Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yawuru People - Making a stand against fracking reaching thousands of people as they make their way to the races in Broome today.

The Mining Company Buru - lead this risky environmental venture which could be just another failed attempt by a Company to run roughshod over communities in NW Australia. Woodside’s withdrawal from James Price Point in 2013 and more recently French nuclear power giant Areva has abandoned a Kimberley uranium project. With Buru’s falling share price, No Social Licence, delays and low cash flow the writing seems to be on the wall. Buru are also refusing to release information to the community regarding the chemicals they plan to use.

In short - Fracking is the process of drilling then injecting fluid, much of it toxic, into the ground at high pressure, to fracture gas-bearing rocks to release natural gas.

During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals can leak from wells and contaminate nearby groundwater. Broome draws its drinking water from the ground. Buru Energy have plans to frack the Kimberley. The US, there have been more than 1000 documented cases of water contamination near areas of gas drilling.

Some of the countries that have banned fracking are France, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland. The Australian state of Victoria currently has a moratorium on fracking.

Here in WA the state Government fully supports fracking. 
Damian Kelly


  1. Anyone who read the Broome Advertiser yesterday would have read Colemans final words on JPP - only Broome and Derby will be considered for the Premiers supply base.
    JPP will not be considered in any way shape or form.

    The writing is firmly on the wall for Buru.
    The US could be exporting up to 80 mtpa in a few years and things are looking so rosy for conventional gas off East Africa I'm just waiting for someone to put together a consortium to build an import plant in WA to get cheaper LNG from there.

    Onshore USA drilling and fracking costs are below $4 million a well compared to the $20+ million for Buru - and Canning wells will need many more fracs to free up any fossil fuels.

    So yes it's plain to see Buru could be on the last few rolls of the dice if they get a few more bad or poor results.

    Those with "skin in the game" will of course talk up prospects until the cows come home in the hope of salvaging some capital from the doomed venture.

    (Wait for all the blame to be dumped on activists)


    Chevron fails to seal 20-year sales contract for Gorgon LNG

    Tuesday, 26 August 2014

    As cheap US shale gas risks to flood global LNG markets, Asian buyers are hesitant to enter long-term offtake agreements from Chevron's Gorgon LNG export terminal in Australia – one of the world's most expensive projects.


    1. Future role of LNG in Europe shrouded in uncertainty

      Demand for natural gas in Europe has fallen dramatically, which has led to a severe drop in imports of LNG.

      Today, there is considerable uncertainty over the future role of LNG in Europe’s gas supply. This has prompted Wood Mackenzie, a leader in commercial intelligence for the energy, metals and mining industries, to organise a round-table on this theme at this year’s European Autumn Gas Conference. In this interview with Alex Forbes, Associate Editor of Gastech News, two of the company’s energy specialists – Massimo Di-Odoardo, Principal Analyst for European Gas Research, and Peter Mackey, Head of Gas & Power Consulting for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the Caspian region – outline the key issues that the round-table will address.

      Can you explain why LNG into Europe is such an important topic for this year’s European Autumn Gas Conference?

      Peter Mackey: With more than 150 Bcm of LNG under construction globally, there is a general consensus that LNG will become an increasingly important part of the European supply story. However, there are some key elements where the outlook for LNG into Europe becomes less clear and we see diverging opinions in the market. Some of the key questions that we need to be asking ourselves are:
      ◾When will LNG come back to Europe?
      ◾What role will US LNG supply play in European gas?
      ◾What impact will LNG will have on European gas prices, and how will European prices impact the ability of new supply projects to proceed?

      Taking each of those points in turn, let’s explore them further, starting with: when is LNG likely to come back to Europe?

      Massimo Di-Odoardo: Over the last couple of years the trend on global LNG has been pretty clear. Global LNG has been chasing high prices in Asia and Latin America, and LNG imports in Europe have declined. But this summer something seems to have changed. Spot prices in Asia are trading just above US$10/MMBtu and LNG tankers from Qatar are queuing up at UK LNG terminals.

      So has the time arrived for LNG to come back into Europe? Well, much will depend upon elements that have characterised the debate so far, including the pace of growth of LNG demand in emerging markets, and China in particular, the return of nuclear in Japan, and the potential for delays on Australian LNG projects.


      Peter Mackey: There is no doubt that the shale gas revolution in the US has fundamentally transformed the gas industry globally. As a result, the US LNG supply story has dominated the narrative of late.


      With more than 30 US LNG export projects proposed, totalling in excess of 300 MTPA OF LNG, the question really becomes one of how much US LNG supply will actually proceed and by when. These questions represent a key uncertainty not just for the European gas market but for the global LNG market. Here at Wood Mackenzie we now forecast 80 MTPA OF US Lower 48 LNG exports by 2025, which is equivalent to about 110 Bcm/year.


      What are the implications of all this for natural gas pricing in Europe?

      Massimo Di-Odoardo: The extent and timing of LNG coming back into Europe will be of primary importance for pricing formation – particularly because this might just happen at a time when new production from the UK, from Norway, and from Azerbaijan will hit the market. And, arguably, the perspective for gas demand growth at that time does not look promising.


    2. Japanese government says spot LNG prices fell in August for a second month

      Tuesday, 09 September 2014

      Japanese spot LNG prices fell for a second straight month, with delivered cargoes in August costing $12.50 per million British thermal units compared with $13.80 per MMBtu the previous month, according to official government figures.


      Prince Rupert floating export venture takes Canadian LNG project count to 26 mark

      Monday, 08 September 2014

      With three new LNG export projects added to the Canadian Energy Board licensing roster, the number of Canadian ventures now in place numbers 26, mostly aimed at Asia but also for the domestic fuel market.


      Japan to receive priority Alaska LNG project updates as venture enters FERC process

      Tuesday, 09 September 2014

      The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources signed a memorandum of understanding to exchange information on potential LNG exports from the Alaska LNG project as the venure entered the US regulatory process.


      Australian firm owned by Shell-PetroChina may just supply CSG to other LNG projects

      Monday, 08 September 2014

      Arrow Energy, the Australian coal-seam gas company jointly owned by Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina and with plans for a CSG-to-LNG project in Queensland, said it was proceeding with the front-end engineering design phase for its proposed Bowen Gas project.


  2. HEY HEY




  3. Was having a quick read of the LA Times and thought 'it must be the same all over".

    A relation of mine who was homeless in Broome a few years ago was in and out of hospital for treatment when the surgeon insisted she have a major operation.

    I couldn't believe it when she told me and I phoned the hospital and told them she could not recuperate on the sand dunes.

    "Oh she will be kept in for 24 hours".

    She never had the op and seems quite well today.

    Then there was the poor nutrition.

    And the "fracking is good for you". And the drought.


    Editorial - Fines alone won't fix 'patient dumping' of homeless

    Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer announced on Wednesday that his office had reached an agreement with Glendale Adventist Medical Center over allegations that the respected hospital had improperly discharged a homeless patient to the streets of skid row.
    Although the hospital staunchly denied any wrongdoing, it agreed to pay $700,000 in civil fines — $100,000 of that as a donation to a homeless services provider — and adopt new protocols for discharging homeless patients.

    This is the third hospital in less than a year that Feuer has settled with over charges of so-called patient dumping on skid row.
    His office has assessed a total of more than $1.5 million in fines..


    Great Read - South L.A. women changed their lives, and it started with food

    Every Wednesday evening, the women sit in a circle of folding chairs in a bungalow at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in South L.A. There's always a box of tissues in the center; it rarely goes unused..

    They come to talk about food.

    They talk about how to make brown rice or cut back on salt. They talk about neighborhoods filled with fried chicken, barbecue, pizza and burger places.

    And they talk about how hard it has been, working the overnight shift at Target, to dig yourself and six boys out of homelessness..........

    The program provides each participant family $100 a week on a Food 4 Less gift card for six months. Each family also receives a high-end blender for juicing. The group watches films, gets handouts about nutrition and learns to cook several dozen healthful dishes.

    Helen Langley, easily the most loquacious member of the group, says, sure, she judged: "Who are these white people coming to South-Central? What do they want if they're not the police or a social worker? We had to feel them out."

    It was Langley, however, who also helped change the tenor in the room when, on the third night, she told the circle that it was the first time in 20 years that someone had asked her how she was doing.

    "I took a breath and opened up," she says. "I don't have a safe place. ... We made this a safe place."

    Langley wasn't much interested when she heard about Groceryships.

    "It didn't really appeal to me. ... I was tired of doing change," the 54-year-old says. She had just cared for her mother until her death from cancer, which came not long after her father's death. But the kids — she's raising six nieces and nephews because their parents, she says, are troubled — "kept harping on me to do it."

    So she filled out the form, and at her interview she became intrigued. "I got these kids, and I got to live long," she says.


    The federal government will resume oil and gas leasing in California following a report released Thursday that found little scientific evidence that fracking and similar extraction techniques are dangerous..


    With California zeroing in on a thousand days of drought, people here shifted their gaze this week with a sense of dreadful certainty, from the cracked soil and parched tinderbox at their feet toward a plume of smoke rising from the woods somewhere off Quail Drive..


    FROM ENB :

    Fraccing water worries

    Wednesday, 3 September 2014

    A REPORT conducted by the World Resources Institute has found that 38% of the world’s shale resources could soon face “water stress”.


    1. Natural gas pipeline for Woodfibre LNG raises questions

      Concerns have been raised that the proposed natural gas pipeline to service the Woodfibre LNG would endanger the local watersheds.

      Pipeline’s pathway goes through the major water source of the municipality, reports Squamish Chief, and concerned councilor Patricia Heintzman said that no municipality would allow any activity around local watersheds.

      Calls for detailed scrutiny of the pipeline have been raised, even though natural gas is non-toxic and non-soluble in water.

      Fortis BC spokesperson has said that the pipeline will not go ahead if it doesn’t get the approval.

      LNG World News Staff, August 29, 2014; Image: Woodfibre LNG

  4. 20-year native title battle ends with economic triumph

    The Australian |
    September 03, 2014 12:00AM

    IT has been 20 long years since the Yawuru people formally began their battle to regain the rights to their traditional lands in the Broome region.

    Yesterday, at a ceremony ­attended by 300 people, that ­battle ended in an economic triumph, with the unveiling of an agreement between the Yawuru and the Indigenous Land Corporation to transfer to Yawuru ownership land title to more than 276,000ha, comprising Roebuck Plains Station, the Roebuck ­Export Depot special lease and freehold title to the OTC Dampier block. The land package is collectively valued at more than $15 million.

    The ILC purchased Roebuck Plains Station in 1999 for the benefit of the Yawuru traditional owners. Situated on rich marine floodplain and supporting a herd of 20,000 cattle, the station is highly profitable and strategically located for the export market.


    I CAN"T stop thinking of how happy the Yindjibarndi were when the 100'000's of square klms were returned to them -

    ONLY to have Twiggy come along the next day and claim he had the right to dig it all up for the next 100 years -

    AND they would only get a pittance because only the overseas investers were allowed to sit on their butts in the Bahamas or the South of France -

    Twiggy didn't like Blackfellas sitting down even in their own country.

    HIS heritage is of course priceless.


    SO DO the Yawuru have any more rights than the Yindjibarndi ?

    NO there are only bodies between BURU and Yawuru country.


    APPEA: gas industry and agriculture go side-by-side

    An independent report released by the NSW Government today into land access arbitration sets out a positive reform agenda that provides certainty for both natural gas explorers and landholders.

    APPEA’s submission to the ‘Land Access Arbitration Review’ headed by Bret Walker called for a fair and enduring arbitration system – one that clarifies timeframes for arbitration while not imposing unreasonable costs on explorers.


    “Agriculture and gas production are working side-by-side despite misinformation put forward by professional protesters intent on stopping resource production and the growth of jobs and additional income streams for farmers.”

    Press Release, August 29, 2014; Image: APPEA


    Is shale a blessing or a curse?

    Monday, 1 September 2014

    THE oil industry prefers easy answers to black and white problems, which is why Slugcatcher suspects there is a tendency to avoid tricky questions such as whether the shale revolution really is a game changer or a bubble waiting to pop.


  5. SO IS shale a bubble waiting to pop ?

    Depends where you are and how much money is being thrown at it - that's it right now anyway.


    Shale gas revolution is igniting BHP’s US fortunes

    Business Spectator |
    September 03, 2014 12:19PM

    BHP Billiton might be committed to rationing capital across its portfolio but it seems that commitment doesn’t extend to its US onshore gas business.

    Even with the more frugal mindset established by Andrew Mackenzie, BHP continues to plough $US4 billion a year into the US shale gas business established, at a cost of about $US20bn, by former chief executive Marius Kloppers three years ago.


    BHP’s petroleum and potash president Tim Cutt gave a presentation in New York overnight in which he was very upbeat about the performance and prospects of the US gas business.

    That business is centred on the Eagle Ford formation in Texas, regarded as the best shale gas region in the US. Cutt said 75 per cent of BHP’s onshore US drilling and development expenditure in the year to June was focused on Eagle Ford.

    Within BHP’s operations in southern Texas, the drilling was further concentrated on its liquids-rich Black Hawk acreage, which Cutt said generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margins of more than 75 per cent at current prices.

    Black Hawk is, he said, expected to be the single largest producer in the group’s entire petroleum portfolio this financial year. In the June quarter it was operating 284 producing wells with an average net production of 82,400 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

    In the Permian basin in West Texas, BHP increased its position by 25 per cent last financial year. It says it remains on track to build a 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day business by 2017-18. Between Eagle Ford and the Permian basin, BHP expects to be producing about 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2016-17.

    This year the entire petroleum division is expected to increase production by five per cent to 255 million barrels of oil equivalent. Within that, onshore US liquids production is expected to rise 50 per cent, or by 17 MMboe. Higher-margin liquids are expected to account for 40 per cent of US onshore production and 65 per cent of revenue. The US business has become the division’s growth engine.

    The mainly dry gas at Fayetteville — BHP’s entry point to the US shale gas sector, which that was written down by $US2.8bn in 2012 — is being left largely alone for the time being as the group focuses on the higher-margin liquids-rich acreage. ..


    This year Cutt says BHP expects the US gas business to be strongly positive at the earnings before interest and tax level and free cashflow positive next financial year, generating about $US3bn a year of free cash by the end of this decade. Even in BHP’s context, that’s a very sizeable business.

    Cutt’s presentation explains why the capital-conscious Mackenzie is prepared to continue signing off on the $US4bn a year capex bill in the business. It’s a business that conforms to his productivity agenda.

    Cutt said the repetitive, manufacturing-style nature of shale gas developments were “ideally suited” to the BHP agenda. It had achieved a 21 per cent improvement in drilling times at Black Hawk last financial year, reduced the variability in drilling performance and cut drilling costs by 29 per cent between the first quarter of 2012-13 and the last quarter of 2013-14.

    BHP claims to be the best-in-class in recovered reserves and believes it can replicate its productivity successes across the rest of its onshore business.

    The US shale gas business therefore fits neatly into a group that, with the announced demerger of assets that don’t fit Mackenzie’s criteria of tier-one basin assets, will contain only high-quality, large-scale and high-margin assets.


    The plunge into the sector was controversial. The original Fayetteville cost Kloppers and the then head of petroleum, Mike Yeager, their bonuses. But the business is now close to more than justifying the investment in it.


  6. IT REQUIRES a hell of a lot of focus and hard work..........


    Apache exiting Wheatstone and Kitimat LNG projects

    Houston-based Apache said on Thursday that it intends to completely exit Australia’s Wheatstone and Canada’s Kitimat LNG projects ***** to focus on drilling onshore in North America. *****

    “Consistent with the company’s ongoing repositioning for profitable and repeatable North American onshore growth, Apache intends to completely exit the Wheatstone and Kitimat LNG projects.

    “In addition, Apache is evaluating its international assets and exploring multiple opportunities, including the potential separation of some or all of these assets through the capital markets,” Apache said in its second quarter report.

    Apache has a 65 percent interest in the Julimar and Brunello fields, which will provide feed-gas for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone project, and a 13-percent equity interest in phase one of the project.

    As per the Kitimat project, Apache operates the upstream development of 644,000 acres in British Columbia’s giant Horn River and Liard shale gas discoveries in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Chevron is responsible for marketing the LNG, and will operate the LNG plant and pipeline assets.

    LNG World News Staff, July 31, 2014; Image: Chevron


    BHP's US shale business set to move into the black

    BHP Billiton has underlined its capital-intensive US shale business is making progress toward turning a profit for the company, but has played down any near-term opportunities for development of its LNG prospects off Western Australia.

    The US onshore business should be "strongly" earnings before interest and tax positive this financial year, while free cash flow should be positive by 2015-16, petroleum and potash president Tim Cutt said at a conference in New York.

    Mr Cutt said the business, which is swallowing up $US4 billion in investment a year, should be throwing off towards $US3 billion ($3.2 billion) a year in cash by the end of the decade.


    Mr Cutt said BHP would prioritise the highest-return opportunities in petroleum, with a near-term focus on deep-water in the Americas, and the shale liquids business. However its "greenfield LNG" business, which includes the undeveloped Scarborough gas field with ExxonMobil off Western Australia, IS LOWER PRIORITY.


    WHICH IS WHY SO MUCH is being made over red/green tape and costs.

    PALMERS deal over the mining tax suits HIM to a "T".

    WHY shouldn't this deal do exactly the same ?


    Palmer United party to block ‘one-stop-shop’ environmental approvals

    Senators will vote against Coalition’s plan to hand the states decision-making powers over development projects

    The government’s plan to hand environmental approvals to the states for projects such as coal mines and ports is set to be blocked in the Senate by the Palmer United party.

    Clive Palmer has confirmed that his senators will vote against amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to create “one stop shops” to assess developments.

    The Coalition has already signed agreements with several states that would see them take on the assessment and then approval of developments that have a major impact upon the development.

    But the PUP will stymie this handover by voting against the move. The government’s devolution of powers is also opposed by Labor and the Greens.

    Greg Hunt, the environment minister, has said the handover of powers would boost business certainty and streamline a process that causes undue delays. Hunt has claimed that high environmental standards would remain, with states accredited to federal standards.

    Business groups are also supportive, with the Business Council of Australia stating that the devolvement will “begin the process of securing Australia’s massive investment pipeline without lowering environmental standards”.






    "Australia is continuing to lose its competitive edge in the global economy, strangled by government red tape.

    Australia dropped one place in the latest World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index to 22nd, continuing a downward trend since 2009/10 when it was ranked 15th.

    The most telling result was the burden of government regulation, which had now tumbled to 124th from 60th in 2010/11, he said.

    The report reinforces calls from the business community for greater urgency to be injected into building domestic productivity and competitiveness.

    That was particularly the case with industrial relations with restrictive labour regulations identified as the most significant impediment to doing business in Australia, Mr Willox said."


    "Iron ore is flirting with a five-year low as a global supply glut and a slowdown in China's property sector threaten to push the metal even lower.

    Overnight, iron ore fell to a fresh low of $US86.70 a tonne overnight, the price it reached in early September 2012. Should it fall below that price, it will hit its lowest since October 2009. The metal has fallen more than 35 per cent this year.

    The fundamentals of the iron ore market are weak at the moment and China's housing sector still has further to fall before it recovers, ANZ head of commodities Mark Pervan said.


    Australia's big miners such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are flooding the iron ore market with high quality product. This not only affects the supply-demand ratio, but also widens the discount that other iron ore miners, with lower quality ore, have to take.

    "These guys aren't taking their foot off the pedal," Mr Pervan said.


    Persistently strong supply from Australia will continue for the next two to three years, so any price recovery will not be substantial, Mr Pervan said.

    It will drop to $US75 a tonne in the second half of next year as rising low-cost supplies from Australia and Brazil worsen a global glut and the slowdown in China's property market curbs demand growth, CLSA analyst Ian Roper said.

    The commodity used to make steel will average $US80 a tonne in 2015, down from an earlier full-year estimate of $US85, and $US75 a tonne in 2016 and 2017, down from estimates of $US80 for both years, Mr Roper said. ."


    Tasmanian government rips up 'job-destroying' forestry peace deal

    400,000 hectares of protected native forest to be opened to logging in move Liberals say will enhance job creation

    "Environmentalists argue that the state’s native forests are far more valuable left standing, to be used for carbon storage and also for tourism. Tasmania’s tourism industry employs around 15% of the state’s workforce, compared to around 1% of people employed in the forestry sector.

    Jenny Weber, campaigner at the Bob Brown Foundation, said, “Tasmania’s government has issued a licence for native forest annihilation in an era when native forest logging should cease, for climate mitigation and ecosystem benefits.

    “At the helm over the unique forests in Tasmania is a government that has legislated for the ongoing logging of wildlife habitat of quolls, wedge-tailed eagles, Tasmanian devils and swift parrots.”

    Warrick Jordan, spokesman for the Wilderness Society, said logging in previously protected forest will risk the timber industry’s FSC forestry certification."



  8. WINNING and LOSING...............

    Abbot Point port developers to ditch Great Barrier Reef seabed dumping plan

    Developers are set to submit a new proposal in which dredged sediment is disposed of on land rather than at sea


    We must kill dirty coal before it kills us

    Over the years, mounting evidence has accumulated against coal. Research has shown the severe, and often unaccounted for, human health impacts from coal emissions on miners, workers and local communities. Health risks from coal include lung cancer, bronchitis, heart disease and other health conditions. In the US, 50,000 deaths each year have been attributed to air pollution from coal-fired power generation. Globally, air pollution from coal combustion is accountable for more than 200,000 deaths per year. Over the history of environmental epidemiology there has generally been a poor response by industry to the well-described harmful health effects of exposure – not just coal, but asbestos, gold mining and other dusty environments. This amounts to an appalling lack of care for workers and their families. We are calling on this to change for Australian coal exposure.


    In May 2010, the New South Wales government released a report on child health, which showed that nearly 40 per cent of nine-to-15-year-olds in the Hunter Valley and the New England region had suffered at some stage from asthma. That is significantly above the national average of 10 per cent. Other areas that have expressed concerns are the Hunter Valley and Lithgow in the Blue Mountains, which has a coalmine, a newly extended coal-fired power station and an asthma rate 80 per cent higher than the New South Wales average.


    Ross Garnaut estimated that China's use of coal could peak by as early as next year.

    Despite global momentum shifting away from highly polluting coal, Australia remains heavily reliant on ageing and inefficient coal-fired power. And, alarmingly, there is no consistent air, water, soil quality monitoring at and around every coal mine and power station in Australia.


    A doomed Earth of science fiction may well become a reality

    Our climate altering activities are hurtling us towards the fictional future of a hot, melting world


    New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at 'unprecedented rate'

    Scientists reveal Greenland and Antarctica losing 500 cubic kms of ice annually, reports Climate News Network


  9. Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse

    Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon

    The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

    It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

    Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. Researchers working out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including husband-and-wife team Donella and Dennis Meadows, built a computer model to track the world’s economy and environment. Called World3, this computer model was cutting edge.

    The task was very ambitious. The team tracked industrialisation, population, food, use of resources, and pollution. They modelled data up to 1970, then developed a range of scenarios out to 2100, depending on whether humanity took serious action on environmental and resource issues. If that didn’t happen, the model predicted “overshoot and collapse” – in the economy, environment and population – before 2070. This was called the “business-as-usual” scenario.

    The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.

    So were they right? We decided to check in with those scenarios after 40 years. Dr Graham Turner gathered data from the UN (its department of economic and social affairs, Unesco, the food and agriculture organisation, and the UN statistics yearbook). He also checked in with the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the BP statistical review, and elsewhere. That data was plotted alongside the Limits to Growth scenarios.

    The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. The data doesn’t match up with other scenarios.


    According to the book, to feed the continued growth in industrial output there must be ever-increasing use of resources. But resources become more expensive to obtain as they are used up. As more and more capital goes towards resource extraction, industrial output per capita starts to fall – in the book, from about 2015.

    As pollution mounts and industrial input into agriculture falls, food production per capita falls. Health and education services are cut back, and that combines to bring about a rise in the death rate from about 2020. Global population begins to fall from about 2030, by about half a billion people per decade. Living conditions fall to levels similar to the early 1900s.


    Our research does not indicate that collapse of the world economy, environment and population is a certainty. Nor do we claim the future will unfold exactly as the MIT researchers predicted back in 1972. Wars could break out; so could genuine global environmental leadership. Either could dramatically affect the trajectory.

    But our findings should sound an alarm bell. It seems unlikely that the quest for ever-increasing growth can continue unchecked to 2100 without causing serious negative effects – and those effects might come sooner than we think.

    As Limits to Growth concluded in 1972:

    If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.

    So far, there’s little to indicate they got that wrong.





    PacWest: Considerable Growth Expected for US Shale Formations

    "The number of wells drilled in 2014 is expected to increase by 6 percent over 2013 levels, while the number of horizontally fracked wells is expected to increase by 9 percent. Horizontally fracked stages are expected to increase by almost 20 percent. The number of horizontally fracked states in the Bakken is expected to increase by 10,000 over 2013 figures.


    Kemp: Why The Shale Revolution Is Not About To End

    "But there are plenty of reasons to think the focus on decline rates is misplaced and is unlikely to constrain North American oil and gas output in the next decade.

    First, oil and gas producers have learned to drill and fracture wells much faster, using mass production techniques borrowed from manufacturing, so the same number of rigs and crews can drill many more wells than before.

    Second, the sceptics focus too much on the decline rate rather than the total amount of oil and gas recovered from a well over its lifetime, which is more relevant to the sustainability of the shale revolution.

    The relationship between initial production (IP), the decline rate (DR), and the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) is subject to tremendous uncertainty.

    It varies significantly from play to play, county to county and even well to well. But in general, producers want oil and gas wells with a large EUR and high IP, because that means they receive more revenue overall, and more of it in the first few months after the well is completed rather than having to wait for years.

    Wells cost millions of dollars to drill and fracture, and all the costs must be paid up front, either by the producer using their own funds or with borrowed money.

    The faster the oil and gas are produced, the faster the costs are covered and the more profitable the well will be."


    "Estimates of future production based on the first few months of initial production can differ significantly from later estimates for the same well," according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).


    In general, however, it is possible to make a reasonably stable and accurate forecast of EUR after about three years, when almost all wells will have produced more than half their eventual output, according to the EIA .

    But across the United States there is a clear trend of rising average EUR from shale wells.

    Productivity improvements can be traced to several factors.

    Shale producers are drilling and fracking longer laterals, increasing the amount of shale accessed by each well.

    Through a combination of trial-and-error and better seismic work, drillers are increasingly able to target the highest-yielding parts of shale plays, improving average recovery factors and minimising the cost of drilling subpar wells.

    Other productivity improvements are in the pipeline. ..........

    The most advanced drillers are experimenting with wells that have several laterals at different depths to produce from different formations all from the same surface hole.

    Well-spacing is another area where improvements are being tried. Minimum spacing is set to ensure two wells do not communicate with one another underground (drain the same part of the formation).

    But the minimum gap between wells is being reduced to cover the whole shale formation more completely as producers learn more about how big an area each well drains.

    ...there are good reasons to think that the shale revolution is still in its infancy, with scope for further efficiency as current best practice is applied more widely.


    For all these reasons, the shale boom is not about to bust any time soon. As long as the oil is needed, and prices remain fairly high, shale production is set to grow.


    "Russia to build water pipeline into China as cost of water soars past cost of gas"


    Drilling Furiously: Chinese Energy Giants Turn Upbeat On Shale Gas

    by Reuters

    Charlie Zhu
    Friday, August 29, 2014

    HONG KONG, Aug 29 (Reuters) - China's energy heavyweights Sinopec Corp and PetroChina have upgraded their outlook on the country's shale gas industry, citing steadily declining costs, but stopped short of predicting a near-term boom.

    China, estimated to hold the world's largest technically recoverable shale resources, is hoping to replicate the shale boom that has transformed the energy landscape of the United States. Industry experts caution that it would be much more difficult for China to monetise its shale gas reserves than the U.S. as it faces serious challenges from WATER SHORTAGES to complicated geological structure and a lack of infrastructure.

    But top executives at China's two biggest energy companies conveyed a bullish assessment of the country's shale gas potential this week, citing rapidly falling drilling costs and rising domestic gas prices.

    ... The cost of shale gas drilling at Sinopec's Fuling field in southwestern China - the country's largest shale gas project - has been falling steadily to about 60 million yuan ($9.8 million) per well, Fu said.

    That is still double the average shale gas drilling cost in the U.S. but represented a significant fall from 100 million yuan in China just several years ago, analysts say.

    Fu said he expected costs to decline to 50 million yuan per well within three to five years. "It is dropping fast. Because of better expertise and experience, there is a lot of room for further cost decreases," he said.

    But some shale gas experts say the Fuling success is hard to repeat due to its unique geological structure.


    New Optimism Fu's optimism was echoed by PetroChina's Vice Chairman and President Wang Dongjin, who told reporters on Thursday that China's dominant oil and gas producer had decided to kick off shale gas development this year with a 7 billion yuan budget.

    PetroChina is keeping its drilling cost at 55 million yuan per well and will strive to keep it under 50 million yuan, he said.

    He said the average time PetroChina spends on shale gas drilling - a process known as hydraulic fracturing - had fallen to 45 days per well from over 80 days.

    But Fu and Wang ruled out the possibility of a shale gas boom in the near future, saying costs must come down much more and gas prices must rise further to justify a substantial step-up in investment.

    Indeed, China early this month halved its 2020 shale gas production target after early exploration efforts to unlock the unconventional fuel proved challenging, according to an industry website and a government source.

    Citing Wu Xinxiong, the head of China's National Energy Administration, industry website www.cpnn.com.cn reported that China aims to pump 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of shale gas by 2020, versus an earlier goal of 60-80 bcm mapped out in 2012.


    At Fuling, where Sinopec is building the first phase of the project, the company aims to put in annual production capacity of 5 bcm by end-2015, Fu said.

    By end-2017, Sinopec will double it to 10 bcm. PetroChina's Wang said his company will have annual shale capacity of 2.6 bcm by end-2015 and overtake Sinopec in terms of shale gas output in the next few years.

    "We are confident we will have a breakthrough in shale gas development in China," he said.

  12. Dear Redhand,

    I must complain most strongly about the misrepresentation of our hype ( which we spend a great deal of time and money on ) as mindless unintelligent pap and drivel.

    You are sailing a dangerous course here and our lawyers are looking at your blog as we speak.

    We at BUFU insist this stop immediately,

    Yours Sincerely,

    Sir Eric Shiteburger,

    President of BUFU oil and gas.

  13. Dredge spill moves from Great Barrier Reef to Abbot Point port

    The Australian |
    September 06, 2014 12:00AM

    ...............Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney confirmed yesterday that he would put the plan to state cabinet ­for approval on Monday before seeking an urgent meeting with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to green-light the “land-based solution’’.

    Mr Seeney said Mr Hunt needed to approve the plan quickly so the dredging work could meet its start date in March, and not delay the massive coalmine projects of GVK Hancock and the Adani Group in the Galilee Basin that will export from the port.

    “We believe dumping at sea is environmentally the worst ­option,’’ Mr Seeney told The Weekend Australian yesterday.

    “We have a solution to put to the federal government that can be approved in time for the beginning of the dredging that has been planned.

    “There are currently permits that legally allow the dredge and dumping to begin in March.

    “We have the engineering and state approvals done, and now the pressure is on the federal government to approve our alternate proposal before they start.’’

    A spokesman for Mr Hunt said last night: “We are confident that a proposal can be looked at without causing any significant delay.’’

    Mr Hunt gave the green light in December to the dumping of the dredge into the sea after it was ­approved by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

    The Australian reported in March that the authority had repeatedly warned the federal Envir­onment Department that the dredging plan risked irreparable damage to the reef and should be rejected. But internal documents, obtained by ABC’s Four Corners program, showed last month that the authority appointed a career ­bureaucrat, with no background in marine science, who ­approved the plan over the expert advice.

    Mr Seeney said the Newman state government had been working on a solution to avoid dumping the material at sea since soon after it won office in March 2012..................

  14. Abbot Point dredging approval under heavy fire

    When the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was setting up its own aquarium in Townsville back in 1987, it refused to grant itself permits to source the sand to line the floors of the tanks. "It did reflect the attitude of the authority back then," said Charlie Veron, a former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), who is credited with classifying a quarter of the world's corals. "They proceeded in everything they did with a great deal of care."

    Scientists, including Veron, draw a contrast with the actions of the present day authority, which in January this year approved the dumping in the world famous marine park of dredge spoil bigger in volume than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

    Indeed, a tussle of almost pharaonic proportions has raged ever since between environmentalists and scientists opposed to the expansion of the north Queensland port of Abbot Point – the source of three million cubic metres of sand, gravel and mud spoil - versus the proponents and the governments that approved it.

    This week, a Senate inquiry into the management of the Great Barrier Reef called for a halt to further approvals to dump spoil in the park's World Heritage Area, until research now under way by the authority and AIMS is complete. Among 29 recommendations, the inquiry report also called on Greg Hunt, the Minister for the Environment "to examine whether a cap or a ban should be introduced" on future dumping.

    The inquiry's thunder, as it happens, might have been stolen by some agile manoeuvring on the part of the developers facing opposition from a $6 billion annual tourism industry that couldn't fathom the point of risking off-shore spoil dumps.

    Officially, the developers - Indian miners GVK and Adani and state-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports - say they have approval to dump spoil 15-25 kilometres away from the coast - the cheapest option available when they submitted their plans. But a hint of ambiguity is creeping in.

    "We've long said that disposal options will adhere to the best practice and the best science, based on advice from technical experts and approving authorities" an Adani spokesman said.

    It's no secret that those experts are now considering a dump site near Abbot Point itself, after BHP ditched plans for a coal export terminal.

    An onshore site for the Giza-sized spoil would also defuse the issue that the developers had yet to decide where in the sanctuary it planned to park the sludge.

    An abandonment of off-shore options would allow Hunt to draw his "line in the sand" – the end of dumping spoil at sea – earlier than expected.

    "We're doing what Labor should have done but never did," a spokesman for Hunt said. "There is now a very clear message that we have drawn a line in the sand and that no capital dredging can be disposed of in the Marine Park. All projects must look for onshore options."

  15. Abbot Point dredging approval under heavy fire

    "Conservation of the ecology of the reef was the major criterion," says Kelleher, who ran the authority from 1979-1994, and enforced the strict controls on the Townsville aquarium.

    Kelleher notes the switch to an onshore dumping option came from the developers, "not from the people charged with protecting the reef".

    He recounts the time during the Hawke government years, when then environment minister Graham Richardson sought to force the authority to approve dumping of biodegradable rubbish into the park.

    "I had to fight like hell to get that rejected," says Kelleher, now 81. "I'd rather have died than accept that – and I almost did."


    "We discovered in the inquiry hearings that it was a bureaucrat [Bruce Elliot] who made the final decision to tick off on the onshore dumping," Senator Waters said. "He didn't have any scientific training."

    An authority spokeswoman rejected "any assertion regarding political influence".


    Elliot, the authority's general manager for biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use, has expertise in risk assessments and analysis, "essential skills for a position that requires consideration of complex permit applications", the spokeswoman says.

    Elliot's resume includes 27 years as a commonwealth civil servant, mostly in taxation and also defence. He joined the authority six years ago.


    For Kelleher and Veron, the fact approved port projects from Cairns to Gladstone may require 100 million cubic metres or more of dredging is worry enough wherever the spoil ends up, given the reef's deteriorating health.

    Near-term culprits include pesticides and fertilisers washed off farms, while the impact of climate change is already evident as waters warm and become more acidic.

    And that's before the Galilee coal basin gets opened up – the reason for the Abbot Point's expansion. Greenpeace estimates at full tilt, the nine mega-mines could produce 330 million tonnes of coal a year. When burnt, the coal's emissions would top 700 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide, dwarfing Australia's current total and would alone count as the 7th largest emitter in the world.

    Veron knows well the dire changes. Corals such as branching montipora that were once among the most common onshore species have all but vanished.

    Mostly gone too are spectacular corals, such as catalaphyllia and Galaxea. "Corals that I'd expect to pick up in a day I haven't seen in many years," he says.

  16. Adani's Galilee Basin project 'not commercially viable'

    There is some regrettable news afoot for the governments of Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman: the financial statements of Adani.

    This very news, however, will be relished by the enemies of progress: the tree huggers, basket-weavers and the dreaded Great Barrier Reef protectionists.

    Adani is the prime player in the biggest thermal coal project in Australian history, Galilee Basin. The Galilee coal is to be shipped to India from terminals at Abbot Point where, controversially, the plan is to dredge the port and dump the spoil out to sea.

    Without putting too fine a point on it, this is shaping up as the whitest of white elephants. No, more than this, this is an elephant which does not merely lack financial viability but which is also a calamity for the environment.

    If balance-sheety stuff is not your thing, skip to the next item. Otherwise, get a load of this from the accounts of Adani Mining Pty Ltd for the year to March:

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/adanis-galilee-basin-project-not-commercially-viable-20140905-10cyc3.html#ixzz3CUSayNAm


    $15 billion question

    So what do we have here? A company with $1 billion in debt, negative shareholders funds, zero revenue and high cash burn – albeit whose accounts are signed by Ernst & Young – with $15 billion still to spend.

    The cost of developing the project is slated at $18 billion all up. Adani has spent $2 billion buying Terminal 1 and $1 billion in Adani Mining. Terminal 0 is the big one. Where does Adani get a cool $15 billion?

    The banks perchance? Unlikely. Thermal coal at a four-year low of $70 a tonne, cost of production $50 a tonne, quality of coal, to put it delicately, not the best. Cash cost of production roughly equals revenue. Then there is the small matter of finding $1 billion a year to fund the interest on the debt.

    Tim Buckley, director at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, puts it bluntly: "This project is not commercially viable". Apart from the financial deficiencies of the main participants, he says thermal coal is in structural rather than cyclical decline.

    If the banks are loathe to part with that $15 billion, how about equity funding? Not much of that in evidence – no equity at all in Adani Mining. Might the parent, Adani Enterprises, tip in? Unlikely – it has debts of $US12 billion on an external market cap of $US12 billion.

    Adani, alas, is not the only obstacle to Galilee. The other crucial Indian company GVK has spent $800 million so far on its $10.4 billion project. The rub is that it is due to pay Gina Rinehart $US560 million next week but it has no cash and its market cap is only $US412 million in toto.

    This is a white elephant with purple polka dots.

    Amid the project viability and majestic funding schism, the worst eventuality is that Adani and GVK dredge up the Barrier Reef before they themselves blow up and ho-tail it back to India.

    Campbell and his 2IC, Jeff Seeney, would not have much luck chasing Adani to Ahmedabad for a stoush in the local courts, especially as founder Gautam Adani is a close mate of India's Prime Minister.

    In case another red flag were in order, Linc Energy accepted $155 million from Adani last week for its option in the project. It is worth asking why Linc boss Peter Bond would sell a royalty of $2 billion over 20 years – perhaps worth $600 million today – for just $155 million.

  17. Concerns at Barrier Reef contractor's humanitarian, environment record

    The billionaire Indian magnate planning to ship millions of tonnes of coal through the Great Barrier Reef is facing accusations of massive exploitation of his Indian workforce - including underpayments and exposing them to cholera.

    Gautam Adani has won federal approval for what will be Australia's largest coal mine and a major port expansion in Queensland despite concerns over his company's environmental record.

    Mr Adani, who is a close friend of India's new leader Narendra Modi, was scheduled to be seated next to Mr Abbott at a luncheon for business leaders in Mumbai on Thursday but withdrew at the last minute, leaving an empty chair next to the Australian Prime Minister.

    But a Fairfax Media investigation into the treatment of 6000 construction labourers at a luxury housing project in Gujarat owned by the Adani family has uncovered lax safety standards, underage workers and regular cholera outbreaks from contaminated drinking water.

    It comes after Mr Adani's company was found in February to have failed to gain proper environmental approval for construction around India's largest private port, also in Gujarat - destroying mangroves and displacing local villagers


    Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart - who has separate plans with another Indian company for another mine in the Galilee - joined Mr Adani's company to lodge a joint assessment of the proposed expansion of the port.

    Waratah, a company owned by Clive Palmer, also has a separate stake in the Galilee.


    few - if any - of the workers at Shantigram are protected in accordance with state and federal laws; many are paid well below the minimum wage of $4 a day, and some not at all.

    Many of the labourers working to build the dozens of apartment towers that will house up to 30,000 people, complain they are effectively being held in a form of bonded labour.

    "We have not been paid since we started work at the beginning of May," said 32-year-old tiler Bhavesh Meena, who works 10 to 12-hour days, six days a week. "All we have been given is food expenses of 500 rupees a week [about $9]."

    Like most of the workers at Shantigram, Mr Meena came to Gujurat from another state, leaving his wife and two children behind while he pursued work.

    "Because I have not been paid, I cannot leave until I am paid, I am trapped here," said Mr Meena, who represents a group of 45 workers in the same situation. "We are arguing and fighting to be paid, but they keep saying they dispute what they owe us, and they never pay us except to buy food."

    Another construction worker, Rajukumar Mangal Dindor, 26, who represents 20 construction workers, told Fairfax Media that he was in a similar position.

    "I have been here 10 months, and sometimes we are paid at the end of the month, but sometimes we are not. I know of many workers who are not paid at all."

    One 12-year-old boy from the state of Bihar, who did not want to give his name, said he was paid 150 rupees a day, about $2.60, to carry drinking water to the workers. He said he worked 12 hours a day, and had only Sundays off.

    A 40-year-old man from west Bengal said he earned $3.50 a day to dig trenches for drainage and sewage pipes for 10 hours a day.

    In a June study of the wages and working conditions of construction workers at Shantigram conducted by the Prayas Centre for Labor Research and Action in Ahmedabad, by outsourcing labour to multiple contractors, the Adani Group has been able to avoid complying with state and federal laws.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/concerns-at-barrier-reef-contractors-humanitarian-environment-record-20140904-10cgxk.html#ixzz3CUUOaOLe

  18. Concerns at Barrier Reef contractor's humanitarian, environment record

    "Because there are no toilets, everyone must practice open defecation, so the ground water that is used for drinking water is being polluted and infected, and that is why we have seen so many cholera outbreaks," Dr Jagani said.

    Most of the workers are forced to live in makeshift houses made of corrugated tin, with dirt floors and no running water.

    Officials from Majur Adhikar Manch - a registered workers union - have been repeatedly barred from entering the worksite. On one occasion in July a local newspaper photographed teams of local police officers preventing the union from holding an offsite meeting of workers demanding better wages.

    "Adani is close to [Prime Minister] Modi, and this is Modi's home state, so Adani can do whatever he wants," said one union official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Prior to becoming Prime Minister in May, Mr Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat for 12 years.


    Adani Group last week said it was seeking expressions of interest for up to 5000 construction jobs in Queensland.


    Australia to power India's energy market as Tony Abbott settles terms for uranium trade

    ..............."India has a strong nuclear energy program, Australia has very large reserves on uranium.

    "I do want Australia to be an energy superpower in the years ahead. We have large reserves of uranium. We have massive reserves of coal. We have extensive reserves of gas. We are the world's second largest thermal coal exporter."

    Mr Abbott nominated the proposed Adani mine which, if it proceeds, would be Australia's largest coal mine.

    "That will power the lives of 100 million Indians. It's one of the minor miracles of our time: that Australian coal could improve the lives of 100 million Indians, and it just goes to show what good that freer trade can do for the whole world."

    Gautam Adani, the Indian mining magnate who has won federal approval for the mine that would ship millions of tonnes of coal through the Great Barrier Reef is facing accusations of massive exploitation of his Indian workforce and poor environmental practices at his developments in India.......................


    But critics say the Australian supply of uranium to a non-signatory country to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is dangerous and irresponsible, with the risk of Australian fissile material finding its way into nuclear weapons, or freeing up other fissile material for that purpose.

    Mr Abbott said he was satisfied that neither would occur.

    "It's not our job to try to tell India how to conduct its internal affairs," he said.




    Browse decision stands: Jacob

    Wednesday, 10 September 2014

    THE West Australian government has moved to quash any speculation that new legislation to validate Environmental Protection Agency decisions would in turn validate the Browse LNG precinct proposal, which is currently being reassessed by an independent panel.



    WA projects at risk on faulty EPA approval

    AAP •
    September 10, 2014 1:50PM

    UP to 25 projects worth billions of dollars in Western Australia could be at risk due to a "technical error" in their environmental approval.

    THE projects, mainly large mining ventures, were approved between 2002 to 2012 by several Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) board members who had a conflict of interest.

    The WA government will introduce legislation on Wednesday to validate the projects' environmental approval.

    But environment minister Albert Jacob admitted there was potential for significant market uncertainty until the assessments were validated.

    Mr Jacob, who refused to name the 25 projects before tabling them in parliament, said he was incredibly disappointed the mistake had happened but was working to fix the problem.


    The EPA's oversight was revealed following the WA Supreme Court's decision in August last year to rule the environmental approval process for the Woodside-led Browse gas project unlawful.


    EPA chairman Paul Vogel said he refused to fall on his sword over the regrettable error of judgment and no one had intended to corrupt the process.

    Mr Vogel said the environment was not at risk and the EPA's governance procedure had undergone a complete health check to ensure it met legislative requirements.

    "In no way do these conflicts (alter) the science of evidence that sits behind every environmental assessment process that we conduct," Mr Vogel said.

    "My judgment at the time was based on Section 13. That was found to be flawed - I accept that.

    "I genuinely believed at the time I was managing those conflicts appropriately."

    The legislation will not validate the Browse proposal, which is currently being reassessed by an independent panel, Mr Jacob said.

    Fortescue Metals Group said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange that its Solomon iron ore project was one of the 25, but the company did not foresee any risk to its operation "at this time".

    "Having identified the issue, we are assured that the state is taking all appropriate steps to remove any risk so as to provide investment certainty for Western Australian projects which might be affected," chief executive Nev Power said.

    "We applaud the state for taking this decisive action to provide certainty and confidence to significant Western Australian projects."



  20. http://www.watoday.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/wa-resource-projects-at-risk-of-invalid-epa-approvals-20140910-10evfi.html

    WA resource projects at risk of invalid EPA approvals

    Date September 10, 2014 - 11:09AM

    Twenty-five projects, including "significant resource projects" which were given environmental approval in the past may be found invalid if challenged, the West Australian government has revealed.

    On Wednesday, Environment Minister Albert Jacob, alongside Environment Protection Authority chairman Paul Vogel, announced that legislation would be introduced to ensure the projects cannot be challenged on conflict of interest grounds.

    A Supreme Court decision in 2013 which found the EPA approval of the Browse LNG precinct invalid because of procedural conduct in the decision, was the catalyst to a review of approvals made between 2002 and 2012.

    Mr Jacob said the 25 projects in question would not be re-assessed and the introduction of the legislation would give "community and business confidence".

    The projects were found to pose "potential risk that state environmental approvals could be determined invalid" because of decision-making procedures.

    "This doesn't mean the projects pose risks to the environment, and there is nothing to indicate that the EPA did anything other than assess the environmental factors relating to proposals on their merits," Mr Jacob said.


    The 25 projects affected are expected to be revealed in Parliament later on Wednesday.


    Mr Jacob said the projects were "by and large in production or in construction".

    He said the companies involved were informed on Tuesday.

    Mr Jacob said the Browse project was not included in the 25 to be announced: "we've accepted the ruling on the Browse project and we'll be conducting a full separate assessment".

    He said the EPA had now fully updated their code of conduct.

    Mr Vogel said he had no plans of resigning following the revelation and he had no concerns about the environmental credibility of approvals.

    "I'd rather help the minister solve this problem we've created" he said.

    "There was clearly an error of judgment made by myself and the EPA in handling conflicts of interest.

    "In no way have these conflicts of interest altered the science and evidence that sits behind every environmental impact assessment that we conduct," he said.

    More to come...

    1. WA projects approved by a compromised EPA


      * BHP Billiton

      Jimblebar iron ore project

      Jinidi iron ore mine

      Macedon gas development

      Yandi life-of-mine proposal

      Orebody 24/25 upgrade proposal

      Port Hedland outer harbour development

      Railway deviation through Chichester Ranges

      Wheelarra iron ore mine extension and modification


      * Rio Tinto Iron Ore

      Brockman iron ore mine extension phase 2b

      Cape Lambert to Emu Siding rail duplication

      Cape Lambert Port B development

      Hamersley agriculture project

      Hope Downs iron ore mine statement 584

      Marandoo mine phase 2

      Nammuldi Silvergrass expansion project

      Cape Lambert Port B review of conditions

      Turee Syncline iron ore project

      Yandicoogina Junction South West and Onslow iron ore project


      * Woodside Energy

      Pluto LNG proposal review of conditions


      * Fortescue Metals Group
      Solomon iron ore project


      * CSBP Ltd (Wesfarmers)

      Ammonium nitrate production expansion project phase 2


      * Main Roads WA

      Roe Highway Stage 8 extension


      * James Point Pty Ltd

      James Point stage 2 port development


      * University of Western Australia

      Residential subdivision Underwood Avenue


  21. Tasmania's anti-protest laws would have chilling effect on freedom, says UN

    Proposed laws that would imprison protesters who disrupt businesses are probably in breach of human rights, say experts

    A team of United Nations experts has expressed concern to the Australian government over tough new anti-protest laws in Tasmania that it says would have a “chilling effect” on freedoms.

    The Tasmanian legislation, which is being considered by the state’s upper house, would impose mandatory fines and prison terms on protesters who are deemed to interfere with the operations of a business.

    Protesters could face a three-month jail term for a second offence.

    A group of experts appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council has told the federal government the laws would probably breach Australia’s international human rights obligations.

    David Kaye, the special rapporteur to the UN on freedom of expression and opinion, told Guardian Australia the laws were so broad that protesters would find it hard to know when they were breaking the law.

    “There are also very harsh penalties that criminalise expression,” he said. “Ultimately it will chill expression and people speaking out. In a democratic society like Australia you want to encourage expression and peaceful protest.

    “On the face of it, the law has problems that really raise concerns over the obligations that Australia has had to uphold for many years. I’m not sure how the government intends to use this power, but even without a crackdown it is likely to chill behaviour.”

    Kaye said the Australian government had yet to respond to the concerns raised by the human rights experts.

    Last month, a coalition of 13 legal, Indigenous and environmental groups wrote to the UN to express their dismay at the anti-protest laws, which are seen to be largely aimed at anti-logging activists.


  22. David Attenborough returns to the Great Barrier Reef for a new BBC series

    Veteran wildlife presenter to film three hour-long nature documentaries for BBC1 to be broadcast next year

    ................The landmark BBC1 series, to be called David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef, is being made by the team behind the award-winning First Life and is expected to be screened late next year.

    They will use techniques such as satellite scanning to examine the 1,429-mile reef as well as macro lenses on the cameras that will enable viewers to close in on tiny and normally unseen creatures.

    Attenborough first filmed on the reef for the series Zoo Quest in 1957, and has retained his passion for the location.

    He said: “People say to me, ‘what was the most magical thing you ever saw in your life?’, and I always say without a word of exaggeration ‘the first time I was lucky enough to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef’.

    “As I entered the water I remember suddenly seeing these amazing multi-coloured species living in communities – just astounding and unforgettable beauty. So I’m very excited to be returning to the reef with all the latest technology and science to see one of the most important places on the planet in a whole new way”.....................


    Rising carbon dioxide emissions push greenhouse gases to record high

    CO2 concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere increasing at their fastest rate for 30 years, meteorologists warn

    ........................The annual greenhouse gas bulletin from the WMO showed that in 2013 concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were 142% of what they were before the Industrial Revolution.

    Other potent greenhouse gases have also risen significantly, with concentrations of methane now 253% and nitrous oxide 121% of pre-industrial levels.

    Between 1990 and 2013 the warming effect on the planet known as “radiative forcing” due to greenhouse gases such as CO2 rose by more than a third (34%).

    The bulletin reveals concentrations of gases in the atmosphere, not emissions – around quarter of which are absorbed by the oceans and a further quarter by ecosystems.

    Oceans cushion the increases in carbon dioxide that would otherwise be seen in the atmosphere – but at a cost, with the world’s seas becoming more acidic at a rate not seen for at least 300m years, the WMO said.

    WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud said: “We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.

    “The greenhouse gas bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years............................





    N Ireland children shipped to Australia painted black 'for entertainment'

    Victim tells historical institutional abuse inquiry it was done as entertainment for paying passengers

    Children abused in Northern Ireland's children's homes and orphanages who were shipped to Australia were painted black in order to entertain passengers on their voyages, a victim told an inquiry on Tuesday.

    A former child migrant who was transported from a care home in Derry to western Australia revealed at the historical institutional abuse inquiry that "our faces were painted black to make us look like [Indigenous Australians]" as part of on board "entertainment" for paying passengers.

    The man is now in his 70s and asked for anonymity when he gave evidence to the inquiry at Banbridge courthouse in County Down. He had to wipe away tears as he described the humiliation on board the ship and later the abuse he suffered in an Australian care home. After being abused in the Termonbacca care home run by the Catholic church in Derry he was sent to Australia in 1953.

    Describing the impact of the abuse both in the Derry home and later in Australia, he said: "I had no idea how to parent my children, or even how to cuddle and love them. I really don't know what love is."

    Another witness to the long-running tribunal into decades of abuse in the region's care homes and orphanages told the courthouse that the abuse he had endured in the Bindoon home in Australia was even worse than what he had suffered in Termonbacca. The ex-Australian Air Force recruit said: "After Bindoon, Termonbacca turned out to be a holiday camp."

    This part of the largest public investigation into the abuse of children in state- and church-run homes is focusing on the treatment of 130 orphans and young people in care who were sent to Australia between 1946 and 1956.

    Sixty-six former residents of these institutions have given evidence of how they were transported across the world without their consent. Many of those who have come forward will give evidence via video link over what happened to them under the scheme.





  24. Agonising wait for answers, one year on from Kalgoorlie custody death

    More than twelve months after the death of an Aboriginal man in custody at Kalgoorlie police station, the inquest cannot be scheduled because internal investigators are still awaiting a pathology report on the cause of death.

    Mr Phillips, whose first name cannot be published for cultural reasons, died on January 8, 2011 after he collapsed and could not be revived at the Kalgoorlie police station.

    Marc Newhouse, who is chairman of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, says the delays in the investigation are "outrageous".

    "The anguish and trauma that causes to family members is unacceptable."

    "I regularly get calls from Adele Phillips [Mr Phillips' sister] who has had very little communication from the police and from the coroner's court in Kalgoorlie."

    "They want answers; they want closure, particularly to prevent someone else dying in custody under similar circumstances at Kalgoorlie police station. It's extremely important for them."

    The Kalgoorlie court has told the ABC that the inquest cannot be scheduled until the police report to the coroner is received.

    Internal investigators say they cannot complete their report until they receive the pathologist's report into the cause of death.


    *Aboriginal woman’s death in custody sparks call for inquiry

    CALLS have intensified for a public inquiry into the case of a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who died in agony after being incarcerated for unpaid fines of $1000.

    West Australian Greens MP Robin Chapple said the state government should do everything in its power to find out why Julieka Dhu died on August 4 “and why similar tragedies continue to happen across our state’’.

    Ms Dhu died in Port Hedland hospital after vomiting and experiencing paralysis in her body and face while in custody in South Hedland Police Station. Over a three-day period, she was taken twice for medical attention but ­declared fit to return to her prison cell. She was declared dead after being taken to hospital by police for a third time.

    Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and WA’s Aboriginal Legal Service have joined calls for an inquiry. The legal service’s ­director of legal service, Peter Collins, said the circumstances of Ms Dhu’s detention at the lockup and her medical treatment “raise serious concerns about the quality of custodial and medical care provided’’.

    “Locking Aboriginal people up for not paying their fines is not only inhumane, it is grossly inappropriate and if what occurred here is anything to go by, life-threatening,’’ Mr Collins said.

    A parliamentary inquiry into police lockups last November found that detainees were “often unable to access timely medical services as required by law’’.

    It also found that many lockups in regional WA “fell way short of what is safe and fully functional’’.

    Mr Chapple said the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, triggered by 16-year-old John Pat’s death, had made 339 recommendations to prevent custodial deaths, but 80 per cent had not been acted upon. The heat death in 2008 of “Mr Ward’’ in the back of a prison van in Kalgoorlie had shown that problems persisted in WA prisoner treatment.

    He said a public inquiry into Ms Dhu’s death was the first step in addressing longstanding and deepening mistrust between ­Aboriginal communities and state services. “Now more than ever, we need to make sure that this sort of thing never happens again,’’ Mr Collins said.

  25. Aboriginal man’s death in custody triggers call to review ‘draconian’ law

    THE death in custody of an Aboriginal man jailed for driving while disqualified has triggered new calls to change the system that imprisons people for licence offences.

    Stanley Allan Lord Jr, 39, died last year in a Sydney hospital of suspected cardiac arrest after falling ill while jailed for two offences of driving while disqualified.

    His father has questioned why his son, who was in fragile health following a heart attack and suffered chronic alcohol-abuse problems, was not offered rehabili-tation instead of a 28-month term, reduced on appeal to 18 months.

    INTERACTIVE: Incarceration for traffic offences

    “It’s so pointless,” said Stanley Lord Sr. “I’m never going to see him again. He should have been given a chance.”

    An inquest today into Lord’s death follows the death of 22-year-old Julieka Dhu, who died in police custody in Western Australia in August while held for unpaid fines.

    NSW’s “draconian” driver licensing regime, contributing to the mass jailing of Aborigines, needs urgent reform, says Felicity Graham, the principal legal officer of the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT who will represent the Lord family at the inquest.


    Death prompts call to end jail terms over minor offences

    ...............Residents in regional Australia 'at risk' of offending

    Lord initially became disqualified for driving without a licence.

    Ms Graham said he was not a chronic drink driver or dangerous driver. He had one prior conviction for mid-range drink driving and driving recklessly.

    She said the driving while disqualified offences did not involve erratic or dangerous driving or any attempt to speed away from police.

    She said people living in regional and remote parts of Australia were more likely to run the risk of driving while disqualified because public transport was limited or non-existent.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 783 people were jailed for traffic and vehicle regulatory offences in 2013. Of that number, 270 or 30 per cent were Indigenous.

    Source: ABC News online


    Aboriginal woman who died in WA jail was there for an unpaid fine

    ................Julieka Dhu who was 22-years-old at the time of her death earlier this month, was in jail for four days for failing to pay a $1000 fine.

    It's emerged that not only was Ms Dhu released from hospital multiple times after complaining she felt unwell but she was locked up as part of the WA government's policy of paying down outstanding fines through prison time.

    After complaining to police about severe pain, vomiting and partial paralysis she was twice taken to a local hospital but on both occasions declared well enough to be sent back to prison depsite reportedly not being seen by a doctor reported he Australian newspaper.

    Her family is now demanding answers from the WA government.

    Her uncle Shaun Harris questioned how someone who was dying could be sent back twice to prison with an all clear from the hospital.

    “How on earth did the WA health system, the Hedland Health Campus, apparently miss such an obvious health problem on more than one occasion, such as toxic poisoning and officially declare Julieka fit to be held in police custody?" Mr Harris told The Australian.

    “And why did the police refuse her proper medical treatment by unjustifiably dismissing Julieka’s begging and multiple cries for ­urgent medical attention?’’


    WA attorney general Michael Mischin is standing by the policy.

  26. Man dies in 50 degree heat during 'inhumane' treatment

    DateJune 13, 2009

    ....................The coroner found the father of four, from the Goldfields town of Warburton, died of heatstroke when he succumbed to temperatures of 50 degrees celsius inside the van on a searing day.

    The court was told that after being picked up for drink-driving the day before, Mr Ward was transported in a van whose prisoner's compartment had no air-conditioning and little air flow.

    Mr Hope said Ms Stokoe and Mr Powell, who provided Mr Ward with only a 600ml bottle of water and did not check on him throughout the journey, had breached their duty of care.

    He said Mr Ward had no proper method of communicating with the guards, who had colluded on their evidence before being interviewed by police about the death.

    The hearing was told that when Mr Ward eventually arrived unconscious at Kalgoorlie hospital, his body was so hot that staff had been unable to cool him down.

    Even after an ice bath he had a body temperature of 41.7 degrees.

    He had a laceration to his head from falling in the vehicle and a 9cm third degree burn to his stomach from lying on its hot metal floor.

    Mr Hope said the department had failed to provide GSL with proper means of transport and that the vehicle was ``not fit for humans''.

    The prison van did not have a spare tyre, indicating GSL's ``reckless approach'' towards the transport of prisoners, he said.

    ``In my view, it is a disgrace that a prisoner in the 21st Century, particularly a prisoner who has not been convicted of any crime, was transported for a long distance in high temperatures in this pod,'' Mr Hope said.........................


  27. JOHN PAT – a death in custody – “We’ll get you, you black cunt.”

    Gerry Georgatos "We have to get rid of racist cops. I don't want to dwell on the past but I have grown up bitter," said Nyungar Elder Ben Taylor. Mr Taylor is on the mark when he says, "They have been killing our people for two hundred years."

    On 28 September 1983 a young life came to an end that sent a community into tears before it became rage and outrage dulled into anguish and sorrow by the passing of time. The tears of 28 September 1983 filled Roebourne, breaking the hearts of its Yindjibarndi peoples. A mother lost her eldest son, 16 years young. John Pat's death contributed to the call for an inquiry into Aboriginal deaths. Some things have changed however not enough has changed. His mother Mavis remembers him every hour of every day and not just on September 28 - there is a hole in her heart that nothing can mend, such is a mother's pain.

    Mother Mavis's pain is shattering, often bringing her to her knees, her head buried in her arms or in her lap, and her cries often heard. Her son did not die in an accident, her son did not die of illness, he did not die by some means that in the least could make some sense - her son was stolen from life by the rapacious prejudices of racism - her son was a 'black cunt' bashed to death. The colour of his skin, his very identity, historical and contemporary, cultural and political were the liabilities that the ugliness of prejudice caught in its net. Mother Mavis and her two remaining children, John's younger sister and brother, live day in day out, slipping into every sleep with the rush of thoughts that their brother died not because of who he was in his mind's slopes or in his heart's valleys but rather for who he wasn't – he was not born ‘white’ or at least non-Aboriginal. He was someone the Saturnalian brimstone of racism, the taunting simmer of hate made inferior and where others considered themselves superior generally believed he should not walk alongside them.

    To remember the life lost, of young John Pat, with less passion and with fermented rationales is to misunderstand and misrepresent racism and the hate that it obliges - it is to allow for racism to steady a foothold. His death must be remembered with the same despair that the Roebourne community greeted the shocking news - when four off-duty police officers and an off-duty police aide, inebriated by the effects of alcohol and by the bitter tasting wash of their prejudices, and by generations of cruel and nescient stereotypes shoved down their throats, vilified the life out of this boy.


  28. John Pat's death in police custody in 1983 sparked the demand for a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.




    by Dr Jeannine Purdy


    "..........an individual Aborigine in Western Australia was not only twenty-seven times more likely to ultimately die in prison than a non-Aboriginal Western Australian, but was also three times more likely to die in prison than a Black South African...."

    ".........'Aboriginal people would suffer and die from the same discrimination and brutality as they had experienced during life', the Commissioners did not find that even one of the 99 deaths investigated was 'the product of deliberate brutality or violence by police or prison officers' (NR 1.1.3; 1.2.2). One might wonder what it was that made these officers in whose custody Aboriginal people were dying seemingly unique amongst those who interacted with Aboriginal people. I will be arguing that what makes these officers different is not that they do not resort to violence and brutality, but that they are authorised to do so by law......."

    "................Four white officers and an Aboriginal police aide were eventually charged in February 1984 with the manslaughter of John Pat (PR p. 12). If you were an Aborigine in Roebourne you would know that they were all acquitted by an all white jury (PR p. 273; Edmunds: 1989, p. l55), and that John's step-father died shortly after that verdict was handed down (PR p. 33). Medical science said he died of pneumonia; Aborigines say that Mick Lee died of a broken heart.

    Almost seven years after the death of John Pat, and after a number of court proceedings involving the events of the night of 28 September 1983, the Royal Commission came to Roebourne. By 1990, not one member of the police force had been successfully prosecuted or even disciplined in relation to the incidents of that night. This was in spite of the belief by the officer in charge of internal police discipline that assaults had been committed by one or more of the officers; and the opinion of the Crown Prosecutor that there was ample evidence for internal police action (PR pp. 248, 249). Indeed the only disciplinary action initiated was against an officer who had no involvement in either the fight or the unloading of the vans [3]. And, according to the police, as all copies of the file and complaint had been lost, even this action was never finalised (PR p. 219). In fact, apart from one officer who had retired and the police aide, all of the officers involved in the fight and the unloading of the vans that night - and their police investigators - have been promoted. Indeed, the officer in charge of internal police discipline at that time was to become the Commissioner of Police in Western Australia, Mr Brian Bull (PR p. 248)......."

  29. John Pat

    by Jack Davis (from the book John Pat and Other poems, published 1988)

    " Write of life
    the pious said
    forget the past
    the past is dead.
    But all I see
    in front of me
    is a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat

    Agh! tear out the page
    forget his age
    thin skull they cried
    that's why he died!
    But I can't forget
    the silhouette
    of a concrete floor
    a cell door and John Pat

    The end product
    of Guddia law
    is a viaduct
    for fang and claw,
    and a place to dwell
    like Roebourne's hell
    of a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat

    He's there- where?
    there in their minds now
    deep within,
    there to prance
    a sidelong glance
    a silly grin
    to remind them all
    of a Guddia wall
    a cell door
    and John Pat

    Jack Davis's poem has been put into song by Archie Roach and Mark Bin Bakar

    Guddia is a Kimberley term for the white man term



    Recession-hit Broome struggles to get a handle on the way ahead

    The Australian |
    September 13, 2014

    DREAM destination ­Broome is going through ­recession times, ­although its natural beauty still stuns German backpackers Anna-Maria Danzeisen, 23, and her partner Sando Krause, 25.

    The Kimberley town is suffering from sluggish tourist trade, poor retail sales and a lack of job-­creating industries. And 16 months after Woodside pulled the pin on its proposed $80 billion LNG processing plant, on red-cliffed coastal land at James Price Point, the economy has stalled.

    This week, more than 100 tour operators, caravan and hotel owners met at Cable Beach Resort to discuss “rebranding Broome” in a bid to overcome the crisis.

    But the local committee that tried to get an international air carrier to fly direct to Broome has now been disbanded. Broome shire says it is working on its own recovery strategy.

    And in two weeks a new economic blueprint for the entire Kimberley ­region will be unveiled by the Kimberley Development Commission.

    But it too will highlight the ­importance of Broome’s good health, since the regional-hub town, with a mere 16,000 residents, generates 34 per cent of the region’s economic output. “There are a lot of people saying ‘What are we going to do?’,” says shire president Graeme Campbell. “I now get locals saying to me, ‘I wasn’t against James Price Point, I just didn’t understand it’.”

    Campbell’s own caravan-park income has dropped by 5 per cent. But he worries more that ­Broome’s pearling business, plagued by an oyster virus, has contracted sharply in six years, from generating $200 million of income to $60m-$70m. On the upside, he says, Kimberley pastoral activity is on the rise; oil and gas offshore rigs also generate business for nearly 60 service boats at Broome port and for a fleet of helicopters at the airport.

    Indigenous leader Wayne Bergmann, who strongly backed Woodside’s LNG plant because of the income and work it would have offered, says not enough jobs are being created for indigenous youngsters. “The real hard question is, with 4000 unemployed people here, where will that many jobs be created?’’ he says. “The James Price Point non-believers talked all about tourism and sustainable ­industries. But where are they? How many tourists would you need to bring up here to cover their wages?”

    Bergmann says even some of the “non-believers” have gone broke and left town. “You hear that for every person who comes to live in Broome, six people leave,’’ he says. “On the internet, 400 houses are listed for sale and one of the big construction companies has gone under. Broome is experiencing its own recession.

    “I think the opportunity to ­create the greatest input into our future by local people — indigenous and non-indigenous — was at James Price Point, and that was shot down in flames.”

    Environs Kimberley, which led the anti-gas campaign, maintains that sustainable tourism is the key to Broome’s salvation. “There are 580 people on the Dampier Peninsula (north of Broome) who are employed in tourism,” says EK ­director Martin Pritchard. “Some businesses tell me they can’t keep up with demand.’’

    He says huge potential lies in a tourist trail between the Kimberley’s indigenous art centres and new fixtures such as the Broome dinosaur museum.

    The German backpackers could point to some easy solutions, if anyone asked them. The couple struggled to get to Gauntheaume Point, a major tourist ­attraction, at sunset to search for exposed dinosaur footprints at low tide. “There’s no bus to get here at the right time, and no bus to get back into town,” says Ms Danzeisen. “This is a lovely place with beautiful nature, but your public transport is terrible.”

  31. REDHAND :

    "A hollow discussion

    "It's not an either or situation," Mr Coleman said yesterday. "It's not a situation of choosing James Price Point versus floating.

    "We spent almost $2 billion to get James Price Point to work. I don't know how people can expect companies to spend any more money than that trying to make a development commercially viable.

    "James Price Point simply didn't work. Period. So talking about local content in the context of a project that won't get built is kind of a hollow discussion." "



    Thanks for this great comment and would just like to remind Proctor/Bloom that if Woodside had gone ahead they would have sunk their corporation and Broome would have gone down with them."

    "Woodside chief Peter Coleman said "We invested about 4.5 million man hours and had hundreds of Woodsiders who dedicated years trying to come up with a way to make this land-based development commercially viable," Woodside vice-president Roger Martin wrote in an opinion piece in The West Australian newspaper. "When the final number came in at more than $80 billion, it was obvious these efforts were in vain. " Martin said that modelling showed Woodside’s share of developing the project was estimated at $25 billion, almost as much as the whole market value of the company. "Effectively, we would have spent almost the entire value of our company on an uneconomic project," he wrote."




  32. http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/08/lng-price-slump-signals-warning-for-future/


    LNG price slump signals warning for future

    at 9:32am on August 21, 2014

    From LNGworldnews:

    Prices of spot liquefied natural gas for September delivery to Asia plummeted 33.1% year over year to an average $10.702 per million British thermal units (/MMBtu), the latest Platts Japan/Korea Marker (Platts JKM) for month-ahead delivery showed.

    The drop came as increased supply in the region continued to outweigh lackluster demand.

    On a month-over-month basis, the September JKM was down 5.8% from August. The data reflects the daily Platts JKM for September assessed between July 16 and August 15, and expressed as a monthly average.

    “The results of Australia’s North West Shelf LNG tender for cargoes loading in September, October and November showed a steep contango building into the traditionally high-demand winter season,” said Stephanie Wilson, managing editor of Asia LNG at Platts. “This prompted some buyers in Japan to purchase cargoes for October at prices significantly above those seen in September.”

    At $10.702/MMBtu, the average Platts JKM for September was the lowest monthly average on record since April 2011, and reflected the largest year-over-year decrease in 2014.

    Despite the year-over-year plunge for average September-delivery prices, the month-over-month decline was the narrowest since March, when prices began their rapid descent.

    After beginning the assessment period at $10.775/MMBtu July 16, spot prices bottomed at $10.525/MMBtu August 1 as a slew of supply tenders in the Asia-Pacific basin hit the market. It was the lowest daily spot price seen since Friday, March 11, 2011, when the JKM was $9.90/MMBtu. The spot JKM had spiked to $10.95/MMBtu on March 15, 2011, in the wake of the Great Eastern Earthquake and resulting Fukushima crisis in Japan.

    The Platts JKM began its rebound on August 8, gaining a total of 40 cents before ending the assessment period at $11.025/MMBtu August 15. This brought a close to five consecutive months of declines and reversed the downtrend in spot prices.

    “The removal of deferment clauses on cargoes loading from train 1 of the new ExxonMobil-led Papua New Guinea integrated LNG project also fuelled the more bullish sentiment, as traders and sellers can now compete for these cargoes too,”Wilson explained. “On the other hand, end-user inventories remained high despite higher temperatures in Japan and South Korea in recent weeks, giving buyers flexibility in their delivery schedules. Numerous projects in Asia also continued to offer additional supply to the spot market, which could suggest a cap to potential price increases.”

    Like so many vital Australian commodities these prices are very tightly held so I have to rely on doctored charts. Here’s my best effort to give you an idea of how unusual this is:

    ( CHART )

    If one new project of 7 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in PNG is enough to trigger this kind of price rout (in conjunction with a mild summer) then what is the 44 million tonnes coming on stream from Australia and Sabine Pass in the next year going to do, I ask ya?




  33. "One very obvious question we might ask is: if it’s all going so swimmingly then why is there a need for restructuring? It’s not just labour inefficiency, it’s massive capital inefficiency as well and that does not bode well for more investment. Then there is this from the US about Gorgon where Shell is a large stakeholder:

    The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called on the US Securities and Exchange Commission to scrutinise recent apparent misrepresentations made by Chevron regarding the company’s largest upstream development, the Gorgon gas project in northwest Australia.

    The ITF argues that Chevron has not provided adequate disclosure about the risks, timing and cost of the Gorgon project. At present Chevron continues to project a mid-2015 completion date for the Gorgon project, which represents the single largest component of the company’s total capital expenditure and exploratory budget.

    However, other project owners and customers have signalled they are planning further delay. Chevron is the lead partner on the Gorgon project with a 47.3 percent interest, Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell each hold 25 percent each and Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric have 1.25, 1 and 0.417 percent respectively.

    The ITF’s concern follows a long history of sudden and suspicious delay announcements by Chevron relating both to Gorgon and other projects.

    Not just a war of words?"


    LNG price plunges to three-year low

    Eric Yep |
    Dow Jones |
    July 10, 2014

    THE price of liquefied natural gas in Asia has plunged by nearly half over the past five months — to the lowest level in more than three years — as Japan and South Korea have bought less and supplies have increased.

    Dealers say the drop has forced some to sell shipments at a loss. Analysts say that if the price stays at current levels, Asian buyers may be less willing to commit to buying gas from planned billion-dollar export projects in the US, Canada and Australia.

    South Korea and Japan are the world’s two biggest buyers of LNG, natural gas that is super-chilled into liquid form for shipping and storage, but both countries have slowed buying.

    South Korea has been building up stockpiles of gas since last winter, when its nuclear power plants went offline after a safety scandal. Now those plants are restarting, reducing the country’s need for gas.

    In Japan, which became the world’s biggest LNG buyer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster shut down a third of the country’s electricity generation, summer demand, for power for air conditioning, hasn’t been as strong as usual because the weather has been milder than normal.

    The price of LNG cargoes on the Asian spot market, based on recent purchases by Japan, has fallen to less than $US11 per million British thermal units, almost half of the $US20 price in February, traders say.

    Yesterday, the Platts Japan/Korea Marker, a market benchmark, was at $US10.925 per mBtu, the lowest since March 2011.

    An unusually steady supply from producers in Qatar, Australia and Southeast Asia, where production outages have been less common than usual, has also weighed on prices. Papua New Guinea, too, has been adding to supplies after a new plant started production there in May, ahead of schedule.




    Chevron's Gorgon the latest LNG mega-project hit by US-fuelled gas boom

    DateAugust 27, 2014

    US oil major Chevron is struggling to lock-in 20-year sales contracts for its Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Australia, the world's most expensive, as buyers spoiled for choice from new suppliers hold out for cheaper deals.

    The high level of unsold LNG shows how the US shale gas boom has played havoc with major investments now coming to fruition in Australia, and threatens to undermine the industry's traditional sales model where projects tie up forward sales in long-term contracts.

    Nearly $US200 billion worth of gas projects are nearing completion in Australia, with seven LNG projects due to start exporting gas between late 2014 and 2017, making the country the world's largest producer of the fuel.

    As well as Gorgon, other projects include BG Group's Curtis Island, Conoco and Origin's Australia Pacific, Inpex's Ichthys, Shell's Prelude and Santos' Gladstone.

    But with LNG exports from the United States due to begin next year, buyers are more cautious about locking in 20-25 year contracts. For the Australian mega-projects, already stung by soaring costs, this means more uncertainty.

    "Buyers are being very cautious about firming up long-term import deals, especially since U.S. prices are undercutting Australian projects coming onstream around the same time," said a source at a large Asian LNG seller, who asked not to be named.

    "There's a lot of confusion about which are the best deals given there are so many pricing options on offer from different regions," he added.

    With a price-tag of $US54 billion, Chevron's Gorgon project is expected to start up in mid-2015 but has so far locked in sales for just 65 percent of its share of capacity,

    *****which leaves it HIGHLY EXPOSED TO THE FALLS IN THE SPOT PRICE.*****

    Chevron intends to trade its unsold long-term output on the spot market................................


    International Energy Agency says sudden drop in the global demand for oil 'nothing short of remarkable'

    A sudden drop in the global demand for oil is "nothing short of remarkable" according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    The Paris-based IEA says its global demand forecast has been "revised down sharply" in the past month as oil prices on futures markets continue to tumble.

    "A pronounced slowdown in demand growth in the second quarter of 2014 and a weaker outlook for Europe and China underpin the downward revisions," the IEA found in its highly influential monthly Oil Market Report.

    "Eurozone economic growth is petering out, while US petrochemical usage fell alongside pronounced declines in Japanese power sector demand."



    Price drop signals the end of the iron ore age

    DateSeptember 13, 2014

    But China's seemingly endless appetite for iron ore has been finally been shown to have limits, and the iron ore price has been driven lower by the ever-increasing volumes of iron ore leaving Australia and Brazil.

    Only now, as the price for Australia's top export commodity slumps at a five-year low, does there appear to be a consensus that iron ore, and mining generally, was helping to prop up government revenues and sections of the economy far away from the rocky gorges of the Pilbara.

    The recent corporate reporting season was littered with companies that named weakness in the mining sector as a factor in their own underperformance.

    The trend went far beyond the traditional mining services crowd and was seen in airlines, media publishers and even clothing manufacturers who have noticed demand for their workwear products to be lower than in the past.

    No longer a debating point, the lived experience in Australia suggests life is harder beyond the peak of the iron ore boom.

    Not even the boldest iron ore bull would deny the recent slump in the iron ore price slump is serious.

    In a consistent slide since December 4, 2013, the benchmark iron ore price has fallen 41 per cent to reach the point where several of Australia's junior exporters are barely break-even propositions.

    Two microcaps trying to export from the gulf region of the Northern Territory, an off-broadway location in the world of iron ore, have already gone bust, while others like Gindalbie appear to be approaching something like a death spiral.

    A huge increase in iron ore supply from the major exporters – Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Brazil's Vale and Fortescue Metals Group - has correctly been named as a major factor driving prices lower, but ANZ commodity analyst Mark Pervan said weakness in the Chinese real estate and steel sectors had also conspired to create a "perfect storm" of factors in 2014.


    The WA government had expected iron ore prices to average $US122.70 this financial year, and will lose $49 million for every $US1 decrease in the average price below that target.

    The state is now using debt to fund its high public-sector wages, its new football stadium and its riverfront redevelopment, and despite being at the epicentre of the decade-long commodities supercycle, no longer has a Triple A credit rating.

    Campbell Jaski, a corporate restructuring expert at PPB Advisory, said a weaker Western Australian economy would unavoidably affect other state governments around Australia through the system of sharing GST revenues.

    "The flow-on effect will hit all the other states, because as WA's royalty rates reduce, their share of the GST which they currently give up to the other states will start to pull back," he said.

    "So all of a sudden Victoria, New South Wales, Tassie, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland will have to start paying back more GST revenue to WA as a result of the royalties falling in iron ore."


  36. CEO of Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill mine not fazed by iron ore price drop

    The chief executive of Gina Rinehart's multi-billion-dollar Roy Hill mine is remaining bullish on the future of iron ore, saying the sliding price does not keep him awake at night.


    Anketell's $7bn port and rail deal signed

    A deal to build a $7 billion port and rail complex in Western Australia's Pilbara, which could become the biggest port in Australia, has been signed off.

    The West Pilbara Iron Ore Project will include a deep-water port at Anketell and a new railway network.

    Australian transport and logistics company Aurizon will have exclusive rights to develop the infrastructure, with the first exports planned for 2017.


    The multi-user, multi-commodity deepwater port has the potential to be the biggest port in Australia.

    The State Government had proposed it be built on greenfields land about 30 kilometres east of Karratha, and it was expected to boast an eventual export capacity of more than 350 million tonnes a year.

    It would be more than double the total exports through the nearby Dampier Port and 20 per cent larger than shipments at Port Hedland, which is Australia's biggest export facility.

    Access to port space has long been an issue for companies in the Pilbara, particularly smaller iron ore miners.

    The development planned to provide services for multiple users and will include an industrial area near Karratha.


    1. AND THIS ????????


      New hope for Oakajee port

      EXCLUSIVE Gareth Parker State Political Editor The West Australian

      April 15, 2014

      Colin Barnett believes new life will be breathed into his dream of a deepwater port at Oakajee, north of Geraldton, by Chinese state-owned giant CITIC Group after talks with the $430 billion conglomerate's chairman in China on Saturday.

      The $6 billion Oakajee project - which Mr Barnett has been trying to develop since he was resources minister in the 1990s - has languished and seemed dead since the previous proponent, Japan's Mitsubishi, withdrew from the project last June.


  37. RUMBLINGS CONTINUE........................


    EPA pair had interest in WA miners

    The Australian |
    September 13, 2014

    Andrew Burrell

    Senior Business Reporter


    TWO members of Western ­Australia’s independent environmental watchdog had financial interests in five of the state’s biggest resources companies, raising questions about potential bias in the agency’s approval of scores of mining projects.

    According to documents seen by The Weekend Australian, the two former board members — Chris Whitaker and Denis ­Glennon — had interests, including significant shareholdings, in Woodside Petroleum, Fortescue Metals Group, Wesfarmers, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

    The five resources companies have been responsible for tens of billions of dollars worth of investments in WA in the past decade and are frequent applicants to the Environmental Protection Authority seeking approvals.

    The extent of the conflicts of interest — which in most cases did not disqualify Dr Whitaker or Mr Glennon from assessing projects — has sparked scrutiny over the way successive governments have chosen candidates for the EPA.

    Dr Whitaker declared a conflict of interest in 35 separate projects between his appointment in 2007 and 2012, according to a ­letter written­ by then WA environment minister Bill Marmion to Greens MP Robin Chapple in ­September 2012.

    Mr Glennon declared 20 conflicts of interest between 2002 and 2012, according to the document.

    EPA chairman Paul Vogel this week admitted he was wrong to have allowed Dr Whitaker and Mr Glennon to be involved in ­assessing 25 of projects in which they were conflicted.

    But he insisted the board members would not have been influenced by their shareholdings. “Because I know the people ­involved and I’ve worked with them for a long time,” Dr Vogel said. “I don’t think the people involved in assessing these projects would compromise their principles and integrity for the possibility of some small financial gain.”

    Dr Whitaker and Mr Glennon accrued significant shareholdings in Perth-based Woodside around the time they were assessing two proposals by the company.

    Dr Whitaker, the deputy chairman of the EPA until he stood down in 2012, held shares in Woodside both individually and through his super fund. His wife, daughter and son also held shares.

    The Woodside shareholdings of both men were described as “not insignificant” in a judgment by WA Supreme Court Chief ­Justice Wayne Martin last year.

    Dr Whitaker said yesterday he had declared an interest in all of the companies in which he held shares. Despite being named in government documents as having an interest in Fortescue, he said he could not recall ever owning shares in the company.

    WA Environment Minister ­Albert Jacob introduced emergency laws this week to retrospectively validate the projects that were made potentially invalid by the EPA bungle.

    Mr Chapple said yesterday that governments needed to ensure appointments were balanced to avoid perception of bias. “If the EPA is to be independent, it has to have people … who can make decisions without fear or favour.”


  38. The situation at Chevron's Gorgon project continues to worsen.
    It looks like Chevron will be investigated for making false claims about the projects progress and start up date.
    If this is the case why wasn't Voelte investigated for doing exactly the same thing with Woodside's Pluto project ?


    Shell casts doubt on Chevron's Gorgon gas field start date

    DateMarch 15, 2014

    Royal Dutch Shell has cast doubt on the start-up schedule for Chevron's $US54 billion ($59.6 billion) Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia, signalling it expects production to begin in 2016, at least six months after Chevron's official start-up date.

    Shell - which has a 25 per cent stake in the huge venture, Australia's largest single resources investment - classified Gorgon in a presentation released overnight as a project starting up in ''2016-2018''. Only this week, Chevron restated its timing of mid-2015.

    It also played down prospects for any early move to expand Gorgon, describing the status of the project to add a fourth production unit at the site on Barrow Island as ''pause''.

    The Gorgon project, also 25 per cent-owned by ExxonMobil, is hugely complex and difficult and has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. The original budget for the first three LNG trains was $US37billion, but it has been twice increased and is now $US17 billion higher, with some doubts still whether that will be the final figure.

    The start-up date was originally the second half of 2014, but then slipped into early 2015, and now to mid-2015, at least under Chevron's official timetable. However, Shell's presentation signals it may be later still.


    Chevron CEO says unions aren't to blame for delays and blowouts on Gorgon

    Thursday 29 May 2014

    The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed news that Chevron CEO John Watson has distanced himself from claims by the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) that the MUA is to blame for delays and blowouts on the Gorgon project.

    Responding to a question from International Transport Workers Federation President and MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin at a shareholders' meeting in Texas overnight, Mr Watson said he had, "no intention of blaming organised labour for cost overruns or delays at Gorgon."

    MUA WA State Secretary Christy Cain said Mr Watson's comments had blown a hole in the side of AMMA's campaign to blame workers for problems on the project.

    "Over the last 18 months, we have seen a deliberate and coordinated campaign from AMMA to attribute all of the problems on the Gorgon project on maritime workers and the MUA," Mr Cain said.

    "Their tactics have been to inflate public perceptions of the wages and conditions of our members and create a perception that we are damaging the viability of the sector. Their long-term objective is to win public support for a return to WorkChoices-style industrial relations laws, where industry has all the power and workers have none.

    "We now have BIS Shrapnel and University of Sydney research that concludes that maritime wages make up less than one per cent of the cost of building projects like Gorgon, and that better management practices offer the biggest opportunities for improved productivity.

    "With the CEO of Chevron now saying that unions are not to blame for the problems on Gorgon, we demand that AMMA apologise to the MUA and our members for the dishonest and misleading campaign they have been running."

    The University of Sydney report can be downloaded here.

  39. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has joined forces with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in a global campaign to build awareness over delays and cost overruns on Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project in Australia.


    MUA WA branch secretary Christy Cain said maritime workers were being used as scapegoats by Chevron Australia.

    “Research undertaken by BIS Shrapnel found that the wages of maritime workers make up less than one percent of the USD54 billion cost of building Gorgon,” Mr Cain said.

    “Despite the negligible impact of maritime wages on the total construction cost of Gorgon, the MUA and our members are portrayed by the industry and their henchmen as being responsible for all of the problems facing the Gorgon project and the LNG sector as a whole.

    “This campaign will expose the real reasons for cost blowouts and delays on the Gorgon project to Chevron management and investors worldwide.”

    ITF president Paddy Crumlin said it was time to face up to facts.


    Wages not to blame for Gorgon LNG delays

    "Among the list of identified causes of construction delays and increased costs are several “big ticket” items identified in the press, as well as a number of anecdotal examples of mismanagement at the workfront.

    The big ticket items are as follows:
    •The two-kilometre long Barrow Island jetty was first estimated to cost $800 million, but instead cost $1.85 billion, attributed to difficulties with fabrication and transportation and “weather difficulties”.
    •The vessel Combi-Dock III accidentally struck the navy submarine HMAS Shean, which caused $13 million in damage, $10 million of which was paid by Chevron and insurance, and resulted in the offending vessel being impounded for two months.
    •Sustained delays at sea, sometimes up to five weeks of vessel inactivity, due to lack of space in docks and lay-down yards.

    In addition the report draws on first-hand accounts from workers about gross inefficiencies on site.

    Delays were largely attributed to safety policies were attributed, from the use of safety rules for sacking employees, to the use of tighter safety standards than necessary.

    It was reported that cranes on site were limited by procedure to use in winds up to 10 metres per second, despite faster manufacturer ratings.

    Another story detailed that a worker managed to set their clothes on fire while using an angle grinder to cut steel, which resulted in the banning of cutting discs, and boilermakers, pipefitters and welders were forced to use hacksaws to perform routine tasks like cutting the bullets out of pipe fit-ups.

    Barges were also delayed while being quarantined for cleaning due to having too much bird dropping contamination, in order to protect Barrow Island as a nature reserve."


  40. New round in offshore gas game

    10 September 2014

    Conditions for workers at the offshore Gorgon gas plant will be investigated by the West Australian government, if a push by three big unions is successful.

    Reports say that the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Australian Workers Union (AWU) have joined forces to further a stoush over Chevron’s Barrow Island Gorgon plant.

    The Barrow Island operation processes gas for export from the Gorgon gas fields on the sea floor off WA.

    The MUA in particular has been running a campaign against operator Chevron for several years on a range of claims, including that the company is not complying with obligations to hire local workers.

    US-based energy giant Chevron is suing the MUA for more than $20 million over a 2012 strike, which the company says caused delays and cost blowouts at the $57 billion gas project.

    Two hundred workers walked off the job at Perth’s Australian Marine Complex over safety complaints, and Chevon claims the union adopted go-slow tactics in loading crucial building ­materials when Fair Work ordered them back to work.

    Now, the unions have delivered a petition to Parliament calling for an investigation into whether Chevron has complied with section 15 of its operating agreement.

    The agreement, struck with a Labor state government back in 2003, requires Chevron to find labour in WA or Australia first, unless it could demonstrate it was not reasonable or economically possible to do so.

    The union claims it has a list of up to 700 able seafarers that would want jobs on the Gorgon project, to show Chevron's sub-contractors favour vessels with foreign crews.


    "The author of the report, Sydney University professor of employment relations Bradon Ellem, said the previous paper by BIS had shown conclusively that wages were an insignificant part of the project cost

    "There's been a lot of quite misleading statements made about just how high those wages are, and about wages growth overall in the sector," he said.

    Professor Ellem said cost blowouts could be attributed to both small and big-ticket items.


    Bigger costs included the impounding of roll-on, roll-off vessel Combi-Dock III for three months by the Federal Government after it hit a submarine, and the $10 million paid out in compensation, delays to international vessels at Barrow Island because of a lack of space costing up to $500,000 per day per vessel, and major delays at sea resulting in vessels remaining stationary with full crews on board.


    "This sometimes comes down to a lack of coordination round the specific phases of the project and often between the contractors," Professor Ellem said.

    Smaller, more routine items included costs due to strict quarantine requirements for all materials brought onto Barrow Island and forcing skilled construction workers to fill in paperwork just to get the correct sized bolts.

    "These small incidents over a number of months and years mount up and do amount to time delays and do amount to cost delays," he said.

    "I think the issue of cost is one that needs to be examined much more closely and carefully than it has been in any research that I'm aware of previously.""


  41. http://www.openaustralia.org/senate/?id=2014-09-02.168.1


    Senate debates

    Tuesday, 2 September 2014


    Gorgon Gas Project

    Sue Lines (WA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source

    I rise tonight to speak about Chevron's Gorgon Project, on Barrow Island in Western Australia. At the time of approval in 2009, the Gorgon joint-venture estimated that the net benefit to Western Australia from the Gorgon Project would be the creation of approximately 3,500 direct construction jobs on Barrow Island and approximately 10,000 direct and indirect jobs at peak construction; the creation of approximately 300 direct jobs on the island during the operational phase; an increase to the state gross product of four per cent; a boost to Australia's gross domestic product of more than $60 billion; and creation of new industries centred on CO2 injection and subsea development.

    These are the sorts of commitments that governments go starry eyed at. And why wouldn't they? There was a fine bunch of promises there made by Chevron. But, of course, these are claims—and just claims—and these claims cannot easily be measured or validated. But, nevertheless, it is claims such as these that make governments go misty eyed.

    Well, I am not hoodwinked, because I have another side to this starry-eyed picture. Let's look at the Gorgon Project. It is currently more than $15 billion over budget. It is 18 months delayed. Some Australian companies that were working on the project have gone bankrupt. Communities surrounding the project that had been promised and had expected infrastructure have been let down. The promised jobs, both the quality of these jobs—the value adding to the Australian and Western Australian workforce—and the number of jobs, have not met Gorgon's promise. Chevron has overpromised and under delivered on Gorgon.

    And what does Chevron do? Well, Chevron likes to blame Australian workers, Australian regulations and our political environment for its own mismanagement, its own errors, its own missteps and its own slip-ups. But the truth lies elsewhere. The International Transport Workers' Federation, of which the MUA is a member, has done its own investigations into Chevron. The federation believes that Chevron has not provided adequate disclosure about the risks, the timing and, indeed, the real cost of the Gorgon Project.

    The Gorgon Project on Barrow Island is the most significant extractive project in Australia. Of course, as the most significant project in Australia it requires substantial and ongoing investment of capital and human resources. When work began with great fanfare in 2009, the project was to be completed in 2014 at a cost of US$37 billion. Cost overruns are now at 40 per cent—more than $15 billion—and the project is now 18 months delayed, with the first gas not now expected until late 2015.

    For Chevron, Gorgon is the single largest part of its capital expenditure and exploratory budget. Yet, in 2009 it decided, for its own political gains to fudge those figures to suggest a cost it could not possibly meet, and a time frame which was absolutely unachievable.

    How is Chevron addressing its own failures? It is not. Rather than looking at its own managerial errors and slip-ups, and make the appropriate corrections, Chevron is advocating that Australia is somehow at fault here and that Australia should re-examine its regulation of the resource sector.

    The Gorgon project, unfortunately, is quickly becoming synonymous with white elephant mega-projects. Some analysts show that it is the most delayed and over-budget LNG project in Australia. Yet Chevron gave its shareholders extremely rosy projections and has only very slowly revised cost and delay estimates. Other Gorgon project owners, who are not as closely associated with the project's management or, should I say, mismanagement—Shell, and the Japanese utilities—have different projections and timetables for completion.

  42. Sue Lines (WA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source

    Despite extensive negotiations and commitments from Chevron, the company is now reporting that it is having trouble getting commitments from customers for as much as one third of the LNG that will be produced. So it has not even managed to on-sell what it will produce in late 2015. Apache, one of Chevron's co-owners on Wheatstone, is pulling out of the project, seemingly less optimistic about the project's operations and prospects.

    Rather than critically examine how Chevron can operate successfully in Australia—which is what a wise, progressive company would do—they have chosen to label us as an over-regulated, high-cost jurisdiction and sought to extract more benefits from Australian institutions, reneged on commitments and failed to operate according to our norms. Rather than focusing on fixing their own issues, Chevron continues to project that the inaccurate estimates they made at the beginning are somehow someone else's fault.

    This example of Chevron's operations shows that Australia must be prudent in negotiating resource agreements with overseas operators. Yes, we must look at the rose coloured projections about jobs and the bottom line in terms of what Treasury might expect to get out of these projects, but we must also force companies to be realistic. As regulators, that is what we need to do. Chevron and other companies must respect our laws, practices and operating environment. After all, they are extracting resources for profit that belong, in the first instance, to Australians. And that wealth needs to be shared, through proper management of projects, with all Australians.

    So concerned am I about this project in Western Australian—and because I want to get the best for the workforce and the Australian community out of Barrow Island—that I have written to Chevron in the US, expressing my concerns about what I believe are Chevron's over promised and under delivered commitments on the Gorgon project. If the government is asked by Chevron to look at regulations I hope that it does some very sharp analysis of exactly what is going on with Chevron and why it over promised in the first place.

    It is certainly time for Chevron to ensure that in future disclosures the company provides more accurate analysis of the prospects of some of its major projects, particularly those in Western Australia that have an impact on the state's finances, and which have an impact on the workforce. They certainly have an impact on the money returned, quite rightly, to Australians.



    1. Unions protest over jobs lost to foreign workers

      The West Australian

      September 16, 2014

      About 150 workers have rallied outside a city hotel to protest against the loss of jobs to overseas workers.

      The union protest follows a Federal Court decision to throw out a challenge to a move by the Federal Government to make it easier for foreign workers to be employed on offshore oil and gas projects.


      Members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia are involved in the protest this morning outside the Duxton Hotel, the venue for the Australian Mines and Metals Association skilled migration conference.

      The AMMA yesterday welcomed the Federal Court decision.

      More than 20 police officers are on standby as protesters sit at the foot of the Duxton Hotel entrance.

      The MUA is considering an appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court.

      The MUA and the Australian Maritime Officers Union took the Abbott Government to court claiming it was using a "legislative instrument" to re-open a loophole to allow cheap foreign labour in the offshore.


      In a statmement the MUA said the Abbott Government had undermined Australian participation in offshore oil and gas projects.

      MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the joint maritime unions would not rest until the job security of Australians working in Australian resources projects is protected.

      “The majority of Australian Senators voted to disallow the Abbott Government’s attempts to open the floodgates to foreign workers in the offshore oil and gas sector,” Mr Crumlin said.

      “That’s before the decision was steamrolled by Assistant Minister for Immigration Michaelia Cash.

      “You can rest assured that those Senators were closely watching (the) decision.

      “We look forward to continuing to work with Senators to monitor the offshore oil and gas industry in particular and the protection of job security more generally so that Australian workers’ interests are protected and advanced.

      “It beggars belief that a Government can override a decision by the Senate and we’ll continue to look at all avenues of appeal.

      “The joint unions believe Australian maritime workers should have the right to work in their own country and the ideological warriors in the Abbott Government and Australian Mines and Metals Association are seeking to take out an entire Australian industry."


      So it's not about Australian jobs - it's all about legalising cheap labour !

      Barnett where's your big mouth now ?


  43. Of course it never rains but it pours - Apache have bailed out of Wheatstone and Kitimat.


    Chevron soldiering on with Kitimat LNG as observers ponder its future

    Project challenged by departure of 50 per cent partner Apache Corp.

    By Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun August 1, 2014

    Chevron Corp. said Friday it will continue with gas drilling in British Columbia’s far northeast and advancing design work on the gas liquefaction plant that is part of its Kitimat LNG export proposal even as its 50-per-cent partner exits the stage.

    Houston-based Apache Corp., once Kitimat LNG’s lead proponent, announced Thursday that it is selling off its stake in the $4.5 billion project seemingly under pressure from an activist investor, the U.S. hedge fund Jana Partners LLC.

    “Apache needs to go through its process and we need to get a new partner,” George Kirkland, Chevron’s vice-chairman and executive vice-president for upstream production said during the company’s second-quarter conference call with analysts, following Apache’s statements that it is in negotiations to sell its stake.

    In the meantime, Kirkland said Chevron will continue drilling in the Liard Basin northwest of Fort Nelson to prove up reserves for the Kitimat proposal and keep working on surveying the route for the Pacific Trails pipeline designed to feed the plant.

    Apache’s departure, however, deals the project another challenge and a potential delay as it continues to look for a market for its gas.

    On the conference call, Kirkland also reiterated that Chevron has no interest in increasing its share of ownership in the project, but “we do have some small amount of working interest we would provide to an LNG buyer,” Kirkland said.


    Apache’s departure now pushes Kitimat LNG lower on the list of the plants that may be built, according to Ed Kallio and Cameron Gingrich, directors at Solomon Associates LLC’s Ziff Energy division in Calgary.

    “They were having issues finding markets, unlike Shell and Petronas,” Kallio said.

    Other analysts noted Chevron’s problems with its budget-busting Gorgon LNG project in Australia, where costs soared to $54 billion US from initial estimates of $37 billion in 2009.

  44. Kimberley cultural festival organisers vow to fight sacred site law changes

    By Erin Parke

    Fears that changes to WA's Heritage Act could benefit mining companies to the detriment of sacred sites has dominated one of the state's biggest Aboriginal cultural festivals.

    The Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Festival is held every two years.

    This year, about a thousand people have spent the week camped out at the remote community of Jarlmadangah, about 200km east of Broome.

    Kimberley Land Council chairman Anthony Watson said it had been a productive week, but that there was fresh resolve to fight the State Government's plans to overhaul the act.

    While the Government maintained the amendments would make it simpler and easier to register and protect sacred sites, there was a backlash brewing among Aboriginal communities statewide.

    Kimberley MP Josie Farrer, a Gidja woman from Halls Creek, said the changes would make it quicker and easier for mining companies to expand their operations, no matter what sites were damaged or destroyed in the process.

    "The people who know the country so well are the first people, they understand it better than the Government themselves," she said.

    "I think the Government would be quite silly or foolish to make those changes."

    Ms Farrer took part in the festival meetings to discuss the changes.

    "People feel very strongly about this, and people are saying this change shouldn't take place, because it takes away the rights of us as Indigenous people," she said.

    "Most important to them is to make sure that those sites of significance – burial sites, dreaming sites, all of those – are left with the people."

    At the Jarlmadangah meetings, the decision was made to circulate a petition throughout the regions.

    Some elders pledged to take their protest to Perth if the Government proceeds.

    The next festival is scheduled for 2016.

  45. Most of the rest of the mess is detailed here.


    A decade after ATSIC was axed, Aborigines still have little say

    Nicolas Rothwell |
    The Australian |
    September 27, 2014

    A DECADE ago, after a protracted period of reviews, critical reports and controversies, then-prime minister John Howard announced, with bipartisan support, the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. “The experiment in elected representation for indigenous people has been a failure,” he declared. It was the start of a cascading process of disempowerment that has continued unabated ever since.

    Fresh slogans and watchwords were heard in Canberra back then: there was much talk of combating remote community chaos through “shared responsibility agreements”, of increasing economic opportunity and freeing indigenous people from the passive welfare trap. But at the peak of the federal bureaucracy a new phase was dawning in indigenous affairs: one of increased control and surveillance, of close statistical monitoring and constraint, the better to effect social reform at the scale of an entire population group.

    This deep, persisting mismatch between announced aims and actual methods defines the landscape of indigenous politics to this day. In place of self-determination and reconciliation, the rhetoric of recognition and empowerment now fills the air — but autonomy and institutional power have been withdrawn from Aboriginal groups and communities, step by relentless step.

    A clear blueprint for the next stage in this process was unveiled with the release in late July of the artfully titled report by Andrew Forrest, Creating Parity, which in pursuit of its program of full equality of opportunity recommends blanket welfare income management and intensive oversight of infants and young children in “target” indigenous communities.

    The full sequence of events since the end of ATSIC is instructive, and highlights the dilemmas facing today’s reformer-in-chief, Tony Abbott, the would-be champion of indigenous affairs, in the wake of his well-publicised learning pilgrimage to the settlements of North-East Arnhem Land.



  46. "People should be able to have the real debate in this country about industry contributions without being bullied by lobby groups and their ideological allies in the blogosphere. "The lowest form of human filth" was the line in one recent post about TAI.

    Never mind that that is a ludicrous thing to say about a bloke in Canberra with a spreadsheet; this sort of thing is probably on the rise. As mining profits subside, the debate over industry entitlements and contributions to society is likely to get more strident. Then there's the environment. "


    Minerals Council should try fighting back with facts, not abuse

    The best way to bludgeon your ideological and commercial adversaries in the corporate world is to get your peak body to do it for you.

    This way, you can abuse people with gay abandon, shrug away any responsibility for your actions and leave your marque intact, your brand untarnished, even while financing the entire caper.

    Our favourite peak body, and we confess to an especial fondness for this organisation, is the union which represents the interests of large foreign-controlled mining companies: the Minerals Council of Australia.

    For this peak body, no depth is too low to plumb, no truth too sacred to be stretched. Were you to ask one of its main backers, say BHP Billiton, how much their shareholders are paying to bankroll its activities, or even whether the board and executive stand behind its latest ad hominem spray, you will hear the sounds of silence.

    Conflating royalties with tax is one of the specialties of the Minerals Council for big foreign miners in Australia. Pretending, with the paid collaboration of selected independent experts, that foreign mining companies are entitled to extract minerals from the soils of this country scot-free, without paying a royalty, and ship them overseas, is a ruse for which they display considerable flair.

    The belittling of its critics reached fever point in recent weeks. In June, the NSW Minerals Council – the NSW branch of the big foreign mining companies' union – responded with extraordinary spite to a piece written by left-leaning think tank the Australia Institute (TAI).

    Stopping a smidgen short of Queensland MP George Christiansen – who dubbed green activists "terrorists" this week – they circulated caricatures of TAI economists Richard Denniss and Ben Oquist as puppets of the Greens political party.

    Never mind that there are no formal ties, financial or otherwise, between TAI and any political party. The lobbyists played the man as usual, not the ball.

    TAI had the cheek to ruffle through thousands of pages of state budget papers and tote up the subsidies to the mining industry in Australia. The figure came to $17.6 billion over six years. The mining lobby didn't respond with its own figure; it simply issued abusive press releases claiming "gross deception" and propaganda on behalf of TAI, saying that this think tank was hell bent on destroying the mining industry and ruining the lives of hard-working Australians.

    The $17.6 billion put on subsidies was not so much a matter of interpretation – as the Minerals Council's independent expert framed it – but more one of addition.

    The subsidies are not fabricated. They are real. They can be added up. And there is no doubt that many of the projects subsidised by taxpayers have delivered a worthwhile economic benefit. Some subsidies have been worth it, others not.

    The key points in the report commissioned to respond to TAI were:
    •infrastructure spending for miners by state governments is not "assistance" as it is usually on a commercial basis;
    •the mining sector enjoys no preferential access to infrastructure; and,
    •spending on mining does not come at the expense of social infrastructure......................

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/minerals-council-should-try-fighting-back-with-facts-not-abuse-20140926-10mdr4.html#ixzz3ETSWNcH9

  47. "Another wave of mining contractors is expected to go under as iron ore and coal prices continue to decline and miners cut costs. "


    "Clive Palmer's company Mineralogy has moved to terminate its partnership with the Chinese operator of its $10 billion iron ore mine in Western Australia.

    Mineralogy has given Chinese state-owned Citic Pacific notice that its right to mine iron ore at the Sino Iron Project in Western Australia will be terminated in 21 days."


    BHP has agreed with Exxon Mobil that a FLNG is the best development option for the Scarborough LNG asset

    Date September 27, 2014

    BHP Billiton has fallen into line with Exxon Mobil and accepted that a floating LNG platform is the best way to develop Australia's Scarborough gas project later this decade.

    The companies are 50:50 partners in the big gas field off Australia's western coast, but had been keen to develop it in different ways. BHP was previously confident the field could be connected by pipes to the North West Shelf or one of the other processing facilities on the Pilbara coast.

    Speaking on Friday, BHP's petroleum and potash president, Tim Cutt, said the two camps now agreed that a floating LNG facility was the best option, and were increasingly confident the project would go ahead.

    "We have looked at all the different technologies with Exxon Mobil and we are now fully aligned with Exxon Mobil that FLNG is the direction we are heading," he said.

    "I'm happy to say we have progressed it far enough now where we are confident in the technology and the commerciality so we know it will go forward; it's a good commercial project."

    FLNG facilities are a relatively new technology that allows remote oil and gas fields to be developed by giant vessels that do not require connection to the shore.

    The world's first FLNG facility is expected to be used by Shell on the Prelude field off the Kimberley coast. Its first production is expected within four to five years.

    The energy sector is predicted to spend up to $US60 billion ($68 billion) on FLNG facilities in the next six years.

    Scarborough is 200 kilometres offshore and under about 1000 metres of water, making FLNG a viable option.

    "We are quite excited to learn about the FLNG technology and we are spending a lot of time with our partner on that right now," said Mr Cutt.

    According to federal approvals granted for Scarborough, first production is supposed to take place in 2020, but Mr Cutt stressed that Scarborough would have to fight the rest of BHP's global portfolio for investment.

    "When we finally get it all tuned up, we are going to have look at that against our other opportunities around the world," he said.

    Mr Cutt indicated BHP had little interest in joining BP and Statoil in the race to develop oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight, saying the region would be expensive to develop and carried a high risk.


  48. All things aren't equal in politics

    In the wake of the Peter Slipper case finally being concluded, a reader raises an interesting point that can now be put in the public domain.

    For there was Slipper, the one-time Liberal turncoat-turned-hated speaker of the house at the ALP's behest, chased by the Australian Federal Police and pursued up hill, down dale and through the courts all because of rorting taxpayers about a grand through bodgy cab charges taking him to places that had nothing to do with the business of government.

    When Slipper tried to pay the money back, the Finance Department declined to take it. And yet, back in October last year, when Liberal Don Randall knowingly claimed five grand for a trip to Cairns so he and his wife could purchase an investment property, the result was rather different. This time, when the AFP referred it to the Finance Department, they very kindly allowed Randall to pay it back so he could "alleviate any ambiguity".

    I ask you, seriously, if those positions had been reversed – and it was Randall who had ratted on the Libs, while Slipper had remained one of the boys – do you think they would faced exactly the same legal consequences?

    Tony Abbott himself had to repay a grand he had charged taxpayers for attending the wedding of Sophie Mirabella – no questions asked, with nary a federal policeman in sight.

    Peter Slipper would be near the top of my list of people I would least like to be stuck in a lift with for a long weekend, but in comparison to the treatment of others, it seems to me his end of the pineapple is raw.


    "In America, the past decade has been our hottest on record. Along our eastern coast, the city of Miami now floods at high tide. In our west, wildfire season now stretches most of the year. In our heartland, farms have been parched by the worst drought in generations, and drenched by the wettest spring in our history. A hurricane left parts of [New York City] dark and underwater. And some nations already live with far worse."

    President Barack Obama to the UN Climate Summit. Amazing, isn't it, you denialists, that even he could be sucked into making up all those porkies?


    1. Is Alaska the new Florida? Experts predict where next for America's 'climate refugees'

      Rising temperatures could spark massive population shifts across the United States

      Alaskans, stay in Alaska. People in the midwest and the Pacific north-west, sit tight. Scientists trying to predict the consequences of climate change say that they see few havens from the storms, floods and droughts that are sure to intensify over the coming decades. But some regions in the US, they add, will fare better than others.

      Forget most of California and the south-west (drought, wildfires). Ditto for much of the east coast and south-east (heatwaves, hurricanes, rising sea levels). Washington DC , for example, may well be a flood zone by 2100, according to an estimate released last week.

      Instead, consider Anchorage. Or even, perhaps, Detroit.

      "If you do not like it hot and do not want to be hit by a hurricane, the options of where to go are very limited," said Camilo Mora, a geography professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of a paper published in Nature last year predicting that unprecedented high temperatures will become the norm worldwide by 2047.

      "The best place really is Alaska," he added. "Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century."


      Fracking trespass law changes move forward despite huge public opposition

      Ministers reject 40,000 objections to allow fracking below homes without owners’ permission

      Fracking will take place below Britons’ homes without their permission after ministers rejected 40,000 objections to controversial changes to trespass laws.

      The UK government argued that the current ability for people to block shale gas development under their property would lead to significant delays and that the legal process by which companies can force fracking plans through was costly, time-consuming and disproportionate.

      There were a total of 40,647 responses to a consultation on the move to give oil and gas companies underground access without needing to seek landowners’ permission, with 99% opposing the legal changes. Setting aside the 28,821 responses submitted via two NGO campaigns, 92% of the remaining responses objected to the proposals.

      The government response to the consultation, published online on the eve of the parliamentary vote on military strikes against Islamic militants in Iraq, concluded: “Having carefully considered the consultation responses, we believe that the proposed policy remains the right approach to underground access and that no issues have been identified that would mean that our overall policy approach is not the best available solution.”

      New laws will now be passed giving automatic access for gas and oil development below 300m and a notification and compensation scheme will be run by the industry on a voluntary basis.

  49. 'Independent inquiry needed' into South Hedland police lockup death

    A family member of an Aboriginal teenager whose death in custody helped spark a royal commission has called for an independent inquiry into how a woman died in a South Hedland police lockup this year.

    John Peter Pat died of massive head injuries in a Roebourne police holding cell in 1983 at the age of just 16.

    Four officers and a police aide were charged with his manslaughter but acquitted at trial.

    Mr Pat's tragic case and the horrific nature of his injuries so shocked the government of the day it helped catalyse Australia's Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, which ran from 1987-1991.

    Now on the 31st anniversary of his death, the state is again trying to understand how another Aboriginal person lost their life in a Pilbara holding cell - this time a young woman held over unpaid parking fines.

    Miss Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died on August 4 at the South Hedland Police Station.

    She had been held for four days before her death.

    The 22-year-old woman had complained of being unwell and was taken to hospital twice, but both times discharged and returned to her cell.

    On her third visit to the Hedland Health Campus, she died.


    Deaths in custody committee spokesman Marc Newhouse told the ABC there were some "eerie similarities" between John Pat's death and Ms Dhu's.

    Both were young people from tight-knit communities in the Pilbara.

    "Thirty-one years later, the lessons have obviously not been learnt or acted on, from our point of view," Mr Newhouse said.

    "Really, it's a basic human right that if you're incarcerated you don't die as a result of that, yet we're still seeing that happen, as in the case of John Pat."

    He said a WA parliamentary inquiry into deaths in custody last year revealed there were still massive deficiencies with police holding cells in Western Australia.

    "Many of the recommendations from this more recent enquiry are in line with the Royal Commission ones," Mr Newhouse said.

    "So there's no doubt in our minds that there's ... a lack of political will and commitment to make these changes, many of which, they're not difficult to do, it's a question of the will to do it."

    The Committee has also called for a parliamentary inquiry into Ms Dhu's death.

    A stage play telling John Pat's story, Hip Bone Sticking Out, will run in Perth from Monday to October 4 at the Heath Ledger Theatre.

  50. People in the lock-up saw the police dragging her across the floor by her arms - witness on ABC radio.


    A family asks: why did Miss Dhu die in custody?

    The Australian |
    September 29, 2014

    Paige Taylor & Michael McKenna

    IN the weeks since the young woman Carol Roe raised as her own became the latest Aborigine to die in the custody of West Australian Police, the 65-year-old matriarch has made a ritual of sitting by her grave for hour after hour and asking: “Why did my baby have to die?”

    Ms Roe’s youngest grandchild­ren often make the short walk from their home to join her at the cemetery in Geraldton, 400km north of Perth, where the 22-year-old was buried in a big Catholic funer­al this month.

    “The little ones just want to be near her, they miss their aunty so much,” Ms Roe said yesterday.

    “I don’t want any more kids to die like this.’

    She is deep in grief for the granddaughter who had lived with her since the age of two, a “happy-go-lucky” kid from the state’s harsh north who dreamt of international adventures.

    But Ms Roe is also being strong for the sake of the big Roe and Kelly families that want answers about how the young woman came to die, despite repeatedly begging to be hospitalised. Locked up in the Pilbara town of South Hedland on August 2 for unpaid fines, the woman now known for cultural reasons only as Miss Dhu was, say two witnesses, vomiting day and night, and cried in pain over three days before her death.

    On two occasions when police took her from the lock-up to the emergency department of the South Hedland Health Campus, she was sent back to jail, allegedly without seeing a doctor. When police took her to the hospital for the third time in 48 hours, on ­Aug­ust 4, she was pronounced dead.

    Miss Dhu’s autopsy was inconclusive, but showed old fractures of two ribs, with a “possible refracture’’ of one and bleeding in and around the lungs.

    Forensic pathologist Jodi White also found a head wound and dried vomit in Miss Dhu’s mouth, nose and all over her body.

    Last week, West Australian Attorney-General Michael Mischin revealed that Miss Dhu suffered an apparent heart attack immed­iately before she died.

    Ms Roe wants truth and justice for Miss Dhu, but she also wants change.

  51. A family asks: why did Miss Dhu die in custody?

    Ms Roe broke her silence on the tragedy yesterday as an annual rally in Perth marked the 31st anniversary of the state’s most notorio­us death in custody: that of 16-year-old John Pat. Each year on September 28, the Pat family and its supporters gather to remember the Aboriginal boy who died in a Pilbara lock-up from massive injuries for which nobody has ever been held to account.

    There have been many other black deaths in custody since then, some examined by a royal commission that in 1991 made 339 recommendations, many of which have not been implemented.

    The final report found it was vital to address the reasons why Aboriginal people came into contact with the justice system — including­ issues around employ­ment, housing and health.

    The West Australian Country Health Service, responsible for the hospital in South Hedland, has previously said a preliminary review found Miss Dhu received adequate care, but expectations are growing that the treatment she received will come under heavy scrutiny at an inquest.

    At yesterday’s rally in Fremantle, the two families bound together in grief for Miss Dhu asked that a statement from them be read to the crowd offering deep condolences to the Pat family and all others who have lost a loved one in custody.

    “We want truth and justice for our granddaughter and all others who have died in custody,’’ the statement said.

    “We want the state to be accountable for failing this young woman and in their duty of care.

    “We are overwhelmed with sadness, as this young woman should be with us today.”

    The families connected to Miss Dhu want answers quickly. They have seen the pain for the family of Maureen Mandijarra, who died in the Broome lock-up in November 2012 but for whom there is still no police report. “We want the coronial inquest to be held soon and no holding back like the death in custody in the Broome lock-up,” the families said.

    Speaking from her home in Geraldton, Ms Roe said she would not stop demanding answers until she got the truth. “It’s important, but so is making sure this does not keep happening,” she said. “This doesn’t end for us — my granddaughter was so loved and it’s just so hard without her.

    “Her nieces and nephews called her Mummy, because to them she was such a good aunty she was like a second mummy.”

  52. There's no doubt about it - since Sutherland and the "Gas Plant" the policing at the Broome lock-up has become far more brutal and racist.

    The "Declaration of War" against the community continues with the Indigenous population in the front line.

    As with so many places on this planet the local policing is based on the local land grabs and Australia rates as one of the worst anywhere. It makes no difference if you are in the middle of the Amazon or the Great Sandy Desert.

    Any pretence of fairness by police, judges, or politicians has become a complete waste of time. Their behaviour is so far over the top by any racist measure.

    It has always been colonial genocide policy - but there is no doubt it has shifted up a few gears this last few years with the Gas Plant supporters (Indigenous and otherwise) cheering them on.

    The government funding cuts, both state and federal, have now gone so deep that if all funding was cut tomorrow the only people who would notice would be the thousands of white bureaucrats thrown out of work.
    The Indigenous people wouldn't see any difference at all.

    "The Great Mining Boom" and "The Age of Gas" have seen the worst of greedy racist scum and policies rise to the top in this country and decency and human rights go down the drain.

    Now with the new anti-terrorist laws it will no doubt be illegal to mention any of this without risking being put on the watch list and (once again) having your phone and computer tapped.

    So support your local Indigenous community because what is happening to them today will be happening to you tomorrow.


    1. Evelyn Greenup family told to ‘walk away’ by attorney-general

      THE family of one of three Aboriginal children murdered almost a quarter of a century ago say they were told to “walk away” from the unsolved case by a NSW ­attorney-general, as there was nothing he could do.

      Relatives of the children, who gathered in Bowraville, in northern NSW, at the weekend to mark the 24th anniversary of the disappearance of four-year-old Evelyn Greenup, have refused to walk away.

      A parliamentary inquiry into the killings is due to report in weeks. Evelyn was the second of three children to disappear from the ­town within five months during 1990 and 1991.

      A NSW Police ­Force detective, Gary ­Jubelin, told the inquiry the initial police investigation had been ­under-resourced and affected by the “race and, to a lesser degree, socio-economic factors” of those involved.

      Detective Inspector Jubelin, who led a second investigation, told the inquiry he believed “a ­serial killer” was responsible and “we already have the evidence to convict this person in court”.

  53. "Living On the Front Line" - Eddy Grant

    Yeah, oh yeah
    Mmm, oh yeah
    Mmm, alright

    Oh you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh you got me mama
    Living on the front line

    Oh mama
    You gonna mourn me in the wrong time
    Oh you got me mama
    You gonna mourn me on the front line
    They got me living on top of my existence
    Oh appreciating my resistance

    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line

    I said yeah, yeah, oh yeah
    I said yeah, yeah, oh yeah
    Oh what kind of man could I be
    If I can't talk about what I see

    Oh they tell me do beware
    Take your little money and go
    Me, no want no dirty money
    No, me, no want no dirty money

    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Born in the wrong time

    Ah yeah, yeah, oh yeah
    Woo woo yeah, yeah, oh yeah

    Do all my brothers in Africa
    All stop shooting your brother
    Do all my brothers in Africa
    All stop shooting your brother

    I need your brother in Africa
    Oh we are born from the same mother
    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Born on the front line

    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh, yeah, yeah, oh yeah
    Woo-woo-woo, yeah, yeah
    Oh yeah, aah

    Me, no want nobodys money
    There lord they sugar me no want to see
    Me, no want to shoot Palestines
    Oh I have land, oh I have mine

    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line

    Stop this brother killing brother
    Over in our land in Africa
    Stop this brother shooting sister
    Over in our land in Africa

    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line

    Me no want no bloody money
    Me have a talk about what I see
    I don't want your bribery
    Me have a talk about what I see

    Me no want to go America
    Oh, me no want to be come big Star
    Me no want to take cocaine
    Oh, to block off my brain

    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line
    Oh mama, mama you got me
    Living on the front line

    I said yeah, yeah, oh yeah
    I said yeah, yeah, oh yeah

    Oh mama, mama, oh mama
    You got me living on the front line
    Living on the front line

    They got me living on the front line
    They got me living on the front line
    They got me born in the wrong time

    1. Former Long Bay jail boss Michael Vita to run NT juvenile detention review

      The NT Government has named the former superintendent of Long Bay jail, Michael Vita, to run its review of juvenile detention.

      The move came as the NT's Aboriginal legal service called for urgent changes to the youth justice regime in the NT, pointing out that the territory's juvenile detention rate was six times the national average.

      "We incarcerate young people at rates almost unseen anywhere else in the world," said North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) spokesman Jared Sharpe.


      The NT Bar Association, NAAJA and the Children's Commissioner have argued for an inquiry into the entire juvenile justice system.

      Bar Association president John Lawrence said the inquiry was needed to monitor detention facilities where children were kept to ensure that national and international standards were followed.

      "They all apply to Australian jurisdictions," he said.
      Darwin's Don Dale juvenile detention centre
      Photo: The Territory's juvenile detention rate is six times the national average, according to NAAJA.

      "There are national and international standards that need to be followed by our government."

      Mr Sharpe, from NAAJA, said while Aboriginal people made up 30 per cent of the Territory population they accounted for 98 per cent of people in juvenile detention.


      "NAAJA is concerned about issues like isolation and kids being put in isolation for long periods of time. And lockdowns, kids locked in cells for up to 23 hours per day."


      The commissioner said he had still to be convinced that moving juvenile offenders to the old Berrimah jail was a good idea.

      "It was time to move away from the Don Dale facility," he said.

      "I have reservations about then moving into the older infrastructure that's involved in the Berrimah jail. I do have concerns moving youth into an adult correctional facility.

      "We know we have far more kids in detention per head of population than any other jurisdiction.

      "I think it is critical, everyone of those young people in the youth justice facilities will shortly be back into the community we want to ensure those young people come back into the community inspired and with a look at the future.

      "We don't want them to come back into the community embittered and angry."



      " Detention of asylum seeker children ‘is child abuse’ say paediatricians

      AAP |
      October 06, 2014"



    3. NSW Police Service warned twice that intelligence sharing arrangement with Catholic Church on child abuse claims was illegal, documents show

      Documents obtained by the ABC reveal the NSW Police Service was warned twice by one of its own lawyers that an intelligence sharing arrangement with the Catholic Church on child abuse claims was illegal.

      In explosive evidence expected to emerge at a Police Integrity Commission (PIC) hearing this week, an officer from NSW Police Service's Crime Agencies Legal Support sounded the warnings in 2001 and 2002 about a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the church and NSW Police.

      Under the draft MOU, a police sex crimes squad officer sat on an internal church body, known as the professional standards resource group.


      Under the MOU, the church would only share some of the information with police.


      Greens MP David Shoebridge said it beggared belief the Police Service's own lawyer had advised the arrangement was illegal, yet it continued for years.

      "This is a matter the PIC needs to investigate. Is it just incomprehensible ineptitude by police?" Mr Shoebridge said.

      "Is it part of a concerted arrangement by the church? And why are there so few checks and balances in the police force that allows this to go on for a decade?"

  54. THIS WILL BE VERY INTERESTING..............and will place unbearable pressure on very expensive operations like BURU in much the same way the iron ore price has killed off the more pricey operators there.


    Oil Traders Say OPEC May Be Heading For Price War

    LONDON/DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's decision to slash the official selling price for its oil has sparked trader talk of an emerging OPEC price cutting war, as members of the producer group could compete to defend their market share amid ample supplies and tepid demand.

    Industry and trading sources in the Middle East say there was now a risk of a race to the bottom, at a time when many were calling for unity from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as it faces one of the steepest price slides since the financial crisis.

    The group's next meeting in November will be closely-watched to see whether it cuts supply. Benchmark Brent crude prices continued to slide towards $90 a barrel on Thursday, a level that leaves many OPEC members - and other large producers like Russia - with painful budget gaps


    UK-Japan LNG gap narrows

    Oct 2 (LNGJ) - The UK National Balancing Point benchmark natural gas price has hit a six-month high of $9.25 per million British thermal units, making imports of LNG cargoes from countries such as Qatar more economic.That's as the LNG Journal delivered price for Japanese LNG cargoes has hit a 2014 low of $13.85 per MMBtu, based on the Japanese Crude Cocktail oil-linked price that tracks Brent crude.


    Japan Volcanic Eruption Will Not Hamper Nuclear Restarts

    By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | October 2, 2014

    The planned restarts of Japan's 50 nuclear power plants will not in any way be hampered by the volcanic eruption of Mount Ontake. The Sendai nuclear reactor, one of two reactors at a plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co, has been given the restart go signal by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. However, fears surged because the reactor is located 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Sakurajima, another active volcano.


    "No one knows when natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis will strike. The fact that they could not predict the Mount Ontake eruption highlights that," RT News quoted Yoshitaka Mukohara, one of the demonstration organizers who gathered Sunday for a protest rally in Kagoshima on the island of Kyushu.

    He noted Mount Sakurajima has been exhibiting plumes over the weekend.

    Stephen Church, from equity researcher JI Asia, said the Ontake eruption, while unfortunate, will not hamper the planned nuclear power plant restarts. "The Ontake eruption, if it were to become major, may (only) cause a delay in the nuclear reactor restart program."


    1. Oil slides as Saudis flex muscle

      The Australian |
      October 04, 2014

      THE price of oil tumbled on Thursday as Saudi Arabia fired the first shots in a battle for control of Opec.

      Brent crude prices fell by $US2.23 to $US92.04 a barrel, the lowest since June 2012, as the world becomes even more oversupplied.

      The Saudis are determined to remain the world’s largest oil producer for as long as possible and are resisting calls to cut crude production to arrest the slide in prices, for fear of losing market share to Iran and Iraq, their resurgent rivals within Opec, the oil producers cartel.

      Moody’s, the credit rating agency, cut its forecasts for average oil prices by $US5 to $US90 next year and $US95 in 2016.

      It marks a dramatic collapse since June, when prices touched $US115 after the new military offensive by Islamic State triggered fears that Iraqi oil supplies would be disrupted. The latest fall came after Saudi Arabia reduced the price of oil to Asia more sharply than expected.

      Analysts believe the move dimmed the prospects of Saudi Arabia pushing for a big cut in production when Opec meets at the end of next month.

      Opec’s largest producer is thought to be ready to tolerate lower prices and is digging in for what could be a drawn-out price war. Saudi Arabia has historically been known as a swing producer as it is the only country able or willing to adjust output to keep prices stable.

      Malcolm Graham-Wood, an oil industry consultant, said: “If the Saudis were considering cutting back on production, their normal policy would be to raise prices thus discouraging buyers. This action is a solid signal that they are not, at least at the moment, going to be the swing producer.”

      He added: “With the Opec meeting at the end of November this is clearly designed to concentrate some minds and remind the market who is the boss.”

  55. Energy imports push Japan trade deficit to record high

    27 Jan 2014

    Japan’s trade deficit soared to a record £67.9bn (11.47 trillion yen) last year, with the benefits of a cheap yen for exports increasingly eclipsed by hefty post-Fukushima energy bills.

    The nation’s 2013 deficit was the biggest since records began in 1979 and marked a sharp increase compared to the £41bn (6.94 trillion yen) recorded a year earlier, according to official data released by the Ministry of Finance.


    A 16pc increase in the value of crude-oil shipments to Japan and an 18pc rise for liquefied natural-gas imports significantly inflated the nation’s import bill last year, according to the Ministry of Finance.



    Liquefied natural gas imports

    Japan consumed about 37% of global LNG in 2012, as the Fukushima disaster spurred greater demand for LNG in the power sector since 2011. A third of the country's LNG imports are from Southeast Asia, but Japan has a diverse portfolio of supply sources.

    Because of its limited natural gas resources, Japan must rely on imports to meet nearly all of its natural gas needs. Japan, the world's largest LNG importer, accounted for 37% of the global market share of LNG demand in 2012, rising from 33% in 2011. Japan began importing LNG from Alaska in 1969, making it a pioneer in the global LNG trade. Because of environmental concerns, the Japanese government has encouraged natural gas consumption in the country. The government has chosen LNG as its first fuel-of-choice for power generation to substitute for the lost nuclear generation.

    In 2012, Japan consumed 4.6 Tcf of natural gas, rising about 58% from the 2000 level. More than 95% of gas demand is met by LNG imports. As a result of the March 2011 earthquake, Japan's overall LNG imports rose about 25% between 2010 and 2013, from nearly 3.4 Tcf/y to 4.2 Tcf/y. In 2013, LNG import growth slowed for the first time since the Fukushima accident as most of the fuel substitution for the lost nuclear power occurred in 2012. The power sector is the largest consumer of gas, with 64% of the mix, followed by the industrial sector (21%), residential (9%), commercial (4%), and other sectors (2%) in 2012, according to PFC Energy and the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC). Electric generation led to a larger slice of total gas demand following the loss of nuclear power capacity over two years ago when its share constituted about 57% of total gas consumption. LNG consumption by electric utilities rose by 33% from 2 Tcf in 2010 to a record-high of 2.7 Tcf in 2012. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is the largest electric utility and gas importer, holding 24% of the power generation market, according to the FEPC. The company purchased nearly a third of Japan's LNG imports in 2011. Tokyo Gas makes up over a third of the city gas share (industrial, residential, and commercial sectors) and is the country's third largest LNG importer.



    1. Future bleak for nuclear
      Wednesday, 1 October 2014

      WHILE uranium producers will be toasting the recent rise in the spot price hoping the worst is behind them and the re-start of those Japanese reactors is only a few months away, the long-term situation might not bear looking at.

    2. Statoil and Shell awarded licence for huge shale-gas play in Algeria to underpin LNG

      Tuesday, 30 September 2014

      Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell were awarded the Timissit licence in the Illizi-Ghadames Shale Basin onshore Algeria that the companies believe may become an "increasingly important component" of the North African nation's LNG and natural gas exports.

  56. "..........Preliminary interpretations have indicated that it is likely that an invasion of drilling fluids during the testing operation component of Dunnart-2 occurred into the top porous Bookara sandstones and resulted in a mixed recovery of mud filtrate, formation water and oil emulsion during wireline sampling operations..........."


    Key in Talks for More Exploration, Development Work in EP437 in Perth Basin

    by Key Petroleum Ltd.

    Press Release
    Thursday, October 02, 2014

    Key Petroleum Limited reported Thursday that since its last drilling report in respect of Dunnart-2 well, Key, as the Operator of EP437 in Western Australia's Perth Basin, has conducted preliminary interpretations of formation data from Dunnart-2 and secured and tidied the wellsite location.

    Preliminary interpretations have indicated that it is likely that an invasion of drilling fluids during the testing operation component of Dunnart-2 occurred into the top porous Bookara sandstones and resulted in a mixed recovery of mud filtrate, formation water and oil emulsion during wireline sampling operations.





    Goldman’s maturing LNG outlook
    Friday, 3 October 2014
    Blair Price

    GOLDMAN Sachs is not expecting any further cost blowouts on the three advanced Queensland LNG projects while it has become less confident in the expansion potential for the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects in Western Australia.


    LNG projects at risk as US output grows, Goldman says
    PUBLISHED: 02 Oct 2014

    Liquefied natural gas projects in Australia as well as Africa and Canada face delays or even cancellation as global demand growth slows and US output increases, according to Goldman Sachs.

    Worldwide demand for LNG will grow 5 per cent on an annual compound basis by 2020, and 4 per cent by 2025, Goldman Sachs analysts including Mark Wiseman in Sydney said in a report emailed on Thursday. The bank previously forecast growth of 6 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

    Even the US, where Goldman expects final approval for more than 40 million metric tons of new gas production annually over the coming years, will not be spared from the pull-back, Goldman said. Advanced drilling techniques including hydraulic fracturing have made the US the world’s largest producer.

    “The window for US LNG is limited,” Goldman said in the report. “Given the substantial contracts that have been signed in the last couple of years with US LNG projects, we believe investors should seek exposure to low-cost LNG export capacity, and be realistic about expectations for further contracts.”

    US supplies will compete with cargoes from Qatar and Australia, two of the biggest exporters, shifting global movements of the super-chilled fuel. Surging US gas production from shale formations including the Marcellus deposit in Appalachia has sent prices tumbling 69 per cent from their peak in 2008.

    Factors that may slow demand for LNG include the restart of nuclear reactors in Japan, China’s success in shale-gas exploration and production, and economic conditions in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

    Uncertain production costs

    Several projects in Canada and Australia will probably face deferrals due to uncertain production costs and price-sensitive buyers, according to Goldman. Papua New Guinea has perhaps the lowest risks as it expands LNG production, the bank said.

    “Outside of the US, we believe Papua New Guinea and East Africa may be the best placed regions to compete on cost competitiveness,” Goldman said. “Given the industry’s renewed focus on capital discipline in recent times, we are observing a number of high-cost LNG projects deprioritized in the investment queue by major companies such as Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BG Group, ExxonMobil.”

    The bank expects strong demand growth in Asia to be led by China and ASEAN nations, with modest growth from India, South Korea and Japan.

    “More than 20 per cent of Japan’s LNG future import prices are driven by Henry Hub gas prices,” Goldman said, referring to the delivery point for US natural gas futures.

    Chinese policy

    China’s government policy is driving increased gas use, especially in residential and industrial consumption, as well as transportation, according to the report. Still, gas-fired power generation capacity is not a high priority in China given the lack of competitively priced supply compared with other feedstock, Goldman said.

    LNG demand in Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam will continue to grow and reach a combined 42 million tonnes per year by 2025, according to Goldman.

    “Traditionally an LNG exporting region from Indonesia Malaysia and Brunei, ASEAN has emerged as a large demand centre due to strong economic growth, urbanization, and declining local gas supplies,” Wiseman said. “In many cases, LNG is reducing fuel costs initially, displacing oil consumption or more expensive pipeline gas.”

  58. August 14, 2013

    Alcoa releases AU$20 million to Buru Energy for gas development

    Alcoa has agreed to release up to AU$20 million to Buru Energy as part of its existing commercial arrangement to develop natural gas supplies from the Canning Basin.

    In 2007, Alcoa and Buru (then Arc Energy) entered into a natural gas sales contract for the delivery of up to 500 petajoules of natural gas to Alcoa during a 15-year period. As part of this arrangement, Alcoa provided a AU$40 million pre-payment to Buru; subsequently AU$20 million was placed into an escrow account.

    In the next phase of this project, Buru will use up to AU$20 million from the escrow account to fund the appraisal program for the Laurel wet gas accumulation.

    Alcoa’s Energy Development Manager Mike Shaw said this was an exciting development which builds on growing confidence that the Canning Basin is Western Australia’s next major source of natural gas supply.

    As well as Buru, Alcoa has also contributed AU$80 million to other natural gas exploration and development opportunities including with Empire Oil and Gas and Latent Petroleum (now Transerv Energy).

    Because Alcoa’s future is reliant on energy security, the company remains committed to continually exploring and developing competitively priced energy sources.

    - Ends -

  59. Pressure grows for controls on domestic gas reserves

    Peter Ryan reported this story on Monday, September 29, 2014

    CHRIS UHLMANN: A national campaign is being launched today demanding greater control over Australia's natural gas exports.


    SCOTT MCDINE: We are currently the only nation in the world which has reserves of natural gas, which does not have some mechanism to reserve that gas for their own domestic purposes. Every developed nation that has the gas actually does this and our ordinary consumers and our manufacturing businesses will be left behind.

    PETER RYAN: What's happening in other nations that we're not doing here?

    SCOTT MCDINE: Well, it's all the other nations. The United States have a similar type policy with regard to gas reservation. You need to make an application for a licence approval to export and things which are taken into consideration prior to that licence being approved in the US is the adequacy of supply to the domestic market.

    Canada has a very similar policy as does Israel and its incredibly important for our businesses and our ordinary consumers that they have access to gas at a domestic price rather than a global price which will see Asia actually gobble up all the gas which is available on the market.


    PETER RYAN: What sort of alarm bells are ringing in terms of the impact on manufacturers and business if something isn't done about domestic gas reservation?

    SCOTT MCDINE: Well, there's the impact on ordinary consumers and on business and the ordinary consumer, the ordinary household is going to see potentially the price of gas go from $3 to $4 a gigajoule up to $9 to $10 a gigajoule and the impact for business is massive, particularly when you've got steel manufacturing businesses and the aluminium sector who are going to have to compete with other developed nations with reserves in natural gas, which are using that gas at a domestic price.

    Now we've already seen the closure in this country of Rio Tinto, the Gove alumina refinery, we've recently seen the closure of the Alcoa Point Henry. The BIS Shrapnel's report actually shows that there's potentially up to 200,000 jobs in manufacturing which will be lost.


    PETER RYAN: Now you've been able to get Alcoa and Australian Paper onside but you don't have any gas producers signed up. Is that purely self-interest about the ability to get higher prices overseas?

    SCOTT MCDINE: Well, it would be and I don't blame the gas producers for that. They're just in it to make a profit but I think it's interesting to note that these same gas producers are the same gas producers who are operating in the other developed nations around the world - in the United States, in Canada, in Malaysia, in Israel. They are the same gas producers operating there and look, I understand for them it's about profit, but it's also about energy security for Australia.

    PETER RYAN: Now Western Australia has a gas reservation policy which mandates the reservation of 15 per cent of the gas produced in WA for domestic use. But no major political party supports a national policy on gas reservations, so how tough a challenge do you have ahead of you?

    SCOTT MCDINE: This isn't a debate about Labor, this isn't a debate about Liberal and this isn't a debate about the Greens. This is a debate about directly engaging with those who can actually play a proactive debate in this.

    Like I've said before, there is no simplistic solution. We can't simply sit and wait until gas prices skyrocket in the middle of next year and into 2016.

    CHRIS UHLMANN: AWU national secretary, Scott McDine with our business editor Peter Ryan.

    And there'll be a longer version of that interview on the AM web site later this morning.

    1. Sometime back it was said aluminium smelters were only viable if gas cost between $4 - $6 a gigajoule.

      If this is the case then Alcoa will not only be shutting down it's W.A. operations but asking Buru for a full refund.

      For Buru to get the gas out the ground then pipe it to south of Perth will cost 3 or 4 times that or maybe more.

      The agreement stated "the gas must be at a commercially viable price".

    2. Sector opens door on RET

      MAJOR renewable energy companies have told the Abbott government they will support a full exemption from the renewable energy target for the aluminium industry if the compromise can clinch a deal between the ­Coalition and Labor on the future of the policy.

      The Clean Energy Council, which represents key players in the wind, solar and hydro-­electricity sector, wrote last week to Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane to pledge support for a full exemption from the RET for the aluminium industry.

      The government’s review of the RET, which was set up to ­ensure 20 per cent of energy is ­derived from renewable resources by 2020, has caused uncertainty in the sector, with competing calls for the target to be kept, scrapped or wound back to reflect falling overall demand for ­electricity.

      As one of the biggest users of electricity in the nation, the ­aluminium industry’s exemption from the purchase of renewable energy certificates could have a significant effect on the price of power for other users.

      Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton said the CEC supported “a proposal to increase exemptions for aluminium smelting if such a proposal also contributes to restoring bipartisan political support for the RET policy’’. “CEC has been in regular discussion with the Australian Aluminium Council and we are both of the view that resolving this issue as soon as possible would bring stability to our respective industries,’’ Mr Thornton said.

      The CEC offer is seen as a ­potential game-changer in the RET debate and could form a basis for negotiations between the ­Coalition and Labor.

      The present renewable energy target mandates the purchase of 41,000GWh of renewable energy from large-scale generators, such as wind farms, by 2020. While this was ­estimated to have reached 20 per cent of electricity consumption by 2020, lower electricity demand means the share will be closer to 26 per cent.

      Critics of the RET have ­attacked it for forcing up electricity prices, with most estim­ates putting its cost to residential consumers at about 4 per cent of power bills.

      Exempting aluminium could push up household electricity prices by up to $4.50 a year because it will reduce the number of entities required to pay for renewable energy unless the target is reduced by a corresponding amount to compensate for the exit of the aluminium ­industry.

      A review of the scheme by a panel headed by businessman Dick Warburton recommended the target be dramatically scaled back to limit its cost.


      Last month, The Australian revealed that the Australian Workers Union also supported a full exemption for the aluminium industry.

      Twenty-five backbench Coal­ition MPs have also written to Mr Hunt and Mr ­Macfarlane calling for relief for aluminium.

      Cabinet is expected to discuss the RET this week and give the ministers a negotiating mandate to seek a deal with Labor.

      An exemption for aluminium will open the debate about whether to cut the current large-scale renewable energy target from its 41,000GWh level to compensate for aluminium no longer being included.

      Aluminium’s liability under the scheme is about 2100GWh. If the scheme were cut by this amount, others in the scheme would not have to pay more.

  60. Reserving gas for domestic users would hurt the renewable energy industry

    The ‘reserve our gas’ campaign may have populist appeal, but if it were successful it would only have a marginal impact on gas prices in Australia

    This week, in response to the opening of the eastern liquefied natural gas (LNG) market to exports, the Australian Workers Union (AWU) has launched a campaign for the government to reserve an amount of LNG for local producers and households. But while such a populist policy may have a marginal impact by lowering gas prices, it would do so by subsidising inefficient industries and reducing incentives for renewable energy.


    But while gas prices in WA for a time rose at similar or lower rates than in the eastern states, since the boom in LNG prices after the GFC, WA’s gas price increases have outstripped that of the eastern states.

    Indeed, WA gas prices are currently higher than those in the eastern states and are forecast to be higher still in 2020, suggesting that the reserve policy has only a limited affect on limiting gas price rises.

    The Grattan Institute’s Getting Gas Right paper argues that reserving gas for domestic production subsidises domestic manufacturers and households in much the same way as tariffs once protected Australian industries. But, it argues, such protectionism only serves to breed inefficient industries and reduce our competiveness.

    The reserve policy also has environmental implications.

    While gas generated electricity produces fewer emissions than black or brown coal, long-term cheaper gas would serve to make renewable energy supply from sources such as wind less competitive. Keeping gas prices low encourages a switch from coal to gas generated electricity, whereas if gas prices were to rise in line with the international market, renewable energy becomes a more attractive alternative.

    Given there is evidence that building new wind farms is already more cost effective than building new gas or coal fired power generators, a reserve policy would in effect subsidise fossil fuel energy at a time when renewable energy technology is driving lower costs.

    It is perhaps not a surprise that a gas reserve policy would have a negative impact on the renewable energy industry given that the AWU has also campaigned for the aluminium industry be made exempt under the Renewable Energy Target.

    Instead of imposing a reserve on gas production, it would be far better for the government to instead put in place better tax arrangements to capture revenue from this boom in production. In 2012, the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax was amended to include coal seam gas and yet due to the design of the tax, most companies expect to pay little extra tax. A reserve policy only provides benefits to households, whereas governments could use the tax revenue for wider community benefit.

    Australians are going to be paying more for gas in the future whether we like it or not. But establishing a gas reserve policy would do little to alter this fact. Even if it keeps gas prices low, it would do so only through the heavy long-term cost of subsidising inefficient industries and supporting fossil-fuels over renewable energy.

  61. Fracking exploration permits over WA groundwater reserves concern Conservation Council

    Conservationists say they are alarmed by the number of onshore gas exploration permits which have been granted over water reserves in Western Australia.

    The Conservation Council has obtained a Water Corporation map which reveals a quarter of WA's water reserves are now covered by exploration permits for unconventional gases.

    Spokeswoman Chantelle Roberts said the Conservation Council was worried fracking could interfere with water supplies.

    "We're concerned that mistakes could be made, a leak could happen, and then the groundwater is polluted," she said.

    Her concern is shared by regional communities, with companies facing strong opposition to fracking across the Mid West and North West.

    Carnarvon shire president Karl Brandenburg said it was not worth risking the local water supply.

    "We're very, very, much based on horticulture in Carnarvon, our main economy is driven around that and to have any risk to the water supply, it's just not worth it," he said.

    But Department of Mines and Petroleum spokesman Jeff Haworth said only exploration titles had been granted, not the right to drill or 'frack'.

    "The exploration title itself only gives the operator a right to apply to explore for petroleum, they still have to go through an approvals process to actually do any work on the ground."

    The Department of Mines and Petroleum said it works with the Department of Water and the Environmental Protection Authority to assess potential dangers to aquifers.

  62. DutchNews.nl

    An earthquake measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale was felt in Groningen province on Tuesday – considered a significant quake in the Netherlands.

    Social media channels were buzzing with news from people who felt the quake, some of whom were in Groningen city itself. ‘I have never felt such a strong one,’ local councillor Paul de Rook said on Twitter. There have not yet been any reports of damage, news agency ANP said.

    The quakes are caused by the ground settling following the extraction of natural gas from under the province. Gas extraction company NAM has not yet commented on the strength of Tuesday’s quake but the tremors are thought to have been strongest in the villages of Ten Boer and Bedum.

    NAM, a 50:50 joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil, is currently assessing claims from hundreds of people who say their homes have been damaged by the quakes.

    The government has sharply reduced gas extraction volumes in the worst affected areas. Earlier this year, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp set aside €1.2bn to compensate people whose homes have been hit by earthquakes.

  63. "The project is likely to end up 12 years behind the original schedule and total outlay will be more than four times the initial estimate of €800m."


    There is more gas in the Corrib gas field off the west coast than originally estimated, new data shows.

    Commercial gas is finally set to come onshore from the field off the Co Mayo coast in the middle of next year after a series of delays.

    The partners in the project, Shell, Statoil and Vermilion are now expected to spend an additional €300m on the project this year to bring the total spend so far to €3.4bn by the end of this year.

    Now, new accounts filed by one of the partners in the Corrib Gas project, Canadian-based firm, Vermilion Energy Ireland Ltd show that the volume of gas at peak production will be 8pc more than originally believed.

    The directors' report reveals that successful subsea operations off the coast of Mayo were conducted during the third quarter of 2013 and as a result, Vermilion state that it is increasing its peak production estimate at Corrib from 9,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to 9,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day net to Vermilion.

    Vermilion has an 18.5pc share in the field and it states that the gas field is expected to constitute 95pc of Ireland's natural gas production and approximately 60pc to 65pc of Ireland's domestic gas consumption.

    The results of the sub-sea survey is welcome news for the partners in the project, which has encountered a succession of delays and consequent budget over-runs since gas was found.

    The project is likely to end up 12 years behind the original schedule and total outlay will be more than four times the initial estimate of €800m.

    Work on a project to lay 72 separate pieces of pipe to create a 5km line to bring gas ashore to Bellanaboy gas processing terminal is ongoing.

    The Irish unit of Vermilion recorded a pre-tax loss last year of €43m. However, a tax credit of €10.96m reduced the firm's losses to €32.1m.

    The firm's accumulated losses totalled €235.6m.Shareholder funds stood at €53.1m.

    Indo Business

  64. 30 years after its removal, Burrup Peninsula rock art home at last

    ONE of the nation’s great cultural embarrassments has finally been rectified, after oil giant Woodside Petroleum oversaw the relocation of 1700 pieces of ancient Aboriginal rock art dumped in a Pilbara compound in the early 1980s.

    The boulders containing the highly significant engravings were put in the fenced compound, known as “the graveyard”, to make way for the massive North West Shelf gas plant, now Aus­tralia’s biggest resources project.

    The artworks were meant to lie there for a short time but it took more than 30 years for an agreement on their relocation to be reached between Woodside, the West Australian government and local traditional owners.

    They have now been moved to a nearby ridge, where they again form part of the world-famous Burrup Peninsula outdoor rock art collection, which contains as many as one million engravings that are up to 30,000 years old.

    Defenders of the Burrup rock art believe it is the nation’s most significant heritage location.

    It is the only Australian site to have been placed on the World Monuments Fund’s list of the 100 most endangered places, due to the encroachment of resources projects in the region.

    A report commissioned by Woodside in 2002 found many of the 1700 rocks in the derelict compound were damaged by fire, while others were missing and some of the most significant were lying face down in the dirt. A specialist in the region’s rock art, Ken Mul­vaney, welcomed the end of the project but lamented that it had taken so long for the artworks to be moved out of the compound.

    “Having the rocks sitting there in an artificial way was never ­appropriate,” he said.

    Mr Mulvaney said he estimated that as many as 5000 rocks were destroyed during construction of the North West Shelf, which is owned by a consortium of Woodside, BHP Billiton, Chevron BP, Shell and Japan’s MIMI.


    And the damage Voelte did constructing Pluto ?


  65. COAG puts focus on land rights to get Territory moving on jobs

    ...............Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles called for changes to indigenous land ­administration and land use to enable traditional owners to ­attract private-sector investment and finance for development.

    He said all the operating mines in the Northern Territory had been approved before the current land rights laws were implemented in the 1970s. “The protracted and complicated processes for ­approving development projects on Aboriginal land are prohibiting indigenous Territorians from pulling themselves out of poverty through economic development,” Mr Giles said.

    Mr Abbott said he wanted to ensure that rights were respected.

    “But one of the things that was coming through to me loud and clear from my recent visit to East Arnhem Land is that the vast ­majority of indigenous people, at least in East Arnhem Land, and I would say in Cape York as well ... they want land to be an economic asset as well as a spiritual and cultural and environmental asset,’’ he said.

    “This is something that certainly does need to be addressed as part of the northern Australia process.’’

    COAG also agreed to more regular reporting of school ­attendance and measures to stop truancy, such as penalising parents whose children fail to attend school.


    Nothing else but mining ?


  66. Does Buru need a sniffer dog ?


    WellDog and Shell Collaborate to Commercialize Novel Shale Gas Testing Service


    October 7, 2014 (Laramie, Wyo) – WellDog announced today that it has collaborated with Shell International Exploration & Production, Inc. (‘Shell’) over the past eighteen months to develop a new technical service for locating natural gas and natural gas liquids in shale formations.

    This announcement follows a laboratory and field development program undertaken by the two companies, leveraging WellDog’s patented downhole Raman spectroscopy technology and Shell’s geochemical and petrophysical experience in shale gas evaluation.

    The new service is directed at identifying the locations where natural gas and natural gas liquids occur in shale formations, allowing producers to focus development efforts, reduce drilling costs, optimize production, and reduce the number of hydraulic fracturing stages and associated water usage.

    Shell is now leading beta trials of the technical service that is being developed from the program.


    What Others Are Saying

    Industry Opportunities & Implications

    WellDog’s unique next generation downhole technology directly measures chemicals at specific depths using carefully selected lasers and sophisticated detectors.

    It holds the potential to locate pay zones and generate detailed hydrocarbon distributions, distinguishing oil and condensate versus gas, with such precision that it could help reduce the need for fracking industry-wide by as much as half.

    If perfected and adopted, domestically and internationally WellDog could offer high-value production optimization leading to per barrel cost savings as well as reduced environmental and social impacts.

  67. Mayor backs pipeline

    Oct. 9, 2014, 8 p.m.

    MOUNT Isa mayor Tony McGrady has called on the state government to offer incentives to the developers of a gas transmission pipeline from the Northern Territory to the East Coast.

    Premier Campbell Newman voiced his support of the pipeline coming to Mount Isa, and insisted he wanted Queensland as the preferred choice for the initiative.

    “There’s a long way to go on this project, but if a gas pipeline is to go through to join up with the eastern market, I would like to see it to go through Queensland,” the Premier said last month.

    “Construction of a new gas pipeline in North West Queensland will creates jobs, and that’s what the Queensland government is focused on.”

    There are three options for the pipeline, which will connect Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory to the East Coast market, which is expected to head off a potential shortage in NSW in 2017-18.

    The Tennant Creek to Mount Isa option was considered one of the front-runners as it would cost about $900 million, much less than the approximate $1.3-million option to Moomba in South Australia. The other possibility is a 700-kilometre pipeline connecting the Northern Territory to the Carpentaria Gas Pipeline.

    The Northern Territory’s chief minister, Adam Giles, wants the decision process to be ramped up, and while he admitted the Queensland route was feasible, said building a pipeline from Alice Springs to Moomba was the best option, despite it being the longest and most expensive.

    Cr McGrady said the Queensland government should offer enticements, just as it did to secure the filming of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

    “The Queensland government should offer incentives to bring this important industry into the state,” he said.

    “They should sit down with the proponents to entice their decision to come to Queensland.”

    Cr McGrady supported the minister’s desire for a decision to be made sooner rather than later.

    “Wherever the pipeline goes, it will be a shot in the arm for the region,” he said.

    “If it comes to Mount Isa it will be just the kick along we’ve all been waiting for.”

    Cr McGrady said the Mount Isa option was attractive because the region had the necessary skilled labour and energy to facilitate the construction.


    The federal government may help underwrite the investment risk of a proposed $1.3 billion gas link that could see gas flow from northern Australia to NSW to stave off expected supply shortfalls from 2016.

    Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles says Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has told him that if the approximately 1000 kilometre pipeline, from Moomba in South Australia to Alice Springs doesn’t stack up economically, the federal minister would propose underwriting the plan to the federal cabinet.


    At a cost estimated at $1.2-1.3 billion, a pipeline linking Alice Springs to Moomba, the main gas processing centre in central Australia, would take an estimated 18 months to build, while it would take at least another 18 months to receive all of the required permits.

    On Tuesday The Sydney Morning Herald reported federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane had put his support behind the creation of a national gas market, to help ensure supply stability to NSW.

    “The only solution to the gas supply problem in NSW appears to be interconnection,” he said. “[Gas] could become very expensive. There are people speculating it could cost $10 a gigajoule.”


    1. Moomba pipeline momentum

      Blair Price
      Monday, 13 October 2014

      CENTRAL Petroleum managing director Richard Cottee has welcomed the Council of Australian Governments’ support of the potential gas crisis-averting Alice Springs to Moomba pipeline project.

  68. Gas fuels PNG riches while goliaths circle

    Gretchen Friemann

    It’s been a big year for Papua New Guinea. The Pacific island nation, ranked as one of the world’s most ­lawless, is rocketing into the next phase of economic growth, fuelled by ­accelerating demand for its mineral and petroleum riches.

    But the boom is also sharpening ­tensions among the elite as competition intensifies for its top oil, gas and mining assets.

    For much of this troubled country’s recent history, one company has ­dominated, the Port Moresby-based, ASX-listed Oil Search, headed by Peter Botten.

    Australian investors have poured money into this stock over the past five years, fuelling gains of close to 30 per cent.

    Yet as the political and corporate landscape shifts, Oil Search faces fresh challenges, not least how to tiptoe between two energy goliaths, ExxonMobil and France’s Total.

    Oil Search’s joint venture with Exxon for the US$19 billion ($21 billion) PNG LNG project has been the biggest show in town. By next year PNG’s rate of GDP growth is forecast to more than treble to 21 per cent in 2015, mostly on exports from the project.

    Third train pending

    As The Australian Financial Review flagged earlier this month, the venture has two production trains, but a third one is in the works, drawing on gas from the Hides field.

    Eventually, it could have up to five trains, fed also by the Elk and Antelope fields, which may contain up to 25 billion cubic metres of gas.

    But this brings Oil Search and Exxon into direct confrontation with a joint venture between Total and InterOil, the resurgent Houston-based company that discovered Elk-Antelope. InterOil’s boss and former Woodside executive, Michael Hession, calls the finds among Asia’s largest in two decades.

    As the market awaits further drilling results to shore up these claims, Total has declared it will pursue a second, rival LNG project, raising the prospect of tough negotiations with Exxon over the sharing of infrastructure.

    The government appears to have thrown its weight behind this strategy with Petroleum Minister Nixon Duban telling reporters recently in Singapore that his preference is for a second LNG plant. Others close to the ­government insist the minister was quoted out of context, underlining acute sensitivity over the issue.

    Battle field

    In the meantime, Oil Search and InterOil have been locked in a battle since March when Botten swooped on a 22.83 per cent stake in Elk-Antelope held by minority investor Pac LNG.

    The deal sparked a dispute over ­pre-emptive rights, with a ruling expected in early 2015. Once resolved, PNG’s LNG sector could undergo another upheaval.

    David Hewitt, Credit Suisse’s global head of energy research, stresses the stakes are high, with eye-boggling capex costs but lucrative returns on offer. “LNG commercialisation is like finishing a Rubik’s cube,” he said. “It’s not just a case of finding the gas. We know that there are plentiful supplies. The difficulty is in bringing all the ­different aspects of commercialisation together. There are only a few ­companies that have that skill set.”

    Exxon has the advantage given its track record with PNG LNG. In a rare feat for the industry, the venture started shipments ahead of schedule, in May.

    The venture’s early success has enhanced PNG’s attractiveness for energy majors with speculation ­persisting about interest from Perth-based Woodside Petroleum whose chief executive Peter Coleman ­spearheaded the development of PNG LNG while at Exxon.

    A theory holds sway in some corners about a looming takeover play by Woodside for InterOil, although few believe any move will happen before the arbitration has been resolved.


  69. NY Times : the US deficit.........

    ............All of which demonstrates a truth that has been apparent for a while, if you have been paying close attention: Deficit scolds actually love big budget deficits, and hate it when those deficits get smaller. Why? Because fears of a fiscal crisis — fears that they feed assiduously — are their best hope of getting what they really want: big cuts in social programs. A few years ago they almost managed to bully the nation into cutting Social Security and/or raising the Medicare eligibility age; they even had hopes of turning Medicare into an underfinanced voucher program. Now that window of opportunity is closing fast.


    The Australian budget emergency...............

    "Low-income families in Western Sydney and Melbourne's northern suburbs will suffer the most under new Federal Government budget measures, a study has found.

    Low-to-middle income families could be worse off by more than $3,500 a year, the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) study found, while low income families with children could lose more than 6.5 per cent of their disposable income.

    A couple with children in the lowest income quintile will, on average, lose 6.6 per cent of their disposable income by 2017-2018 while a top quintile family will actually gain 0.3 per cent.

    The study modelled 19 separate budget measures and also included some additional elements outside the Coalition's 2014-2015 budget.

    These measures differentiate the trajectory of the previous Labor government and that of the Abbott Government's first budget."


    "But the immensity of the divide between Coalition and Labor seats is astonishing. By 2017-18, when the changes from the budget take full effect but the temporary deficit levy ends, 20 of the 22 seats where families lose the most money are held by the opposition.

    In a politically damaging finding, four of the five electorates that do best are held by senior cabinet members, including the Prime Minister and Treasurer. Of the 22 that suffer the lowest falls in income, only six are represented by the ALP.

    The government's budget repair relied heavily on reducing expenditure – cuts to family payments, pensions and other entitlements. Measures to address the collapse in revenue – the main reason for the budget deterioration – were left to the temporary levy on those earning above $180,000 that last three years and the GP co-payment.

    The option of clawing back tax rorts in the superannuation system or cracking down on business welfare was ignored, and the chance of more evenly spreading the burden of fiscal consolidation across the community forfeited.

    These were deliberate policy decisions by the government, and the consequences well known. The limited release of Treasury documents following a freedom of information request by Fairfax Media showed the government was aware that lower income families, on average, felt the most pain.

    Treasury's analysis, provided as the government prepared the budget, revealed that, while higher income families were hit by $71 a year, lower income households were down by $842. Middle income families were $477 worse off.

  70. China housing bubble 'will burst'

    WA's top Treasury official says China's housing market is a bubble waiting to burst and this could cut demand for iron ore and further hit the State's Budget.

    Acting Under-Treasurer Michael Barnes said yesterday a building frenzy in China during its boom had created an oversupply of about 50 million apartments.

    After visiting several Chinese cities, including Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, Mr Barnes said he was convinced the sector was due for a severe correction.

    In a sobering reminder to the State Government, he said this would have "implications" for steel production in China and in turn iron ore exports from WA.

    Mr Barnes said the remarks were his own views and did not reflect the Government's position.

    "As far as the eye can see there are rows and rows and rows - not just in this city (Hohhot) but every city I went to - of 20, 30-storey empty apartment buildings," Mr Barnes said.

    "It's extraordinary. The official estimate in China is there are 50 million surplus apartments, yet they're still building them.

    "So I came away from that thinking this bubble has got to burst at some stage."


    Chinese investors are pushing into Melbourne and Sydney

    "Because the Chinese capital is huge and the direction to go overseas is quite clear, that means that this will accumulate," Mr Sum says.

    He's not the only one. A new Chinese entrant, Sichuan-based Xiang Xing Group, this week spent $35 million buying a development-ready site in Melbourne's Southbank.

    Another huge state-owned enterprise, Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group, already has four projects on its books worth $1.4 billion.


    Its signature $600 million tower on the former Sydney Water Board site will become the city's tallest residential building.

    In North Ryde, China's richest woman, 33-year-old heiress Yang Huiyan, is heading up Country Gardens' $500 million project, and Fuxing Huiyu Real Estate has launched apartments worth $550 million in Parramatta.

    Chinese investors are aggressively lifting their Australian residential and commercial real estate investment at a time when the Reserve Bank is warning bubbly property markets could be hit with a price correction.

    Alarmed by the property frenzy in Sydney, Melbourne and parts of Brisbane, the Reserve hit the headlines two weeks ago, putting banks on notice they were being monitored and potentially facing tougher controls, so-called macro-prudential tools or constraints on lending.

  71. Chinese tariff hike costly for Australian coal miners

    Australian coal companies have been rocked by China's shock imposition of import tariffs and analysts warn the sector is ill-placed to absorb the impost.

    China's Ministry of Finance said on Thursday that import tariffs for anthracite coal and coking coal will return to 3 per cent, while non-coking coal will attract a 6 per cent import tariff.

    About 25 per cent of Australia's coal exports go to China, which stacks up to about 100 million tonnes worth $9.3 billion each year, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, and Patersons analyst Matthew Trivett said the struggling Australian coal sector would find it difficult to handle the "unexpected" tariff.

    He said between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of producers were estimated to be operating at a loss.

    "This is will have large ramifications in the seaborne market and … is likely to prompt more rationalisation on the supply side.

    "You would expect some more mines in Australia to close as a result of this, or at least reconsider their current cost position."

    Producers are dealing with prices near six-year lows, with the price for thermal coal down 22 per cent this past year to about $65 per tonne. The steep and sustained price decline has forced some mines to close their doors, but many more to take a sharp axe to their workforces in a drive to dramatically cut costs.

    An estimated 12,500 jobs have already been cut from the Australian coal sector over the past two years on the back of depressed prices for both thermal and coking coal.

    Mr Trivett said thermal coal exporters in NSW and Queensland would be hit the hardest by the tariff as they are the most marginal in the current conditions and are being hit with the largest impost.

    "I think what this will mean is that a lot of Australian coal bound for China will be displaced for other countries," he said.

    "If it does go to China, it will take a price hit at the percentage of the tariff. For thermal coal producers [the cost] would be between $3 and $4 per tonne and if you are a marginal producer as it is, this would be a very significant loss."

    HSBC Australia and New Zealand chief economist Paul Bloxham said Beijing's tariff hike would likely wound the profitability of Australian coal miners, considering China was the world's top importer of coal.

    He said it was second piece of bad news to hit Australian coal producers in as many months, after China announced in September it would ban certain types of highly polluting coal from next year, targeting low-grade imports from Indonesia and Australia.

    "This is certainly not a positive story for Australia's coal producers," he said.

    "The coal sector had already been under pressure from falling coal prices and that had been squeezing margins. In some cases the prices have fallen below the cost of production, so this is not a helpful development.

    "I suspect the fall that we have seen in market pricing for these coal miners reflects a genuine likely challenge to their profitability."


    (Dare we say Bush, Blair & Howard without being locked up ?)


    Islamic State: Militants capture Kurd headquarters in Syria's Kobane; UN warns of massacre if Kobane falls

    Thousands of people "will most likely be massacred" if Kobane falls to Islamic State (IS) fighters, a United Nations envoy said as militants reportedly overran the headquarters of Kurdish forces in Kobane and now control 40 per cent of the battleground Syrian border town.

    UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said Kobane could suffer the same fate as the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslims were killed by Serbs in 1995, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.


    International attention has focused on Turkey, a NATO member with the biggest army in the region, however Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has so far refused to join the military coalition against Islamic State or use force to protect Kobane.

    Turkey has absorbed 1.2 million Syrian refugees, including 200,000 from Kobane in the past few weeks.

    The plight of mainly Kurdish Kobane has unleashed the worst street violence in years in Turkey, which has 15 million Kurds of its own.

    Turkish Kurds have risen up since Tuesday against Mr Erdogan's government, which they accuse of allowing their kin to be slaughtered.

    At least 31 people have been killed in three days of riots and street violence across the mainly Kurdish southeast, including two police officers shot dead in an apparent attempt to assassinate a police chief. The police chief was wounded.


    The world has misread the Middle East nightmare and our war without borders

    ................Yet these little bits are parts of a dreadful whole, the complexities and dangers of which seem not to have been grasped around the world. The gifts of weapons from Riyadh and Tehran are just part of a slew of current arms deals in the region, estimated to be worth more than $US50 billion. And while all those weapons, no doubt, will help grow an already huge refugee crisis in the region, a UN appeal for $US1.7 billion to help the refugees, has received pledges for just 36 per cent of that target since it was launched late last year.

    It's all done with such naiveté and Boys' Own enthusiasm, that you wonder if our leaders obsess about military options alone, because to kick butt is easier than all the other stuff that could be done.


    "There is a serious risk that the entire region will blow up," Lakhdar Brahimi warned in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, in which he predicted dire consequences for Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. "The conflict is not going to stay inside Syria. It will spill over into the region. It's already destabilising Lebanon [where there are] 1.5 million refugees – that represents one-third of the population – if it were Germany, it would be the equivalent of 20 million people."


    But with intelligence agencies warning that as many as 6000 volunteers have flocked to IS training camps since the start of the US-led bombing in Iraq in August, other experts predict that if they continue to bomb the forces and facilities of the Nusra Front, which is al-Qaeda affiliated but opposed to IS, it would drive many Syrian Sunnis, and probably Iraqis too, to fight against the US and its allies.


    "Al Qaedaism, the ideology, is stronger today than ever, thanks to the failure of the Arab spring and the battlefield has expanded from Mali to Pakistan and beyond to Australia and Europe," he writes.

    "The worst nightmare for me is a terror attack that provokes Indo-Pakistan war; second, is a Mumbai-like attack in a Western city."

  73. Wilson v. Cheney[edit]

    Main article: Wilson v. Cheney

    On July 13, 2006, Joseph and Valerie Wilson filed a civil lawsuit against Rove, Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other unnamed senior White House officials (to whom they later added Richard Armitage)[46] for their alleged role in the public disclosure of Valerie Wilson's classified CIA status.[47] Judge John D. Bates dismissed the Wilsons' lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds on July 19, 2007;[48][49][50][51] the Wilsons appealed. On August 12, 2008, in a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the dismissal.[52][53] Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which represents the Wilsons, "said the group will request the full D.C. Circuit to review the case and appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court."[52][54] Agreeing with the Bush administration, the Obama Justice Department argues the Wilsons have no legitimate grounds to sue. On the current justice department position, Sloan stated: "We are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has failed to recognize the grievous harm top Bush White House officials inflicted on Joe and Valerie Wilson. The government’s position cannot be reconciled with President Obama’s oft-stated commitment to once again make government officials accountable for their actions."[55]

    On June 21, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.[56


    Valerie Plame Wilson: the housewife CIA spy who was 'fair game' for Bush

    As the long-awaited film of her life is released, the CIA agent outed for failing to uncover weapons of mass destruction bites back

    In her time as a CIA agent she operated undercover in dangerous territory. At her core she’s conventional, conservative, a patriot. But her entire life had to stay hidden.

    That was, of course, until her identity was leaked to the Washington Post columnist Robert Novak in 2003. It was leaked by Karl Rove, president George W Bush’s mastermind, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, in an attempt to discredit Plame Wilson and her husband Joe. She had been involved in finding intelligence that showed Iraq had no active nuclear weapons programme, contrary to the belief and desires of many of the US government.

    When the Wilsons campaigned that it was treason to expose an agent Bush retorted that she was “fair game”. Thus Fair Game is the title of the film that was inspired by her story. Naomi Watts plays Plame Wilson with an extraordinary resemblance, and Sean Penn plays Joe Wilson.

  74. There's no doubt which way the "money valve" at the top of St. George's Terrace is set...................all the money flows away from us.

    "The Unprecedented Mining Boom"


    Perth hit by 'severe' poverty

    Almost 5 per cent of Perth's population is living in severe income poverty, according to a report on how many Australians are falling through the cracks.

    The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report, to be released today for Anti-Poverty Week, says more than one million Australians are in severe poverty, with access to less than 30 per cent of national median income.

    More than 310,000 children are also living in households in severe poverty, according to the report.

    Among Australia's capital cities only Sydney had a higher proportion in the severe category, with 6 per cent of the city's population seriously struggling to make ends meet.


    Survey finds 1 in 8 Australians cannot afford to pay electricity bill

    ...........The proportion of customers often or occasionally worried about being able to pay their electricity bill has also remained consistently high at 70 per cent since the same survey last year.

    Earlier this month, the ABC revealed some household bills had gone up as much as $1,000 in the past five years.

    Ernst & Young's Jenny Young said the survey sought to gauge how people are coping with rising energy costs.


    Disability pensioners told to get work

    Thousands of disability pensioners have been told to get a job as part of sweeping changes to the welfare system.


    Andrews defends welfare cuts

    .............St Vincents de Paul chief executive John Falzon says it's impossible to build a strong economy by increasing inequality.

    "You certainly don't help young people into a job by forcing them to live on fresh air and sunshine for six months, which is one of the budget's crazier proposals," Dr Falzon told ABC radio.

    Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has defended the government's budget strategy.

    It was about ensuring there was an adequate safety net in the context of a thriving economy, he said.

    "If the economy is doing well, then more Australians are doing well and that of course reduces poverty," he told ABC radio on Monday.

    ◾Anti-poverty week runs from October 12 to 18.

  75. Premier Colin Barnett's popularity falls to record low, Newspoll shows

    West Australian Premier Colin Barnett's popularity has fallen to a record low, a poll out today shows.

    Only 32 per cent of voters are satisfied with the way the Premier is doing his job, down from 34 per cent.

    The Newspoll, published in The Australian newspaper, revealed Mr Barnett was vying with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman as the nation's most unpopular leader.

    Mr Barnett last week announced widespread public sector cuts, including the loss of 1,500 jobs through voluntary redundancies.

    He also said there would be a further 1 per cent funding cut to government departments as a result of the state's declining economic situation.


    Fracking fears in South West

    The suburban outskirts of Bunbury and some of WA's best agricultural land could be opened up to the controversial gas exploration technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    Under a process being run by the State Government, resource companies have been asked to bid for the right to explore for oil and gas across an area between Bunbury and Busselton.

    With bids due to close on October 23, green groups have expressed alarm and claimed it could lead to the contamination of groundwater in one of the State's most built-up areas.


    The Conservation Council of WA said the area the department was proposing to release was used for purposes that were incompatible with oil and gas activity.

    Spokeswoman Chantelle Roberts said, apart from housing in many plac