Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Hard Numbers on Fracking: Radiation, Toxic Wastewater and Air Pollution

The Hard Numbers on Fracking: Radiation, Toxic Wastewater and Air Pollution

Where Do You Put Billions of Gallons of Toxic Wastewater?
Fracking wastewater and solid wastes such as drill cuttings (leftover broken bits of rock), can be radioactive and laced with toxic chemicals.

Researchers are just beginning to understand the impacts of fracking air pollution on human health.


  1. Online petition from Food and Water watch -


    Pennsylvania Families With Water Contaminated by Fracking Need Your Help

    Can You Donate to Help Craig and Ray Deliver Water to These Homes?

    Don't let the gas industry silence families in Dimock and Franklin Forks, PA

    Please Donate to Make Sure These Families Have Clean Water

    Dear .....................

    You may have heard about communities in Pennsylvania, like Dimock, whose water is now unusable because of fracking — they can't even shower with it!

    Last week, families in one PA community stopped receiving water from the very gas company that fouled their water using fracking in 2011. Community members Craig Stevens and Ray Kemble are currently delivering water to these families, but they need your help.

    Can you donate to help Craig and Ray pay for water, gas, truck insurance and new water tanks to continue delivering water to families in need?

    The EPA shut the door on an investigation into water contamination from fracking in Dimock, PA even after preliminary studies showed that water contained hazardous chemicals and explosive levels of methane.

    The whole region is riddled with problems, but the EPA made it clear that they won't hold gas companies accountable. Then, last week, the gas company WPX decided to stop providing families in Franklin Forks with clean water.

    Some families have chosen not to settle with the gas company in court. If they did, they would get water, but they would also be silenced from speaking out about the dangers of fracking. The cost of getting water to their homes would be losing their freedom of speech.

    Donate to provide these families with water so they can continue to speak out against fracking.

    Craig Stevens and Ray Kemble currently deliver water to six families in Franklin Forks and Dimock, including Ray's home. But they need help covering their costs:
    •$200/month to provide each family with clean water — this includes the water itself, gas to travel to each home and car insurance for their truck.
    •$2,000 for a new water storage tank for each home — right now they have water tanks, but the gas company is threatening to take them away any day now.

    Craig, Ray, and others like Tammy Manning in Franklin Forks have been strong outspoken critics of fracking. Please donate to provide them with clean water and help them continue to hold the EPA and these gas companies accountable.

    We all have to pay bills, but this is a burden these families simply should not have to bear.

    Donate to make sure Dimock and Franklin Forks families have clean water:

    Thank you,

    Emily Wurth
    Water Program Director
    Food & Water Watch

  2. The government and police never stop whinging and blaming parents for all this - the "colony" has left these people a mess to deal with, quite deliberately,so as to make robbing them easier of course - but when help is needed to prevent these kids going off the rails where is it?

    Prevention is better than cure - and yet neglect wins out again.


    Kids caught up as scourge of petrol sniffing returns

    Sarah Martin •
    The Australian •
    October 05, 2013 12:00AM

    CHILDREN as young as 10 have been involved in a petrol-sniffing ring in South Australia's remote Aboriginal lands, prompting calls for an urgent investigation.

    The state government has revealed at least four children between the ages of 10 and 14 were sniffing petrol in the community of Ernabella in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the middle of last month.

    However, The Weekend Australian understands that some younger children in the community were also involved, with sources saying that children as young as seven were supplied petrol and "taught to sniff" by the older children.

    The incident has raised fears of a return of the scourge eight years after it was largely eradicated from the APY Lands with the rollout of Opal fuel in the early 2000s.Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ian Hunter refused to comment yesterday, defying calls from welfare advocates for an "immediate and thorough" response from the state Labor government.

    The central desert Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council co-ordinator Andrea Mason said the government should investigate the incident, which she said was a concern given the age of children involved. "We need to find out who the ringleader is, who has encouraged this sniffing and find out what is happening at home and to support the parents.

    "Ms Mason said she was seeking to verify reports from community members that police were aware of the incident, but had not taken any action. "The police have to be very consistent and we need police to have clear and direct information as to what they need to do when members of the community come to them and say there have been reports of petrol sniffing," Ms Mason said.

    "I understand that people come and go from communities . . . and we need to make sure that everyone is briefed as to what actually has to happen once a report is made.

    "The women's council was central to eradicating petrol from the region following a coronial inquest into the deaths of three male petrol sniffers in 2002. Petrol sniffing killed at least 32 people in the region between 1998 and 2003, according to the council.

    Uniting Communities indigenous welfare spokesman Jonathan Nicholls said the government needed to be vigilant to ensure the lands remained petrol free.

    "It would be very easy for things to slip backwards because the staff today are not the staff that dealt with this problem a decade ago," he said. "This is a chance for the government to check that it has got the right systems in place for when things like this happen.

    "Families SA director David Waterford said the government was monitoring the situation.

    "Families SA staff visited the children and their families and safety agreements have been put in place," he said. "A drug and alcohol worker has also been supporting the children and their families -- both at home and through the school.

    "A police spokesman was unable to comment yesterday on when police first became aware of the renewed sniffing, but confirmed no apprehensions had taken place.

  3. Now should any of these folk decide their country is worth more to them than this can guarantee a massive police reaction - riot squad / ASIO spies / private armies and all.


    Abbot government moves ahead on Muckaty nuclear waste plan

    Nuclear dump back on NT table,

    SEAN PARNELL The Australian. 7 Oct 13

    CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government commissioning a business case that would allow federal cabinet to consider the project next year and potentially have a facility built by 2019.

    ...pushing ahead with those plans in the Coalition’s first term could cause tensions with and within the Northern Territory government — new Chief Minister Adam Giles has yet to fully articulate his position — along with the Greens, some environmental organisations and indigenous groups.

    .... pending the outcome of the Federal Court case. ….. some indigenous people complained they were not consulted and took action in the Federal Court in a bid to block the project,

    The government expects to have an initial business case in April, after a period of consultation and fine-tuning by key agencies and stakeholders and ahead of the court hearings set down for June.

    The Australian has learned the department last week briefed the private sector on its request for the development of a business case — which neither favours nor precludes the use of Muckaty Station — and the prospect the nuclear waste dump could be constructed and managed under a public-private partnership.

    The private sector was told the concept plans delivered by the Spanish agency ENRESA involved a $150m, co-located low-level waste disposal and intermediate-level waste storage facility, which could be up and running by 2019.

    Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane could not be contacted yesterday………


    Abbott wrong on Muckaty nuclear waste site

    Posted on July 3, 2012 by songlinesoz

    Media Release Beyond Nuclear Initiative

    July 3, 2012

    Abbott wrong on nuclear waste: NT campaign has strong national support.

    National environment group Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI) has rejected comments made in Darwin by Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott that a nuclear waste facility should be built at Muckaty in the Northern Territory ‘in the national interest.’

    ... BNI coordinator Natalie Wasley said it has always been obvious that the NT proposal is based on politics and not science.

    “A senior departmental official admitted to a Senate Inquiry that the push for a remote dump site is political. When scientific and environmental criteria informed a site selection process in the 1990s, Muckaty was not even considered for further investigation. This plan has always put the radioactive cart before the horse”.

    Ms Wasley continued, “Mr Abbott is also wrong to dismiss concern about the Muckaty dump as ‘local’. The Australian Council of Trade Unions and Australian Conservation Foundation, the peak trade union and environment bodies in the country, as well as a number of unions, health and human rights organisations have clearly stated opposition to the Muckaty proposal”.


    “Traditional Owners have launched a federal court challenge against the site nomination and are being represented by a major law firm- Maurice Blackburn Social Justice Practice- and prominent barristers Ron Merkel and Julian Burnside”.

    “Mr Abbott may try to dismiss this campaign as a ‘local’ concern but both the federal government and Mr Abbott’s party know that any attempts to advance the NT dump plan will be met with fierce national resistance,” Ms Wasley concluded.


  4. Some history from Abbott....

    Nuclear waste dump in 'national interest': Abbott

    By James Glenday

    Posted Tue 3 Jul 2012.

    Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he is confident a nuclear waste dump can be built safely in the Northern Territory.

    The Federal Government's preferred site for a waste facility is Muckaty Station, near Tennant Creek.

    The plan opposed by some traditional owners and local politicians.

    Speaking in Darwin, Mr Abbott said a nuclear waste facility is in the national interest.

    "I am confident that any waste arrangements here in the Territory will be conducted in the most effective way, with the least possible risk to the environment," he said.

    "Sometimes local concerns do have to give way to the national interest."


    (ever heard that last line before?)


    No Northern Territory nuclear waste dump!

    Posted by John, September 19th, 2013 - under Muckaty, Nuclear waste dump.

    Despite clear opposition from the Aboriginal traditional owners, the push for a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, continues, write Jon Lamb and Cathy Lawless in Red Flag.

    The campaign led by traditional owners to stop the waste dump is gearing up for the next stage in the fight.

    On 26 August, the Federal Court set June 2014 for a case to be heard on whether the nomination of the site for the waste dump followed due process. The nuclear free campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, Dave Sweeney, told Red Flag:

    “The case has been brought by a group of senior Aboriginal traditional owners who argue that both the Commonwealth and the Northern Land Council (NLC) have failed in their statutory duty to identify, engage and obtain consent from the appropriate Aboriginal owners. They are seeking to have the existing nomination ruled invalid.”

    Muckaty was nominated by the NLC with the support of only one of the five clan groups holding ownership and cultural ties to Muckaty Station.

    The Rudd-Gillard Labor government has used divide and rule tactics, former resources minister Martin Ferguson boasting at one stage that he had offers for numerous locations across the NT for a waste dump if Muckaty Station fell through.

    Opposition ignored

    Barb Shaw, an Aboriginal activist with connections to Muckaty Station, told Red Flag, “There has always been opposition to the nuclear waste dump on Muckaty … There has been a campaign running ever since the site was nominated and announced. There has been big opposition from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, from right across Australia.”

    Shaw explained: “People from four of the clan groups have travelled around Australia talking about the nuclear waste dump. There has been a nuclear-free ride from Lucas Heights all the way to Muckaty … People are aware of it and do oppose it, because they know it is wrong and that the waste hasn’t come from this country, yet they want to put it in the country. Aboriginal people are very culturally and traditionally connected to the land … any form of nuclear waste is not part of our culture.”

    Shaw is concerned by the nomination process and the role of the NLC. “There is a need for free, prior and informed consent in this issue, but there was no information given to the people. They weren’t properly informed about the waste dump, and they haven’t been able to give full consent if they want a nuclear waste dump there or not”, she said.

  5. No Northern Territory nuclear waste dump!


    Spurious excuses

    The rationale for the dump is spurious. There is no compelling scientific or public safety necessity for one to be built.It has been repeatedly claimed that a specialised waste dump is required to safely store low level waste (LLW) and long lived intermediate level waste (LLIW).

    Most of the LLW is derived from medical isotopes used in hospitals and clinics, while the LLIW comes almost exclusively from the nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney. It is this latter type of waste that is of most concern because it is highly toxic and radioactive for a lengthy period.

    Sweeney explains further: “In the 1990s there was a departmental decision made that the best way to manage Australia’s radioactive waste was through developing a centralised remote dump or store. This decision was made by unelected bureaucrats and has since been uncritically adopted and advanced by successive federal governments. A remote dump is one way to manage waste; it is not the only way and has never been proven to be the best way.”

    The push for a nuclear waste facility also ties in with a desire by the Australian ruling class to maintain a stake in the global nuclear industry. Aboriginal rights, the safety of workers and environmental concerns are being quashed or ignored in order to pursue profit.

    The justification for storage of medical waste is also a complete furphy. Sweeney told Red Flag, “The medical myth is a deeply disturbing aspect of the Muckaty story. Both major parties have consistently misrepresented the situation by claiming that the Muckaty dump is needed to ensure Australians have access to nuclear medicine for therapeutic and diagnostic reasons.

    “This is not the case – and medical waste is not the driver for the planned dump. Medical and public health bodies including the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and the Public Health Association of Australia have repeatedly condemned the conflation of these issues”, he said.

    The promotion of the waste dump on an economic basis, including for local Aboriginal communities, also deeply concerns Shaw. “It is disgusting to talk about a nuclear waste dump as being part of economic development because there is no economic development in nuclear waste dumping”, she said.

    “People around the country need to do their homework. They need to look at Mother [Nature] at work, especially when we have had accidents like Chernobyl, the tsunami in Japan and Fukushima, and of course there is the bombing of Maralinga here. The general public needs to think about whether they want to have nuclear waste travelling through their towns and their states, because accidents do happen.”

    Whatever the outcome of the legal proceedings, Sweeney says that a public campaign needs to continue, including a transparent discussion about what to do with existing nuclear waste – simply passing unjust legislation and railroading Aboriginal and community rights is not the answer. “We need to move from the failed search for a vulnerable postcode to a genuine commitment to a credible process. Radioactive waste lasts longer that any politician’s promise, and we need to get its management right. This needs to be based on sound science and open and inclusive decision making and reflect international best practice. None of this is occurring at Muckaty.”

    - See more at:

  6. Bringing the budget back to surplus by targeting waste !!!???

    The continuing story of "Snouts in the Trough"


    Hewson warns coalition on wedding claims

    AAP •
    October 07, 2013 8:35AM

    COALITION MPs are endangering their reputations as economic managers by charging taxpayers for personal indulgences such as travel to weddings, former Liberal leader John Hewson has warned.

    The warning follows a string of questionable claims involving senior members of the Coalition, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, billing taxpayers to attend weddings.

    "I don't believe in unlimited access to the public purse," Dr Hewson has told Fairfax media.

    He said any newly elected prime minister must set clear standards for his team as the "fish rots from the head".

    Coalition MPs "can't run on the line that [they] want to control government expenditure" and at the same time waste taxpayers' money on their personal lives."I think that in the early days of any government you need to set the standards," Dr Hewson said.

    But former Howard government minister Peter Reith has described the wedding expenses scandals as "petty" and argued that politicians should be entitled to unlimited travel. "I think it's ridiculous putting limits on where ministers can go," he's told Fairfax.

    It's been revealed that three Coalition MPs - Julie Bishop, Barnaby Joyce and Teresa Gambaro - claimed more than $12,000 in travel expenses to return from a lavish wedding in India where they were guests of billionaire Gina Rinehart.

    In their reports they said they were engaged in "overseas study" tours.

    Mr Abbott has confirmed that he repaid $1095 spent travelling to the wedding of former colleague Sophie Mirabella seven years ago, prompted by media inquiries last week.

    In the past week, Attorney-General George Brandis and Agriculture Minister Mr Joyce reimbursed taxpayers after it was revealed they used public funds to attend the wedding of their friend, shock jock Michael Smith, in 2011.


    1. Beyond belief!


      Tony Abbott claimed travel expenses to compete in Port Macquarie Ironman event

      Ben Packham •
      The Australian •
      October 08, 2013 10:39AM

      TONY Abbott charged taxpayers almost $1300 in travel and accommodation costs to compete in the 2011 Port Macquarie Ironman event. The Australian has checked the Prime Minister's travel records for the weekend of the event and confirmed he claimed $941 worth of flights to and from Port Macquarie and $349 in travel allowance.

      He flew into the NSW coastal town on November 5 from Brisbane, staying the night there courtesy of the taxpayer, before competing in the gruelling event the next day.

      He flew out of Port Macquarie for Sydney that night.

      Mr Abbott's office is yet to comment on why he made the claims.

      The revelation follows admissions he claimed taxpayer-funded entitlements to attend the weddings of two colleagues in 2006, which he has since repaid.

      It's also emerged Mr Abbott has routinely claimed travel allowance and flights to take part in the annual Pollie Pedal charity cycling trips through regional Australia.

      He claimed more than $3500 worth of entitlements to take part in the event in 2012, almost $1300 in 2011 and $2000 in 2010.

      Mr Abbott recently repaid $1094 he claimed for attending former frontbencher Sophie Mirabella's wedding in 2006, and $609 he charged taxpayers for attending the wedding of then-colleague Peter Slipper the same year.

      Coalition frontbenchers George Brandis and Barnaby Joyce have also recently repaid entitlements they claimed for attending the wedding of shock jock Michael Smith.

      The expenses furore is the first major scandal to confront the Abbott government. Former prime minister John Howard lost three ministers in the first year of his government as a result of travel rorts.

      The Prime Minister has been accused by Labor of “breathtaking hypocrisy” for the Coalition's pursuit of Mr Slipper, who faces charges for alleged expenses rorts.

  7. US surpasses Russia as world's top oil and natural gas producer

    New drilling techniques extract oil and gas from US shale rock formations, putting the country's output at 25m barrels per day

    The US was on pace to achieve global energy domination on Friday, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil and natural gas producer.

    New estimates released on Friday by the Energy Information Administration showed America pulling ahead of both countries in oil and natural gas production for 2013.

    The rise to the top was fuelled by new drilling techniques, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have unlocked vast quantities of oil and gas from shale rock formations – especially in North Dakota and Texas.

    America was on track to produce just under 25m barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels, the EIA said. Russia was just under 22m barrels a day.

    America had already surpassed Russia in natural gas production last year, pulling ahead for the first time since 1982.

    But this was the first year the US was on pace to surpass Russia in production of both oil and natural gas.

    "Total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production estimates for the United States and Russia for 2011 and 2012 were roughly equivalent — within 1 quadrillion Btu of one another," the EIA said. "In 2013, however, the production estimates widen out, with the United States expected to outproduce Russia by five quadrillion Btu," the agency said.

    Most of the new oil was coming from the western states. Oil production in Texas has more than doubled since 2010. In North Dakota, it has tripled, and Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah have also shown steep rises in oil production over the same three years, according to EIA data.

    But the EIA said the new natural gas production was coming from across the eastern United States.

    Russia is believed to hold one of the world's largest oil-bearing shale formations. But the industry has lagged behind America in its embrace of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to get at the oil and gas.

    Meanwhile, energy firms are stepping up production from North Dakota and Texas. Earlier reports from the EIA suggests the trend will continue. The EIA said earlier that US crude oil production rose to an average of 7.6m barrels a day in August, the highest monthly totals since 1989.

    It forecast total oil production would average 7.5m barrels a day throughout the year, rising to 8.4m barrels a day in 2014.

  8. Iran thaw warms Western oil company interest

    * U.S. oil firms planned to meet Iran oil minister at UN

    * Prepared to invest post-sanctions, if terms attractive

    * Iran oil minister orders review of oil investment contract

    * European majors Shell, Total may seek to return

    By Peg Mackey

    LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The tempting taboo of Iran's oil and gas riches has moved a step nearer for Western oil companies, lining up to woo Tehran if sanctions finally succumb to a diplomatic thaw.

    U.S. oil firms - barred by Washington from Iran for nearly two decades - planned to meet Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh last week at the United Nations, encouraged by the new tone in Tehran, industry sources said.

    "We're willing to talk: Iran's got tremendous potential," said a senior executive from a major U.S. oil company who requested anonymity while preparing for exploratory talks.

    "Once sanctions are removed, we'd definitely be interested in investing, but the contract terms have got to be attractive."

    U.S. companies Conoco, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Anadarko have all shown varying degrees of interest in the Islamic Republic ever since Tehran nationalised its energy sector in 1979.

    That move ejected major Western players including BP - doubly tainted in Iranian eyes for its history there dating back to the political turmoil of the 1950s and beyond.



    The United States tried to keep Europe's oil majors out of Iran with the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which required Washington to impose sanctions on foreign companies that invested more than $20 million a year in its energy sector.

    But the U.S. law proved toothless. One of Zanganeh's crowning achievements from his previous stint as oil minister was to get Total, Shell and Italy's Eni into Iran - securing over $10 billion of investment in the process.

    Steady pressure from Washington and tougher sanctions have managed, however, to keep European oil companies out of Iran since the late 2000s.

    Their past experience there is expected to put Shell and Total in a strong position if, as expected, they seek a return, say analysts. Chevron, Conoco, Statoil, Lukoil and Gazprom may also chase opportunities, they said.

    When the day comes for sanctions to be lifted, Iran must keep neighbouring Iraq in mind, say analysts. Experts say Iran's oilfields could ramp up to 3 million bpd within months and reach to 3.6 million about a year later.

    "Iran must realise it's competing against other producers and offer terms that are at least as good, if not better," said Varzi, who now runs an energy consultancy in Britain.

    Shell, Total, BP and Exxon Mobil have signed service contracts with Iraq that are designed to raise production towards 9 million bpd by 2020.

    Although the oil majors complain of poor returns in Iraq, Iranian oil officials say they see the merit of Baghdad's fee-based service contracts.

    "Iraq's service contract could be appropriate for Iran's enhanced recovery projects. We want to accommodate both sides and would like to brainstorm with the major oil companies," Hosseini told Reuters.

    "We want a win-win contract."

  9. Indian firms relying on foreign companies for domestic shale drilling

    06 Oct 2013
    India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd will tap the expertise of foreign firms to hunt for shale oil and gas in the energy-hungry nation, officials at the two firms said. India, the world's fourth-biggest energy consumer, last month approved rules for drilling of the unconventional fuel as it wants to quickly tap its resources to cut a growing crude oil imports bill.

    ONGC will be taking technical help from Houston-based ConocoPhillips for shale drilling, the Indian company's chairman, Sudhir Vasudeva, told reporters at an industry event on Friday. ONGC plans to take up exploratory work in 10 wells in blocks spread across western Cambay and eastern Cauvery and Krishna Godavari basins, he said, adding commercial drilling would commence next year.

    India could be sitting on as much as 96 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable shale gas reserves, equivalent to about 26 years of its gas demand, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The country, though, has been slow to open up the sector.

    India has not yet formally communicated the new policy to ONGC and Oil India, that have only been allowed to drill for shale oil and gas in old blocks. 'I have given them (the exploration team) a target of 10 wells...The day the policy is announced we will declare the first well is ready for spudding. We are all prepared,' Vasudeva said.

    Oil India has identified the western state of Rajasthan and northeastern state of Assam for initial shale drilling and could align with Houston-based Carrizo Oil & Gas, said S. Rath, its head of operations. Oil India and Indian Oil last year acquired a 30 percent stake in Carrizo's Niobrara shale assets in Colarado for $82.5 million. 'We are planning to drill some wells. We may have a cooperation between Carrizo and Oil India..we are internally prepared,' Rath said, adding his firm is waiting for the policy.


    British Columbia begins coastal emissions monitoring study for LNG cluster in Kitimat

    Friday, 04 October 2013

    The development of three Canadian LNG export projects in the Kitimat area of British Columbia has led the Pacific coast province to set aside funds to study the future impact on air emissions.


    06 Oct 2013

    Seven Deep Sea Offshore Blocks and the Lake Tanganyika North Offshore Block will be available for the 4th Licensing Round scheduled for launch in Dar es Salaam on 25th October 2013.

    The Deep Sea Offshore Blocks are located in water depths of 2,000 to 3,000 m adjacent to proven prospective blocks. The Lake Tanganyika North Offshore Block is located in 1,500 m water depth along the western arm of the East African Rift System that is proven prospective for commercial liquid hydrocarbons.

    New 2D seismic data covering the blocks is available for viewing and purchase at ION Geoventures in Houston, Texas, and in London, UK. Additional data will be made available at WesternGeco at the Gatwick Schlumberger offices also in London.

    The Bid Round Data Package (BRDP) will be available for purchase at ION Geoventures’ offices in Houston and London immediately post-launch. In addition, bidding instructions will be made available to the public. Data viewing will be possible during and post-launch in TPDC offices.

  10. Petronas Moves Ahead With Canada LNG Project Hailed by Najib

    Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state energy company, is pressing ahead with plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak hailed the company’s plans, announced last year, at a press conference yesterday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Putrajaya, outside of Kuala Lumpur. “This is a very significant landmark decision by Petronas, done in the wake of our friendly relationship,” Najib said.

    Petronas, as Petroliam Nasional is known, completed the C$5.2 billion ($5.1 billion) takeover of Canada’s Progress Energy Resources Corp. in 2012, after Harper’s government initially blocked the deal. Najib confirmed in April that he wrote a letter to his counterpart giving assurances of minimal state interference in the oil and gas group’s daily operations.

    “We view Petronas investments very positively, and all the indications I have is that Petronas is looking at further investments,” Harper said yesterday. “The government of Canada is very excited by that possibility as are all those I’ve talked to in the energy sector.”

    The acquisition gave the Southeast Asian group ownership of the second-biggest stakeholder in the Montney shale-gas area of British Columbia, and full control of three Progress Energy fields in which Petronas previously held stakes.

    TransCanada Pipeline

    The Petronas terminal will be located in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. It’ll process natural gas extracted by Progress Energy and shipped through a pipeline built by TransCanada Corp. (TRP), according to the project’s website.

    Najib reiterated yesterday Petronas will invest C$36 billion to develop the LNG project.

    The C$36 billion figure includes Petronas’ cost of acquiring Progress Energy, building the terminal and the pipeline, and completing upstream activities such as drilling wells, said Greg Kist, president of Pacific NorthWest LNG, the Petronas-owned company that will operate the LNG terminal. Shipments are expected to begin in 2018, he said.

    “We have not changed course,” Kist said in a telephone interview today from outside Calgary. “We’re certainly very positive about continuing to move this forward, but the final investment decision will be taken at the end of 2014.”

    On Aug. 26, Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas said it may cut its Progress Energy holding and is talking with potential buyers. The company already agreed in April to sell a stake to Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (1662)

    1. Malaysia eyes Canada for $37bn LNG play

      Matt Chambers •
      The Australian •
      October 08, 2013 12:00AM

      ...................MALAYSIA has highlighted the risks to the growth of Australia's liquefied natural gas industry by declaring its intention to push ahead with a $C36 billion ($37bn) plan to build an LNG plant in Canada.

      State-owned energy company Petronas, one of the founding partners of the Santos-led Gladstone LNG plant, could spend the vast amount over 30 years at a terminal earmarked for development in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday.

      The comments reflect the shift in global LNG development away from Australia, where high costs are discouraging new investment.They also illustrate the North American gas threat brought about by cheap shale gas is not limited to the growing approvals of US exports from the Gulf of Mexico.

      University of Western Australia and Rice University (Texas) economist Peter Hartley says Canada's west coast is closer to Asia than Australia and looms as a strong potential LNG competitor. "The place that makes most sense in exporting from North America really is Canada," Professor Hartley said.

      However, in the US projects are cheaper to build because of existing gas pipeline infrastructure and production, as well as storage and jetty infrastructure from LNG import terminals built before the shale gas revolution turned a gas shortage into a glut.Professor Hartley is one of the developers of a world gas trading model Rice University runs, which looks at future LNG scenarios.

      He said Canadian and US exports were expected to lower international LNG prices and stop new Australian investment.

      "For future projects in Australia, those on the drawing board, it doesn't look good," Professor Hartley said.


      .......................Professor Hartley said North American prices were not expected to rise substantially if gas were exported because there was a lot of new production that would be brought on if prices started to move higher.

      "What's likely to happen is spot prices in Asia will come off a lot when exports start from America," he said.

      But Professor Hartley noted many LNG contracts were thought to be lower than current spot prices of about $US16 a gigajoule, meaning the effect on new contracts might not be as large as on the spot price.

      Santos declined to comment on the Petronas plans.

  11. Companies Give Leading LNG Site for Alaska Project

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The companies seeking to advance a multibillion dollar natural gas pipeline project in Alaska have a leading contender for the terminal site where gas would be liquefied and shipped to Asia, signaling that a decades-old dream could still become a reality.

    Exxon Mobil, BP, ConocoPhillips and TransCanada Corp. announced Monday that the Kenai Peninsula town of Nikiski is the leading contender. Senior project manager Steve Butt said there are three or four other sites are still being considered — he declined to identify those — but said Nikiski has the land needed for the plant and the companies know they can route a pipeline there. Land acquisition work is underway.

    A liquefied natural gas plant operated in Nikiski for decades and provided exports to Japan. But ConocoPhillips and its then-partner announced plans to close the plant in 2011, citing market changes. Sporadic shipments continued until ConocoPhillips decided earlier this year not to renew its export license. The state has asked ConocoPhillips to reopen the mothballed site and apply for a new license to provide an incentive for petroleum companies to explore and invest in Cook Inlet.

    Butt said the liquefied natural gas plant envisioned as part of the pipeline project would be 16 or 17 times larger than that plant.

    Alaskans have long dreamed of a gas line as a way to shore-up revenues as oil production — Alaska's economic lifeblood — declines, create jobs and provide energy for residents. Monday's announcement was another step toward the decades-old dream of building a gas pipeline to rival that of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, though the companies have not yet committed to building and continue to stress the need for "competitive, predictable and durable" terms on oil and gas taxes and royalties.

    The pipeline envisioned would span 800 miles from the prodigious North Slope to south-central Alaska, and the mega-project could cost $45 billion to more than $65 billion.

    The initial focus of the project was to have a pipeline run from the North Slope into Canada to serve North American markets. But progress stalled, and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, in a bid to get things going again, urged Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips — the North Slope's three major players — in 2011 to get behind a project that would allow for liquefied natural gas exports to the Pacific Rim if the market had truly shifted away from the continental U.S.

  12. Transocean Legend Spuds Grace-1 Well in WA-314-P off Western Australia

    Karoon Gas Australia Ltd announced Friday that the Grace‐1 exploration well, the fourth well in the Phase 2 exploration drilling program in Western Australia was spud at 1600 hours (WDT) Oct. 3.

    Grace‐1 is located in permit WA‐314‐P in a crestal position on a large fault block approximately 21.75 miles (35 kilometers) north of the Poseidon field. The objective of the well is to test the multi trillion cubic feet (Tcf) potential of the Plover and Montara formations (Fm.).

    Good quality, thick Plover Fm. reservoir was penetrated in the Buffon‐1 well, located approximately 8.08 miles (13 kilometers) south west of Grace‐1, which was drilled in 1981. This well was drilled hundreds of meters downdip of the Plover Fm. trap crest. The positioning of the Buffon‐1 well was based on poor quality 2D seimic data with no well control.

    New 3D seismic, 3D reprocessing and recent well results has allowed the delineation of well defined targets at Grace. A thick Plover Fm. sequence is interpreted with good seismic well correlation back to discovery wells in the Poseidon area. The presence of a Montara Fm. secondary taget is supported by direct correlation with the Montara Fm. gas bearing reservoir seen in the nearby Argus‐1 well and supported regionally by the recent gas discovery at Proteus.

    The Transocean Legend (mid-water semisub) is drilling the exploration well, which is operated by ConocoPhillips.

    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 Poseidon and Kronos gas discoveries. Karoon Gas Australia Ltd holds 40 percent of the permit WA‐315‐P and WA‐398‐P, and 90 percent of permit WA‐314‐P.

    Upcoming Well Program

    The exploration program, operated by ConocoPhillips, plans to utilize the Transocean Legend mid-water semisub for the entire campaign and is expected to continue through 2014.

    A minimum of six wells will be drilled during the exploration program. 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.

    Additional well locations for the remainder of the program will be announced as they obtain joint venture approval.

    Ongoing Progress Reports

    In addition to complying with its continuous disclosure obligations, Karoon proposes to provide fortnightly progress reports during drilling operations.

  13. Fourth Australian coal-seam-gas-to-LNG project for Curtis Island faces decision time

    Tuesday, 08 October 2013

    The fourth Australian coal-seam-gas-to-LNG project planned for Curtis Island near the port of Gladstone by joint venture partners Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina is expected to receive final Federal approval with two weeks.


    World No. 1 LNG producer Qatar Petroleum reasserts values sets out new strategy

    Monday, 07 October 2013

    Qatar Petroleum, the world's largest LNG producer, has set out a new corporate vision to remain at the forefront of the LNG market worldwide.

  14. Industry's coal seam gas campaign is a con

    The gas industry is working a scam on the people of NSW, in collusion with other business lobby groups and federal and state politicians. It's trying to frighten us into agreeing to remove restrictions on the exploitation of coal seam gas deposits. Failing that, the various parties want to be able to lay the blame for an inevitable jump in the price of natural gas on the greenies and farmers.

    According to the gas lobby, the manufacturing lobby, the Business Council, federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and former Labor minerals and energy minister Martin Ferguson, we have a looming gas supply crisis in NSW and must unlock our local coal seam gas resources if we're to avoid shortages and the price hikes they bring.

    NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher, at whom most of lobbying is aimed - his government boasts of ''the toughest coal seam gas controls in Australia'' - must fully understand the deception, but seems reluctant to expose the dishonesty of his Coalition and business mates.

    The problem, we're told, is NSW produces only about 2 per cent of the natural gas its households and industrial users consume. And when facilities for liquefying and exporting gas start operating within a year or two, producers in Queensland and Victoria will switch to exporting their gas to gain the higher foreign prices.


    So NSW is facing a massive shortage of gas, which will cause a big jump in gas prices and threaten the jobs of thousands of people working in gas-dependent industries. The obvious answer, we're told, is for NSW to fill this supply gap and avert the price hike by urgently developing its own supply of coal seam gas.

    There's just one problem with this neat story: it reveals - or exploits - an ignorance of how markets work. The lobbyists' faulty logic is ably exposed by the Australia Institute's Matt Grudnoff in his paper, Cooking up a price rise.

    For many years, the prices paid for natural gas by consumers on Australia's eastern seaboard have been a lot lower than prices paid in other countries. The absence of plants to liquefy the gas so it could be exported meant our market was cut off from the world market.

    We had no liquefaction plants because we didn't have enough gas to make them profitable. What's changed is the advent of fracking, which has enabled us to begin exploiting our extensive deposits of coal seam gas.

    The development of ''unconventional'' gas in Queensland has progressed to the point where it's become economic for three liquefaction plants to be set up near Gladstone. When those plants start operating in a year or two, the barrier that separated our eastern seaboard gas market from the world market will disappear and the era of low gas prices will end.

    Grudnoff estimates the wholesale price of gas will double or treble from between $3 and $4 a gigajoule to the world ''netback'' price of $9 a gigajoule. ''This is because Australian gas producers will have the option to sell to the Japanese, who are willing to pay $15 a gigajoule,'' he says.

    The difference between $15 and the netback price - also known as the export parity price - is the cost of liquefying the gas and transporting it overseas. If you're as ancient as I am, this should remind you we've already been through a similar process of the low local price rising to the high world price when the Fraser government introduced export-parity pricing for oil in the late 1970s.

  15. Industry's coal seam gas campaign is a con


    The percentage rise in retail gas prices paid by households will be a lot smaller than the rise in the wholesale price. Estimates by Hugh Saddler, of the energy consultants Pitt & Sherry, suggest Sydney retail prices will rise by 11 per cent to 18 per cent - roughly twice the rise caused by the introduction of the carbon tax.

    The point is, wholesale and retail prices will rise to the new export parity price throughout the eastern seaboard. In Queensland where the frackers have had an easy ride, and in Victoria where the present moratorium on fracking seems likely to give way to an unrestricted regime, just as much as in NSW where the frackers are given a hard time.

    Because of pipelines between the states, how much gas a state produces has nothing to do with the prices its households and businesses pay. According to the gas lobby's logic, the coming ability of producers to get much higher prices by exporting their gas should produce shortages of gas for local users in Queensland and Victoria, not just NSW.

    In truth, there will be no shortages of gas in any state, just a requirement to pay the higher, netback price. There's no reason producers would prefer to sell to foreigners if locals are offering to pay the equivalent price.

    With the advent of fracking and access to higher prices, it's not surprising gas producers are desperate to extract as much coal seam gas as possible as soon as possible. But their argument that increased production in NSW could hold down NSW gas prices is economic nonsense.

    Any new gas producers in NSW won't be willing to sell to locals for anything less than the equivalent price they could get by selling to foreigners. That's the scam.

    Ross Gittins is the economics editor.

  16. Mackay dust pollution hazardous: study

    Conservationists say port expansions shouldn't proceed without coal dust controls as an analysis shows particle pollution in Mackay is hovering just below world health standards.

    It also reveals dust pollution in the Queensland regional hub is worse than in Brisbane's CBD and has exceeded the World Health Organisation's annual health safety standards eight times since 2000.

    The Mackay Conservation Group on Wednesday released their analysis of government ambient air quality data.

    The group's coordinator Patricia Julien says the findings are cause for concern, particularly with plans already afoot to double coal export capacity from Hay Point.

    "Supporting port and mining infrastructure planned in three industrial hubs along the coast between Mackay and Hay Point plus the Dudgeon Point expansion will ensure permanent hazardous levels of dust pollution for the city," Mrs Julien said.

    The analysis compared the annual average levels of Particulate Matter 10 (PM10), small dust particles which are known to cause adverse health effects, using data from three monitoring stations collected between 2000 and 2012.

    It showed the average PM10 level in West Mackay was 21.45 - higher than the WHO annual standard of 20 and the Brisbane CBD level of 17.14.

    Mrs Julien said 2012 data showed the two existing coal terminals at Hay Point were responsible for 45 per cent of PM10 particulates from ten major industrial sources in the region.

    The Mackay Conservation Group is calling for the Queensland government to suspend plans to expand coal ports and adjacent industrial hubs until a program to prevent coal dust from spreading outside the Hay Point port lands is implemented.

    "We need better protections for the health of our community," Mrs Julien said.

    "Respiratory and heart disease hospital admissions are linked to consistent exposure to air pollution."
    Mrs Julien will discuss the findings with Environmental Minister Andrew Powell on Friday.

  17. Intimate quiz for job seekers

    Oil giant Chevron is under fire for medical questionnaires which ask job applicants if they are pregnant, take birth control, have had an STD or an abortion, among other private issues.

    The Maritime Union of Australia has complaints from job applicants, including office staff, who claim they are made to reveal deeply personal information that has no bearing on their work.

    The questionnaire has compulsory questions such as whether an applicant is pregnant, capable of getting pregnant, takes birth control or female hormones, their menstruation dates and whether they had ever had an emotional problem or an STD.

    Optional questions about reproduction ask whether they or their partner has had an abortion, a stillbirth, a sterilisation or had tried unsuccessfully to conceive over a year.

    MUA organiser Matthew Elliott said angry applicants felt pressured to finish the optional section to get the job.

    Compulsory questions ask about alcohol and cigarettes.

    Lawyer Mark Hemery said many questions, especially about pregnancy and contraception, could breach discrimination laws on gender and disability.

    Only medical questions related to a person's ability to perform the role being sought were legal.

    Mr Hemery said even the questions relating to reproduction were potentially illegal, despite being optional, because of pressure to comply.

    However, he said many of the questions were relevant because they indicated an ability to work long hours, potentially in a hazardous environment far from a major medical facility.

    It is understood the same questionnaire is used for all jobs across the US company's global operations.

    A Chevron spokeswoman said the information was used solely by medical professionals to assess fitness for work.

    She said the company was committed to its employees' health needs, with many mobile or working in remote areas with limited medical care.

    Its medical documents were guided by industry standards to ensure staff were safe and fit to work. Medical information was used solely by medical professionals and questions on reproductive history were explicitly voluntary so they were legal.

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