed the state government controlled a relatively minor 5 per cent of the massive Browse gasfields off the Kimberley coast.

    But Mr Barnett says the state owns 15 per cent of the gas and will use that as leverage to try to force Woodside to build an onshore supply base for Browse in the Kimberley.

    Mr Voser said the Prelude FLNG platform -- a 500m-long behemoth and the largest floating structure ever built -- could be the first of "dozens" of such mobile platforms as the gas industry shifts away from onshore LNG plants.

    Mr Voser led a tour of the giant Prelude platform -- so named because it will be located at the Prelude gasfields 250km off the northern coast of WA -- at a South Korean shipyard on Wednesday.

    He said FLNG offered companies a way to reduce costs and their environmental footprint. Simply, FLNG is a floating factory, freezing gas to a liquid and where ships will dock to then carry the liquid gas to export markets.

    "It is coming, this is a solution that is attractive," Mr Voser said.

    "I could see a scenario (in a few decades) where you would have a lot of floaters out here and that's the prime technology used, but that's just one scenario.

    "Mr Voser said Prelude, which will be Shell's first project in Australia as an operator, showed that FLNG would still bring benefits to Australia with 1000 jobs and $12bn in tax revenues generated over its 25-year life.

    "Floating LNG will allow the development of gas resources ranging from clusters of smaller more remote fields, to potentially larger fields where for a range of reasons an onshore development is not viable," he said.

    "In addition, floating LNG reduces the costs and the environmental footprint of LNG development because there is no need for long pipelines, laydown areas and accommodation facilities."

  12. Shell defends Browse plan ....cont.....

    It is expected Prelude will roll off the docks at the Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje shipyards near Busan sometime next year, although Shell executives are tightlipped on the timeframe.

    The technology has particular appeal for use in Australia, where high labour and material costs, as well as remote and pristine coastlines, have made onshore projects on the west coast increasingly hard to get up.

    "I think we are quite happy having Prelude being built here in Korea and not being exposed to Australian cost inflation," Mr Voser said.

    "I would not say that FLNG will actually displace onshore developments, it will just give you more options to development certain fields in a different way.

    "The Prelude barge will be towed to the Prelude field where it will remain moored on station for 25 years extracting 3.6 million tonnes of LNG per year offloading it on to one tanker every five days.

    In recent weeks, workers at Geoje joined the two sections of the massive Prelude hull, creating a vessel that is longer than the 443m Empire State Building is tall.


    If you want to see the video of this monster go to :


    Should be a very interesting tangle indeed!

    (Learning the hard way - the difference between rhetoric and reality)


  13. Asian Investors, LNG Buyers Look to N. America as Australia Taps Out

    DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 17 (Reuters) - North America has pushed Australia out of the top spot for new Asian investment in gas development, with most of the supply from existing Australian projects sold off and buyers hunting for cheaper fuel, industry executives said this week.

    Australia has been for the past several years the global hotspot for Asian gas investors, with $190 billion in liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments under way to take advantage of its proximity to top buyers such as Japan and South Korea.

    But its seven current projects have been parcelled out to off-takers and equity stakeholders, and no new projects are expected to move forward within the next year.

    That slowdown and the pull of cheap, abundant North American shale gas has turned heads towards projects just setting up for development in the United States and Canada that are aiming to fill Asia's still burgeoning LNG demand.

    "The cost of Australian grassroot projects is going up ... so probably we need to pause," said Shigeru Muraki, chief executive of the energy solution division at Tokyo Gas, speaking at the World Energy Conference in South Korea.

    "We're now moving to the U.S. We've already invested in two gas fields - one in Dallas and the other in Canada." A spate of approvals on U.S. gas export projects, about 50 million tonnes a year of capacity, has removed some of the uncertainty over its LNG supplies, while Canada's vast potential is attracting rising numbers of Asian buyers and investors.

    Japanese power monopolies will build 12 gas-fired power plants next year as Tokyo struggles to make up for a shutdown of nuclear reactors. South Korea, amid its own safety scandal, is also looking to cut dependence on nuclear power, which would further boost its gas demand.

    Other LNG buyers such as Thailand's PTT Pcl are emerging in Southeast Asia as countries try to diversify away from oil and coal, and as regional output growth fails to keep up with domestic requirements. Canada Play Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas recently became Canada's largest foreign direct investor with its $35 billion plan to develop shale gas assets and build an LNG export terminal in British Columbia.

    "We're two-and-a-half days closer to Asia, as far as shipping is concerned. Our ambient temperature is a lot cooler than anywhere else in the world, so it takes less energy to make LNG in British Columbia than anywhere else," said Rich Coleman, British Columbia minister for natural gas development, speaking on the province's market advantages. TransCanada Corp, which is planning to build pipelines to transport Canadian gas to two LNG export projects, said its participation in projects honing in on Asia's fast-growing demand ramped up suddenly.

    "I would have never predicted that 24-36 months ago," TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said, commenting on his company participating in Asia-focused projects worth some C$14 billion ($13.53 billion).

    Besides Petronas, the two LNG projects to be fed by Transcanada pipelines involve investments from Korea Gas Corp , Mitsubishi Corp and PetroChina Co Ltd .

    British Columbia, the Canadian province with the most gas developments under way, has already attracted around $100 billion of investment so far with three major LNG projects, Minister Coleman said.

  14. Asian Investors, LNG Buyers Look to N. America as Australia Taps Out ....cont.....

    Scepticism on Lower Pricing With all the potential investment in Canada and more supply approved out of the United States, however, some in the industry have warned against banking on cheap prices. U.S. gas prices are around $3.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), far lower than spot prices for LNG in Asia, currently around $16 per mmBtu . But the pricey liquefaction process, in which gas is cooled so that it compresses into liquid, and shipping costs will add up, and a substantial outflow of exports is likely to push up U.S. benchmark gas prices. "Over time the arbitrage is going to be consumed ... and you can expect a convergence of prices," ConocoPhillips executive vice president Don Wallette said. U.S. gas prices of $3.50 to $4 per mmBtu are not sustainable in any case, executives say. That might provide another opening for Australia since the rising projects costs there have levelled out with a weaker Australian dollar and a slowdown of the mining boom that had competed with gas developers for labour and other resources. "The exponential growth in (costs), we've seen that flatten out - what we haven't seen is a material decrease in prices," said Peter Coleman, chief executive of Woodside Petroleum.


  15. THIS WEEK: Israeli LNG project may lose its most experienced global operator

    Thursday, 17 October 2013

    One of the world’s most experienced LNG operators, Woodside Petroleum of Australia, may pull out of a deal to invest $1.2 billion for a share of Israel’s huge Leviathan natural gas field and a planned LNG venture because of a court battle and government policies.