Sunday, February 9, 2014

Buru's proposed fracking of this amazing wetlands

The 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.

This is Roebuck Plains in the wet, the location for Buru's fracking program in 2014

Laurel Formation Tight Gas Pilot Exploration Program

Environmental 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.

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.

Buru Energy is proposing to inject 31 million litres of water and 80,000 litres of chemicals and proppants at extreme pressure to fracture rocks to release gas. Some of the chemicals are toxic, one a biocide BE-9 was even banned in Canada in 2000 because of its toxicity and persistency.

The Western Australian Environment Protection Authority has the power and responsibility to assess proposals in Western Australia, which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment.

The public believe that the parliament decided that the EPA's environmental impact assessment process should actually prevent significant proposals from being commenced, and prevent other ministers and government agencies from issuing any other approvals, until the EPA's assessment is complete.

The environmental impact assessment process under the Environmental Protection Act 1986(WA) is therefore the primary, foremost, principal approval process for proposals which may significantly affect the environment, and parliament has required that process to be undertaken by the independent expert EPA.

Yet this latest decision not to formally assess Buru’s Laurel Formation Tight Gas Program appears to be deferring its responsibilities to other, non-expert agencies which may not actually assess environmental impacts at all. These departments seek only a copy of Buru’s Environment Plan.

I do not believe that neither the Department of Water (DOW) or the Department of Mines and Petroleum have the adequate skills or experience or the resources to undertake the assessment environmental impacts at all. These departments might paradoxically decide not to assess environmental impacts on the basis that the EPA found that the proposal was not environmentally significant.

There are no legislative powers that can force these decision- makers DOW & DMP to reconsider the environment, or even recall their own decisions.
By the EPA placing their statutory obligations into the hand of other government departments is another way of ensuring that the public is excluded from all other decisions making processes.

It also is effective in guaranteeing that no community consultations are undertaken and the EPA avoids any social impact evaluations or responsibilities.

DOW and DMP do not have the same powers as the EPA to require the proponent to prepare environmental impact assessments. The EPA can require investigations, further information, and for information to be the subject of independent reviews. No other agencies have these powers at the assessment stage 


  1. RE your cartoon : Entitlements Are Over

    Does this include pollies claiming for attending weddings ; going on bike rides ; buying investment properties ; taking the wife and kids to footy games etc. ?

  2. No, our loss of entitlements is to fund their entitlements.

  3. Of course you're right.

    I just wonder how far Abbott can go in resurrecting Workchoices type laws when as a Nation our household debt is now so high.

    All these "I'm all right Jack" types that voted him in would be crapping in their pants as soon as their job security looked a little shaky.

    It wouldn't take much for the Abbott fan club to change their tune when the $million mortgage looks like going down the drain.

    Here we go.............

    Toyota to close: Thousands of jobs to go as carmaker closes Australian plants by 2017

    Toyota has made the "heart-breaking" announcement that it will stop making cars in Australia in 2017, bringing an end to the nation's car manufacturing sector.

    Around 2,500 Toyota workers will lose their jobs, while the loss of the wider automotive industry will put tens of thousands more jobs at risk.

    Toyota Australia president and chief executive officer Max Yasuda and Toyota Motor Corporation president and chief executive officer Akio Toyoda broke the news to employees at the company's Altona plant, in western Melbourne, this afternoon.

    "To now have to break the news... to the many people who have supported our production for many years is most regretful for Toyota and for me personally, simply heartbreaking," the Tokyo-based Mr Toyoda said at a media conference.

    Mr Yasuda added in a statement: "This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years."


    No overtime rates
    No unfair dismissal.............

  4. An age of entitlement? Not quite

    By Greg Jericho
    Updated Wed 5 Feb 2014,

    Treasurer Joe Hockey plans to usher in the "age of personal responsibility", but any golden welfare age Australia may have enjoyed was over a while ago, writes Greg Jericho.

    As Parliament gears up for the start of the year, 2014 looks to be politically packed. But among the three state elections, possibly a re-run senate election in Western Australia, a G20 summit and various reports by various commissions, as ever the budget hangs over it all.

    From the way Joe Hockey has been talking - fresh off a chest-puffing win on SPC Ardmona - the budget is going to be full of deep cuts. It seems it will be the budget that unveils the end of the "age of entitlement", and begins the "age of personal responsibility".

    Before pondering the budget, it is good to remember that if you exclude the aged pension, Australia has fewer people now on welfare than 10 years ago. Indeed, the only years in the past decade the number of non-aged pension welfare recipients went up was in 2009 and 2010, due not surprisingly to an increase in the number of people on Newstart as the unemployment rate rose sharply during the GFC.

    So the age of entitlement (if there ever was one) ended a while back in Australia, and if you hear any politician utter such a line, be aware they are feeding you manure and calling it chocolate.

    In the mid-year fiscal and economic outlook (MYEFO), released the week after Parliament rose in December, the budget deficit was estimated at $46.989 billion, compared to the $30.14 billion estimated in the pre-election fiscal and economic outlook (PEFO).

    Now, $10.3 billion of that extra deficit comes from decisions taken by the Abbott Government - such as the $8.8 billion to the RBA to lift its reserves.

    You can argue about the need for that, but it is worth noting that while the $8.8 billion has yet to be provided (the legislation hasn't been introduced, let alone passed, so it clearly wasn't that much of an emergency), since the September election the RBA's reserves have gone from $52.97 billion to $59.485 billion. This $6.5 billion improvement has occurred primarily due to the value of our dollar falling. In November and December alone the RBA's position improved $2.3 billion.

    But such expenditure (needed or not) aside, the other $6.6 billion in the deficit increase occurred due to changes in the projections of the economy.

    First off, the MYEFO revised down the expected nominal GDP growth for 2013-14 from 3.75 per cent to 3.5 per cent. They did not, however, change the prediction for "real GDP growth". This is important because it suggests they believe inflation will decline, as nominal GDP is in essence real GDP plus inflation.


  5. Tony Abbott refuses to bend the rules on MPs' entitlements

    DateOctober 11, 2013

    .............Under the present rules, federal MPs are entitled to taxpayer-funded travel anywhere in Australia for ''parliamentary, electorate or official business''.

    Mr Abbott used the term ''official business'' to justify billing taxpayers $1300 to compete in the 2011 Port Macquarie Ironman.

    Despite repeated requests, Mr Abbott's office has not provided details of any other community events or official business he conducted while in Port Macquarie other than competing in the triathlon.

    Mr Abbott has also been criticised for claiming more than $23,000 on trips linked to last year's Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge, the 2011 Bathurst V8 Supercar race, 2010 Melbourne Cup, 2010 Boxing Day Test match at the MCG, and 2011 Birdsville Races.


    Abbott and Hockey's entitlement hypocrisy

    So, it can be concluded that Hockey is not taking a principled stand against corporate welfare, but instead he is using the withdrawal of government assistance as a stick to punish employees for standing up for themselves.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Water, Simon Birmingham, says the Government:

    “... won’t be pursuing policies that prop up unsustainable policies or bad business practices.”

    This would be very welcome news if “sustainable” meant living within the Earth’s natural limits. However, unfortunately, the Government’s idea of sustainability seems to end at cutting costs.

    The Government is pursuing policies, including corporate welfare, which prop up unsustainable business practices.

    This year’s budget is set to spend $9.83 billion subsidising fossil fuels (excluding measures made redundant by the carbon price repeal bills). That’s 393 times the subsidy denied to SPC in one year alone. These subsidies were mostly instituted under the Howard Coalition Government and continued by the previous Labor administrations of Rudd and Gillard.

    The Government not only subsidises fossil fuels, it promotes growth of the industry in other ways too. For instance, it aims to restore the profitability of coal-fired power stations. It is also furiously granting environmental approvals to new fossil fuel mines and export infrastructure projects — and is, in fact, yet to reject a proposal.

    And it promotes coal seam gas (CSG) development with a “use it or lose it” permit policy, to ensure, according to Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane, that

    “... every molecule of gas that can come out of the ground does so.”

    This is despite Abbott having said in opposition:

    “.. if you don’t want something to happen on your land, you ought to have a right to say no."


    Mike Bowers discusses the week in pictures with Fairfax cartoonist Cathy Wilcox.

    It seems it's the end of an era as our Treasurer Joe Hockey declares the age of entitlement well and truly over.

    CATHY WILCOX: Ha (laughs).No more weddings, no more football games, no more cycling tours. It's going to be terrible isn't it? They're going to have to bring their own sandwiches into parliament. No more entitlement. Muffins - gone from the table!

    (Michael Bowers laughs)

    MICHAEL BOWERS: Well I reckon that this is a fantastic cartoon…

    CATHY WILCOX: I reckon too.

    MICHAEL BOWERS: …as the carpet baggers, being the Treasurer and the Prime Minister, and I think Chris Pyne in the back, are leaving the town of Entitlement. I do love Barnaby, he's tied to the back here.

    CATHY WILCOX: We've got the good the bad and the ugly haven't we?

    (Both laugh)

    1. SPC ‘shiny tin’ allowance nothing next to political perks and CEO bonuses

      When Joe Hockey says everyone in Australia must do the heavy lifting, is that everyone except politicians and executives?

      There is a group of workers whose conditions far exceed the perks at SPC Ardmona that were described by prime minister Tony Abbott as “extremely generous” and nominated as a reason the Commonwealth refused the company’s request for a co-investment grant.

      Perks available to this lucky group include a round the world first class fare for themselves and their spouse, with accommodation and expenses, every year, as well as allowances to buy any books and publications they want and generous airfares and travel allowances with a very broad definition of the “work” they need to be doing to qualify. And, guess what, they get to determine a lot of the guidelines and rules for the perks themselves.

      This group of workers is of course federal politicians.


      Workplace relations minister Eric Abetz ridiculed SPC’s “shiny tin” allowance as an example of “conditions” that were “regrettably over-generous”.

      But according to Abetz’s own colleague, Dr Sharman Stone, the much discussed shiny tin allowance was, in fact, a 50 cent an hour bonus paid to forklift drivers who were skilled enough to stack unlabelled (i.e. shiny) fruit tins up to 9m high. It is open to debate whether this is over-generous or not, but one point of comparison might be that it would take such a forklift driver almost 3,500 hours to earn, in shiny tin allowance, what Senator Abetz claimed to pay for his newspapers in the second half of 2012.


      ...............when Joe Hockey tells us that “everyone in Australia must do the heavy lifting now” it is usually in relation to companies that are offering their workers the aforementioned “over-generous” wages and conditions.

      And, similarly, the wages and conditions of ordinary workers are what is on the line when the government encourages the Fair Work Commission to consider the “softening economic environment and labour market” and the “impact of employment costs on employers’ decision to hire workers” when it reviews the modern awards system, or when the prime minister complains that over-the-top penalty rates make it hard to get a cup of coffee on a public holiday.

      Less often discussed is whether, for example, executive remuneration should be part of the national “heavy lifting” effort.

      The former government’s “two strikes” policy giving shareholders greater say over executive pay has worked to moderate some of the excesses. A study commissioned by the Australian Council for Superannuation Investors, released last September, found that in 2012 base pay for the nation’s top CEOs was steady, while bonuses rose by 4.8%, compared with 20% the previous year. But that still left the top 100 CEOs with, on average, base pay of $1.95m and an average bonus of $1.31m on top of that.

      It would be much easier to win support for a national “heavy lifting” effort, to combat rising unemployment and get the economy through a period of very difficult change, if there was clear evidence that everyone – workers, executives, even politicians – were putting in a bit of the grunt.

  6. Remember the Painters and Dockers?

    Not the band - the Bottom of the Harbour schemes at the Royal Commish.


    Prime Minister Tony Abbott announces royal commission to "shine spotlight" on alleged union corruption

    ................"As well as looking at the specific allegations which have come to light, the Royal Commission must investigate the systemic governance and accountability failures which have given rise to such serious misconduct, criminality and corruption," Jennifer Westacott, from the Business Council of Australia, said.

    "While the investigation will take some time, the parliament can act now to begin the process of stamping out bullying, corruption and misconduct on building sites by urgently passing the legislation to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission."

    "While royal commissions are a major commitment, a lot of good can come out of such inquiries. Royal commissions have been very useful in the past in identifying problems and improper behaviour and recommending solutions," said Innes Willox, from the Australian Industry Group.

    But the Australian Council of Trade Unions said the terms of reference confirmed the commission would be a "political witchhunt".

    "Our initial review of the terms of reference suggests they are narrowly directed at unions and will not adequately deal with corruption or unlawful behaviour by businesses or employers," ACTU president Dave Oliver said.


    Yeah what about the Wall Street crooks?

    Barnett and Woodside?

    Twiggy Forrest?


    Protests against Fracking Could Cripple Australia’s LNG Progress

    The following article by Quintella Koh is a product of Rigzone, a gas industry news outlet, and while the article is slanted in favor of gas development, it is nevertheless full of insight for those resisting fracking in Australia, the U.S. and around the world.

    by Quintella Koh / RigzoneQGC Australia

    A strong ongoing environmental protest movement in New South Wales and Queensland against coal seam gas (CSG) projects is threatening to cripple the development of Australia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

    Australia, home to seven world-scale LNG projects that have already reached their final investment decision stage, has been touted as a country that is poised to overtake Qatar as the largest LNG exporter by 2020.

    Four of the new projects draw from gas fields in Western Australia: Gorgon, Prelude, Wheatstone and Ichthys. The other three Queensland-based projects are: Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG), Gladstone LNG (GLNG) and Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG), where the protest movement has been gaining steady momentum since May 2012.

    But concerns over potential environmental hazards – associated with CSG exploration and production, and specifically in relation to hydraulic fracturing – led to mass protests at the end of last year. The debacle could derail operators’ efforts in trying to move ahead with their CSG exploration and production projects.

    The Importance of CSG in Australia’s Context

    Australia’s gas development started with LNG exports from reserves under the Indian Ocean, offshore the northern coast of Western Australia. Thanks to surging demand from Asian economies such as Japan, South Korea and China, explorers have started moving across the continent to eastern shores.

    The gas trapped in coal seams, once seen as an unprofitable venture, has charged the boom of a whole new industry in Australia alongside advancing exploration and production technology.

    The pace of Australia’s CSG development is a remarkable story. According to Australian CSG exploration company Apex Energy, CSG production in the country reached 185.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2009, up 41 percent from 2008′s figures. The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) estimated that the CSG industry will generate as many as 18,000 jobs and up to $1 billion in annual state taxes.

    Controversy Surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing in the CSG Industry

    Proponents of the CSG industry, who also support the use of hydraulic stimulation for CSG-related projects – most notably operators –, point out that the emerging sector should be supported as it directly translates into local employment and training opportunities.
    Operators also note that hydraulic fracturing, which involves drilling wells into seams of coal and injecting a mixture of water and chemicals to cause fractures in the coal, is a production method that has been used 1958, and is a well-regulated exploration method which has not proven to pose any environmental hazards.

    Critics, consisting primarily of environmental activists and farmers, remain unconvinced. The Australian Conservation Foundation stated that hydraulic fracturing causes the following environmental issues:
    •Removal of vast quantities of groundwater in the Great Artesian Basin and Murray Darling Basin
    •The injection of chemicals into water supply
    •The release of greenhouse pollution into the environment
    •The impact of land use from the rapid expansion of the network of wells

  8. Protests against Fracking Could Cripple Australia’s LNG Progress

    The Government of Western Australia has meanwhile shown its support behind the use of hydraulic stimulation.

    Over 700 well stimulations have been completed – a relatively small figure when compared to the United States, which sees almost 10,000 wells being fractured each year, according to a published statement by the Government of Western Australia.

    “Hydraulic stimulation was commercially established in the late 1940s in the U.S. Since then, it has been used globally in the industry. The use of hydraulic stimulation in accessing shale, tight and coal seam gas is a relatively recent phenomenon,” the WA Government explained in a published statement on its website.

    Commenting on regulatory requirements in place for CSG exploration projects, the WA Government said: “Well design and drilling programs are thoroughly assessed to ensure well integrity and no uncontrolled flow of fluids. As part of the approvals process each operation is assessed thoroughly and conditions are added to approvals where appropriate to ensure that all precautions necessary are taken to protect the environment.”

    Present Day Standoffs

    Santos – which leads the Glandstone LNG (GLNG) project – and Metgasco have been grappling with immense public pressure since the fourth quarter of last year.

    Last year, Santos’ CEO David Knox faced the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), which held an angry protest in front of Christmas shoppers in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall Dec. 14, before marching to the company’s headquarters. CLEAN’s message on that day was “no to unconventional gas – yes to renewables.”

    Santos GLNG project is designed to take in piped CSG from the Surat and Bowen basins, around 249 miles (400 kilometers) away from the coastal city of Gladstone. To support the GLNG projects, some 3,200 CSG wells have already been drilled.

    Meanwhile, Metgasco, which focuses on the development of CSG exploration and pilot wells in the onshore Clarence Moreton Basin, was faced with a stream of anti-CSG protests starting November. In one protest, demonstrators chained themselves to a truck at the company’s Glenugie site. The group of activists maintained their blockade at Metgasco’s site until Jan. 8 after 18 people were arrested after a 9-hour standoff with police officers.

    The firestorm of resistance comes amid Metgasco’s announcement that it will go ahead with the first of its CSG exploration efforts, following its success in obtaining all landowner and government permits required for work to start on its PEL 426 permit.

    The immense flood of anger shown against Santos and Metgasco has led to other companies, such as New Standard Energy – which is involved in CSG exploration works on the Canning Basin – to repeatedly emphasize in public statements that it is not involved in horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing activities.

    The community of NSW and Queensland needs to understand that unconventional gas will ultimately be beneficial for the nation’s progress, Comet Ridge’s Managing Director Tor McCaul told Rigzone on the volatile situation between CSG operators and environmental activists.

    “Gas is a clean form of energy … it is nice [to know] that [one] will have enough power to charge your iPhones when you reach home at the end of the day,” McCaul said.



    Toll to build Inpex facility for Ichthys

    Monday, 10 February 2014

    TOLL has been awarded a $A90 million contract by global oil and gas exploration and production company Inpex to design, construct and operate the Ichthys LNG project’s offshore logistics base in the Northern Territory.

    The base will remotely support major offshore facilities in the Ichthys field, supplying materials to the project’s floating production, storage and offloading vessel and central processing facility.

    “The variety of work we’re doing for the Inpex offshore logistics base is an excellent example of Toll’s capabilities in servicing the oil and gas sector,” Toll Global Resources CEO David Jackson said.

    “This facility, along with the associated drilling support facility, developed for Inpex in Broome by the Toll Mermaid Joint Venture, demonstrates Toll’s commitment to invest in world-class facilities for our customers’ world-class projects.”

    Toll will own the facility, which will also store and distribute spares, equipment and chemicals.

    Construction is expected to be completed in early 2015.


    Australian energy body warns against regulatory damage to LNG and gas sectors

    Monday, 10 February 2014

    The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has opposed plans for the over-regulation of future LNG and natural gas projects in the state of Queensland, where four LNG plants are currently being developed, and in other states.

    1. Also this from BCNG - (more bad news for Barnett)

      How Australia can win the LNG war
      PUBLISHED: 12 Feb 2014 15:26:00 | UPDATED: 13 Feb 2014 08:40:27

      ...................After an unprecedented seven final investment decisions on LNG projects here between September 2009 and July 2012 – in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory – none have since been approved.

      Woodside Petroleum’s plans for a huge LNG venture at James Price Point in WA using its Browse gas were ditched last April. Shell and PetroChina have twice deferred their $20 billion-plus coal seam gas-based Arrow LNG venture in Queensland.

      Barring any disasters on the construction front, Australia is set to leapfrog Qatar to become the world’s biggest LNG exporter by 2018 thanks to the $180 billion-plus of investment being poured into those seven projects. LNG exports are set to surge from about 24 million tonnes to more than 80 million tonnes in five years, fuelling a fivefold jump in export earnings to more than $60 billion.

      It’s a huge achievement on any measure. But the accompanying rapid escalation in construction costs in Australia, plus the intensifying international competition, means companies will have to be a lot cannier in future.

      There’s no shortage of gas buyers in Australia that believe the LNG rush has gone too far, too fast already, leaving local gas consumers facing scary spikes in prices and potential shortages.

      But the export prize is still a valuable one if Australia is to capitalise on its treasure trove of undeveloped gas and on the costly investments already sunk in LNG infrastructure.

      Some of the options on the table are:

      Get into bed with LNG customers


      Co-operation, not competition

      One of the glaring mis-steps in Australia’s LNG history has been the lack of consolidation among rival projects that should have had more sense.

      The three giant look-alike LNG plants being built side-by-side on Curtis Island in Gladstone are a case in point, resulting in billions of dollars of duplicated investment and making gas shortages worse.

      The separate development of Woodside’s Pluto venture and Chevron’s Wheatstone is another case in point, because the offshore fields lie side by side and some claim the reservoirs are one and the same.

      Learning from those mistakes, LNG players look determined to take a more rational approach in future. ConocoPhillips and Santos are talking up co-operation in the Browse Basin, where gas could be piped to Conoco’s Darwin LNG plant, or to Inpex Corporation’s Ichthys plant. In Queensland, Arrow gas has for some time looked more likely to flow into one of the three existing LNG projects, rather than into a stand-alone plant.


      etc etc ..............and........

      Go floating

      Innovation in LNG has seen huge technical strides made in floating LNG plants in recent years, with the process seemingly set to overcome hurdles such as cyclone zones and tricky vessel-to-vessel transfer of frozen gas.

      Oil giant Shell has taken the lead, committing to the Prelude project in the remote Browse Basin. Others are lining up to follow, such as Woodside’s Browse venture, the GDF Suez-Santos Bonaparte venture and the Scarborough venture between ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton.

      Some are larger, some smaller, but all floating projects sidestep the need for land clearing, new roads and expensive jetties and storage tanks. The vessels are built in Asian shipyards, so they also avoid bottlenecks in construction resources.

      But WA Premier Colin Barnett is yet to be convinced, fearing lost royalties and jobs.


    2. Petronas starts second FLNG project

      Friday, 14 February 2014

      MALAYSIAN petroleum player Petronas has sanctioned development of a second floating LNG plant, PFLNG2, with key construction work awarded to a Japanese consortium.

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