Thursday, November 28, 2013

Think tank ramps up stance against coal seam gas

Think tank ramps up stance against coal seam gas

"The paper, jointly published with The Social Justice Initiative, describes the case against expansion of the coal seam gas and shale gas industry as overwhelming.
“All the evidence suggests the risks to human health and the climate just aren’t worth it,” said Social Justice Initiative researcher Jeremy Moss.

The paper looks set to fuel further public and political debate on the risks and merits of coal seam gas and shale gas development in Australia. It follows a separate report released by the Australia Institute in October, which criticised the petroleum industry for failing to address public concerns about coal seam gas.

The Australia Institute said that research analysed for the latest paper found serious health impacts associated with chemicals used in gas extraction process of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. A separate risk involves the danger from contaminated waste water produced during the fracking process, the report notes, pointing to cases in the US where waste water accidents have affected livestock and soil tests have revealed high levels of materials toxic to humans.

The unconventional gas industry argues that properly regulated fracking and gas extraction in general are safe, and that gas wells are constructed to ensure no gas leaks to neighbouring bores and aquifers."


  1. I guess the difference between "rhetoric and reality" is a lot more than they bargained for.


    Jakarta extends bans on co-operation

    .....Indonesia is insisting on a complex, six-step process to develop a “code of ethics” to govern the two countries’ relationship, before it resumes bilateral action on people smuggling and terrorism and re-engages on joint military exercises.

    Asked if the process was a “long road ahead,” Mr Natalegawa laughed and said: “Ah, the long and winding road — what’s that other song called? Sorry seems to be ….?”, in an apparent reference to the Elton John song, Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word.


    Tony Abbott refuses to back down over China comments

    Tony Abbott has refused to take a backward step in a deepening diplomatic spat with Beijing, declaring "China trades with us because it is in China's interest to trade with us".

    The unapologetic comments came after Beijing issued a stern warning to Canberra to "correct" its public statements which were seen as siding with Japan over disputed territory in the East China Sea............


    China military sends air patrols through new defence zone - Xinhua

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China's military sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft on patrol into disputed air space over the East China Sea on Thursday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported, quoting a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

    The move raises the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea over the zone. Japan and South Korea sent their own military aircraft through the air space on Thursday.

    The Chinese patrol mission was "a defensive measure and in line with international common practices," said Shen Jinke, a spokesman for China's air force, in the Xinhua article.

    Ties between China and Japan have been strained for months by the dispute over the islands in the East China Sea, called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan. The islands are currently under Japanese administrative control.

    China last week unilaterally announced that foreign aircraft - including passenger aircraft - passing over the islands would have to identify themselves to China.

    Earlier this week, Washington sent two unarmed B-52 bombers through the airspace without first informing Beijing, a sign of support for its ally Japan.

    Although there are risks of a confrontation in the defence zone, U.S. and Chinese military officials have stepped up communication with each other in recent years and are in regular contact to avoid accidental clashes breaking out.

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting China, Japan and South Korea next week, and will try to diffuse tensions over the issue, senior U.S. administration officials said.

    U.S. officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday's Chinese flight, which Xinhua described as "normal air patrols" in the new air defence zone Beijing has declared.

    The article said China's air force is "on high alert and will take measures to deal with diverse air threats to firmly protect the security of the country's airspace."

  2. Big Australia = Big Cost


    Key projects 'need $400bn', says Business Council of Australia

    BUSINESS is urging politicians to have an "honest conversation" with the community about the need for greater use of tolls and other user-pays charges, as well as more privatisations, to fund projects needed to lift productivity and deal with population growth.

    The Business Council of Australia will reveal today estimates that private spending needs to increase to $400 billion over the next decade to help deliver the $760bn or more that is needed for roads, railways, ports and utilities.

    = Too much rush = Too much Greed = Too many F*** ups


    Reef park alters position on port

    THE Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has quietly backed away from research it commissioned that claimed mud stirred up from dredging travelled farther than previously thought, in a move that makes the dredging of the coal port of Abbot Point more likely.

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt has to decide in the next fortnight whether Abbot Point, near Bowen in North Queensland, is to be dredged to allow an expansion of the port to support an increase in coal exports.


    Rio Tinto to suspend alumina production at Gove refinery

    MINING giant Rio Tinto will suspend alumina production at its Gove refinery in the Northern Territory, where 1,500 people are employed. The move follows years of negotiations with the Northern Territory and commonwealth governments over subsidised gas supplies to keep the loss-making refinery open.

    Rio Tinto says it will focus on its bauxite operations after determining the refinery is no longer a viable business in the current market environment.

    Rio Tinto will now work on the scope and phased timing of the suspension, it said in a statement.

    Rio chief executive Sam Walsh said it was a sad day for everyone associated with Gove and an extremely difficult decision that would have a significant impact on workers and the Northern Territory generally.



    WA must embrace FLNG: Shell

    Global oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell has put Premier Colin Barnett on notice over his opposition to floating LNG, saying WA risked losing the chance of playing host to the fledgling multibillion-dollar global industry.

    Shell's Australian chairman Andrew Smith, in a rare interview yesterday, urged Perth to embrace FLNG and become a "centre of excellence" for it.

    The comments from Mr Smith, who took over as chairman in June, come amid resistance from Mr Barnett to the use of FLNG, particularly in relation to gas in the Browse Basin off the Kimberley.

    In what has been labelled a world-first, Dutch-based Shell is building a full-scale FLNG production vessel and will use it to develop the Prelude gas field in the Browse Basin. Spurred on by the Prelude example, in April the Woodside-led Browse consortium, of which Shell is a member, axed plans for a gas hub at James Price Point near Broome in favour of FLNG. It said land-based processing was not viable and without FLNG, the development of the Browse project would be unlikely.

    Mr Smith said that given the FLNG industry was in its infancy it was looking for a home and Perth, as Australia's leading oil and gas centre, was perfectly placed to provide it. He cautioned that the opportunity would not last for ever.

    "Perth is already the oil and gas capital of Australia and what floating LNG brings is the opportunity for Perth to take that to the next level," Mr Smith said.

    "We already have involvements with various institutions including the University of Western Australia and Ocean Engineering.

    "FLNG is a new technology and there are opportunities to build a whole ecosystem around that." Shell has sent most of the construction work for the Prelude FLNG vessel to Asia but Mr Smith said Perth would be an ideal base for much of the design and engineering work.

    Mr Barnett declined to respond directly to Mr Smith's remarks but a spokeswoman said he had previously opposed FLNG because it did not offer the same social and economic benefits as land-based developments.


    Hope the Shire and the BCC are listening.


  4. The war on democracy

    In another case, the UK's Camp for Climate Action, which supports the decommissioning of coal-fired plants, was infiltrated by private security firm Vericola on behalf of three energy companies, E.ON, Scottish Power, and Scottish Resources Group.

    Reviewing emails released by Wikileaks from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor, the report shows how the firm reportedly "conducted espionage against human rights, animal rights and environmental groups, on behalf of companies such as Coca-Cola." In one case, the emails suggest that Stratfor investigated People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at Coca-Cola's request, and had access to a classified FBI investigation on PETA.

    The report uncovers compelling evidence that much corporate espionage is facilitated by government agencies, particularly the FBI. The CCP report examines a September 2010 document from the Office of the Inspector General in the US Justice Department, which reviewed FBI investigations between 2001 and 2006. It concluded that:

    "... the factual basis of opening some of the investigations of individuals affiliated with the groups was factually weak... In some cases, we also found that the FBI extended the duration of investigations involving advocacy groups or their members without adequate basis…. In some cases, the FBI classified some of its investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its 'Acts of Terrorism' classification."

    For instance, on an FBI investigation of Greenpeace, the Justice Department found that:

    "... the FBI articulated little or no basis for suspecting a violation of any federal criminal statute... the FBI's opening EC [electronic communication] did not articulate any basis to suspect that they were planning any federal crimes….We also found that the FBI kept this investigation open for over 3 years, long past the corporate shareholder meetings that the subjects were supposedly planning to disrupt... We concluded that the investigation was kept open 'beyond the point at which its underlying justification no longer existed,' which was inconsistent with the FBI's Manual of Investigative and Operational Guidelines (MIOG)."

    The FBI's involvement in corporate espionage has been institutionalised through 'InfraGard', "a little-known partnership between private industry, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security." The partnership involves the participation of "more than 23,000 representatives of private industry," including 350 of the Fortune 500 companies.

    But it's not just the FBI. According to the new report, "active-duty CIA operatives are allowed to sell their expertise to the highest bidder", a policy that gives "financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation's top-level intelligence talent. Little is known about the CIA's moonlighting policy, or which corporations have hired current CIA operatives."

  5. The war on democracy

    The report concludes that, due to an extreme lack of oversight, government effectively tends to simply "rubber stamp" such intelligence outsourcing:

    "In effect, corporations are now able to replicate in miniature the services of a private CIA, employing active-duty and retired officers from intelligence and/or law enforcement. Lawlessness committed by this private intelligence and law enforcement capacity, which appears to enjoy near impunity, is a threat to democracy and the rule of law. In essence, corporations are now able to hire a private law enforcement capacity - which is barely constrained by legal and ethical norms - and use it to subvert or destroy civic groups. This greatly erodes the capacity of the civic sector to countervail the tremendous power of corporate and wealthy elites."

    Gary Ruskin, author of the report, said:

    "Corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations is an egregious abuse of corporate power that is subverting democracy. Who will rein in the forces of corporate lawlessness as they bear down upon nonprofit defenders of justice?"

    That's a good question. Ironically, many of the same companies spearheading the war on democracy are also at war with planet earth - just last week the Guardian revealed that 90 of some of the biggest corporations generate nearly two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions and are thus overwhelmingly responsible for climate change.

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

    1. To read the first part of this article -

      The war on democracy

      You will have to go to :

      As strangely it will post but then vanishes again and again ???

      I will try 1 more time but otherwise try the link.

    2. And it's vanished again!

  6. Looks like it just won't give it up easy - and the Canning will be way more difficult.


    Export fears as gas wells fall short by: MATT CHAMBERS From: The Australian November 19

    DOUBTS about the ability of Queensland's coal seams to produce enough gas to feed Gladstone's LNG export plants are growing, with claims that many wells are not producing as expected and that more gas could be needed.

    The concerns, which have been rejected by the three proponents spending $70 billion on projects to export gas through Gladstone's Curtis Island, have now been backed up by Houston-based drilling supplier Superior Energy Services.


    Doubts raised over CSG well capacity to feed Curtis Island LNG plants

    20 November, 2013 Vicky Validakis

    Doubts have been raised over whether Queensland’s coal seam gas fields can produce enough to feed Curtis Island’s LNG export plants, with claims that many wells are not meeting production expectations.

    Houston-based drilling suppler, Superior Energy Services, said it is forecasting growth in the sunshine state on the back of poor well performance.

    The company, which employs more than 14,000 people worldwide and boasts a turnover of $US4bn says its eastern Australian business is set for a growth spurt, The Australian reported.

    "When we are talking to the operators in Queensland, we hear from them that the coal-seam gas (wells) that currently have been drilled are actually not meeting the production expectations," SES head of Asia Pacific, Ruud Boendermaker, told investors last week.

    "So what they have to do is to drill a lot more CSG wells in the next few years because of the commitments to the LNG trains that they are currently building in the north of Queensland."

    Boendermaker said the coal seams are not as homogeneous or permeable as expected, claiming this has led to poor well performance.

    SES did not say which projects needed more wells, or which areas in the state were experiencing issues, however the company’s Toowoomba office contracts to drillers rather than to the LNG proponents directly.

    The calls comes as a former executive for one of the projects told The Australian that the gas fields’ "sweet spots" had not been as large as anticipated.

    While it has been reported that a number of dry wells have been an issue for another proponent.

    However, the claims have been rubbished by the three proponents running the LNG projects at Gladstone.

    A Santos spokesman said drilling activity for the Santos Gladstone LNG project was on track and delivering consistent results.

    "We have a good understanding of the geology and there are no surprises," he said.

    While Origin said the gas required to run its Australia Pacific LNG joint venture is also running to schedule.

    "The project has a sufficient resource base to meet its gas requirements to service both domestic contracts and international LNG offtake agreements," a spokeswoman said.

    The LNG facilities being constructed on Curtis Island represent a $70 billion investment by their owners Santos, BG Group and Origin Energy/ConocoPhillips and will need thousands of upstream CSG wells to feed them

    QCLNG is the most advanced of the LNG projects on Curtis Island, with first gas expected in 2014.

    Many predict the LNG projects under construction will lift Australia from the fourth largest LNG producer to the first, knocking Qatar off its perch.

  7. Are Santos and Origin running low on coal seam gas?

    By Regan Pearson - November 21, 2013

    US drilling service company Superior Energy Services (SES) has reportedly made claims that coal seam gas, which is destined to drive some of the country’s largest LNG projects, is proving more elusive to obtain than initially expected.

    The Australian has reported that SES is anticipating growth in its eastern Australian division because more wells need to be drilled to produce the expected volumes of gas. Currently drilled wells are “not meeting the production expectations”, SES Asia Pacific head Ruud Boendermaker is quoted as saying.

    And there are a lot of wells to be drilled. British natural gas company BG Group, which owns Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG), is drilling 70 new wells per month in order to achieve 2000 by the end of 2014.

    The other big projects in the area include Gladstone LNG (GLNG) being undertaken by Santos (ASX: STO) and APLNG which is owned in part by Origin Energy (ASX: ORG). Both projects are targeting coal seams in the Surat and Bowen Basins.

    While no specific project was mentioned by SES, it’s worth noting that there are always uncertainties with drilling. They can’t all be winners and targeting coal seam gas in particular is brand new to Australia so hiccups are to be expected.

    Though unlikely, if there was a shortage of gas it could represent a huge opportunity for energy producers chasing natural gas in the Cooper Basin, the region that intersects Queensland and South Australia, as an additional source of supply.

    Santos already has a gas production plant in Moomba, but several smaller operators including Drillsearch (ASX: DLS) and Senex Energy (ASX: SXY) own considerable prospective acreage, but currently lack the infrastructure to process gas discoveries.

    These smaller operators could become prime targets for supply deals or potential targets if the big energy companies running the plants needed to tap into extra supply.

    Foolish takeaway

    It is extremely unlikely that the companies facilitating Queensland’s giant LNG projects would push ahead with final investment decisions, risking billions of dollars, for less than certain results. Costs may rise if additional wells need to be drilled, but with two huge basins to cover won’t hit success every time.

  8. ENB

    New doubts over CSG well numbers
    Friday, 29 November 2013
    David Upton

    New doubts have emerged about the ability of Queensland’s coal seam gas wells to meet expectations with a release of a report by Energy Skills Queensland.


    AND nothing is ever easy or for free.

    Another Gorgon milestone with CO2 drilling starting

    Friday, 29 November 2013

    DRILLING has started on the carbon dioxide injection project for the Gorgon LNG project on Barrow Island.


    Underground Carbon Dioxide Injections Triggered Earthquakes in Texas in 2009-2011

    A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences correlates 93 small earthquakes near Snyder, Texas between 2009 and 2011 with the underground injection of large volumes of gas, primarily carbon dioxide.

    The study focused on an area of northwest Texas with three large oil and gas fields – the Cogdell field, the Salt Creek field and the Scurry Area Canyon Reef Operators Committee unit – which have all produced petroleum since the 1950s.

    Operators began injecting carbon dioxide in the Scurry Area Canyon Reef Operators Committee field in 1971 to boost petroleum production, a process known as Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery.

    In the Cogdell field, operators began the process in 2001, with a significant increase starting in 2004.

    Because carbon dioxide has been injected at large volumes for many years, U.S. Department of Energy has funded research in this region to explore the potential impacts of carbon capture and storage, a proposed technique for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide and injecting it deep underground for long-term storage.

    Using seismic data collected between March 2009 and December 2010 by the EarthScope USArray Program, a National Science Foundation-funded network of broadband seismometers deployed from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, study co-authors identified 93 earthquakes in the Cogdell area from March 2009 to December 2010, three of which were greater than magnitude 3. An even larger earthquake, with magnitude 4.4, occurred in Cogdell in September 2011.

    Using data on injections and extractions of fluids and gases, they concluded that the earthquakes were correlated with the increase in Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery in Cogdell.

    “What’s interesting is we have an example in Cogdell field, but there are other fields nearby that have experienced similar carbon dioxide flooding without triggering earthquakes,” said co-author Dr Cliff Frohlich from University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics.

    “So the question is: Why does it happen in one area and not others?”

    He said one possible explanation for the different response to gas injection in the three fields might be that there are geological faults in the Cogdell area that are primed and ready to move when pressures from large volumes of gas reduce friction on these faults. The other two fields might not have such faults.

    “An important next step in understanding seismic risks for proposed carbon capture and storage projects would be to create geological models of Cogdell and other nearby fields to better understand why they respond differently to gas injection.”


    Bibliographic information: Wei Gana and Cliff Frohlich. Gas injection may have triggered earthquakes in the Cogdell oil field, Texas. PNAS, published online November 4, 2013; doi:10.1073/pnas.1311316110


    1. Not even shale oil.


      50 jobs go as oil shale pilot plant closes

      27 November, 2013

      Around 50 workers will be axed from Gladstone’s oil shale demonstration facility as the plant goes into care and maintenance.

      Queensland Energy Resources (QER) was planning to convert the plant into a commercial oil shale operation but failed to secure the billion dollar investment required.

      QER began the two-year development program in October 2011 and successfully produced high quality ultra-low sulphur diesel and aviation fuel for testing and certification.

      However QER chief Pearce Bowman says investors see Australia as a costly place to do business, The Bulletin reported.

      "It was hoped that we could move through with that investment into the next stage," Bowman said.

      "That hasn't happened - we'll be continuing to look for that investment.

      "In the meantime, the decision - as difficult as it is - has been taken to gradually close the demonstration plant."

      Bowman complimented the plant’s staff for their hard work.

      "I am very grateful for their efforts and achievements in demonstrating that oil shale can be developed in harmony with the community and environment," he said.

      "Our plant has not only operated extremely well for more than two years, it has done so without a single complaint from the community."

      Bowman said the oil technology would be required in the future, and was hopeful of finding a determined investor.

      "We hope to find a partner who shares our view that the current Brent oil price of almost US$110 per barrel represents a reality about oil supplies that is likely to persist, in contrast to the substantial oil price decline currently assumed by global commodity markets," he said.


      Look out BURU !


  9. Racism in the mines.


    Miner defends its bullying processes amid breach of care allegations

    29 November, 2013 Vicky Validakis

    Jellinbah Resources say it is committed to ensuring workers at its mines receive support in the face of bullying amid allegations a woman suffered serious psychological damage due to racial abuse on site.

    In a claim before the Rockhampton Supreme Court the Indigenous woman alleges her co-workers subjected her to intimidating behaviour and bullying during her work at the site and is seeking $1 million in damages.

    The 54-year-old Mackay woman worked as a dump truck driver at Jellinbah mine between 2010 and 2011.

    According to the claim the woman was often the brunt of racial taunts, sworn at and humiliated by other worker.

    It is alleged these workers did not want her at the mine and made false complaints about her competence as a dump truck driver.

    In one instance it is claimed co-workers threatened to push her truck off a steep embankment while she was in it.

    “Jellinbah takes the matter of workplace bullying and harassment very seriously,” the company said in an emailed statement.

    The miner says it has very robust systems and support processes in place to assist any person who feels they may be the subject of bullying or harassment, with training conducted during induction.

    The company says it did not become aware of the allegations until after the woman had finished working at the site, saying it will be defending the claim.

    The woman is suing Jellinbah Resources who own the mine, contract company Watpac Civil and Mining and a recruitment agency on the grounds of negligence and a breach of duty of care.

    Solicitor George Cowan, who is representing the woman, said his client was exposed to "unacceptable work practices".

    "She is unable to return to the mining industry due to her psychiatric injuries," Cowan said.

  10. Workers have rallied outside WesTrac's Perth headquarters over the loss of more than 400 jobs

    The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has staged a rally outside the Perth headquarters of WesTrac in Guildford to protest against the sacking of more than 400 workers.

    The Union said WesTrac had blamed a downturn in the mining industry for sacking more than half its workforce, including 75 apprentices.

    The AMWU's state secretary, Steve McCartney, said they were being sacked a month before Christmas despite WesTrac telling them recently that if they accepted a low wage increase it would help save jobs.

    "They are all very frightened because there's 435 of these guys going missing and they've got 457 [visa] workers in there and what we're saying is, if they're surplus skills labour then why are you getting rid of Australian citizens and getting rid of Australian labor," he said.


    Who's running the show ?


    Woodside exec named new WesTrac boss

    26 November, 2013
    Seven Group Holdings has announced it is appointing a new chief executive for its subsidiary WesTrac Australia.

    Currently Chairman of Woodside Energy, Jarvas Croome will head up WesTrac from April 2014.

    Seven Group managing director and chief executive Don Voelte said Croome’s practical experience developing and managing people in the resources and technology industry stacks up.

    “Having worked with him before, I know he has a terrific grasp of technical and production aspects of the sectors in which we operate and that couples with outstanding commercial and management capabilities,” Veolte said.

  11. Japex plans new Japanese import terminal at Fukushima for Canadian LNG cargoes

    Thursday, 28 November 2013

    Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. will build a new LNG import terminal for cargoes from Canada at Soma Port in Fukushima Prefecture, near the scene of the 2011 nuclear disaster, and which would give the nation 34 import facilities.


    China Deal Promotes B.C. as Investment Destination for LNG Projects

    As part of her business trip to China B.C: Premier Christy Clark witnessed Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat sign an agreement between the ministry and the Sichuan Department of Commerce to further enhance economic relations and explore areas of potential co-operation.

    The agreement also promotes B.C. as an ideal investment destination for LNG projects.

    On Nov. 25, Premier Clark witnessed Wat sign an agreement between the ministry and the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission (COFTEC). The agreement highlights the commitment from both the B.C. government and COFTEC to promote trade and investment links between the two jurisdictions.

  12. Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
    Where justice is a game.

    Bob Dylan



    Move-on notices 'used wrongly'

    The architect of move-on notices says they have become an "abuse of power" by WA Police amid statistics showing 40 per cent of people banned from an area for 24 hours are Aboriginal.

    Jim McGinty, State Labor attorney-general from 2001-2008, said he was disappointed move-on notices had evolved into "a law aimed at Aboriginal people", which was never intended when he introduced them in 2006.

    It is understood that that one homeless Aboriginal man, Ricky Louis Indich, has received 463 move-on notices since the law came into effect, including at a CBD park where a charity was operating a soup kitchen in June last year.

    Figures tabled in Parliament show that by 2009 Aboriginal people were receiving 34 per cent of the 20,300 move-on notices.

    That has risen to 40 per cent of the 22,500 orders issued to November this year.

    Mr McGinty said move-on notices were introduced to help defuse antisocial behaviour that was threatening to escalate into a danger to people or property, not as a "first resort" for police.

    "The type of thing I envisaged is the cops get called to a party, they can tell it's starting to get out of hand, issue a few move-on notices, tell people to go home, and then they don't have to bring the tactical response group in," he said.

    "It requires a measure of discretion and it seems that the totally disproportionate use against Aboriginal people most probably means the policing practices need to be reviewed."

    Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said he would not review the application of move-on notices.

    "One of the key objectives of the system is to divert people from the court process using alternative non-judicial means," he said.

    "The number of notices issued is a reflection of their value as a court diversion process."

    Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington said the increasing urbanisation of the CBD had increased the number of residents who wanted Aboriginal people hidden from view.
    He branded the notices a form of "ethnic cleansing".

    1. Court order 'a waste of time'

      A magistrate has branded the State's attempt to slap a prohibited behaviour order on a homeless man who fell asleep in court as a "waste of time and paper" because the itinerant would simply ignore it.

      Paul Heaney said there was no chance the Aboriginal drifter would observe a PBO banning him from areas in the CBD under threat of jail or a $6000 fine, noting he "wouldn't have six cents on him".

      Ricky Louis Indich - revealed by The West Australian yesterday to have received 463 move-on notices since 2006 - was the subject of a separate PBO application by the State Solicitor's Office in May, court transcripts reveal.

      Mr Heaney said a PBO would "just create another offence for Mr Indich to commit" to go with multiple convictions for failing to obey police or attend court and breaching bail and move-on notices.

      "Mr Indich's situation is the very situation that makes these PBOs completely irrelevant to him," Mr Heaney said, halting proceedings at one point so the transcript could note the defendant was "asleep on the bench, snoring".

      When SSO lawyer Ilse Petersen argued it was speculation to conclude a PBO would not improve Mr Indich's behaviour and prevent him from visiting parts of the CBD, where he lived, Mr Heaney was emphatic.

      "You can put your money on it," he said. "It's silly to expect Mr Indich to be taking this map around with him everywhere he goes and that he can go in Wellington street, he can't walk up and down Barrack Street." The SSO withdrew the application after accepting Mr Indich, a solvent-abusing alcoholic, may not have understood the proceedings.

      PBOs, which ban repeat antisocial offenders from certain areas and activities and publish recipients' details on a website, have grown from nine last December to 34.

      They can be sought after two or more "trigger" offences within three years, which for Mr Indich were swearing at police moving him on from a park with a soup kitchen and failing to obey a police order in 2012.

      The number of PBOs and move-on notices recorded against Aboriginals during the past two years outnumber all other nationalities combined.

      Shadow attorney-general John Quigley said three WA Police and four SSO staff were working full-time on PBOs when "all they do is make criminals out of nuisances".

      Attorney-General Michael Mischin said he had sought a briefing from the SSO on the circumstances of the application against Mr Indich.

  14. Heed law of the sea and set a fair Timor border

    Tom Clarke

    Only a permanent boundary will provide certainty for the vast resources to be exploited.

    Indonesia isn't the only country in our region upset about Australia's spying. East Timor has accused Australia not just of spying on it, but of doing so for economic gain. Earlier this year, East Timor launched an arbitration process arguing that a key treaty concerning lucrative oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea was not valid because Australia had spied on Timor's negotiating team and bugged the Timorese cabinet room.

    The airing of the allegations last week on the ABC's 7.30 along with comments by East Timor's Secretary of State, Agio Pereira, suggest East Timor may even be prepared to scuttle existing temporary resource-sharing agreements in an attempt to bring Australia back to the negotiating table in the hope of securing a permanent and more equitable solution.

    It's becoming increasingly clear that the Abbott government must finish the job in the Timor Sea and establish permanent maritime boundaries with East Timor. Only permanent boundaries can put a stop to niggling disputes over contested gas and oil resources and also provide certainty for the companies wanting to exploit them.

    Saying Australia has an extremely mixed record when it comes to its role in the history of East Timor is somewhat of an understatement.

    Many hoped the Australian-led peacekeeping mission in 1999 would not only be a great redeeming act, but would mark the beginning of a new era in which Australia would finally and unreservedly respect the sovereignty of its tiny neighbour. However, three years later, in 2002, two months before East Timor's independence, Australia made a decision that set a very different tone. It withdrew its recognition of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

    By turning its back on the independent umpire, Australia knew East Timor would have no legal avenue to stop Australia from unilaterally depleting contested oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. This gave Australia an immense advantage when it begrudgingly agreed to sit down at the negotiating table in 2005.

    East Timor, understandably, like any sovereign country, wanted to establish permanent maritime boundaries and it wanted to do so in accordance with international law. Australia had other ideas and successfully jostled Timor into yet another temporary resource-sharing agreement that required the establishment of permanent boundaries to be postponed for 50 years.

    At the beginning of 2006 the two countries signed the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea, which would split 50-50 the upstream revenues to be generated by the massive Greater Sunrise gas field.

    The field, which is expected to generate about $40 billion in government revenues, lies just over 100 kilometres from East Timor's coastline. If permanent maritime boundaries were established in accordance with current international law the field would lie entirely within East Timor's exclusive economic zone.

  15. Heed law of the sea and set a fair Timor border

    Since the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, international law has strongly favoured median line boundaries between countries less than 400 nautical miles apart - that is, draw a line halfway between the two countries' coastlines.

    While there are 80 examples of the median line resolving such claims, there is only one exception; the 1972 Australian-Indonesian seabed boundary.

    Further, in 2004, when Australia and New Zealand established a maritime boundary to resolve overlapping claims off Norfolk Island, Australia agreed to a median line boundary. Evidently, adhering to current international law is easier when billions of dollars in government royalties from oil and gas resources are not at stake.

    Australia's belated intervention in 1999 is often touted as one of prime minister John Howard's great achievements during his time in office - including by Mr Howard himself. But if the goodwill and spirit of mateship that Australia's peacekeeping missions have helped foster are to mean anything, we must stop short-changing East Timor when it comes to its oil and gas resources.

    Since 1999 the Australian government has possibly taken more in contested oil and gas royalties than it has given to East Timor in combined military and humanitarian aid. This is not about charity. It's not about helping East Timor out. The people of East Timor simply want what they are legally entitled to - no more, no less.

    Establishing permanent maritime boundaries with East Timor in accordance with international law is Tony Abbott's one chance to preserve the legacy of his mentor's intervention.

    Setting permanent boundaries in accordance with international law is the right thing to do, but it will also provide more economic certainty for both countries and for the companies seeking to develop the contested oil and gas resources.

    Support in Australia for our East Timorese neighbours runs deep. Calls for a fairer deal rooted in the principles of current international law are likely to resonate with many Australians who will refuse to accept the inherent injustice of allowing a wealthy and powerful country such as ours to try to deprive one of the poorest countries of its own natural resources.

    Tom Clarke is a spokesman for the Timor Sea Justice Campaign.

  16. Gas majors, hot air and supply

    Question: what do drop bears and the east-coast gas shortage have in common?

    Answer: they are both great Aussie myths.

    The story of the drop bear is designed to scare American tourists and small children; not necessarily in that order. The story of the east-coast gas shortage is designed to scare communities and governments into fast-tracking mining projects.

    Some of these projects, unfortunately, are reckless coal seam gas (CSG) ventures.

    It is convenient for gas producers to talk up the line about a supply shortage. The talk alone is forcing prices up. The producers win.

    Truth is, there is plenty of gas about. There is no supply problem. There is a value problem. It is worth more to ship the stuff to Asia.

    Exxon Mobil itself recently said there was no crisis in supply. The real issue was infrastructure constraints. What was needed to resolve prospective gas shortages in NSW were upgrades to pipelines and storage facilities.

    If there is a big squeeze in coming years it will entirely be the fault of governments, Queensland's in particular, which have failed to earmark enough gas for the local market.

    Two things can be done, and should be done, to stave off escalating gas prices. The first is to introduce a ''domestic reservation policy'' so the nation's natural endowment can be directed firstly, and more cheaply, into the local economy. Selling gas to Japan and China may mean higher prices for producers but the upward pressure feeds through into higher energy costs for the domestic market.


    The second thing needed to ensure supply is to bring in a ''use it or lose it'' policy to prevent mining companies from hogging prospective ground - keeping their rivals off it and keeping commodity prices up.

    The most celebrated failure - thanks to the lack of a ''use it or lose it'' regime - is the delay to the Olympic Dam project in South Australia. This monster has a life-of-mine of 100 years but the new BHP boss is now talking up potash as his ''fifth pillar''. Not good news for South Australia, or the national economy for that matter.

    ''Use it or lose it'' will solve a lot of problems, and not just in gas. Former Liberal minister Peter Reith, in the brief to government on coal seam gas - which has now been effectively sidelined by Victoria's decision to extend its moratorium on CSG mining - called for a consideration of a ''use it or lose it'' regime.In gas, ironies abound. A feature by BusinessDay's Peter Ker on Saturday described how BHP Billiton and Exxon Mobil stay mum on their Bass Strait oil and gas reserves. This too contributes to the hysteria over a gas shortage.

    The worrying thing is that the gas producers have been able so effectively to shut down any debate over a domestic gas reservation policy.

    A debate, or a review of the economics and the national interest, at least, is a no-brainer.

    Meanwhile, the gas producers aggressively push for CSG to be expedited before the science and the prospective environmental damage have been properly thought through.

    In its submission to the parliamentary gas inquiry, Santos proposed that its Narrabri project use existing infrastructure where possible to minimise the time required to deliver gas to market and connect the project into the existing Moomba-Sydney Pipeline.

    To this effect, construction of new transmission pipeline systems would still be required in order to transport gas from in and around the Pilliga Forest area to the pipeline. It is envisaged that the first phase of the project could deliver more than 100 terajoules a day, or in excess of 25 per cent of NSW annual gas demand, to the NSW market as early as 2017 should construction start today.

    But what hope is there even of construction starting in two years, what with the myriad approvals, the community opposition, the engineering and construction period and so forth? Very little. Realistically, this looks more like 2020.

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