Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Laurel Formation Tight Gas Pilot Exploration Program

People have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. The Canning Basin is a natural resource is the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the state should conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

Concerns with fracking of shale include the potential contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the potential migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, the potential mishandling of waste, and the health effects of these, such as cancer. Many cases of suspected groundwater contamination have been documented. With the explosive threat of natural gas in the public exposure to the many chemicals involved in Canning Basin is expected to increase over the next few years in our community, with uncertain consequences.
Buru's Yulleroo tailing dam

The wording Pilot Exploration Program is clearly and simply a corporate managed propaganda, designed to deceive the general public of their true intentions. Buru undertook their pilot program in 2010 – 2013 these activities planned in 2014 are for oil/ gas extractions and infrastructure development. The gas obtained will be marketed.

Buru’s fracking proposal is to undertake over 32 fractures in four existing wells on the Roebuck Wetlands in 2014, two on Roebuck Plains and two in the Fitzroy River Valley.

Public Perception of the EPA
No matter how hard this government and the EPA tried to sweep all their dirty deals and dealings under the carpet in regards to the James Price Point (JPP), this decadal lifted a corner of that carpet only to reveal an infestation of corruption and injustice, for all to see.

The Brome community still holds this incredible mistrust of the EPA. It is believed that the EPA holds more reverence for their close   association the oil and gas players then they have ever shown to the environment, or a healthy society in recent years.

Our community and the WA public has seen absolutely no consequences for: the serious betrayal of community trust of public servants, the duplicity of government departments and the imprudent of state ministers who can tick the box but cannot dot their I’s or cross their T’s. We have seen the manipulation of process, the total lack of any consequences for serious conflicts of interest and the million of dollars and hours that were squandered throughout the JPP story by the current EPA Board.

The Broome community now holds no trust in the purported impassivity, professionalism or independence of the WA EPA. 
Buru's Yulleroo tailings dam
There is a very strong view that the EPA is not working for the protection of the environment but are the handmaidens of the corporations and their government masters. Protecting the environment is in all reality the last thing on this government’s department’s agenda.

There were no penalties for the fraudulent discharge of executive and ministerial duty?  No one’s head rolled,  no board positions were made vacant, no resignations and no enquiry into the EPA or policy changers have been undertaken. No member of the EPA has showed any moral or ethical fortitude by resigning from his or her position. And the Minister at the time was given anew portfolio.

That fact that there were no consequences for this appalling behavior of public deception has not been forgotten and as a consequence there is no confidence and trust held for the EPA in the public’s eyes. 

The conflicts of interest were no surprise to the Environment Minister. Not only did the courts overturn the JJP EPA’s decision because of the conflicts of interest fiasco it casted serious doubts over a number of other project approvals.

The EPA’s decision not to assess the Laurel Formation Tight Gas has only validated these widely held community suspicion and scepticism about the current integrity of the EPA.
The EPA has failed to assess a number of gas fracking proposals despite the very high community concerns held, evidence of unacceptable environmental risks and a lack of effective regulations, monitoring and or compliance.

To many it seems that instead of protecting the environment, the approach the EPA has been taking, whether strategic or not, simply facilitates destroying and polluting our land, water and wildlife.
Buru's Yulleroo tailings dam
By providing legitimacy for destructive policies and projects, it may be argued that the EPA’s actions are undermining the democratic process by making it more difficult for community and civil society to hold governments to account for poor environmental decisions.
The inevitable consequence is a fundamental breakdown of community confidence in the EPA – an outcome that does not serve government or industry, and certainly does not serve the environment.

The EPA’s knowledge of our environment is by no means complete. We are all still learning how our marine and terrestrial ecosystems function. We are still trying to understand the short and long term consequences of pressures such as pollution, climate change, and our history of land clearing.

The State of the Environment Report  provided a snapshot of our environmental health. It showed that air quality and the marine environment were, overall, in reasonable shape. However, it also showed that our waterways, wetlands, biodiversity, and land resources, were under significant pressure.

That’s where the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) plays an important role. It has the duty – on behalf of all Western Australians – to rigorously assess development proposals to determine what impacts they are likely to have, and whether those impacts are able to be managed to an acceptable level.

The EPA has not based its decision on any of its own analysis, has not drawn on the best scientific advice from other areas of Government, academia and the private sector.

After watching the EPAs dealings over several years it has been become clear that the environment that should be highly valued and protected, however the EPA has been total lacking in their duty of care and legislated requirements.


  1. For the Canning Basin the words to underline are :

    "Browse better get its costs down and get them down dramatically or there'll be no Browse. And Woodside and its partners better re-focus their calculations of project returns on a new, lower, pricing formula."

    Cost cost cost.............
    Location location location..................


    From BCNGC


    LNG goes into the (floating) melting pot

    Terry McCrann •
    Herald Sun •
    January 29, 2014 12:00AM

    THERE were two huge, certainly challenging and potentially disturbing messages in what might have seemed a statement of the bleeding obvious from one of Australia's oldest and biggest foreign resource industry customers and investors.

    The Japanese Mitsui company was reported in the financial media as backing Woodside Petroleum's plan to switch from an onshore plant at James Price Point in Western Australia's Pilbara, to a floating platform for its Browse liquefied natural gas project.

    What Mitsui actually said, at least so far as the detail of its statement was reported, was both something less and also significantly more than that.

    Mitsui didn't actively "back" the Woodside switch. What it was reported as saying was something much closer to a mere description of events, something more Delphic and polite, Japanese style.

    That: "we do not believe that the change of development concept to a floating LNG has an impact on the interest from LNG buyers".

    Now at core, that's the most basic statement of the bleeding obvious. If somebody wants to buy Browse gas, what the heck would they care whether their tankers tied up at a floating platform or a wharf?

    If the switch is going to have an "impact" on the "interest" of anyone, it will be the interest of the partners in the project - of which apart from Woodside, one of the biggest is the very same Mitsui, which in partnership with fellow trading house Mitsubishi, outlaid a cool $2 billion to buy a 14.7 per cent stake in the Browse project.

    Their "interest" is in getting the project up and running; and then making a profit on their investment - albeit, an interest qualified by their linked but separate interests as customers.

    As they've always done, Mitsui and Mitsubishi - MiMi in shorthand - wear two hats in these big resource developments. Those of founding shareholders, and of major customers, on-selling the product to end-users in Japan.

    The combination has been critical in our resources development going right back to the early projects in the 1950s. This is because they crucially link long-term customers and so take-it-to-the-bank long-term revenue streams, and important equity contributions to the project funding.

    It is not stretching matters to state that without MiMi, those early iron ore and coal - and later, LNG - developments, would not have got off the ground. At the very least, they would have been delayed by years if not decades.

    It has of course been an outstanding exercise in mutually shared individual best interests, precisely utilising Japanese business dynamics, structures and relationships, merged with US and British financial institutions and markets.

    One of the, again, very Japanese, flavours of these dynamics over the years, has been to never, NEVER, criticise Australian governments. MiMi has always politely accommodated the demands of and rules set by Australian governments, whether federal or state.

    In this context the Mitsui statement was very significant. Albeit understated, it was a major and quite direct "disagreement" with the WA state government and Premier Colin Barnett in person.

  2. LNG goes into the (floating) melting pot

    For Barnett has been absolutely opposed to the switch, demanding Woodside and its partners stay at James Price Point. Mitsui all-but said that would be a "development not to our advantage".

    That in itself was huge. So also were the unstated messages. That Mitsui - and Mitsubishi - would walk away from their $2 billion investment if Browse wasn't commercial. Browse would have to live or die in an increasingly competitive - tough - global context.

    Just because MiMi were shareholders, just because they had $2 billion on the line, wouldn't guarantee they would buy gas from Browse. Indeed, they've already cancelled their agreement to buy LNG from the project after the switch.

    In a broader sense, that signalled a shift from the traditional trading house involvement in our resources development; where they DID subsidise projects to get them off the ground, with the quid pro quo of long term resources supply certainty.

    But it also much more directly and brutally reflected the two central realities of 21st century resources projects developments - especially for LNG.

    The first is our exploding costs, a mix of high labour costs and punitive red, green and black tape.

    At core, that's what killed James Price Point. When Woodside pulled the plug, I suggested that it signalled there would never be another major greenfields resources project in Australia once the current crop of projects was completed.

    If Browse was ever going to be developed it could only be via a floating platform - where most of the development cost was incurred in Singapore or South Korea.

    The second reality is the explosion in - cheap - shale gas in the US. It is now becoming much clearer that some of that is going to flow into export markets and especially into Asia.

    It promises to do two things. Increase LNG availability and disconnect - brutally, reduce - the price of LNG relative to crude oil. This could have a profound impact on the profitability of ALL Australian LNG projects, most pointedly on the new coal seam ones in Queensland and the traditional new ones off the north and western coast.

    In the plainest possible ways consistent with Japanese expression, Mitsui's "support" for a floating Browse, combined with its re-calibration of its contract discussions - in both directions, as a buyer from Browse and a seller to customers in Japan - "said" two things.

    Browse better get its costs down and get them down dramatically or there'll be no Browse. And Woodside and its partners better re-focus their calculations of project returns on a new, lower, pricing formula

    1. Petronas, Murphy Make FLNG FID (Malaysia)

      Posted on Feb 3rd, 2014 with tags FID, FLNG, Make, Malaysia, Murphy, News, Petronas .

      Petronas, Murphy Make FLNG FID

      Petronas and Murphy Oil have made the final investment decision to proceed with their floating liquefaction project at the Rotan field in Malaysia, Platts reported citing Murphy’s CEO Roger Jenkins as saying.

      Murphy is the operator of Block H offshore Sabah, where the gas will be sourced, while Petronas will operate the 1.5 million mt/year FLNG facility.

      “We are planning on first gas in 2018 with a 10-year peak gas rate near 207 million [cubic feet] a day gross or 150 million [cubic feet] per day net,” Jenkins said.

      This will be Petronas’ second FLNG project while the company already has one FLNG facility under construction at DSME’s shipyard.

  3. Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

    Greens to appeal fracking decision

    Greens MP Robin Chapple says his party will appeal the EPA’s decision not to assess Buru’s fracking program. Robin Chapple MLC The program targets two wells on Roebuck Plains, about 80km from Broome, and two that are located in the Fitzroy River catchment between Derby and Fitzroy Crossing. “Apart from one well that was hydraulically fractured in 2010, the practice of fracking is entirely new to the Kimberley, and locals are understandably nervous,” Mr Chapple said.

    - See more at: http://www.kimberleypage.com.au/2014/01/greens-to-appeal-fracking-decision/#more-33336

  4. The competition goes up another notch and Barnett's insane dreams of Dubai and Qatar slip further away.


    Novatek: Russia to Be Major LNG Producer

    Russia could be producing as much LNG as world’s top LNG producer Qatar within 10 years as its state and private companies speed up projects, Reuters cited Leonid Mikhelson, chief executive and co-owner of Novatek, as saying.

    “In Russia, we have LNG projects being developed by us, Gazprom and Rosneft. It would be a mistake to think that all these projects will be competing with each other,” Mikhelson said.

    “Given the expansion of LNG markets, Russia could have twice as many projects as it has today and those volumes would still find their customers. On a 10-year horizon, Russia simply must build up to 80 million tonnes of LNG capacity,” he added.

    Novatek is the operator of the Yamal LNG project, one of Russia’s largest resource projects. As part of this project, a major integrated complex for the liquefaction of natural gas will be built that will have a design production capacity of 16.5 million tons per annum. The three process trains that will make up this complex will have an annual production output of 5.5 million tons each, and are planned to be commissioned in 2016, 2017, and 2018.


    Canadian LNG is unprecedented opportunity to benefit from shale

    British Columbia faces an unprecedented opportunity to develop its shale gas resources, build natural gas pipelines and construct liquefaction facilities to reach world markets. However, multiple factors may lead to intense competition for BC in Asian markets.


    Shell advances large-scale LNG Canada project and outlines basis of the venture

    Scalable supplies of unconventional gas in North Eastern British Columbia, coupled with an increasingly supportive investment climate, provide a significant stimulus to Canadian LNG export projects.


    Remember Don Voelte saying about LNG - "CSG will never compete with conventional gas"?

    He may have been right - amazing as he got just about everything else wrong!


    The man who was ignored about coal-seam LNG economics

    Tuesday, 28 January 2014

    COME back Don, all is forgiven! It is not something anyone has said yet, but as Slugcatcher was reading about Royal Dutch Shell’s likely dumping of the Arrow LNG project in Queensland he was reminded of the warnings from Don Voelte four years ago.


  5. Record dry spell for parched Perth

    It has been a very dry summer for Perth so far, with only three days of rain since November - a record, according to the Weather Bureau.

    From November to last month only 12.2mm of rain fell in the metropolitan area.

    November had falls of 10.2mm but December had only 1.8mm of rain and last month 0.2mm was recorded.

    The average rainfall for the three-month period is 45.3mm.


    January was England's wettest winter month in almost 250 years

    Last month's seasonal total was higher than any since 1767 and three times the average level

    The deluge that has engulfed southern and central England in recent weeks is the worst winter downpour in almost 250 years, according to figures from the world's longest-running weather station.

    The rainfall measured at the historic Radcliffe Meteorological Station at Oxford University in January was greater than for any winter month since daily recording began there in 1767, and three times the average amount.


    Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst

    “We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” said B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

    With each parched sunrise, a sense of alarm is rising amid signs that this is a drought that comes along only every few centuries. Sacramento had gone 52 days without water, and Albuquerque had gone 42 days without rain or snow as of Saturday.

    The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which supplies much of California with water during the dry season, was at just 12 percent of normal last week, reflecting the lack of rain or snow in December and January.

    “When we don’t have rainfall in our biggest two months, you really are starting off bad,” said Dar Mims, a meteorologist with the Air Resources Board.


    Arctic city hopes to cash in as melting ice opens new sea route to China

    Thaw in temperatures brought by climate change could bring benefits for Siberian city of Nadym as global trade patterns shift

    Only 71 large ships, working mostly with Russian icebreakers, navigated the route in 2013, but Russia expects a 30-fold increase in shipping by 2020 and ice-free water over most of its length by 2050. The summer ice has declined by nearly 50% in 40 years and by 2050, say Laurence Smith and Scott Stephenson of the University of California, ordinary vessels should be able to travel easily along the northern sea route and ice-strengthened ships should be able to pass over the pole itself.

    "Ten per cent of the world's unexploited crude oil and 20% of its natural gas is said to be in the Arctic. Recent changes because of climate change are attracting people in Japan. We want to actively participate. We are researching the Arctic sea route," said Toshio Kunikata, the Japanese ambassador in charge of Arctic affairs.

    "A great chess game is being played with countries staking claims to the Arctic to make sure they are not left out. Climate change is taking place at twice the global average speed in the Arctic. Some countries, like China, are looking 50 years ahead," said Malte Humpert, director of the Washington-based thinktank the Arctic Institute.

    "Our children will be the first generation in modern history to experience an entirely new ocean opening up. The Arctic has now become a true strategic hot spot at the centre of global interest. The high north embodies high stakes. A paradigm shift in international politics is taking place."

    1. Flooding experts say Britain will have to adapt to climate change – and fast

      UK won't be able to defend everywhere against flooding and higher sea levels. So what does that mean for Somerset Levels?

      "You are looking at retreat," says Prof Colin Thorne, a flooding expert at the University of Nottingham. "It is the only sensible policy – it makes no sense to defend the indefensible." This assessment of how the UK will have to adapt to its increasing flood risk is stark, but is shared by virtually all those who work on the issue.

      Centuries of draining wetlands, reclaiming salt marshes and walling in rivers is being put into reverse by climate change, which is bringing fiercer storms, more intense downpours and is pushing up sea levels. Sea walls are now being deliberately allowed to be breached, with new defences built further back, and fields turned into lakes to slow the rush of the water, as flood management turns back towards natural methods.

      Thorne says the strategy of once more "making space for water" has been around for a decade, but the urgency of implementing it has increased sharply. "We thought then we were talking about the 2030s, but it is all happening a heck of a lot quicker."

      Large parts of southern England had their wettest January ever recorded, the Met Office announced on Thursday, and the Somerset Levels, much of which is below sea level, have been inundated for weeks. "I have enormous sympathy for these people," says Thorne. But he thinks the 1,000-year history of keeping the sea out of the area is coming to the end. "Can the Somerset Levels be defended between now and the end of the century? No," he says.

      Hannah Cloke, a flooding expert at the University of Reading, agrees: "We could make the choice to protect the Levels forever, but that is going to take a lot of resources. My gut feeling is that you are going to have to let that be a marshland in the end. But people live there and have their livelihoods there, so it is very tricky." Cloke says greatest priority across the country is giving people the help they need to adjust to more frequent floods, from warnings and emergency planning down to home-level protection, such as water-absorbing green roofs and porous paving stones. She points to a small but growing trend of riverbank homes being raised on stilts.

      "We have to realise we cannot defend at all costs. We have to adapt to climate change," says Professor Rob Duck, a coastal expert at the University of Dundee, noting that Hull, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Sussex and the Wirral are places at risk. "Building higher and higher walls is not the answer." Big flood defences often just shift the problem elsewhere, he says, or cause an even greater catastrophe when they eventually breach.

      Ola Holmstrom, UK head of water at consultancy firm WSP, says the hard choices must be taken soon: "Unfortunately increasing urbanisation and climate change means the question of flood risk management is not going to go away. Someone will need to make some tough decisions, and for the benefit of those currently flooded and those whose livelihood depends on the land, it would be best if this happens sooner than later."

      Government-funded landscape experiments in Somerset and Yorkshire are demonstrating that blocking upland drainage channels, replanting trees next to rivers and deliberately flooding fields can protect downstream homes by slowing the flow of water, which stops waters rising fast and reduces the silting up of channels.

      "In the UK, going back to nature is the right way to go: it works," says Cloke. "We have tried the engineering solution and the cost of maintaining that is very high and we just don't have the money to maintain these standards."

    2. Been for a walk along Cable Beach this week?

      It is easy to see we are now 1 big storm away from losing at least 1/2 of what's left of our dunes.

      10 years ago there was a dune in front of the one that is now being eroded and yet the Shire still allows cars to park on the dunes on high tides.

      They have done nothing.

  6. White House Releases Plan to Make Arctic Shipping Safer

    With warmer temperatures leaving Arctic sea passages open for longer periods of the year, billions of barrels of oil could be tapped beyond what is already being produced in the region. A loss of seasonal ice could also allow greater exploitation of precious minerals considered abundant in the Arctic.

    Earlier this month, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert told a conference that Arctic ice was melting faster than predicted four years ago when the Navy published its first road map. "We need to understand, we need to take a look at it and decide what does it mean to us for security, maritime security, freedom of navigation, and global force management," Greenert told a conference hosted by the Surface Navy Association.


    US class society issues advisory on LNG carriers and others taking to Arctic waters

    Friday, 31 January 2014

    The American Bureau of Shipping has released a new advisory report to support shipowners and operators intending to transit what will be the newest LNG traffic area, the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic seas from Northern Russia to the Far East.


  7. Buru Updates on Drilling at Ungani 3 Well in EP 391 in Western Australia

    Buru Energy Limited, an Australia-listed oil and gas exploration and production company, provided Thursday the following weekly update on drilling operations at the Ungani 3 well in exploration permit (EP) 391 in Western Australia at 06:00hrs, Jan. 30 (AWST).

    Since the last progress report, the well has been drilled ahead in 12.25 inch (311 millimeter) hole from the intermediate casing point to the current depth of 6,627 feet (2,020 meters). The forward operation is to drill ahead to the top of the Ungani Dolomite primary objective.

    Ungani 3 is the first well in the Buru – Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) 2014 drilling program. Buru and MC each have a 50 percent equity and contributing interest in the well and the Ungani Field.

    The Ungani 3 well is located in production application STP-PRA-0004 in exploration permit EP 391 some 62 miles (100 kilometers) to the east of Broome. The well location is some 31 miles (50 kilometers) from the Great Northern Highway along the Ungani access road.

    The well has a programmed total depth of 7,677 feet (2,340 meters) and is expected to take some 35 days to drill and suspend.

    Further Reports

    In accordance with its policy of releasing weekly drilling progress reports, the Company will issue drilling progress reports on Thursday of each week, subject to any material events occurring in the meantime. As of the week starting Feb. 10, the drilling report will be issued on Tuesday of each week.


    Surprise Oil Development in Northern Territory Gets Federal Approval

    All necessary equipment to work-over Surprise West and to install the pump on Surprise West is at Alice Springs (some 124.2 miles or 200 kilometers east of Surprise) awaiting final permitting and abatement in the weather. More than 11.81 inches (300 millimeters) of rain has fallen in the Surprise area (an area in which the average annual rainfall since 2001 is only 9.84 inches (250 millimeters) which may have a minimal effect on the commencement of the first production.


    1. CGG Completes Airborne Survey for Buru Energy in Canning Superbasin in WA

      by CGG

      Press Release
      Tuesday, February 04,2014

      CGG, a fully integrated Geoscience company, reported Monday that it has recently completed a large Falcon Airborne Gravity Gradiometer (AGG) survey for Buru Energy Limited in the Canning Superbasin, Western Australia.

      Acquisition of the 27,310 line miles (43,951 line kilometers) survey at 3,281 feet (1,000 meter) line spacing began at the end of September and was completed at the end of November. CGG won this survey as a follow-up to the highly successful Yakka Munga survey it conducted for Buru Energy last year over their Ungani discovery well in an adjacent block within the Canning Basin.

      Buru Energy decided to fly AGG over more of their expanding acreage in the Canning, as it provided a rapid and effective evaluation of remote areas, where ground access was difficult. Interpreted AGG data provided early understanding of geological structure, enabling new seismic acquisition to be more strategically located for their ongoing exploration program.

      Benoit Ribadeau-Dumas, senior executive vice president, Acquisition, CGG, said: "CGG was selected for this second Falcon AGG survey based on the success of the Ungani survey, the close working relationship that developed between Buru and CGG geoscientists during their joint interpretation of the AGG data and CGG’s proven high-quality, efficient and safe data acquisition performance."

      - See more at: http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131410/CGG_Completes_Airborne_Survey_for_Buru_Energy_in_Canning_Superbasin_in_WA#sthash.dtbg21Ww.dpuf

  8. Clean energy coalition forms

    Friday, 31 January 2014

    A COALITION of 17 US and international foundations with an asset base of nearly $2 billion has announced it will divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in clean energy ones.

    Wallace Global Fund executive director Ellen Dorsey is originator of the divest-invest plan.

    “Starting today we pledge to use all of our assets – not just the usual 5% yearly payment of grants – to advance our goals, values and beliefs,” she said.

    The Divest-Invest Philanthropy Coalition includes foundations such as The John Merck Fund, Park Foundation and the Russell Family Foundation in the US and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust in the UK.

    The John Merck Fund executive director Ruth Hennig said while markets were yet to internalise climate risks, members of Divest-Invest Philanthropy were guided by science in taking this step.

    The coalition emphasised the financial and ethical risks of remaining invested in fossil fuels when the climate science was clear the window to preserve a liveable client was closing fast.

    RBC wealth management financial advisor Tom Van Dyck said the financial risks of staying invested in fossil fuels were high because two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves simply could not be burned “yet the markets treat this basic physics like its science fiction”.

    “Either coal, oil and gas deposits become stranded assets or we do,” he said.

    At a January 15 conference of investors with more than $US20 trillion in combined assets, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said investment decisions had to reflect the scientific evidence and fiduciary responsibility needed to grasp the reality that unchecked climate change could impact and eventually devastate the lives of many.

    Russell Family Foundation CEO Richard Woo said the foundation was divesting and reinvesting to align its portfolio with its values, accelerate the growth in renewable energy and protect the long-term value of its investments.

    “Given the urgency we call on all philanthropy to do the same,” he said.

    Divest-Invest Philanthropy is following in the footsteps of the global fossil-fuel free movement.

    More than 50 institutions in the US, including nearly two dozen cities, have committed to divest.

  9. I've just noticed that this blog has logged over 500,000 hits. Congratulations, Red Hand, on the years of commitment to keeping us informed on the battle for the Kimberley and so much more. As your readers know, you so often presented us with information available nowhere else. Thanks for the news, the biting editorials, the humour and the cold hard science, not to mention all those front-line videos!

  10. Congrats on passing the 500,000 mark Redhand.

    I will skip most of this and go to the bit that applies to the Canning Basin................


    EIA Says Shale Gas and Oil Resources Are Globally Abundant

    Posted on Jan 2nd, 2014

    ..............More than half of the identified shale oil resources outside the United States are concentrated in four countries—Russia, China, Argentina, and Libya—while more than half of the non-U.S. shale gas resources are concentrated in five countries—China, Argentina, Algeria, Canada, and Mexico. The United States is ranked second after Russia for shale oil resources and fourth after Algeria for shale gas resources when compared with the 41 countries assessed.


    These shale oil and shale gas resource estimates are highly uncertain and will remain so until they are extensively tested with production wells. This report’s methodology for estimating the shale resources outside the United States is based on the geology and resource recovery rates of similar shale formations in the United States (referred to as analogs) that have produced shale oil and shale gas from thousands of producing wells.


    Because they have proven to be quickly producible in large volumes at a relatively low cost, shale / tight oil and shale gas resources have revolutionized U.S. oil and natural gas production, providing 29 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and 40 percent of total U.S. natural gas production in 2012.


    However, given the variation across the world’s shale formations in both geology and above-the-ground conditions, the extent to which global technically recoverable shale resources will prove to be economically recoverable is not yet clear.
    The market impact of shale resources outside the United States will depend on their own production costs and volumes.
    For example, a potential shale well that costs twice as much and produces half the output of a typical U.S. well would be unlikely to back out current supply sources of oil or natural gas.


    In many cases, even significantly smaller differences in costs, well productivity, or both can make the difference between a resource that is a market game changer and one that is economically irrelevant at current market prices.


  11. Great Barrier Reef park directors still face conflict of interest questions

    Dumping of dredging spoil was approved before results of probity inquiry into two directors linked with mining companies

    Two of the board members of the authority that approved the dumping of 3m cubic metres of dredging spoil in the Great Barrier Reef waters are still involved in an investigation for potential conflicts of interest, including links to mining companies.

    The environment minister, Greg Hunt, ordered a probity inquiry last October into the appointments of the former Townsville mayor Tony Mooney and a Queensland public servant, Jon Grayson, to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) by the former Labor government.

    Potential conflicts of interest were raised by ABC’s 7.30 with Grayson setting up and owning a one-sixth shareholding in the inactive Gasfields Water and Waste Services, a company which could benefit from a growth in the gas industry and which corrupt former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid’s son, Eddie Obeid jnr, also had a one-sixth shareholding in for a time.

    Mooney earns $250,000 as an executive for the mining company Guildford Coal.

    Last week the marine park authority approved the dumping of 3m cubic metres of dredge spoil in Great Barrier Reef waters at Abbot Point, near Bowen in north Queensland, in a move widely criticised by environmentalists.

    The approval was decided by Bruce Elliot, a general manager who was nominated by the GBRMPA’s chairman, Russell Reichelt, for the job.

    A spokeswoman for the authority said the board was not directly involved in the decision. “The board’s focus is on broader policy and legislative matters, rather than operational matters,” she said.

    A spokesman for Hunt confirmed to Guardian Australia the probity inquiry had not concluded and the approval for dumping dredge spoil had happened while the investigation into Mooney and Grayson was under way.

    “The minister is awaiting the report and advice from the GBRMPA chair and the secretary of the department,” he said.

    The report into Grayson and Mooney’s appointments has been delivered to the chairman and the head of the Environment Department but is yet to be made public and the spokeswoman for the authority said Reichelt was still considering its findings.

    Freedom of information documents revealed the GBRMPA considered a recommendation in early 2012 to not support port activities or developments that have the potential to degrade inshore biodiversity.

    The board voted against adopting the recommendation and instead adopted a softer line saying inshore biodiversity would be a “key consideration” when considering port developments.

    Hunt approved the dumping of the dredge spoil in December but a permit had to be granted by GBRMPA before it could go ahead as part of the expansion of Abbot Point which among other things will see three more shipping berths created.

    GBRMPA gave the dumping the green light on Friday attaching 47 conditions to the permit.

    In December, changes were made to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act so the government does not have to consider expert advice before approving major developments such as mines and ports.

    The changes came after a study commissioned by the former Labor government found dredging spoil dumped at sea travel further than previously thought.

    Allegations of a conflict of interest involving Grayson and Mooney have been rejected by the pair.

  12. Why does Australian PM Tony Abbott support fossil fuel subsidies?

    Why does Tony Abbott support $10 billion per year in fossil fuel subsidies but oppose an aid package for food manufacturer SPC-Ardmona?

    ................Fossil fuels subsidies are the most pernicious and distorting of subsidies. The biggest in Australia is the fuel tax credit scheme, which is worth $2 billion per year to mining companies, the equivalent of each taxpayer in Australia handing over $182 to the mining companies.

    The national president of the Mining Union, Tony Maher called out this squandering of public funds in an article for The Drum:

    I'm pro-mining to my core. But a mining sector that grows too fast causes social and economic problems that will cause damage for decades to come, if we let it. ...

    Down the track, it would also make sense to look again at tax and whether we are getting a fair return from mining company profits.

    Ditto, subsidies. Does it really make sense for taxpayers to be funding a rebate on diesel fuel for the mining industry at a cost of $2 billion a year?

    The union is a firm supporter of an emissions trading scheme, and a renewable energy target, and opponent for the fuel subsidy. In a Senate submission in 2008, it wrote:

    It has been especially glaring that the mining industry, one of the most profitable industries in Australia, has received the highest rate of fuel tax credit. It is rebated the full 38.143¢ per litre, and so effectively receives its fuel free of excise. This has provided the mining industry with an incentive, in relative terms, to use liquid fossil fuels, and it has taken up that incentive with gusto.

    The Australian Taxation Office has stated that for the 2006-07 year, the mining industry was easily the heaviest user of the fuel tax credit schemes, claiming $1.47 billion of the $4.9 billion claimed. The next highest claim by an industry was transport and warehousing with $1.28 billion.

    The latter industry made 171,085 claims for the credits, while the mining industry made just 6,735. This vast difference demonstrates that mining industry claims are made by a relatively small number of very large companies, while the transport claims often come from small businesses.

    The mining industry's claims on the public purse have grown rapidly over the last decade, from $754 million in 1999-2000 to $1.47 billion for the most recently-reported year. It has virtually doubled over the course of 8 years. ...

    Further, the mining industry is not a deserving case. There are no grounds in terms of equity, social justice or industry development to justify a significant subsidy to the mining industry.

    Tony Maher made a good call when he said "Let's stop being fooled that the interests of a small club of mining billionaires are the same as the interests of the broader Australian economy. They're not."

    Despite global warming posing an imminent threat to Australia, and its predominate cause being the burning of fossil fuels, the Australian government is using your tax dollars to literally pay these fossil fuel companies to pollute.

    As I've noted in the past, Tony Abbott and his government seem intent on turning Australia into a reckless "charco-state" (the coal equivalent of a petro-state).

    These fossil fuel subsidies don't just pay companies to pollute our air, water and atmosphere. They also distort our markets by making fossil fuels, like diesel and gas, artificially cheap. Special tax treatment for big oil, gas and coal projects allows fossil fuel companies to rapidly depreciate their assets, like drilling rigs. This means they get away with paying taxes that other companies are forced to.

  13. Why does Australian PM Tony Abbott support fossil fuel subsidies?

    What's the basis for these decisions?

    Why are massive $10 billion subsidies for one industry acceptable, but a relatively modest aid package for SPC-Ardmona unacceptable?

    No doubt there are many answers to these questions.

    One possible answer can be found in the work of Drew Westen, professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The author of The Political Brain, Westen describes the neurological differences in the brains of conservatives and (in US terms) liberals.

    Westen, and the likes of liberal neuro-linguist George Lakoff, posited that the way that conservatives viewed money was tied to morality.

    To very briefly summarise, if a person is rich, it is proof that they are a good and moral person. It demonstrates that they must be hard-workers, wise investors, who are self sufficient and possess personal discipline.

    The corollary of this is that poor people, who lack money, also lack morality. To a conservative, lack of money proves that you must be lazy, ill-disciplined, self-indulgent, deviant and dependent on others.

    The role of government is to support morality and punish immorality. Thus, people on welfare are immoral and thus should be penalised, while rich people should be further rewarded and incentivised to continue to be moral.

    This moral system, in my view, underpins the Abbott's government's approach to corporate welfare, and especially to the environment.

    In the conservative world-view, companies like Holden and Ford, or SPC-Ardmona are unworthy of government support because they lose money. By definition, because they need government aid, they're immoral, dependent, ill-disciplined and lazy.

    Meanwhile, companies like hugely profitable fossil fuel companies and coal miners like Clive Palmer, are good, moral companies. Their enormous profits are proof of their morality.

    What does this have to do with climate change?

    The conservative world view is threatened by the very existence of climate change and global warming.

    If making money and profits through mining and burning fossil fuels are moral behaviours, but those activities cause dangerous climate change which threatens you and your loved ones, then can it be moral? Any suggestion that fossil fuel extraction is harmful therefore threatens the basis of conservative morality.

    If nature and natural resources exist as things to be conquered, exploited or used to make moral profits, then regulation that prevents this by definition is immoral. When it comes to conservation, environmental protection and climate change mitigation, the conservative morality of Abbott sees laws that protect biodiversity and our natural heritage as illegitimate hindrances to the moral activity of making profits.

    Regulation is a form of interference in moral activities, and at worst, creates dependency. Renewable energy subsidies and targets distorts the profit-meritocracy.

    Tony Abbott will always support subsidies for fossil fuel companies because they are moral companies, although at times his political instincts have made him a weather-vane on the issue.

    Support for renewable energy, assistance for disadvantaged people, foreign aid, or industry packages for Holden, Ford and Australian manufacturing should be opposed because it is the role of government to punish immorality, and lack of money is proof of that immorality.

  14. SPC Ardmona says Abbott wrong about overly generous conditions

    'We are doing our best to reduce all costs,' says managing director, as Sharman Stone accuses government of 'lying'

    in a statement issued on Tuesday, SPC managing director Peter Kelly said many of the claims made about pay and conditions at the plant were untrue and “need to be refuted by the facts”.

    He said that in 2013 the total cost of allowances for all of SPC Ardmona’s production staff was $116,467, less than 0.1% of the business’s cost of goods for the year.

    The so-called “wet” allowance, listed by Abbott as one of the generous conditions offered by the company, was not paid at all in 2013 and staff did not get the claimed nine weeks’ paid leave but rather the standard 20 days.

    SPC has also been criticised for offering a five-day holiday for the Melbourne Cup. Kelly said this came about because “production staff accrue rostered days off (RDOs) during the year which SPCA requires them not to take during the peak season. Instead these RDOs are taken at the start of November, the optimum time for a plant shutdown to allow maintenance in preparation for the canning season from December to April. RDOs are not additional leave.”

    “We are doing our best to reduce all costs across the business, however the serious problems that have beset SPCA have not been because of labour costs and certainly not from the allowances, a fact borne out by the Productivity Commission’s recent analysis,” Kelly said, breaking his silence since cabinet rejected the company’s request for assistance last week.

    His statement comes as Coalition backbencher Sharman Stone, the local member for the Victorian regional seat that houses the fruit processor, upped her already strident attacks on the government’s handling of the issue to directly accuse her own government of “lying” about the issue.

    “The government is scapegoating the company … denigrating a good company ... and trying to link it to a witch-hunt against the unions rather than face up to the real problems which are the continuing high dollar, the failure of our anti-dumping regime and the failure to properly safety test competing products that come in from overseas,” she told Guardian Australia on Monday.

    In his statement, Kelly also insisted the real reasons for SPC’s difficulties had nothing to do with industrial conditions.

    “The business has been severely damaged in recent times by a ‘perfect storm’ created by external economic factors – the high Australian dollar, which appreciated more than 50% from 2009 to 2013, has both enabled the flood of cheap imported product to be sold in Australia below the cost of production here, and also decimated the company’s export markets.


    Speaking on the ABC’s 7.30 report Monday, Abbott said Coca-Cola Amatil could well afford to pay for the retooling itself.

    “What we're trying to do here is ensure that businesses act responsibly,” the prime minister said. “And let's never forget … that SPC is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Amatil. Coca-Cola Amatil is a $9bn business in market capitalisation. In the last six months it made a $215m after-tax profit. Coca-Cola Amatil has a better balance sheet than the commonwealth of Australia, a stronger balance sheet than the commonwealth of Australia and it really is up to management to put the plans in place, to put the funding in place to ensure that this very historic and potentially very good business can continue far into the future.”



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