Friday, August 1, 2014

Unconventional gas in WA Canning Basin faces opposition

Buru Yulleroo Wells

29th July 2014

Thursday 31 July 2014 6:35AM
The Kimberley region of Western Australia is known to most Australians for its wild beauty. But it's also rich in minerals, and potentially gas.
The so-called 'tight gas' is locked deep underground in the sandstone layers of the Canning Basin in the Southern Kimberley. Optimistic estimates predict that reserves of unconventional gas could power Western Australia for 500 years.
But it's expensive, there are technical hurdles to overcome, and environmental groups and native title holders oppose the use of chemicals and fracking technology.
Buru Energy Carving up Country

Unmonitored well left abandoned


  1. Bullish concern for Buru

    Wednesday, 16 July 2014

    WHILE it still maintained an “outperform” rating on Buru Energy, Macquarie Private Wealth says funding is a growing concern for this Canning Basin oil producer.


    16 September 2014 03:35 GMT

    Australia-listed Buru Energy has achieved “encouraging” results from testing at one of its wells in Western Australia’s Canning basin.


    Buru Energy Trading Halted, Pending Company Announcement

    18 Sep 2014 | 09:09:00 | Associate analysts | Increase | Decrease |

    Original announcement: Trading Halt

    The securities of Buru Energy will be placed in Trading Halt Session State at the request of the Company, pending the release of an announcement by the Company. Unless ASX decides otherwise, the securities will remain in Trading Halt Session State until the earlier of the commencement of normal trading on Monday, 22 September 2014 or when the announcement is released to the market.


    Buru Energy to reveal new cornerstone shareholder
    Thursday, September 18, 2014 by Proactive Investors

    Buru Energy to reveal new cornerstone shareholder

    WA oil and gas exploration and production company Buru Energy (ASX:BRU) is set to reveal a proposed equity raising, including a new strategic cornerstone shareholder.

    Buru had $37.6 million in cash on hand at the end of June 2014.

    The ASX has granted the company a trading halt, with its shares placed in pre-open.

    The company’s petroleum assets and tenements are located onshore in the Canning Basin in the southwest Kimberley region of Western Australia.

    Its flagship high quality conventional Ungani Oilfield project is owned in 50/50 joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation.

    The halt will remain in place until the opening of trade on Monday 22nd September 2014, or earlier if an announcement is made to the market.




    Argentina Drafts Energy Bill To Lure Investors To Shale Deposits

    by Reuters

    Sarah Marsh & Eliana Raszewski
    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    BUENOS AIRES, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Argentina's federal government said on Wednesday it had reached a preliminary agreement with provinces on reforms to overhaul energy regulations and improve incentives to lure the foreign investors needed to develop its vast shale oil and gas reserves.

    The cash-strapped South American country needs investment in its southern Patagonian Vaca Muerta fields to reverse a costly energy deficit that is pressuring low foreign reserves. Under the country's 1967 energy law, local administrations issue licenses and determine concessions and taxes foreign companies pay.

    The central government seeks a national framework that creates the same terms for all regions, which it says would ease doing business.

    "With clear, long-term rules creating transparent conditions, we obviously will get... investors enabling us to accelerate the process of becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy,"

    Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich told a news briefing. One senior energy official from an oil-producing province said the months-long negotiations, including haggling over royalties from the world's second-biggest shale gas reserves, had resulted in a "good draft."

    The federal government wants the new law in place before 2015 when a number of concessions held by state-controlled YPF expire, said the official who was involved in the talks but not authorized to talk to media.

    Capitanich said that bill, which was handed to Congress on Wednesday, will "become national law, no later than October or November."

    The revised bill includes shale for the first time.

    Studies indicate Argentina is sitting atop a shale bounty that could secure the country's energy self-sufficiency for decades and see it become a major energy exporter.

    Latin America's No. 3 economy defaulted on its debt again in July. Unable to tap global credit markets, the government depends largely on foreign firms and bilateral government deals for financing major infrastructure projects.

    The reform will lengthen the terms of exploitation concessions by a decade to 35 years for non-conventional energy and 30 years for offshore permits. Firms can win 10-year extensions if they fulfill investment promises. With each extension, provinces would be allowed to increase royalties by 3 percent up to a limit of 18 percent.

    The bill will also cut the minimum investment needed for companies to be exempt from certain import and capital controls to $250 million from $1 billion.

    Argentina has sought this year to win back the confidence of investors spooked by its expropriation of Spanish energy firm Repol's majority stake in YPF two years ago.

    So far, the only energy company to invest heavily in Vaca Muerta, which means "Dead Cow", has been Chevron, which agreed last year to spend $1.24 billion for YPF to drill 161 wells as the project's operator.

    Other oil giants drilling in Vaca Muerta include Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp, while Malaysia's state-owned Petronas pledged last month to contribute $475 million to exploration.

  3. China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

    If the world's biggest polluter doesn't radically reduce the amount of coal it burns, nothing anyone does to stabilize the climate will matter. Inside the slow, frustrating — and maybe even hopeful — struggle to find a new way forward

    By Jeff Goodell | September 15, 2014

    As the sun rises in mid-july over andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., Secretary of State John Kerry climbs quickly – he's positively bouncing – up the carpeted stairs of his blue-and-white government­issue 757. Kerry is heading to Beijing to talk with Chinese leaders about, among other things, one of President Obama's top priorities in the waning days of his second term: the urgent need to reduce carbon pollution and limit the damage from climate change. But the rest of the world isn't cutting Kerry any slack right now – there's trouble with the elections in Afghanistan, rising conflict in the Middle East and upcoming negotiations with Iran on nuclear weapons. As he ducks into the plane, Kerry is already talking intensely on his cellphone, deeply wired into the global chaos. An aide shoulders his bags as well as a large black case that contains his acoustic guitar, which he takes with him everywhere and often plays late at night when he's alone in his hotel room.

    For nearly a decade, the U.S. and China, the two most powerful nations on the planet, have met every year to talk about how to run the world together. When the talks began in 2006, they focused on issues like currency-exchange rates, trade barriers and China's never-ending disputes with Taiwan. In 2009, shortly after Obama's inauguration, the U.S. pushed to add climate change to the mix, hoping that a better understanding between the U.S. and China would lead to a better deal at the Copenhagen climate summit that year. (It didn't help – mistrust between the countries was a large part of the reason why the talks imploded.)

    This year's U.S. delegation includes many of the administration's most influential climate hawks – Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, top climate negotiator Todd Stern and John Podesta, counselor to Obama, who has become the administration's de facto point man for climate policy. This is the diplomatic equivalent of a full-court press. In the past couple of years, Obama has made some important moves, including investing billions in clean energy, jacking up vehicle-efficiency standards and proposing rules to limit pollution from U.S. coal plants. But climate change is a global issue. Unless the West can persuade other countries to take climate action seriously, nothing any single nation does is going to matter much when it comes to solving the problem.

    Except, that is, for China. The blunt truth is that what China decides to do in the next decade will likely determine whether or not mankind can halt – or at least ameliorate – global warming. The view among a number of prominent climate scientists is that if China's emissions peak around 2025, we may – just barely – have a shot at stabilizing the climate before all hell breaks loose. But the Chinese have resisted international pressure to curb their emissions.

    Read more:
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  4. Developers and pollies are corrupt everywhere.


    Lib link in property deal

    Fresh details have emerged of close links between the private companies behind Karratha's Pelago East high-rise development and the political parties in Government that used taxpayers' money to get it off the ground.

    The West Australian can reveal that Peter McDowell, project manager with builder Hanssen when Pelago East was in the concept phase, is the Karratha branch president of the Liberal Party.

    He is the second local political figure involved in the project after National Party Karratha branch president Robin Vandenberg, who helped spruik it as a member of the Pilbara Development Commission before joining developer Finbar to sell the units.


    Mr McDowell said he had no role in Hanssen's decision to donate $50,000 to the Nationals for the first time in July 2012, two weeks after Cabinet signed off on the $30 million investment.

    Finbar and an associated entity donated $75,000 to the Liberals in the 2012-13 election year including $20,000 on the eve of the March 9 State election.

    The Government has declared the donations had nothing to do with the Pelago project.

    Mr McDowell, who oversaw construction of the development's first phase - Pelago West - and left Hanssen in 2012, said Government backing was crucial to Pelago East. "I know that stage two would never have got a start because the sales on stage one were very slow," he said.


    Agent queries Karratha units deal

    Richard Naulls, the Real Estate Institute of WA's Karratha branch chairman and a local agent of nine years, said the Karratha property market peaked in 2011 and started to fall at the start of 2012.

    Mr Naulls said it was clear by September 2012 - a month before the Government paid $24 million into a trust account with the developer Finbar - that the market was in steady decline.

    He questioned why the Government paid up-front when "every other investor" paid a deposit and then paid the balance when the development had been completed.


    Mr Naulls' comments came as Pilbara MP Brendon Grylls admitted that local Nationals branch president Robin Vandenberg handed out how-to-vote cards for him at the last State election.

    Mr Vandenberg says it was several months before he was employed by Finbar to sell their apartments.

    Asked about donations by Finbar of $75,000 to the Liberal Party, Mr Grylls told ABC radio he rejected suggestions that the Government made the investment off the back of a donation. Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the apartments were bought at 15 per cent below the listing price.

  5. Stena Clyde to Drill Pryderi-1 Well in Permit WA-424-P Off WA in October

    by IPB Petroleum Ltd.

    Press Release
    Friday, September 19, 2014

    Australia's IPB Petroleum announced Friday that the WA-424-P Joint Venture (IPB 75 percent, CalEnergy 25 percent and Operator) have received notice from the rig contractor that the estimated commencement date for the Pryderi-1 rig contract is Oct. 17.

    Subject to current operations at the Puffin field (located approximately 74 miles or 120 kilometers north of WA-424-P), and based on the estimated mobilization date, IPB Petroleum estimates that the Stena Clyde (mid-water semisub) will arrive at the Pryderi-1 well location on or around Oct. 19.

    Pryderi-1 is a relatively shallow well and IPB estimates that the well could intersect the target reservoir before the end of October. There will be up to an estimated additional 3 or 4 days of logging before the well is then to be plugged and abandoned.

    The Pryderi Prospect The Pryderi prospect is estimated by IPB to have High, Best and Low Prospective Resources (100 percent) of 78 million barrels, 32 million barrels, and 12 million barrels respectively and lies in 236 feet (75 meters) of water and is located approximately 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) away from the permit’s existing Gwydion oil discovery.

    IPB Petroleum’s Managing Director commented: “We are pleased to update shareholders of the commencement date for this important and potentially company transforming well.

    The Pryderi-1 oil exploration well is aimed at not only testing a prospect but a play. If we have success at Pryderi, the follow up potential across IPB’s three permits of the additional 27 m.Australis leads identified from pre-existing 2D seismic is significant.”


    Located offshore Western Australia in the Bonaparte Basin, Puffin is situated in the Ashmore Cartier Exploration Permit area of the Vulcan sub-basin on permit block AC/P22 and production license AC/L6. Situated in the waters of the Timor Sea ranging in depths of 230 to 338 feet (70 to 103 meters), the field produces light, sweet crude with an API of 43.8 degrees. About 435 miles (700 kilometers) west of Darwin, the Puffin field encompasses two sections, the Puffin North East and the Puffin South West locations.


  6. More mines to shut as coal woes deepen

    The Australian |
    April 28, 2014 12:00AM

    Matt Chambers

    COKING coal prices have slumped to six-year lows, many Australian mines are not making money and the industry is set to close more of the mines that produce the nation’s second most valuable export.

    A dramatic fall in quarterly contract prices for the steelmaking raw ingredient has caught ­industry players by surprise and led coal giant Peabody Energy to declare it is considering the ­closure of Australian mines it recently indicated were safe.

    As boom-time-approved expansions continue to increase supply, the June quarter coking coal contract price has fallen from $US143 a tonne to $US120 a tonne, which is close to typical cash costs for the east coast ­coking coal industry, according to Credit Suisse analysts.

    This means when things such as corporate, financing and sustaining capital are added in, most producers would be losing money.

    Peabody chief Greg Boyce revealed the St Louis-based company, which has already cut jobs and shut down some mines here in recent years to stay profitable, was considering closing more Australian mines.

    “With the change in the metallurgical coal environment in the last quarter, we’re having some pretty serious looks at a couple of operations,” Mr Boyce told US investors after the release of the company’s first-quarter earnings last week.

    “These operations are getting significant scrutiny because at this lower price horizon, they’re much more challenged,” he said when asked if more mine ­closures were coming.

    In January, Peabody told investors that a decision to close its Wilkie Creek thermal coal mine should not be taken as any indication that closures of the rest of its operations were being considered.

    Coking coal, mainly from Queensland, is the nation’s second-highest export earner after iron ore and brought in $22.4 billion of export revenue last financial year. Thermal coal, used primarily in power stations and mainly from NSW, raised $16.1bn.

    Contract coking coal prices that peaked at $US330 per tonne in late 2011 have fallen steadily since then as the US and Australia exported more.

    Despite the price drop, BHP Billiton (whose Queensland mines make it the world’s biggest coking coal exporter), Anglo American, Whitehaven and Peabody have all brought on or are bringing on new mines that were approved when nobody saw prices plummeting as low as they have.

    As well as the new supply, Chinese steel mills have recently stepped away from buying imported coking coal as uncertainty continues around the Asian powerhouse’s economic growth.

    Spot prices have fallen further than contract prices, with the Platts price index slipping as low as $US105 per tonne earlier this month before recovering to about $US110.

  7. Fortescue eyes push into giant gas fields

    Paul Garvey

    The Australian

    September 20, 2014

    FORTESCUE Metals Group is studying a bold plan that could challenge the ownership of hundreds of billions of dollars of gas held by some of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies.

    The Weekend Australian has learned that Fortescue is investigating alternative development options for the huge Browse and Scarborough gas fields as part of its push for stronger government enforcement of the use-it-or-lose-it provisions that govern oil and gas licences.

    It is understood the company is studying whether the two gas projects — both of which are up for renewal in the coming months — could be developed commercially in the short-term, rather than retained by their existing owners with a view to exploitation in the long term.

    Should Fortescue build an economic case for the immediate development of the projects, it is likely to present its case to the Federal and West Australian governments as they consider whether to renew the retention leases.


    The Browse retention lease renewals are due in December while the Scarborough leases are up for renewal in May. The partners behind each project will argue that while development of the fields are not commercially viable today, another five-year term would give them more time to study options for the projects.

    Woodside and its partners in Browse had considered developing the fields through an onshore liquefied natural gas plant at James Price Point, north of Broome, but baulked when the estimated capital cost soared past $80 billion.

    The partners have since committed to studying the development through Shell’s floating LNG technology. Front-end engineering and design studies are set to start later this year, with a final investment decision in the second half of 2015.

    Having spent about $2bn studying options for Browse, the partners are understood to be confident their retention lease renewal won’t pose any issues.

    The evaluation of Scarborough has had a much lower profile compared to Browse. The project has also been flagged as an FLNG development but it does not appear to be an immediate priority for either Exxon or BHP.


    A recent investor presentation by BHP petroleum president
    While Fortescue’s efforts to ratchet up the debate over the retention leases appear to be a long shot, it is understood the company is aiming to present as detailed and as credible an alternative business case as possible.


    Fortescue’s best hope of finding support for its push appears to lie with the WA government. Premier Colin Barnett has been critical of the move by the Browse partners to scrap onshore processing in favour of FLNG.


    The state government’s say in the future of Browse was boosted earlier this year when rocky outcrops were detected over the field. The discovery meant about a third of the Browse gas resources were reclassified as being in state, rather than Federal, waters.

    If the authorities opt against renewing a retention lease, there is still a long process before the projects become available to other parties. The incumbent parties get a one-year period of grace to consider other options and, given the scale of the resources at stake, any non-renewal would also be likely to trigger lengthy legal action.

    The push by Fortescue echoes the efforts by the late John Roberts and his construction firm Multiplex in the early 2000s to challenge the granting of retention leases over Chevron’s West Tryal Rocks gas field. Multiplex compiled a case for the immediate development of the field, challenging Chevron’s argument that such development was not commercially viable. Multiplex’s efforts ultimately came to nought, and West Tryal Rocks is part of Chevron’s under-construction Gorgon LNG project.

    Fortescue declined to comment.

  8. Native title flare-up as gas firm Buru Energy gets in first

    The Australian |
    September 23, 2014

    THREE weeks ago, the Yawuru people of the Kimberley were ­jubilant after winning control of a $15 million slice of their traditional lands, including the sprawling Roebuck Plains Station near Broome.

    The deal gave Yawuru native title holders the power to promote economic development and ­delivered them greater rights to control access to the land.

    But about the same time, on the outskirts of Roebuck Plains, a group of Yawuru people led by traditional owner Micklo Corpus set up a camp to protest against plans by Buru Energy to “frack” two wells for shale gas on their land.

    Buru’s bid to push ahead with exploration at Yulleroo, 80km east of Broome, threatens to ­become the next flashpoint in the Kimberley after green groups and some indigenous elders campaigned against Woodside Petroleum’s planned gas plant at James Price Point last year.

    Mr Corpus said the protest — next to a highway outside the Buru site — would last through the upcoming wet season and as long as it took to stop Buru from carrying out its fracking program, citing fears that the process could contaminate water supplies.

    “My role as a custodian is to look after our country,” he said.

    Mr Corpus revealed that Buru had attempted to enter the site on the second day of the protest but he had blocked the way and prevented a company vehicle from entering. Buru called the police, who ­issued Mr Corpus with a “move on” notice. He complied with the notice but returned to the site the following day.

    In July, Buru suffered a major blow when it failed to secure the formal backing of the Yawuru Native Title Holders Aboriginal Corporation.

    But because Buru’s exploration permits have been granted, the Yawuru do not have the right to negotiate under the Native Title Act and the group has no legal basis to veto Buru’s activities.

    Perth-based Buru has previously promised not to go ahead with fracking unless it has broad community support. A spokesman for Buru said the protest ­activity would have no effect on its exploration program.

    “Protesters are exercising their democratic rights and we support people’s rights to put forward their view, but we ask people to act safety,” the spokesman said.

    “The protest is on a busy highway and access road to a working pastoral station.”

    Buru is the most advanced of the listed companies working in the onshore Canning Basin, which has been identified as the most prospective region for unconventional gas in the world outside the US, with about 229 trillion cubic feet of gas.

    Fracking involves drilling into the earth before a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals is injected to free gas from rocks deep underground. But some claim there is a risk that the chemicals can leak into aquifers and pollute the groundwater.

  9. Rockefeller family to get out of oil and invest in renewable energy

    Will Pavia |
    The Times |
    September 23, 2014

    IN 1862, a young John Rockefeller invested in the promising new industry of oil refining, thus beginning an enterprise that made him the richest man who had ever lived.

    Now, descendants of America’s greatest oil baron have announced a plan to abandon the black gold and invest instead in renewable energy.

    Representatives of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, whose trustees include the oil baron’s last surviving grandson and several great-grandchildren, made the announcement in Manhattan on the eve of an international summit on climate change at the United Nations.

    “John D Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, moved out of whale oil and into petroleum,” said Stephen Heintz, president of the fund, which is worth $US850 million. “We are quite convinced if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy.”

    Rockefeller was a sharp-eyed businessman in his early 20s when oil was discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859. He invested in a refinery in Cleveland three years later and bought it outright at auction when its finances faltered. By 1872, he owned nearly all the refining companies in Cleveland.

    In the half century that followed he amassed a fortune that made him America’s first billionaire. His tax return, in 1918, indicated a total income of at least $800 million, but he had also given away $500 million.

    Rockefeller himself declared that he considered it a man’s duty to “get all the money he honestly can and to give all he can”. An obituary in The New York Times in 1937 declared him “the greatest ‘getter’ of money in the country during the years he was exploiting its oil” who became “the world’s greatest giver”.

    Nearly a century later, his descendants have joined a so-called “fossil fuel divestment” movement. More than 800 investors have pledged to move $US50 billion of funds from coal and oil to renewable energy stocks, the Global Divest/Invest Coalition said.

    Jenna Nicholas, director of the coalition, said the Rockefeller family foundation had been discussing the possibility of getting out of oil for several months. It has already removed funds from stocks in tar sands and coal, though clearing the portfolio of all connections to fossil fuels is expected to be a longer process. “Given their history, it’s really exciting that they are a partner in this and are leading the way,” said Ms Nicholas.

    Valerie Wayne Rockefeller said the oilman’s descendants were increasingly environmentally conscious, and that her own daughter lectured her on the evils of palm oil plantations in destroying the habitat of the orang-utan.

    “If I’m wearing lipstick, she won’t kiss me because there’s palm oil in it,” Ms Rockefeller told The New York Times.

  10. FUNNY SMELL OVER AT BURU..............


    "Well a few questions spring to my mind:
    1. Is Coogee doing BRU a favour taking such a small discount, and possibly expecting a favour in return? (Bad for SP eventually)
    2. Is Coogee bottom fishing, and has decided bad news is priced in? (Good for SP - as they see genuine value)
    3. Will investors be suckered into an SPP they later regret, because #1 is closer to the truth than #2, and the recent "good" news turns out not to be good at all, and they need to reduce the choke diameter back to where it was?

    I have no idea. So am not trading this one. Not meaning to cast aspersions against anybody either, as I do not know any of the players - just playing devils advocate.

    Good luck "


    Coogee Chemicals takes Buru stake

    The West Australian

    September 22, 2014

    Coogee Chemicals has taken a $20 million stake in Buru Energy through a share placement by the oil and gas explorer.

    Buru in total placed $28 million with investors, representing 12.5 per cent of its equity, at an issue price of 75 cents a share.

    Up to $12 million more will be raised through a share purchase plan.

    The Martin family-owned Coogee Chemicals is a Perth-based manufacturer and distributor of chemicals for industrial, agricultural and mining purposes.

    Buru said it would work with Coogee on whether its proposed gas-to-methanol plant in the North West could be supplied by Buru’s Laurel Formation basin centred tight wet gas project.

    “Coogee Chemicals is a highly successful privately owned Western Australian company that has demonstrated the ability to add significant value to oil and gas investments,” Buru’s executive chairman, Eric Streitberg said.

    “Our strengthened balance sheet will now allow us to pursue the substantial development opportunities which we have before us with confidence and determination,” Mr Streitberg said.

    “The recent restructuring of the company’s management and our focus on strict cost controls will also ensure that we are able to deliver short and long term value for shareholders."

    Buru’s shares were up 3.2 cents, or 4 per cent, to 79.7 cents at 8.48am.

    (NOW BACK DOWN TO $0.75)




    Shale gas success still a decade away for Australia, says Santos

    Ross Kelly |
    Dow Jones |
    September 26, 2014

    DON’T expect Australia to join the ranks of shale-gas producers worldwide anytime soon.

    According to the country’s third-biggest oil-and-gas company, Santos, it could take up to a decade for reserves of the fuel locked up in the Australian outback to be pumped out in viable quantities.

    Shale gas has become a booming business in the US, thanks to new technology enabling the commodity to be economically extracted from dense underground rock formations. An abundance of the fuel has led to its selling more cheaply than imports of more traditional types of energy.

    Shale gas now accounts for more than a third of the natural gas used in the US, and has given the economy a boost by enabling households and industrial users to cut their fuel bills.

    The success of the US producers has inspired companies elsewhere to look at extracting the fuel. But replicating the boom in other countries such as Australia will take time because of the need to procure expensive equipment for drilling and extraction, and due to varying geological conditions.

    Australia has large shale-gas formations similar in size to the Marcellus and Bakken formations in the US, but producers are still in the early stages of testing if their geological properties are similar enough to support commercial production.

    “It all seemed to happen very quickly in the US, but the science behind it wasn’t developed overnight,” said James Baulderstone, head of unconventional gas at Santos, in an interview. China, too, has struggled to develop its own vast shale-gas reserves, as producers confront rough terrain and poor infrastructure.

    Australia has been experiencing a gas boom, but one underpinned by the discovery of conventional resources in deep waters off its north-western coastline. Another new source is gas trapped onshore in coal seams on the country’s eastern coast.

    Shale gas is a different variety of unconventional fuel trapped in rock formations typically found thousands of meters underground.

    The cost of producing shale gas in Australia is likely to be higher than for other resources, because of the need to acquire technology to undertake the complicated process of smashing the rocks open with sand, chemicals and water in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    “We need to make sure we have the right technology, and understand the nature of the shale-gas resource,” Mr Baulderstone said. “We’re in the learning phase now for the next five to 10 years.”

    He said demand for new sources of domestic energy supply would intensify as conventional supplies ran dry. The Cooper Basin in central Australia, which supplies much of the eastern and southern parts of the country, may run out of conventional resources as soon as 2020, Mr Baulderstone said.


    Two years ago, Santos said it had sold a small quantity of shale gas from its Moomba-191 well, without disclosing the cost of producing it.

    Chevron Corp is also active in the sector, last year agreeing to pay up to $US349 million for a stake in Beach Energy’s central-Australian shale-gas prospects.

    1. Doubts over Chevron’s Beach Energy investment

      The Australian |
      September 27, 2014

      CHEVRON, the biggest oil major in the Cooper Basin, needs to decide in the next six months whether it continues its plan to spend up to $US349 million ($398m) farming into Beach Energy’s unconventional ground.

      To date, results have been inconclusive (partly because of drilling problems that have resulted in a new contractor, Condor Energy, being brought in to replace Haliburton) and speculation the oil major may not move to stage two of its Beach farm-in is growing.

      Beach is not commenting on what Chevron will do, leaving that up to the oil major, which has not indicated its intentions.

      Citi analyst Dale Koenders says there is a risk Chevron will not move on to a second stage and that if this happens it will be negative for “the entire space”.

      “Beach has discussed the potential for a Chevron exit and we see a genuine risk of this if upcoming production testing disappoints, particularly given global majors are prioritising capital returns over spending cash on long-dated resources,” Mr Koenders said in a note to clients.

      The note was sent after a site tour but it should be noted not all analysts on the tour came away with a view that there was heightened risk Chevron would walk.

      The company has another analysts’ tour coming up this week.

      Another analyst said Chevron leaving the joint venture was seen as a risk and that trolling through Chevron’s public recent announcements found scant mention of the Cooper Basin, which was not seen as a good sign.

      Mr Koenders said if Chevron did not participate in phase two of the Cooper Basin unconventional appraisal by its March 31 deadline, Beach would regain 100 per cent of the interests and look for another partner. “From our discussions with Chevron we understand it wants to see positive results from upcoming production testing prior to committing to phase 2,” he said.

      The results in question are from the Hervey-1 well and are expected next month.

      If Chevron does leave, the talk is there would be the potential for a sub-$100m pilot plant targeting high-quality tight sands, which has been producing better results in the Cooper than shale, near the previously drilled Boston well.

  12. NYC-based PIRA Energy believes that Argentina is beginning its LNG weaning process.

    A more favorable domestic gas production growth outlook in Argentina could put LNG demand at or near its peak this year, with the outlook for next year beginning to trend down slightly, assuming normal weather in the peak buying months of May through July, PIRA said.


    The volume of Iran’s gas transmission is expected to double to 400 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2025, Mohammad-Ali Emam, managing-director of Iranian Gas Transmission Company said.

    Emam said the NIGC owns 71 gas pressure stations, adding that the number of stations is expected to climb to 136 by 2025.

    He said 33,124 kilometers of gas pipeline have been laid out in the country, which is expected to increase to 61,457 kilometers by 2025.


    Gazprom: Major gas projects in the Far East require broad approach

    He noted that Gazprom had been active in running projects within the Eastern Gas program since 2007. During these years natural gas has arrived in Kamchatka, south of the Sakhalin Region and the Primorye Territory. The work is underway on gasification and gas supply to the northern and central parts of Sakhalin. Until the end of 2014 gas supply facilities will be commissioned in the Nogliki District. Since 2011 when Gazprom started the gasification of the Sakhalin region the company has supplied the local consumers with over 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas.

    Viktor Timoshilov paid special attention to boosting the LNG industry in the Far East of Russia. In 2009 first Russian LNG plant had been put onstream in Sakhalin within the Sakhalin II project, with Gazprom being the majority shareholder. Possible ways of expanding the plant infrastructure are being considered. The final investment decision is made and the plant design is being developed within the Vladivostok LNG project.

    In parallel, Rosneft declared an intention to build an LNG plant – Far Eastern LNG – within the Sakhalin I project being implemented by an international consortium on the PSA terms. “To avoid the unnecessary budget overruns, the more so they are covered by the state budget, Gazprom proposed the Sakhalin I project operator to sell its future LNG volumes to the company on an arm’s length basis. This deal would help to make the most of the existing liquefaction infrastructure in Sakhalin and to produce liquefied natural gas with enhanced competitive ability for the market instead of building another greenfield LNG plant. It’s possible to reach a synergy from coordinated actions of the parties involved in two PSA projects through a gas purchase and sale scheme,” said Viktor Timoshilov.


    1. Canadian LNG project north of Vancouver signs deal with China's Guangzhou Gas

      Saturday, 27 September 2014

      The Woodfibre LNG project in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and owned by Singapore-based Pacific Oil & Gas Group, has signed a preliminary agreement with Chinese natural gas distributor Guangzhou Gas Group for LNG cargoes.

  13. Energy Minister: PNG Wants Total To Develop Disputed Gas Field

    by Reuters

    Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    SINGAPORE, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea wants Total SA to lead construction of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project drawing gas from a disputed field instead of the gas being used to expand an existing giant project, the country's energy minister said.

    The South Pacific nation began exports this year from Exxon Mobil Corp's $19 billion PNG LNG project, the largest private investment in the nation's history. While an expansion of that project is planned, Papua New Guinea hopes to see French Total lead another LNG export plant.

    Total earlier this year bought a 40 percent stake in Papua New Guinea's biggest undeveloped gas deposit, the Elk and Antelope fields, from local firm InterOil Corp. However, Oil Search, a partner in Exxon Mobil's project, has challenged Total's purchase of the stake, saying it held the right to buy the stake.

    The dispute is due to go into arbitration in November.

    InterOil and Total want to develop the Elk and Antelope fields and build a new LNG project in Papua New Guinea, while Exxon Mobil and Oil Search see the fields as a potential source of gas for an expansion of the PNG LNG project.

    PNG energy minister Nixon Duban said gas from Elk and Antelope was unlikely to be fed into the existing plant, and that he would prefer a separate LNG plant to be built.

    "For a European company like Total to choose Papua New Guinea gives a lot of prominence to us as an investment destination," Duban, who was attending an LNG conference in Singapore, told Reuters in an interview.

    Exxon Mobil said it couldn't comment on the matter. Oil Search managing director Peter Botten, who was also in Singapore at a separate conference, declined to comment on the matter, but confirmed the PNG LNG project was currently producing at full capacity of 6.9 million tonnes a year.

    Total did not comment immediately and InterOil did not respond to a request for comment.

  14. Philippines-UK joint venture deploys mobile port to unload Ichthys LNG project modules

    Friday, 26 September 2014

    The joint venture between a fabrication yard in the Philippines and a UK provider of heavy-lift services has deployed a mobile port near Darwin to deliver the first modules to the Australian Ichthys LNG project being developed by Japan's Inpex na d France's Total.

  15. Campaign to keep natural gas reserves for industry

    A national campaign is being launched today for greater controls over Australia's natural gas exports.

    The union-backed campaign wants the federal government to enact laws to ensure a certain percentage of Australian gas is kept for domestic use rather than being exported.

    A study by BIS Shrapnel warns that one in five manufacturers could shut down over the next five years because of spiralling gas prices.

    The 'Reserve Our Gas' campaign, headed by the Australian Workers Union, comes amid fears that Australian gas prices will triple from July next year as LNG exports ramp up.

    AWU national secretary Scott McDine told ABC radio's AM program that Australia is out of step with other major nations, such as the United States, that reserve a percentage of gas for domestic use.

    "Australians have a right to know their rapidly rising gas bills are actually completely preventable. We just need to do what every other gas-exporting nation does and bring in laws to look after the local population," he argued.

    "Australians should pay the Australian price for gas - not the global price - because it's our gas."

    Mr McDine says Australia is putting itself in a ridiculous position of having large gas reserves, yet industries suffering under high gas prices.

    "We currently have a situation in which our abundant gas reserves are hurting Australian jobs and households instead of helping them. That's crazy and it's no wonder no other gas-exporting nation allows it," he argued.

    "We are throwing away hundreds of thousands of jobs, and our national competitive advantage, simply so gas exporters can squeeze a little extra profit out of what is already a spectacularly profitable business.

    "Of course our abundant natural gas can and should be exported to the world. But a portion of it also needs to be providing a competitive advantage to our local industry, and a cost of living benefit to Australian consumers. We can have both, just like every other gas exporting nation."

    WA already reserves gas

    The AWU campaign is being supported by major Australian manufacturers exposed to rising energy prices, including Alcoa and Australian Paper.

    The study by BIS Shrapnel, commissioned by the AWU, finds that rising gas prices will have significant impacts on the economy:
    •One in five heavy manufacturers will shut down within five years
    •Total manufacturing production will be reduced by 15.4 per cent by 2023
    •91,3000 jobs will be lost in this period as a direct result of manufacturing shutdowns, with 235,000 jobs to go economy-wide

    The BIS Shrapnel report also notes a high profit ratio of 66 per cent for gas producers, compared to 32 per cent for iron ore producers.

    While there is no national gas reservation policy, Western Australia mandates the reservation of 15 per cent of the state's gas.

    The report says the WA policy has not damaged gas investment or created sovereign risk, with $88 billion invested in WA gas production since reservation was introduced in 2006.

  16. WHO WE REALLY ARE...............


    "OceanaGold is claiming that under the US-central America free trade agreement, it has a “right” to compel mining or be compensated for loss of profits"


    Australian mining is poisoning El Salvador. It could soon send it broke, too

    OceanaGold, an Australian mining company, is trying to compel El Salvador to allow it to mine. If it wins a high-profile legal case, the results for the poor country will be dire

    The stream that leads into the San Sebastian River in the poor and tiny Central American country of El Salvador runs bright yellow, not for the gold in the mine nearby but for the chemical byproducts which leach into the water. That stream is emblematic in a fight between an Australian mining company and the El Salvador government, over whether there should be gold mining in the country.

    If El Salvador wins this fight, it will preserve a bipartisan policy on mining, a country’s right to make policy generally, and to protect its main water supply in particular.

    If it loses, then a foreign mining company will be able to ride roughshod over the country’s democratic process and prosecute a financial claim that could send its government broke.

    The yellow stream which symbolises what can happen with gold mining is a consequence of “acid mine drainage”. This stream in question flows into the San Sebastian River, where it has killed all aquatic life, and then into the sea, where it causes further environmental damage.

    Nearby San Sebastian village suffers a high rate of disease linked to arsenic poisoning as a result of this pollution. El Salvador’s government believes that, if the Australian mining company’s attempt to impose a new gold mine is successful, there could be even more devastating consequences for the country’s limited drinkable water supply.

    The Australian-listed, Melbourne headquartered company OceanaGold is suing El Salvador in a US-based court for more than $300 million - almost half the government’s annual budget – over the government’s refusal to grant the gold mining permit.

    OceanaGold is claiming that under the US-central America free trade agreement, it has a “right” to compel mining or be compensated for loss of profits. In response, the company will today be handed a petition signed by 200,000 opponents to its attempt to force gold mining in El Salvador.


    Nauru staff report persistent child abuse and self-harm, leaked documents show

    Exclusive: minutes of meetings and an intelligence report obtained by Guardian Australia reveal regular concerns about child protection and self harm in detention centres

    Staff at Nauru detention centres have reported persistent acts of child abuse and self harm within the offshore camps over several months, a series of leaked documents obtained by Guardian Australia reveal.


    After the allegations were raised by the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, on Friday, Dr Peter Young, the former chief immigration psychiatrist responsible for the mental health of all asylum seekers detained by Australia, said the immigration department had “no understanding of self-harming behaviours at all”.


  17. Raped by his supervisor then convicted of buggery: life in a 70s boys' home

    Peter Solway was repeatedly abused as a teenager and then forced to admit to what was then the crime of homosexuality. He tells his story as NSW politicians prepare to consider a bill that would annul such convictions and begin to address a lifetime of abuse and stigma


    Australia's investment in renewable energy slumps 70% in one year

    The Coalition’s review of the Renewable Energy Target has caused investment in clean energy to drop below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar

    Australia’s investment in renewable energy projects has slumped below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar, new figures have shown, with the sector “paralysed” by the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.

    Just $193m was invested in new large-scale clean energy projects in the third quarter of 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Investment in the year to date is $238m.

    This represents a massive 70% slump on 2013 investment and has resulted in Australia slipping from the world’s 11th largest investor in clean energy to 31st in 2014.

    This ranking is below Algeria, Myanmar, Thailand and Uruguay. By comparison, Canada has invested $US3.1bn in large clean energy projects so far in 2014.

    The slowdown in renewable energy investment is pinned squarely by Bloomberg on the government’s review of the RET, which mandates that 41,000 gigawatt hours of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020.

    A recent review of the RET by businessman Dick Warburton found that although it has created jobs and driven investment, it should either be suspended or shut down completely.


    Mining downturn: Bowen Basin communities face tough times but industry talks up coal's future

    ..................'Entire state will be affected'

    Trehan Stenton from Moranbah Traders Association said the loss of so many jobs at once was worrying.

    "We need something on the ground now to help us transition during this period," he said.

    "It's the entire state that will be affected from Cairns right through down to the Gold Coast.

    "The cyclical nature of the business is the problem that we have – we need to diversify and look at different ways in which we can manage our resources sector and support services.

    "Look at ways and industries we need to bring into the area that will allow us to ride the peaks and flows."

    The mining slowdown will have a much economic broader impact.

  18. Brightest students coasting to failure

    ALMOST one-third of the ­nation’s schools are coasting, hiding behind high-achieving students but failing to secure any improvement in their performance, a situation that teaching guru John Hattie says is responsible for Australia’s slide in international tests.

    Professor Hattie told the conference of the Australian Council for Educational Leadership in Melbourne yesterday that Australian students had gone backwards in the past 12 years in tests run by the OECD group of industrialised nations. “And the majority of students going backwards are in the top 40 per cent of students; that’s where there are more cruising schools and more cruising kids,” he said.

    Professor Hattie, chairman of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and head of Melbourne University’s education research institute, said school test results showed a higher proportion of disadvantaged and low-scoring students were improving than were top students. Yet the decline among top students was ignored, with the focus being on the long tail of underachieving and often disadvantaged students.

    “We see successful schools as the high-achieving ones but I see successful schools as the high-growth or improving schools,” he said. “While 60 per cent of schools are in good shape, almost one-third of schools are cruising ... We have to make sure we have the right problem and the problem isn’t in kids at the bottom or among Aboriginal kids, it’s in the schools cruising at the top.”

    Professor Hattie outlined a role for AITSL establishing a corps of excellent teachers and school leaders to speak for the profession and re-establish faith in the quality of teaching.

    The OECD testing, the Program for International Student Assessment, is held every three years among 15-year-olds. Since its inception in 2000, Australia’s performance in reading, maths and science has slid steadily.

    Professor Hattie’s comments echoed an earlier address by parliamentary secretary for education Scott Ryan, who pointed out national literacy and numeracy test results had plateaued since their introduction in 2008.

    “Put simply, more money does not equal better results. It is clear the increased investment in schools by successive governments has not translated into better results,” Senator Ryan said.

    He said quality teaching was the key to improving student learning yet “the public debate has tended to concentrate on proxies for quality, such as spending levels, class sizes and teacher-student ratios”.

    Senator Ryan said education policy had been dominated for too long by ideology, self-­interest, simplistic sloganeering and unrelenting demands for funding.


    The conference also heard from Noel Pearson about the ­establishment of the Cape York Academy of schools and the reasons for importing a particular ­US direct-instruction program.

    “We were severely warned ... by everybody we talked to we were bringing the Antichrist into Australian education,” he said.

    But Mr Pearson said the results had been so impressive even the most diehard sceptic was convinced after seeing the progress of Cape York students.

    “School reform, schools and education generally has been the hardest space to break into. It took me more than a decade to break into the schools scene in Queensland,” he said. “This was despite the quite obvious failure that was going on. I couldn’t understand that a scene so disastrous and obvious in its failings could be so protected and would be so resistant.”



    Iranian gas inviting for European and Asian countries

    Several European countries, India, Iraq, and Pakistan have entered into negotiations with Iran in order to import gas, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Hamidreza Araqi said.

    He said that currently 189 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas are being produced in the country annually which is planned to hit 330 bcm in 2017, NIGC said in a statement.

    He added that Iran sits atop the largest gas reserves in the world with 34 tcm of gas noting energy security is an important issue for countries and Iran with huge gas reserves can meet their needs.

    According to Araqi, injecting gas to reservoirs, converting gas to the products enjoying higher value-added including electricity, delivering gas to petrochemical plants as feedstock, using gas for the welfare of people and boosting exports are among the top priorities of NIGC in gas market.

    He further noted that NIGC also plans to boost the number of gas refining companies from 13 to 19, the number of boosting gas pressure stations from 71 to 90 and expand gas supply network from 35 to 40 thousand km in next three years.

    “In order to realize its development targets within the next three years, NIGC needs 62 billion dollars investment including 34 billion dollars investment in gas transfer, 21 billion dollars in refining, 3 billion dollars in storage, supplying gas to households 4.5 billion dollars,” NIGC chief noted.

    He concluded gas is the driving force behind the economic activities having the ability to create many jobs and get the country out of recession.

    Press Release, October 2, 2014


    Liquefied Natural Gas Limited of Australia is eyeing a third liquefaction project in North America.

    LNG Limited’s Managing Director Maurice Brand said the company is looking to “unlock further value” but not until it delivers further milestones with the Magnolia LNG project, one of which is the FERC DEIS that the company expects to receive by the end of the year.


    Japan’s Mitsui & Co. said it is currently proceeding with the procurement of eight LNG ships intended to be used for the delivery of LNG, mainly to its customers in Japan, from the Cameron LNG export project in the U.S.


  20. BG Group and Ophir Energy made a gas discovery at Kamba-1 well in Tanzania.

    The Kamba-1 discovery is the Joint Venture’s 16th consecutive discovery well in Blocks 1, 3 and 4. This discovery, plus recent volume updates on the earlier discoveries, increases Ophir’s estimate of the total Block 1, 3 and 4 mean (2C) recoverable resource to 17.1TCF. The Kamba-1 result provides critical mass for an LNG train to be supplied from the fields in Block 4 and also takes the overall resource volume to the threshold for a future potential third LNG train to be from Blocks 1 and 4.


    Alaska LNG project gives first detailed overview of 20 MTPA venture to regulators

    Friday, 03 October 2014

    Alaska LNG, the project being developed by BP, ConocoPhilips, ExxonMobil, TransCanada and the state itself, has filed a preliminary draft resource report with regulators saying the plant will produce an initial 20 million tonnes per annum of LNG.


    US regulator advances on two more LNG export projects in Maine and Louisiana

    Saturday, 04 October 2014

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released notices of its intent to prepare environmental impact statements for two more projects.


    THIS WEEK: ConocoPhillips CEO outlines his LNG strategy for Alaska and other areas

    Monday, 29 September 2014

    ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance has said Alaska will be a continued focus for the US major’s LNG activities as the 45-year-old Kenai plant has restarted and the huge new Alaska North Slope venture moves forward.


    Steelhead LNG hires Ojeda

    Oct 3 (LNGJ) - Steelhead LNG Corp., a new Canadian company owned by a First Nation Native North American tribe on Vancouver Island with plans to build an LNG export plant by 2022, has named LNG veteran executive Victor Ojeda as President with immediate effect. Steelhead said Ojeda joins from the Royal Dutch Shell project, LNG Canada. "His significant LNG experience in British Columbia includes having originated and developed the LNG Canada project in Kitimat as Managing Director," Steelhead said. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation has chosen a location near Bamfield on the southwest side of Vancouver for its LNG plant and has applied for a 30-year LNG export licence


  21. Elk-Antelope appraisal flagged as PNG wealth maker
    Monday, 6 October 2014

    INTEROIL’S appraisal of the Elk-Antelope gas field in Papua New Guinea will provide key information for certification of the resource and the planning of a potential multi-train LNG development, the company has confirmed.



    WE GET NOTHING FOR IT ..............

    Oz needs to follow the Norwegian example

    Monday, 6 October 2014

    ONE of life’s great ironies is that the world’s “petro-states” are also some of the poorest countries on the planet, and certainly among the unhappiest, which is why Slugcatcher wonders what lies ahead of the newest petroleum leaders, Australia and the US.



    A fire that broke out Thursday morning on board a natural gas production platform in Cook Inlet, near Niksiki, has been brought under control.

    The fire on Hilcorp’s Baker platform was reported to the Coast Guard’s Anchorage office at about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

    All four people aboard the platform were safety evacuated, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

    A five-mile, no-fly safety zone at 5,000 feet and a two-mile safety zone have been established around the platform, the Coast Guard added.


  22. Baker Hughes exposes itself

    Anthony Barich
    Friday, 3 October 2014

    BAKER Hughes is implementing a policy of full chemical disclosure of fracturing operations but insists it won’t compromise its trade secrets in the process.

    Companies have long been under pressure to release the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing but have refused to release the exact percentages as it is commercial in confidence.

    This week, however, the New York-listed company said it had implemented a policy of disclosing 100% of the chemistry contained within its hydraulic fracturing fluid systems, without the use of any trade secret designations.

    In March this year the company announced its plans to provide complete lists of all of its products and chemical constituents for all wells it would fracture using its hydraulic fracturing fluid products, without detailing specific product formulations.

    In so doing, Baker Hughes hopes to increase public trust in the process of hydraulic fracturing, while still protecting the market-driven commercial innovation “that has helped the company become a global industry leader” it says.

    “Introducing greater transparency about the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process and protecting the ability to innovate are not conflicting goals,” Baker Hughes chief strategy officer Derek Mathieson said.

    “The policy we are implementing today is consistent with our belief that we are partners in solving industry challenges and that we have a responsibility to provide the public with the information they want and deserve.

    “It simultaneously enables us to protect proprietary information that is critical to our growth."

    For each fracturing job the company performs on or after October 1, the policy mandated that Baker Hughes would disclose a single list of all of the chemical constituents of its products used, while also specifying their maximum concentrations.

    Baker Hughes' policy is fully compatible with the online national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry called FracFocus, where anyone can look for information about a wellsite near them under the “Find a well” section.

    All of the company's disclosure forms can be found at

  23. "A RECENT survey of four submerged shoals off the Kimberley coast turned up three species of sea snake while a search farther north at Ashmore Reef, a former sea snake "hot spot", failed to reveal any specimens.

    WA Museum marine biologist Glenn Moore says this was the first ever biological survey of the shoals.

    They found Emydocephalus annulatus at Echuca Shoal (two individuals) and Heyward Shoal (one individual); Aipysurus laevis at Heywood, Eugene-McDermott and Vulcan Shoals (one individual at each); and the Australasian endemic Aipysurus duboisii at Vulcan Shoal (two individuals).

    "We noted in the literature there has been this really obvious decline in sea snakes in the North West Shelf," he says.

    "Traditionally we've known that on a global scale, they're the hot spots for these sea snakes."

    The study follows a 2010 trip to Ashmore Reef in which marine herpetologist Vimoksalehi Lukoschek found just two species represented in very small numbers."

    Related ?

    "The Montara oil spill was an oil and gas leak and subsequent slick that took place in the Montara oil field in the Timor Sea, off the northern coast of Western Australia. It is considered one of Australia's worst oil disasters.[1] The slick was released following a blowout from the Montara wellhead platform on 21 August 2009, and continued leaking until 3 November 2009 (in total 74 days"


    Montara oil spill: Fishermen's lawyer calls for investigation into reports of skin disease

    By Felicity James

    Posted 21 Aug 2014

    Indonesian and East Timorese fishermen may be suffering from skin conditions caused by the Montara oil spill, the lawyer representing them has said.

    On the fifth anniversary of one of Australia's worst oil disasters, Darwin-based lawyer and spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Greg Phelps, called for a full scientific investigation.

    He said when he visited the village of Tablolong in West Timor in August 2013 and February this year, he was shown sores and rashes villagers say began appearing after the oil spill.

    "Almost 100 per cent of the village turned out to tell us about the effects of this event," Mr Phelps said.

    "We saw people who had skin conditions come from out of the crowd to show us the rashes on their arms and on their neck. Other people reported deaths in that village."

    The Montara oil platform, about 250 kilometres off the north-west coast of Western Australia, ruptured on 21 August 2009, spilling millions of litres of oil at the estimated rate of 400-2000 barrels a day.

    It took more than two months to stop the leak.

    Mr Phelps said seaweed farming in Tablolong also appeared to have been affected.


    Sheen and weathered oil was observed in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone in September 2009, reaching to within 94km of the island of Palau Roti off the coast of West Timor.

    Montara Commission of Inquiry


    "The community reported that their pre-spill production of 500 tonnes has dropped to less than six tonne, which is not much over 1 per cent. And the price has halved because the quality of the seaweed's deteriorated," he said.

  24. Japan LNG hits four-year low

    Oct 10 (LNG) - The LNG Journal East Asian Delivered LNG Indicator Price hit its lowest level since December 2010 at $13.05 per million British thermal units, in line with falling North Sea Brent crude oil prices. The East Asia LNG price is based on the Japanese Crude Cocktail method of assessing long-term contract cargo prices for Japan. That's as the UK National Balancing Point price hit $9.10 per MMBtu and the US benchmark Henry Hub natural gas price was at $3.86 per MMBtu.


    Japan's September spot cargoes averaged $11.30 per MMBtu versus $12.50 in August

    Thursday, 09 October 2014


    Japanese average LNG import prices for spot cargoes delivered in September fell to $11.30 per million British thermal units compared with $12.50 MMBtu in August amid a flat market for LNG ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter.

  25. NOW THE 5th JANUARY 2015.
    Prices as of the 2nd January.


    HENRY HUB $3.00 MMBtu

    NYMEX $2.87 MMBtu

    EAST ASIA delivered $10.00 MMBtu



    BRENT CRUDE $57.45 Bbl

  26. Methane plume over western US illustrates climate cost of gas leaks

    Waste emissions cloud caused by oil, coal and gas production, spurring calls for tighter controls on leaks

    The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near the desert trading post of Cuba, New Mexico, may be colourless and odourless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space.

    Satellites that sweep over the north of the energy-rich state can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and a pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said Nasa researcher Christian Frankenberg.

    The United States’ biggest methane “hot spot”, verified by Nasa and University of Michigan scientists in October, is only the most dramatic example of what scientists describe as a $2bn leak problem: the loss of methane from energy production sites across the country. When oil, gas or coal are taken from the ground, a little methane – the main ingredient in natural gas – often escapes along with it, drifting into the atmosphere where it contributes to the warming of the Earth.

    Methane accounts for about 9% of US greenhouse gas emissions, and the biggest single source of it – nearly 30% – is the oil and gas industry, US government figures show. All told, oil and gas producers lose 8m metric tons of methane a year, enough to provide power to every household in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.


    As early as this month, the Obama administration will announce new measures to shrink New Mexico’s methane cloud while cracking down nationally on a phenomenon that officials say wastes taxpayer revenue and contributes to climate change. The details are not publicly known, but already a fight is shaping up between the White House and industry supporters in Congress over how intrusive the restrictions will be.

    Republican leaders who take control of the Senate this month have vowed to block measures that they say could throttle domestic energy production at a time when plummeting oil prices are cutting deeply into company profits. Industry officials say they have a strong financial incentive to curb leaks, and companies are moving rapidly to upgrade their equipment.

    But environmentalists say relatively modest government restrictions [PDF] on gas leaks could reap substantial rewards for taxpayers and the planet. Because methane is such a powerful greenhouse gas – with more than 80 times more heat-trapping potency per pound than carbon dioxide over the short-term – the leaks must be controlled if the US is to have any chance of meeting its goals for cutting emissions responsible for climate change, said David Doniger, who heads the climate policy programme at the US Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

    “This is the most significant, most cost-effective thing the administration can do to tackle climate change pollution that it hasn’t already committed to do,” Doniger said.


    The report’s authors noted that the measures would also help protect taxpayers who, after all, are the ultimate owners of the oil and gas taken from federally owned lands, including most of New Mexico’s San Juan Basin.

    “The good news is that there are simple technologies and practices that the oil and gas industry can use to substantially reduce this waste,” said Mark Brownstein, an associate vice-president for climate and energy at the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the contributors to the report.

    “You don’t have to be an environmentalist to know that methane leaks are simply a waste of a valuable national energy resource,” he said.

  27. West Australian $30bn LNG project allowed to have no carbon emission targets

    State government declares it will not reapply regulations which were lifted during carbon tax era

    One of Australia’s largest resource projects is operating without regulatory oversight on its carbon emissions because the West Australian government decided against reintroducing state controls that were lifted during the carbon tax era.

    Wheatstone, Chevron’s $30bn liquid natural gas project in the Pilbara, was one of two projects that applied in 2012 for an exemption to state-based emissions regulation in response to a policy that allowed the environment minister to extinguish regulations that were “non-complementary” to a federal scheme.

    The other project was the West Angelas open-cut iron ore mine near Newman, in which Rio Tinto owns a controlling interest.

    The state’s environment minister at the time, Bill Marmion, scrapped the requirement for both projects to have a greenhouse gas abatement plan that included setting targets and recording emissions.

    The decision was contrary to the recommendations of both the Environmental Protection Authority and an independent economic report commissioned by government.

    The current environment minister, Albert Jacob, told Guardian Australia on Friday that he would not reimpose state regulations on the projects, despite the carbon tax being repealed by the Abbott government as of 1 July, 2014.

    “I do not intend on reviewing or reapplying any greenhouse gas emission conditions that have been removed by the previous minister for environment,” Jacob said.


    Labor’s environment spokesman, Chris Tallentire, said the 2012 decision was justified, but there was no justification for leaving the projects unregistered in the absence of a national scheme.

    He estimated the project had been “gifted a windfall profit of at least $54m a year” as a result of the regulation vacuum.

    “It’s a betrayal of the environmental impact assessment process that we have here in WA,” Tallentire said.


    An EPA report on the Wheatstone project said it would “substantially” increase the state’s greenhouse gas output, emitting 10m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – a 13.5% increase on the state’s 2006-07 emission levels.


    Piers Verstegen, director of the Conservation Council of Western Australia, said the decision to not reinstate emissions requirements took the state back to the 1980s.

    “Some of the the nation’s biggest polluters are located in WA and now have no controls on their carbon pollution whatsoever,” he said.

    “With the removal of a carbon price, both the state and commonwealth governments have completely abrogated their responsibility to control pollution, to protect our environment and to address climate change.”

    It is the third time in a month the Barnett government has been criticised for apparently putting the needs of the mining and resources industry above environmental considerations.

    In December, Marmion – who is now mining minister – announced a 50% rebate on iron ore royalties for junior miners after the price of iron ore fell. A week later he said the government had given $1bn previously held in environmental bonds back to mining companies, six months after replacing the bond scheme for mine site rehabilitation with an annual levy.

    The decision to leave the greenhouse gas emissions of two large projects unregulated was disappointing but not surprising, said the WA campaign director of the Wilderness Society, Peter Robinson.

    “Western Australia is clearly a pace-setter in terms of giving the mining industry a big free break,” he said

  28. 12-year-old boy dies from 'sniffing deodorant' in Alice Springs

    A 12-year-old boy has died in Alice Springs after police suspected he sniffed at least two cans of deodorant with a group of teenagers.

    Northern Territory Police superintendent Bob Harrison said the boy was found unconscious by an officer at the Coles shopping complex in the town about 8:15pm on Saturday night.

    "His attention was directed towards a person collapsed near the Discount Chemist," he said.

    "He checked for vital signs. Finding none, he commenced CPR.

    "[Paramedics] conveyed the young fellow to hospital but unfortunately he passed away."

    Police believed the boy had consumed "a couple of cans" of deodorant earlier that night at Billy Goat Hill, a notorious sniffing spot in the centre of the town.

    "We received information from a security guard that they'd spotted about eight young people sniffing cans near the hill," Superintendent Harrison said.

    "Unfortunately without pre-empting the coroner's findings and the autopsy we believe this contributed to the death of this 12-year-old."


    Chroming prevalent in Alice Springs: youth worker

    Young people are pressuring others to sniff sprays such as deodorant, according to Tristan Ray from the Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service.

    "You see one or two kids [sniffing] but then suddenly they're influencing other kids and it just becomes what that they do when they're together," he said.

    "They do it because they're trying to have fun.

    "Some young people do it because they're hungry, when you sniff it you can feel better.

    "And others have just got enormous issues in their lives and they want to get out of it anyway they can."

    Mr Ray said the prevalence of chroming had increased because young people were bored at night.

    "About two years ago there were four or five good night-time youth programs that were diverting young people, keeping them busy, giving them help if they need it and intervening when they were doing unsafe things," he said.

    "But we haven't had those youth services for most of the last 18 months and we really have noticed that that sniffing has taken off in that time.

    "It's a very dangerous practice and this is the kind of outcome that we all dread."

    1. More support needed for teens addicted to sniffing inhalants in regional Australia

      Updated yesterday at 5:33pmMon 5 Jan 2015, 5:33pm

      A young Queensland man who overcame his addiction to sniffing inhalants says the weekend death of a 12-year-old in Alice Springs should spur affected communities into action. It's believed the child died after sniffing deodorants. Brian Keech says there isn't enough support for vulnerable teenagers in regional communities, and he wants to roll out outreach workshops across Australia.

    2. There used to be a drop-in centre where a boy died from sniffing aerosol. It might have saved his life

      Questions are being asked about how the death of a 12-year-old boy in Alice Springs could have been prevented. Could government cuts be to blame?

      Over the road from where a 12-year-old Indigenous boy was found dying in the Coles car park in Alice Springs last weekend, there used to be a night time drop-in centre run by the local Indigenous health service.

      Trained youth workers would have been there engaging with the local young people. If it had been open, the boy who died might have been saved. He might not even have been abusing inhalants if there was some other option that night, like playing pool or cruising the internet in a bright place surrounded by friends. But the drop-in centre was closed last year by the Northern Territory government.

      Many Indigenous kids are in trouble in Alice Springs and central Australia. They live in two worlds, dealing with unprecedented social change: from Neolithic to postindustrial in just a few generations. Decade after decade their imprisonment rates keep going up, while school attendance keeps going down. If they survive the chronic illness and high suicide rates, they face mental health problems, dealing with substance abuse in their immediate family, community-wide poverty and racism.

      Their demographic is huge and getting bigger. At the last census, the median age for Indigenous people nationally was 21.8 years, more than 15 years younger than the non-Indigenous population at 37.6 years. But the resources committed to helping this growing group have been reduced.

      In Alice Springs, many of the most marginalised kids are nocturnal over summer. During the day, it’s hot enough to fry an egg on playground equipment. Before the current Northern Territory government came into power, there were a number of youth programmes that operated at night, with trained youth workers who could engage with kids when they were out and about. Sometimes they would just chat and joke, sometimes help the kid and their family with some more complex issue. Now there are none. There has been a rising number of young people abusing inhalants since that time.

      The Northern Territory government chose to divert money from prevention activities to the child welfare system. The child welfare system was overloaded, but with less prevention, increasing numbers of kids and families need help, further overloading the system. It’s a feed back loop: unless you address the causes, there will always be more and more kids being damaged and needing help. Help at this end of the system is intensive and expensive. $150,000 will pay for a youth programme for a whole remote community for a year, keeping dozens, maybe hundreds of kids engaged. In the welfare system, the same amount will provide a single caseworker who, in the course of a year, will struggle to meaningfully support even a handful of kids with intensive, complex issues.


  29. Miners and energy stocks lead steep share market fall

    The Australian share market is following overseas bourses lower after oil prices slumped again overnight.

    The benchmark West Texas crude price fell below $US50 for the first time in nearly six years overnight, closing just above that level.


    Energy stocks Woodside (5.1 per cent), Oil Search (7.1 per cent) and Santos (7.5 per cent) are amongst the major companies leading the declines.


    Wall St falls sharply on oil slide

    Wall Street has fallen sharply overnight, with old worries about falling oil prices making an unwelcome return in the new year.

    West Texas intermediate crude oil slipped briefly below $US50 a barrel for the first time in nearly six years during the session and only managed to hold a single cent above that level by the close.

    As a result energy stocks bore the brunt of a broad sell off.


    Oil also weighed on trade across the Atlantic, along with concerns about the state of the euro, which fell more than 1 per cent to a near nine-year low against the US dollar.

    Those worries trumped fresh hints from the European Central Bank that it may again move to stimulate economic growth in the eurozone.

    In an interview published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt on Friday, ECB president Mario Draghi indicated the central bank may soon start quantitative easing in response to falling prices.


    Falling oil prices hit government revenues

    Consumers may like it, but state governments which have ridden high on the fracking and shale oil boom are going to take a hit in revenues.

    Alaska has already been downgraded to negative by ratings agency Moody's, which said the oil price plunge "now threatens to rapidly and significantly reduce the state's budgetary reserves".

    An analyst with Wells Fargo bank, Roy Eappen, says Alaska relies on oil for as much as 89 per cent of its operating revenue.

    "I think if this situation keeps going, there'll be some problems," he cautioned.

    It also means some state governments will come under political pressure in terms of what they can offer come election time.

    "Declining revenue would prevent the ability to reduce income taxes, for example, or would prevent the ability to offset previous cuts in government programs," Mr Eappen added.

    There is also the potential double whammy of oil companies laying off workers.


    Even established oil towns are expecting a shake-out in terms of new drilling.

    Odessa-Midland is in the heart of America's oil industry in Texas and its wells pump out what becomes an industry benchmark - West Texas Intermediate Crude.

    "What we have seen with this lower price is that the capital expenditures of energy firms, they're starting to talk about cutting back," said Bradley Ewing, the Rawls Professor of energy economics at Texas Tech.

    "Now that has an effect immediately on new rigs and that type of thing, that's fairly sensitive, that capex spending is fairly sensitive to the price drop."


    Oil Extends Crash Into New Year As Glut Fears Deepen

    by Reuters

    ..................U.S. crude settled down $2.65, or 5 percent, at $50.04 a barrel, and was at a post-settlement low of $49.77 by 3:15 p.m. ET (2015 GMT). The last time U.S. crude traded below $50 was in April 2009.

    Front-month Brent closed down $3.31, or almost 6 percent, at $53.11 a barrel. It dropped earlier to $52.66, its lowest since May 2009.


    "We're headed for a four-handle," said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors in Laurel Hollow in New York. "Maybe not today, but I'm sure when you get the inventory numbers that come out this week, we definitely will."

    Open interest for $40-$50 strike puts in U.S. crude have risen several fold since the start of December, while $20-$30 puts for June 2015 have traded, said Stephen Schork, editor of Pennsylvania-based The Schork Report.



      This could last for a couple of years or longer depending on disasters etc.

      Buru may have to repay Alcoa the $40 million if no FID on a gas development that would supply sufficient gas to meet the obligations of the GSA isn't met by 1st. July 2015.

      3 wells drilled last year were all dusters.

      Some idea of the hype that preceded the drilling program can be seen in the following advice from MOTLEY FOOL.


      5 reasons to like Buru Energy Limited

      By Sid Narsey - February 11, 2014

      Here are five things I like about Buru Energy.

      1. Alliances with experienced partners and operators: Buru has aligned itself with a number of experienced industry players such as Mitsubishi Corporation, Apache Energy (NYSE: APA), and Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), all of which have vested interests in Buru’s success in its exploration, development and production efforts. It is their involvement, along with the depth of Buru’s management experience, that gives me greater comfort around mitigating the operational and execution risks of their forward exploration and development plans.

      2. 2014 program is fully funded: Buru has a fully funded program in 2014 with over $188 million allocated to the development of its Ungani Oilfield, the appraisal of its Laurel Wet Gas formation, the exploration of the Ungani Oil trend, and the recently announced exploration program targeting permits in the Goldwyer Shale.

      3. Strong investor interest and support: Recent capital raising programs have been oversubscribed in multiples, indicating that there is strong support from both institutional and retail shareholders. Despite this seemingly strong support, it is important to note that Buru’s share price has been extremely volatile, with a 52-week low of $1.18 and high of $2.73. This is illustrative of a higher level of risk inherent in the company and readers will note that despite its significant market capitalisation (current $1.95 share price equates to a market capitalisation of $582 million), this is not a stable performer (yet) and does not seem to factor in a great deal of Buru’s enormous potential reserves or expected production in 2014.

      4. Buru acreage has been secured and has huge potential: Buru and Mitsubishi have entered into an agreement with the Western Australian government governing the exploration and development of its main permits for 25 years and also exempts Buru from relinquishing any of its exploration permits until 31 January 2024. Buru’s permits cover over 64,000 square kilometres (or roughly 15 million acres) which represents around 0.83% of Australia’s landmass. Given Buru’s significant acreage and aggressive exploration program in 2014, there is every possibility that their reserves will be proven up and their production targets in the Ungani Oilfield hit, which could potentially give its share price a significant lift.

      5. Shift from exploration to production: Buru aims to kick-start its production phase with an initial production rate of 3,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd), increasing to 5,000 bopd. Buru recently completed its first shipment of crude oil from the Ungani Oilfield to a South-East Asian oil refinery, under the marketing agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation. The bottom line here is that Buru is now entering a new phase of its life, and is now launching into production, which could bode very well for this comparatively large exploration company.

      Although readers should be mindful that Buru represents a higher level of risk, there is also the potential for huge return — 2014 should be renamed the Year of the Buru, in my humble opinion.

      BURU today :

      $0.40 and a low of $0.39 - down 2.44%

      WOODSIDE :

      $36.26 down $2.07 or 2.44%


    2. WOODSIDE should have read 5.4% - NOT 2.44%


      IF BURU are selling their oil out of Wyndham on a shipload by shipload basis then they must be barely breaking even and a "four handle" will surely see them making a loss.

      See how this Wet Season pans out.


    3. I wonder how the talks with the town of Broome and the port are going now?

      Let's see Proctor ( shut up all you activists ! ) start talking about an oil terminal over at Crab Creek with all the dredging to get oil tankers in and out of there !

      As usual the Chamber of Horrors ( aka the teletubbies ) are incapable of doing any simple maths.

      This town is a joke.

  30. Calls for detailed climate change plan for Torres Strait Islands amid projected sea level rises

    Rising seas around the Torres Strait Islands could leave part of the region uninhabitable within a few decades, a report warns.

    The Torres Strait Regional Authority created a climate change strategy to prepare for the possibility that some of the region's islands would be inundated by projected sea level rises of between 50 and 100 centimetres over the next century.

    Chairman Joseph Elu said fresh water supply and housing were also under threat.

    "Some of our islands are fairly low lying and communities are built on the foreshores," he said.

    "With the predictions that are being made now, they will all be under water in 100 years.

    "But obviously the high tides that are happening this time of year, some of them are being inundated now."

    Mr Elu said a joint federal and state government project rebuilding sea walls around six of the region's inhabited islands was helping, but a more comprehensive plan for the region's future was needed.

    "On a couple of our islands the tides rise over the sea walls onto the beachfront and it flows under the houses and out the other end," he said.

    "The strategy at the moment is to try and save the infrastructure that is there now, which means trying to raise sea wall levels.

    "But in the long run there has to be a long-term plan that we'll hopefully develop in the next few months."

    Mr Elu said some of the islands were already being impacted - such as Sabai and Boigu.

    But others that are low lying, such as Masig, will almost certainly go under water unless comprehensive plans are made for their long-term future.

    He said the greatest danger was that residents' drinking water would be contaminated by incoming seawater.

    "Water supplies, that's the main thing we're trying to look after. The last option I suppose is relocation but most of the island people don't want to do that," he said.

    "We're looking at different styles of housing that will cater for that, that can be moved or lifted up if necessary.

    "There are islands that won't be affected in the sense that there's hills there, but the communities themselves are on the foreshore, so we've got to move some of those people up onto the hills, as the foreshore might go under too.

    "But some of the islands' [residents] have nowhere to go," he said.

  31. BURU shares down - 5.00% to $0.38.

    Haven't been this low for 4 years and are nearly back at their issue price on the 1st. of September 2008.

    The court date for Fitzroy River Corp. re the proper construction of the Canning Basin Royalty Deed has been set down for the 14 and 15 of April 2015 before Justice Mitchell at the West. Aust. Supreme Court.

  32. Oil price falls spark further share market losses

    Further falls in global oil prices have driven yet another round of losses on Wall Street overnight.

    West Texas intermediate crude oil dipped another 4 per cent to $US47.93 a barrel.

    Surging oil output and weak demand has been driving the fall in price, and overnight a Bloomberg survey indicated American stockpiles may be continuing to grow in an already saturated market.

    As a result energy stocks are again dominating the US market's losses.


    Petrol prices expected to continue to fall for weeks amid increased competition, NRMA says

    ......................One Sydney retailer was leading the charge, dropping the price of Unleaded E10 to 99.9 cents per litre yesterday - a price Sydney has not seen since December 2009.


    The glut in global oil supplies has prompted some traders to speculate the price could fall as low as $30 or even $20 a barrel, not seen since 2002. Economists in the UK say that however far oil falls, the drop from a peak of $115 a barrel last summer will boost activity in the near-term.


    Negotiation Standards for LNG Contracts

    Our LNG trading desk deals mostly with three major pricing systems in LNG contracts:
    •Oil indexed contract (or crude basket) used primarily in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China;
    •Crude, oil products and other energy carriers indexed used in Continental Europe; and
    •contracts indexed to Henry Hub (HH) for US and National Balancing Point (NBP) for UK gas.


    S-Curve: many formula include an S-curve, where the price formula is different above and below a certain oil price, to dampen the impact of high oil prices on the buyer, and low oil prices on the seller. JCC and ICP: in most of the East Asian LNG contracts, price formula is indexed to a basket of crude imported to Japan called the Japan Crude Cocktail (JCC). In Indonesian LNG contracts, price formula is linked to Indonesian Crude Price (ICP).


    Price review: usually there exists a clause allowing parties to trigger the price revision or price reopening in LNGSPAs. In some contracts there are two options for triggering a price revision. regular and special. Regular ones are the dates that will be agreed and defined in the LNGSPAs for the purpose of price review.


    6th January 2015

    Asian delivered oil linked $8.80 MMBtu

    European spot $7.30

    Henry Hub $3.21

    Nymex $2.93


    1. The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is a commodity futures exchange owned and operated by CME Group of Chicago. NYMEX is located at One North End Avenue in the World Financial Center in the Battery Park City section of Manhattan, New York City.




    NASA closer than ever to finding Earth's 'twin', astronomers say announcing discovery of planets in 'Goldilocks zone'

    NASA is closer than ever to finding a twin for the Earth, astronomers say, announcing the discovery of eight new planets that circle in the habitable zones of their stars.

    Two of the eight are the most Earth-like of any known planets found so far outside our solar system, astronomers told the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.


    The latest trove of candidate planets found by Kepler was 554, bringing the total potential planets to 4,175.

    Scientists have recently verified the existence of the 1,000th planet found by Kepler.

    "Three of the newly validated planets are located in their distant suns' habitable zone, the range of distances from the host star where liquid water might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet," NASA said in a statement.

    "Of the three, two are likely made of rock, like Earth."


    While it is intriguing to consider the possibility of life existing on another planet like ours, the two best candidates are so far away that learning more about them presents a big challenge.

    The first, Kepler-438b is 470 light-years from Earth. It circles its star once every 35 days.

    Kepler-438b has a diameter that is 12 per cent bigger than Earth, and maintains a 70 per cent chance of being rocky, researchers said.

    The other, Kepler-442b, is 1,100 light-years away, and orbits its star once every 112 days.

    Kepler-442b is about a third larger than Earth, and experts said there was a three-in-five chance it was a rocky planet.

    "We don't know for sure whether any of the planets in our sample are truly habitable," said second author David Kipping of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

    "All we can say is that they're promising candidates."


  34. US Steel to cut 756 jobs on oil price

    Wednesday, 7 January 2015

    MAJOR US steel producer US Steel Corporation plans to idle two pipe plants in Houston in Texas and Lorain in Ohio and cut up to 756 workers as the oil price tumble flows on downstream.


    Oil crash: will gas be next?

    Wednesday, 7 January 2015
    Anthony Barich

    ANALYSTS are at odds over whether gas will be next fossil fuel to fall after coal and oil.


    Arrow extends ‘collaboration’ effort

    Wednesday, 7 January 2015

    ARROW Energy has further confirmed its Curtis Island-based LNG project remains shelved as it continues “collaboration” opportunities.


    Algerian protests erupt over shale gas

    Wednesday, 7 January 2015

    PROTESTS in Algeria over the government’s efforts to exploit shale reserves have spread to the country’s capital Algiers.


    LNG project delays expected amid tough 2015


  35. AND..........HERE COMES THE CRUNCH !


    Oil industry facing a year of cuts and job losses, Moody's says

    By Angela Macdonald-Smith
    Jan. 7, 2015

    Plummeting oil prices mean players across the sector face a tough 2015, with offshore contract drillers and smaller services companies set to be particularly badly hit, and the industry seeing widespread cost cuts, job losses and mergers, according to ratings agency Moody's.

    Inevitable cutbacks in spending by exploration and production companies will feed through to oilfield services companies and midstream operators, which will soon begin to feel the stress, the ratings agency advised. It is also warning of delays in investment decisions, job losses and cost reductions as the industry readjusts to the new reality of soft prices.

    Moody's is warning also of delays in LNG projects, noting that Chevron has already put back a decision to expand its $US54 billion ($66.8 billion) Gorgon project in Western Australia. Work could also be slowed or cancelled at ENI's Mozambique LNG project and BG Group's Prince Rupert project in Canada, despite their large available gas resources.

    M&A is set to feature, along the lines of Repsol's proposal last month for a $US13 billion acquisition of Canada's Talisman Energy.

    "The relatively strong integrated oil companies will likely pursue other transactions in 2015, especially if lower oil prices persist," Moody's said.

    The firm calculates that if crude oil prices average $US75 a barrel in 2015, North American exploration and production companies would likely cut capital sending by about 20 per cent from last year's levels. That would increase to a 30 to 40 per cent cut should prices persist below $US60.

    Outside North America the projected capex cuts are lower, but still 10 to 12 per cent, depending on prices.


    "If oil prices remain at around $US55 a barrel through 2015, most of the lost revenue will hit the E&P companies' bottom line, which will reduce cash flow available for re-investment," said Moody's managing director corporate finance, Steven Wood. "As spending in the E&P sector diminishes, oilfield services companies and midstream operators will begin to feel the stress."

    Moody's is forecasting that earnings in the oilfield services sector would fall by 12 to 17 per cent if oil averages $US75 a barrel, but as much as 30 per cent if the average price is less than $US60.

    "Although the world's largest oilfield services companies – Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes – are all sufficiently strong to weather a sustained drop in oilfield activity, smaller companies such as Basic Energy Services and Key Energy Services would come under greater stress," it said.

    Contract drillers will see pressure on rates in 2015 and will also be swamped by a "tidal wave" of new rig deliveries. The effects are likely to last into 2016 for contract drillers that will have to renew contracts on existing rigs at sharply lower rates.

    As of early this year, Seadrill and Transocean had the most uncontracted rigs under construction, while Hercules Offshore and Paragon Offshore will also face particular stress this year because of their large fleets of older jack-up rigs and significant uncontracted positions, Moody's advised.

    Those best placed to withstand the price shock are integrated oil companies that are typically more cautious on investment decisions, assuming prices of no more than $US50-$US60 a barrel, Moody's said. Integrated companies have upstream oil production as well as refining and marketing.

    "That said, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total have announced spending reductions for 2015, while cuts at others, including Chevron and BP, look likely," it said.


    The story Oil industry facing a year of cuts and job losses, Moody's says first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

  36. Santos shares worthless at current oil price, broker says

    DateJanuary 7, 2015

    A theoretical exercise by Credit Suisse equity analysts has made the startling finding that Santos' equity is worthless when current oil prices and foreign exchange rates are assumed to persist for ever.

    Assuming oil prices of $US55.20 a barrel, and Australian dollar at US80.6¢ and a slope of 8.5 times for the east coast gas price results in a calculation for Santos's net present value of negative 13¢ a share, Credit Suisse energy analyst Mark Samter has told clients.

    The impact of those assumptions on other ASX-listed oil and gas stocks is almost as dramatic, with Woodside Petroleum's base net present value calculated at $18.74 a share, and Oil Search's at $3.70 per share, both about half of their current levels.

    While all the energy stocks have been hammered by the sharp dive in the oil price in recent months, their share prices remain well above those levels.

    Santos on Tuesday dipped 8.6 per cent to $7.55, and is down about 54 per cent since August. Woodside closed Tuesday at $36.46, while Oil Search closed at $7.31. Santos fell a further 4 per cent in early trading on Wednesday to $7.25.

    "Clearly the equity market isn't pricing in spot to perpetuity and, whilst none of us are smart on a 20-year view, arguably nor should it," Mr Samter wrote.

    On his calculations, assuming current exchange rates, Woodside's share price assumes an oil price of about $US81 a barrel, Oil Search about $US70, and Santos about $US83.

    Mr Samter notes that the impact of the weak prices has been worst on companies with weak balance sheets: hence the pressure on Santos, which is still funding completion of its $US18.5 billion liquefied natural gas project in Queensland, and on Origin Energy, which has a similar, $24.7 billion, project under construction in Gladstone.

    He calculates that even if the oil price returns to $US100 a barrel, 2-3 years of spot oil would put credit metrics "under huge pressure".

    Concerns that Standard & Poor's may again cut Santos's credit rating after downgrading it early last month to BBB from BBB+ have been circulating in the market, sparking talk of a need for an equity raising despite Santos recently adding a $1 billion loan facility on top of the $2 billion of cash and undrawn debt it already had.

    S&P on December 17 cut its oil price assumptions for the third time in two months, but at $US70 a barrel for Brent in 2015 and $US75 in 2016, they would require a substantial recovery in current prices to be achieved.

    Global oil prices dropped again overnight Tuesday Australian time, with Brent now down at about $US51 a barrel, compared with $US115 a barrel as recently as June. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark crude, has dipped below $US48 a barrel.

    "The reality is, if lower prices persist for even six months more, the high prices assumed by S&P would have to come under scrutiny," Mr Samter wrote.

    Credit Suisse's gas price calculation is based on an industry standard that at $US100 a barrel oil, gas is priced at $US8.50 per gigajoule. That translates to a gas price of about $6 a gigajoule at current oil prices.


  37. Price for liquefied natural gas under pressure from plummeting oil price

    The plummeting price of oil is hurting the nascent onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, as well as wiping millions of dollars in value off the share price of companies.

    The sector grew quickly but has been beset with cost over-runs and high construction and commissioning costs.

    The first tanker of LNG sourced from coal seam gas only left Gladstone in Queensland this week.


    The oil-linked gas price is based on a formula that's an 'S' curve and it does have a lag to the oil price

    Daniel Hynes, senior commodities analyst, ANZ


    Like all bulk commodity prices, the actual price received under off-take agreements, or simply contracts of sale, are shrouded in secrecy and 'commercial in confidence' provisions.

    Spot prices can give an indication of general price trends and in the case of the gas from Australia to Asia, that is intrinsically linked to the price of oil.

    Senior commodities analyst with ANZ Daniel Hynes says that is for historical reasons.

    "Because gas markets have traditionally been landlocked it was difficult and costly to transport gas long distances," he said.

    "With the advent of seaborne LNG it was linked to the other seaborne energy source it replaced, oil.

    "And although LNG is opening up gas markets to the rest of the world, the tradition of selling to Japan (the dominant customer) through oil-linked contracts remains."

    Japan has actively been trying to sever the historical linking of the the two prices as it was paying a higher price than some other countries for gas.

    That's unlikely to be pursued rigorously anytime soon, now the oil price plunged nine per cent in 48 hours to hit nearly six year lows.

    "I think it's unlikely in the short to medium term," said Daniel Hynes.


    Audio: Daniel Hynes, ANZ, says LNG price to fall in 2015 (ABC Rural)


    "It was of greater importance when the oil price was high early in 2014, but I think with the current price they're relatively happy for the time being."

    West Texas intermediate crude is currently $US47.86. Brent crude is $51.10.

    Daniel Hynes said the lower price for gas will come about later than the oil price drop.

    "The oil-linked gas price imported into Japan is based on a formula which looks like an 'S' curve and it does have a lag to the oil price

    "So we haven't yet seen gas prices fall to the level we've seen oil prices fall, although gas prices have been weak over the past month or two.

    "Certainly as we get into 2015 we're expecting to see gas prices fall from the $15 to $16 per million British thermal units (Mbtu) down to around the $10 to $11 level.

    "That would correlate to a $60 to $70 per barrel oil price."


  38. Protestors claim gas leak at Kimberley fracking well

    By Erin Parke

    Safety inspectors have been sent to a fracking well in Western Australia's north, in response to footage apparently showing dangerously high levels of leaking gas.

    The ABC has obtained a video of a hand-held gas metre reading at the Yullerroo 2 site, about 70km east of Broome, showing what activists say are likely to be high levels of methane.

    The drilling well was previously fracked in 2010 by Buru Energy.

    Environs Kimberley Director Martin Pritchard said it showed how poorly regulated the fracking industry was.

    "The footage that I've seen shows the gas detector going off the scale," he said.

    "Basically it's gone higher than the gas detector can actually take.

    "That's a really dangerous level so very concerning and it just shows that this kind of fracking industry is not suitable for the Kimberley."

    The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) said it had sent dangerous goods officers to the site, but they had initially been blocked from entering by protesters.

    The ABC understands the officers were eventually able to gain access.

    A statement attributed to DMP Executive Director Petroleum Jeff Haworth said if the alleged gas levels were correct, the public must stay clear of the site.

    "No uncontrolled gas leaks are permitted from wells and if such a leak is found to be occurring it must be addressed immediately.

    "The department's investigation will determine if further action is required."

    The DMP described it as a suspended gas well.

    Buru Energy has been contacted for comment

    1. Some Yulleroo 2 history.


      The Yulleroo wet gas accumulation was identified by the Yulleroo 1 well that was drilled in 1967 and tested gas at low rates from a very substantial gas column in a thick sequence of shales and sands in the Laurel Formation. The Yulleroo 2 well was drilled in 2008 by ARC Energy to appraise the Yulleroo 1 discovery, and recorded strong gas shows at the same stratigraphic level as Yulleroo 1. Buru conducted a successful reservoir stimulation operation at Yulleroo 2 in 2010, demonstrating that the reservoir was capable of flowing gas of good quality with significant hydrocarbon liquid content.


      (Of which some notice has been given)

      Wednesday, 19th February 2013

      Hon Robin Chapple to the Minister for Agriculture and Food representing the
      Minister for Mines and Petroleum

      With regard to the Burn Energy Limited Yulleroo 2 well that was fracked in 2010, I

      1. What is the current status of this well?

      2. Does the well intercept any geological faults?

      3. If yes to (2), when were these fault identified and by whom?

      4. If yes to (2), is the fault naturally occurring or did it form as a result of drilling
      or fracking?


      I thank the Hon. Member for some notice of this question.
      The Department of Mines and Petroleum advises:

      1. The status of the Yuleroo 2 well is suspended.

      2. Yes, the well appears to intersect at least one fault at depth.

      3. The fault appears to have been identified on the Yuleroo 3D seismic survey
      carried out in 2011. The fault is also interpreted to occur within Yuleroo 2, which
      was drilled in 2008.

      This information has been provided by Burn Energy and so it
      is assumed that the fault was recognised by geologists from Burn Energy.

      4. The fault was observed on seismic reflection data prior to both drilling in 2008
      and fracking in 2010. It can be stated with confidence that the fault did not form
      as a result of fracking.


      Yulleroo-2 Well — Fracking

      Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

      Extract from Hansard

      5494. Hon Alison Xamon to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum

      I refer to the answer to question on notice No. 4334, regarding the hydraulic fracturing of the Yulleroo-2 Well in the Canning Basin and I ask, will the Minister please specify the fluid that was used in the Yulleroo-2 frack?

      Hon NORMAN MOORE replied:

      An initial fluid of hydrochloric acid and water was pumped down the well to dissolve carbonates and then followed by the main fracture fluid which was 99.6 per cent water with friction reducers and clay stabilizers making up the remaining 0.4 per cent of the fluid.

      This 0.4 per cent of fluid included up to 15 chemicals that are listed in the Material Safety Data Sheets attached to the Environmental Management Plan approved by the Department of Mines and Petroleum, and available on the operator’s (Buru Energy) website (see — Yulleroo-2 Well — Hydraulic Fracturing Operations — Environmental Management Plan).

  39. Sorry for laughing but here we go again.

    According to the DMP, and of course Buru, the damage to the valve/valve stem has been nailed down in quick smart time to the protestors.

    This is very unlikely, in fact the least likely cause of valve/valve stem damage there is.

    The most likely causes are damage in transit, damage in installation, damage from paint and/or corrosive material being in contact with the valve stem.

    Having seen these valve assemblies handled, transported and installed it is very common for them to be damaged.

    eg : laid down with the valves/ valve stems supporting the weight.

    lifted with chains/ slings around the valves/ valve stems.

    to be very dirty and covered with all sorts of grime.

    cleaned down with solvent/ de-greaser with high pressure cleaners .....etc etc.....

    It would require a herculean effort with a hammer ( or any heavy object ) to smash one of these valves and cause it to leak.

    Methinks it is all just a little too convenient for the DMP and Buru to come out with this before any proper inspection, and what it shows really is that all protestors and activists really get under their skin because fracking is a really dodgy practice.

    Very sensitive to criticism these oil and gas types.

    LOL !

  40. Investigation launched into fracking site damage after gas leak claims

    By Erin Parke

    An investigation has been launched into how a valve at a fracking gas well in Western Australia's north came to be damaged after activists claimed dangerous levels of gas were leaking at the site.

    The ABC has obtained a video of a hand-held gas metre reading at the Yullerroo 2 site, about 70km east of Broome, showing what activists said was likely to be high levels of methane.

    The drilling well was previously fracked in 2010 by Buru Energy.

    The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) sent safety inspectors to the site after the footage emerged but they did not detect leaking gas.

    "What we have found is there is some physical damage been done to one of the valves, which is not a piece of equipment failure or a process failure but rather some other form of physical damage which has caused a very minor leak on the well," the DMP's Jeff Haworth said.

    "When we initially arrived we took gas readings around the well and there were no gas readings.

    "When we actually manipulated the valve stem which is bent, in certain positions it would leak gas, but only a small amount of gas."

    DMP has instructed Buru to replace the valve.

    Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard had claimed the footage revealed how poorly regulated the fracking industry was.

    "The footage that I've seen shows the gas detector going off the scale," he said.

    "Basically it's gone higher than the gas detector can actually take.

    "That's a really dangerous level so very concerning and it just shows that this kind of fracking industry is not suitable for the Kimberley."

    The DMP described the site as a suspended gas well.

    An investigation into how the valve became damaged has been launched by the department.

  41. Barnett confident of Browse sanction

    Thursday, 8 January 2015

    WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett believes the Woodside-led $40 billion Browse floating LNG project will go ahead despite fresh scepticism which has followed the tumble in global oil prices.


    News Wrap

    Thursday, 8 January 2015

    IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Brent falls below $US50 a barrel in overnight trade; Browse project is “dead and buried”; and oil tumble may see BHP pull US rigs.


    Moody’s casts doubt on Transocean

    Thursday, 8 January 2015

    CREDIT rater Moody’s is warning that Transocean’s $US9.1 billion ($A11.3 billion) debt could hit junk bond status if the oil industry downturn is prolonged.

    ( A flood of new rigs is about to hit the market - with Transocean being one of the top companies with the highest new-builds uncontracted )


  42. THE ".....fresh scepticism which has followed the tumble in global oil prices."


    Oil slump stalls sector projects

    DateJanuary 8, 2015

    Billions of dollars worth of projects face an uncertain future amid write-downs and job losses across Australia's battered oil and gas sectors as the global oil crash deepens.

    As prices plummeted to levels not seen for almost six years, there are predictions that major oil and gas projects will be mothballed, with Woodside Petroleum's Browse floating liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia tipped as a likely early casualty.

    *****"Browse is dead. Projects that are in construction will finish, but anything that's theoretical, on the drawing board, is just going to get pushed back," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Andrew Williams.

    "What's taken everyone by surprise is the severity of the pullback in such a short time."

    Woodside last month put back a target for starting engineering design work on the Browse floating LNG project to mid-2015 but few expect that target to be met without a rebound n prices.

    One Sydney-based analyst said, "We are no nearer to first gas from Browse today than two years ago."

    US benchmark oil prices slid yesterday another 4.2 per cent to dip under $US48 a barrel, having halved since the end of August, while the Brent crude price is approaching $50 a barrel.

    The dive has piled pressure on players with stretched balance sheets, with most of the heat on Santos, which still has six to nine months of construction work to complete its $US18.5 billion GLNG gas export plant in Queensland.

    BG Group also last month flagged a write-down on its new $US20.4 billion Queensland Curtis LNG project, which only came into production late December.

    That has raised concerns that the other Queensland projects could see similar write-downs among the various venture partners.

    "The reality is these things are not worth close to book value," said Credit Suisse energy analyst Mark Samter.

    "You have to believe you're going to see enormous write-downs in particular from Santos and Origin – BG have already taken an initial write-down on QCLNG and alluded to the fact it could take a larger one."

    Carrying values for some acquisitions made over recent years could also be at risk.

    "I don't see how Santos could still carry Narrabri at the book value of the acquisition of Eastern Star Gas," Mr Samter said of Santos's NSW coal seam gas business, based on its $924 million takeover of Eastern Star in 2011.

    Santos shares dropped another 1.3 per cent to $7.45 on Wednesday and are now 51 per cent down from their August high.

    Steps it took last month to relieve pressure on its balance sheet, including a 25 per cent cut to its 2015 capex budget and an extra $1 billion loan facility, have failed to calm investor fears that it will eventually have to raise equity to protect its investment-grade credit rating. It is also considering asset sales.


  43. THE ".....fresh scepticism which has followed the tumble in global oil prices."


    Oil slump stalls sector projects

    DateJanuary 8, 2015


    Illustrating the extent of the impact of the lower prices on Santos, Mr Samter released research that found the company's equity is worthless if current oil prices and foreign exchange rates are assumed to persist forever.

    The impact of such assumptions is also dramatic on Woodside and Oil Search, whose current share prices would require oil prices of $US70-$80 a barrel to be justified, vastly higher than current levels.

    "The Australian market is implicitly pricing in far higher oil prices than you might intuitively think and certainly well above the futures curve," Mr Samter said.

    Looming December quarterly production reports, the first of which will be released next week, will now be closely watched but the lag between oil price movements and LNG means that most of the hit to LNG revenues will be evident only later in the year.

    Moody's senior vice president Tom Coleman says lower oil-linked pricing for LNG and uncertainty over demand growth are already taking a toll on prospective new projects, both brown-field expansions and giant green-field ventures.

    Chevron has also again put back a decision to start design work on an expansion of the massively over-budget Gorgon project in WA, while new LNG projects in East Africa and Canada planned by Eni and BG could be slowed or cancelled, Mr Coleman said.

    Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search have dramatically outperformed global oil stocks through the downturn, managing to remain relatively stable wile the exploration and production companies are off about 35 per cent on average in the last 12 months.

    Wood Mackenzie is forecasting "multiple projects" around the world will not proceed due to looming oversupply and market competition.

    The drop in oil prices will likely force some less commercially attractive projects to be shelved, enabling companies to shift blame for project postponements that should have been made 12 to 24 months ago, it said.


    I still sit and wonder where we would be today had Woodside gone all gung ho and proceeded with the JPP plan.


  44. Job losses, writedowns tipped for oil and gas industry

    .................The price freefall has hammered the value of Australian companies and eaten into their profits.

    Peter Strachan, from Stock Analysis, said many companies were being forced to cut costs and axe jobs.

    "Over the Christmas period there was a bit of a hiatus, but I think in the next couple of weeks, we'll see a lot more talk, a lot more action in the oil and gas industry to cut costs," he said.


    Mr Strachan said many local companies had managed to remain cash-flow positive but they could not withstand the low prices forever.

    "Some of the Australian companies do have hedging, that means that they've sold forward some of their production, so they've sold barrels at $80 or $90 a barrel, they can continue to do that," he said.

    "Even at $48 a barrel currently, these companies are profitable, they're cash-flow positive but on a long-term basis they need a much higher price to justify the capital that they've spent."

    He said these companies needed the price of oil to be twice what it is now to be profitable.


    "Drilling rig numbers in the United States have fallen by about 9 per cent just in the last five or six weeks," he said.

    "Those numbers will continue to fall dramatically, I think we will see another 150 to 200 drilling rigs go out of action because the oil price is so low, it's just unprofitable to drill.

    "What we're going to see then is the United States will begin to top out and by May or June of this year, production in the United States will be falling and that will put pressure on the market."


    Analysts believe oil prices will rebound towards the middle of the year, as some producers fall out of the market.


    Oil holds ground as traders search for bottom of rout

    ........................ the world's largest oil traders have also started hiring supertankers to store crude at sea, marking a milestone in the build-up of the global glut of supplies, freight brokers and shipping sources said.

    Trading firms, including Vitol VITOLV.UL, Trafigura and energy major Shell (RDSa.L) are among those that have booked crude tankers for up to 12 months, the sources told Reuters.


    Wood Mackenzie says LNG output edged up 2 percent as Asian spot prices halved

    Thursday, 08 January 2015

    Worldwide LNG production rose 2.1 percent last year to 246 million tonnes and Asian spot cargo prices tumbled from $20 per million British thermal units to under $10 per MMBtu, according to a report from energy consultants Wood Mackenzie.


    8 Jan2015

    European spot $6.80 MMBtu

    Asia oil linked delivered $8.50 MMBtu


  45. Kimberley well damage mystery

    Friday, 9 January 2015

    WEST Australian authorities have cleared Buru Energy of any blame after the activist-criticised Yulleroo-2 well, 70km east of Broome, was found to have a damaged valve that caused a gas leak.


    The perils of LNG golden handshakes

    Friday, 9 January 2015
    Anthony Barich

    MAJOR oilers’ golden handshake deals to “drought-proof” the Queensland agriculture interacted with as part of their LNG behemoths comes with plenty of caveats, with new University of Queensland research revealing landholder concerns not dealt with by industry environmental impact statements.


    APPEA slams Labor push for NSW CSG ban

    Friday, 9 January 2015

    NEWLY minted opposition leader for New South Wales Luke Foley has drawn the ire of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association over comments that he would support a moratorium on gas.


    The LNG price crunch

    Friday, 9 January 2015

    ANZ and Citibank analysts doubt that new LNG projects will be economically viable as gas prices follow oil price falls this year.


    Bill aims to slash LNG red tape in US

    Friday, 9 January 2015

    BIPARTISAN legislation aimed at expediting the approval process for LNG exports to non-free trade agreement countries from the US has been introduced by Democrat Senator Tim Kaine and seven other senators.


    Motley Fool.

    .......................1.A number of non-OPEC oil producers could be forced from the market as their projects become uneconomic. This could certainly impact companies such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Senex Energy Ltd (ASX: SXY).

    2.Billions of dollars worth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects could also be shelved. As an example, shares of Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd (ASX: LNG) (“LNGL”) have plummeted 55% over the last four months based on concerns that cheap shale gas from North America will become uneconomical.



    On a day when just about everything went up.............Buru's share price collapsed.

    Last $0.350 - 2.78%

    BUT.......... LOW of $0.315 !

    Must be getting close to junk status.


  46. After the oil price fall, is natural gas next?

    Nick Butler

    The process of adjustment in the energy market is far from over. After the dramatic halving of the oil price since June there is now every chance that natural gas will follow suit. Indeed the fall has already begun. During December, US natural gas prices fell below $3 per million British thermal units for the first time since 2012. But that is just the beginning.

    Two further factors suggest a continued, and worldwide decline in 2015. First, in Europe in particular, gas supply contracts — for instance from Gazprom into Germany — are tied to the oil price. The link is historic and is gradually giving way to direct gas-to-gas competition. But the older, longer term contracts remain in place for now and that means that a radical downward shift in prices will occur through the coming year.

    Secondly, after years of uncertainty since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, there are signs that Japan is ready to accept the gradual reintroduction of nuclear power. The initial steps will be small — perhaps just one or two reactors at first. But even that will be sufficient to undermine gas prices in Asia which rose at times to almost $20/mmbtu as Japan was forced to substitute imported gas for nuclear. Each nuclear station brought back online will reduce demand for gas, and just as prices surged in 2011 now they will slip back. A Reuters survey of some serious analysts, including Wood Mackenzie, forecast a fall of up to 30 per cent in Asian natural gas prices in 2015.

    Unlike the oil market, none of this has anything to do with the collapse of a producers’ cartel (or depending on your world view, with a dastardly plan to use falling prices to undermine one political enemy or another). Nor does it have anything to do with Ukraine or the relations between Russia and Europe. There is no gas cartel and no producer has the power to set prices. The falling price is simply a matter of supply and demand. Supply is strong — driven on by high prices in the last few years and by the US shale revolution. Demand on the other hand is fragile and in Europe is being continuously eroded by subsidised renewables.


    Eventually the cycle will turn. New investment will go down to the point where capacity is fully utilised, and then the cycle begins again. In many cases gas is a good example of economics in action and a business less shaped by politics than most parts of the energy sector. For natural gas, the duration of the present downward trend depends more than anything on the pace of demand growth in the emerging economies of China and India.


  47. Queensland budget under threat from low oil price.

    The plummeting oil price is emerging as a threat to the Queensland budget with the prospect of a slowdown in royalties growth adding to pressure on the next state government to embark on a privatisation spree.

    Economists said that royalty estimates for liquefied natural gas could be affected by the halving of the oil price since June, while the free-market ­Institute of Public ­Affairs declared the next Queensland government should “vigorously” pursue expenditure savings or press ahead with privatisation plans.

    Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls’ office yesterday conceded that the oil price could be a factor in the budget but that some of the shock would be absorbed by the falling exchange rate.

    “While the oil price may impact on LNG royalty forecasts, this is somewhat offset by the lower Australian dollar,” a spokeswoman for Mr Nicholls said.

    She cited estimates that each 1c drop in the US dollar exchange rate would be worth about $35 million to royalty estimates in 2014-15.

    In Queensland, LNG royalties are based on the value of the product at the wellhead — that is, on the value of the LNG minus the processing costs.

    ANZ economist Che­relle Murphy said Queensland’s royalty estimates for LNG “will be directly affected by lower than expected oil prices”.

    “Of course other factors like the exchange rate also come into play as well. Changes in oil prices for these states’ revenues are not nearly as important to the bottom line as proportionate falls in coal prices in Queensland or iron ore prices in WA,” she said. Underscoring the issue, Queensland’s mid-year budget update last month revised down royalty ­revenue estimates for LNG, as well as coal royalties.

    “There has also been a decline in the royalty estimates for LNG, most notably in 2014-15 and 2015-16 reflecting recently announced production delays and significant reductions in LNG ­export prices, which are linked to the price of oil,” the mid-year update said.

    Last month, the Queensland government slashed its coal royalty estimates by $1.15 billion, or 10 per cent, over the period to 2017-18, following steep falls in ­prices.

    Petroleum and gas royalties contributed just $69m in 2013-14, but were estimated to rise to $638m by 2017-18, making them the state’s second-biggest source of royalty revenue. But in the latest revision in the mid-year update, expected revenues for 2014-15 were cut from $199m to $71m.


    The centrepiece of the Liberal National Party’s re-election campaign is a $34bn privatisation plan that involves leases of the state-owned electricity companies and ports.

    But Premier Campbell Newman said yesterday the asset sales could stall if the government could not get an adequate price.

    He said the state needed “top dollar” and “would retain assets under our control if we weren’t getting that full value”. Labor, by contrast, has said it will not privatise state assets.


  48. Things are so tough over at BURU they have withdrawn their $20,000 funding for the Australia Day fireworks in Broome.

    Campbell has arranged for the ratepayers to pick up the tab.

    1. "Buru may have to repay Alcoa the $40 million if no FID on a gas development that would supply sufficient gas to meet the obligations of the GSA isn't met by 1st. July 2015."

  49. Why Kimberley gas might burn Barnett again

    By ABC's Ben Collins

    Updated 31 Jul 2013

    ....................."The ACOLA study found that while you need a high market price to make the costs of shale gas viable in the US, it's even more expensive to extract unconventional gas in Australia.

    Rigs and skilled workers are more expensive and basic infrastructure like roads, water and power doesn't exist over much of our unconventional gas fields. The result is that Australian shale gas is three to four times more expensive to produce than US shale gas. The ACOLA study concludes that Australia's remote shale gas resources such as the Canning Basin probably aren't viable under short-term market prices unless they can also produce petroleum liquids such as condensate which attract higher prices.

    But petroleum liquids aren't likely to encourage investment in a gas pipeline and Buru Energy has to convince shareholders and its joint venture partners to do just that by Premier Barnett's 2016 deadline.

    The political risk is that the Canning Basin may be a longer term prospect for a future energy market prepared to pay higher prices. This could see it join the list of Kimberley gas projects that haven't made the grade under Premier Barnett's reign.

    Inpex took their Browse development to Darwin shortly after Mr Barnett became Premier in 2008. Woodside have taken their Kimberley project offshore this year. With the next WA state election in early 2017, the Canning Basin could become a ticking time bomb for the Barnett Government.

    Buru Energy and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association were contacted for this article but had not responded at the time of publication."


    North Dakota county feels Bakken boom ebb away as oil falls

    Sun Jan 11, 2015

    ........................The four counties immediately south - Williams, McKenzie, Dunn and Mountrail - now produce 90 percent of the state's oil, and Divide was mostly left for smaller companies willing to take the risk when oil prices were riding near $100 a barrel. At under $50 a barrel, the economics change dramatically.

    The breakeven oil price, the price level needed to drill a new well, for Divide County is $85 a barrel, according to the state; for Williams, it's just $37. The difference is due to geology, among other factors.


    Kemp: Bakken Oil Producers Need $55 To Keep Production Steady

    by Reuters

    John Kemp
    Friday, January 09, 2015

    ........................Breakeven rates for new wells, the level at which all drilling would cease, range from $29 in Dunn county and $30 in McKenzie to $36 in Williams and $41 in Mountrail. These four counties account for 90 percent of the drilling in the state.

    Breakevens in counties on the periphery of the Bakken play, which have far fewer rigs, range up to $52 in Renville-Bottineau, $62 in Burke and $73 in Divide.

    But Flint Hills Resources' posted price for North Dakota crude was just $32, Helms said, compared with almost $49 per barrel for WTI. Wellhead prices, which are roughly an average of the two, are around $40 and have been falling since the start of this year.


    12 Jan 2015

    Brent crude dipped below $US50 ($61.50) a barrel for the first time in five years, prompting many fund managers to cite oil price weakness as one of the biggest risks to asset performance in 2015.

    The price of Brent crude was trading at $US50.11, down 1.68 per cent, on Friday, while West Texas Intermediate traded at $US48.36, down 0.88 per cent.


  50. Oil and gas producers face rating downgrades

    Date: January 12 2015

    Peter Ker

    The risk of further credit rating downgrades for oil and gas producers has intensified, after ratings agency Standard & Poor's gave up hope of an oil price rise in 2015 and cut its price assumptions for the second time in a month.

    In bad news for companies like Santos, Origin Energy, Woodside Petroleum and Senex Energy, Standard & Poor's cut its Brent oil price assumption for 2015 by more than 30 per cent, with the company now predicting Brent to fetch $US55 ($67) per barrel this year.

    The ratings agency also slashed its 2016 Brent forecast by about 23 per cent to $US65 per barrel, while also cutting its long term oil forecasts and its price expectations for gas in the United States.

    Brent crude was fetching as much as $US115 per barrel as recently as June, but continued production from Saudi Arabia has combined with the shale boom in the United States to push the commodity down to just $US50.11 over the weekend.

    Standard & Poor's forecasts carry particularly importance for Santos, which is yet to complete its GLNG project in Queensland and may need to conduct an equity raising if price weakness persists.

    Santos has already had its credit rating downgraded from BBB+ to BBB on the back of the oil price slump, and a further downgrade to BBB- has been expected if oil price forecasts were cut to suggest a Brent price below $US75 per barrel for the next three years.

    Another cut would have Santos reach the lowest "investment grade" credit rating of BBB-, but the forecasts outlined by Standard & Poor's on Monday may not necessitate such a downgrade, given the ratings agency is predicting a Brent price of $US80 per barrel in 2017 and beyond.

    Aside from weak demand for oil and persistent production in OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia, Standard & Poor's said strong production from onshore wells in North America and the prospect of more oil production from Libya in coming months were set to ensure supply of oil outpaced demand in the near term.

    "Given this confluence of factors, there appear to be no immediate mechanisms to support higher oil prices in 2015," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Thomas Watters.

    The ratings agency said cutbacks of oil production from higher cost producers were not expected to affect the balance between supply and demand until the end of 2015, meaning an oil price recovery during 2015 was unlikely.

    "We expect the market could be oversupplied by up to 2 million barrels in the first quarter, especially factoring in new shale wells that were drilled in the fourth quarter of 2014," the agency said in a statement today.

    US gas prices, which are typically measured at the Henry Hub interchange in Louisiana, are a very important factor for BHP Billiton, which despite focusing on the liquids rich parts of its onshore acreage in Texas, will still produce significantly more gas than liquids from its shale business this year.

    Standard & Poor's predicted the Henry Hub price would average $US3.50 per million units in 2015 and then $US3.75 per million units in 2016 and beyond.

    The Henry Hub averaged $US4.32 during the past year, but was fetching $US2.95 on Monday, and the price is heavily influenced by short term weather patterns in North America.

    BHP signalled late last year that it was looking to sell the most gas-prone parts of its US shale division, the Fayetteville shales in Arkansas, which were bought for $US4.75 billion in 2011.


  51. Sure to put another dent in the price of oil.


    Jan 2015

    Western Japan Demands Legal Framework for Reactor Decisions

    A group of local governments in western Japan has called on the central government to give communities surrounding nuclear plants a legal say over the restarting of reactors.

    The demand by 11 local governments in the Kansai region looks to clarify the decision-making process over the restarting of Japan’s idled reactors. Tokyo sees the consent of local governments hosting nuclear plants as a necessary condition for reactor restarts, but the extent to which surrounding areas can weigh in on the matter is less clear and no legal framework for the decision-making process exists.

    The group’s move comes in response to the preliminary clearance of new safety regulations by two reactors at the Takahama power plant in Fukui prefecture in mid-December. One of the 11 local authorities lies within five kilometers (about three miles) of the Takahama plant.

    The process of reaching a decision over the Takahama reactors is likely to set a precedent for restart moves elsewhere in the nation. It is also likely to be a better indicator of how quickly reactors will come back into operation in Japan than a less controversial decision over the first set of units in line for restarting in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima.

    The Kagoshima governor managed to secure a local consensus in October in favor of restarting two units at the Sendai plant, after getting adjacent communities to quickly fall in line. That left the issue of whether neighboring communities can block reactor restarts unresolved. The Sendai reactors are expected to come back online around March following a final site check by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.


    Japan nuclear restart to hit oil usage hardest: survey

    Mon Oct 6, 2014

    (Reuters) - Japan's reboot of nuclear power, expected to begin early next year, is set to punish oil imports the most as utilities slash the use of their highest-cost fuel and shut aging oil-fired plants, a survey of Japan's nine biggest power companies showed.

    Utilities in Japan are keen to close oil-burning units, not only because crude and fuel oil are their most expensive fossil fuels, but also because the plants are costly to maintain. This could see the world's No.3 oil consumer cutting use further just as weak global demand and ample supply are already pushing the international Brent benchmark to multi-year lows.

    In the fiscal year ended March 31, Japan's big utilities burned 18 percent less oil - mostly opting for cheaper coal - after oil for power use hit a 16-year high the previous year.

    Units burning liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal are more likely to be kept running, keeping imports of those two fuels near or higher than the records reached since the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years at the Fukushima power plant in eastern Japan in 2011.


    King Coal

    ...............Factoring in maintenance, repairs and other costs, oil-fired generation is more than twice as expensive per kilowatt-hour as the next cheapest fuel, which is LNG, according to the most recent evaluation from the Japanese government in 2011.

    In the year that ended March 31, oil made up nearly 17 percent of thermal fuel use by volume, while accounting for about 24 percent of thermal fuel cost, according to Reuters calculations based on government data.

    LNG had a slightly lower use versus fuel cost ratio, but coal made up 34 percent of use last year and was less than 10 percent of the cost of thermal fuels.

    This makes coal the obvious choice to replace any cut in oil use not accounted for by restarted nuclear plants.


  52. China’s first shale gas liquefaction plant completed

    Monday, 12 January 2015

    JEREH Group has completed China’s first shale gas liquefaction plant in Sichuan, which is set to produce 2.47 million cubic feet of LNG a day before ramping up to 10.59MMcf in the second phase, which will start being constructed this month.

    The plant is in Junlian County where 3.53MMcfpd of shale gas was produced last year.

    Apart from the local demand of 423,800cf, the rest will need to be liquefied for economic returns. Jereh conducted designing, engineering, procurement and construction services on the plant.

    The government office said Jereh took just six months to bring the liquefied shale gas into reality, cutting the usual period by half.

    “Its success showcases China's shale gas commercialisation and Jereh's outstanding EPC capability for natural gas piping design, process selection and onsite construction,” the government office added.

    Jereh released a new concept shale gas fracturing solution in 2013 called small well site, great frac job to improve work and cost efficiency in the limited area while protecting the local environment.

    Jereh general manager Yang Zhiguo said he believed the project would drive the company to pursue more LNG projects worldwide.

    The company modularised the mini LNG project to produce between 200,000 and 11.2MMcfpd.

    "For example, in Southeast Asia, the LNG development focuses on small, mid-scale LNG projects, especially in Indonesia as it has small untapped stranded gas resources,” he said.

    Yang concluded that transmission infrastructure or LNG liquefaction projects would also be expanded to ship the gas to regasification terminals.


    Can this still be financially viable ?

    Native Americans declare war on Keystone

    Monday, 12 January 2015

    NATIVE Americans have declared that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will be an “act of war” against their people, before the Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday removed one of the last hurdles for the US president to settle the fate of the controversial pipeline.


  53. For the Love of Carbon

    Paul Krugman

    NYT Jan 11 2015

    It should come as no surprise that the very first move of the new Republican Senate is an attempt to push President Obama into approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canadian tar sands. After all, debts must be paid, and the oil and gas industry — which gave 87 percent of its 2014 campaign contributions to the G.O.P. — expects to be rewarded for its support.

    But why is this environmentally troubling project an urgent priority in a time of plunging world oil prices? Well, the party line, from people like Mitch McConnell, the new Senate majority leader, is that it’s all about jobs. And it’s true: Building Keystone XL could slightly increase U.S. employment. In fact, it might replace almost 5 percent of the jobs America has lost because of destructive cuts in federal spending, which were in turn the direct result of Republican blackmail over the debt ceiling.

    Oh, and don’t tell me that the cases are completely different. You can’t consistently claim that pipeline spending creates jobs while government spending doesn’t.

    Let’s back up for a minute and discuss economic principles.

    For more than seven years — ever since the Bush-era housing and debt bubbles burst — the United States economy has suffered from inadequate demand. Total spending just hasn’t been enough to fully employ the nation’s resources. In such an environment, anything that increases spending creates jobs. And if private spending is depressed, a temporary rise in public spending can and should take its place. That’s why a great majority of economists believe that the Obama stimulus did, in fact, reduce the unemployment rate compared with what it would have been without that stimulus.

    From the beginning, however, Republican leaders have held the opposite view, insisting that we should slash public spending in the face of high unemployment. And they’ve gotten their way: The years after 2010, when Republicans took control of the House, were marked by an unprecedented decline in real government spending per capita, which leveled off only in 2014.

    The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that this kind of fiscal austerity in a depressed economy is destructive; if the economic news has been better lately, it’s probably in part because of the fact that federal, state and local governments have finally stopped cutting. And spending cuts have, in particular, cost a lot of jobs. When the Congressional Budget Office was asked how many jobs would be lost because of the sequester — the big cuts in federal spending that Republicans extracted in 2011 by threatening to push America into default — its best estimate was 900,000. And that’s only part of the total loss.

    Needless to say, the guilty parties here will never admit that they were wrong. But if you look at their behavior closely, you see clear signs that they don’t really believe in their own doctrine.

    Consider, for example, the case of military spending. When it comes to possible cuts in defense contracts, politicians who loudly proclaim that every dollar the government spends comes at the expense of the private sector suddenly begin talking about all the jobs that will be destroyed. They even begin talking about the multiplier effect, as reduced spending by defense workers leads to job losses in other industries. This is the phenomenon former Representative Barney Frank dubbed “weaponized Keynesianism.”


  54. For the Love of Carbon

    Paul Krugman

    NYT Jan 11 2015

    And the argument being made for Keystone XL is very similar; call it “carbonized Keynesianism.” Yes, approving the pipeline would mobilize some money that would otherwise have sat idle, and in so doing create some jobs — 42,000 during the construction phase, according to the most widely cited estimate. (Once completed, the pipeline would employ only a few dozen workers.) But government spending on roads, bridges and schools would do the same thing.

    And the job gains from the pipeline would, as I said, be only a tiny fraction — less than 5 percent — of the job losses from sequestration, which in turn are only part of the damage done by spending cuts in general. If Mr. McConnell and company really believe that we need more spending to create jobs, why not support a push to upgrade America’s crumbling infrastructure?

    So what should be done about Keystone XL? If you believe that it would be environmentally damaging — which I do — then you should be against it, and you should ignore the claims about job creation. The numbers being thrown around are tiny compared with the country’s overall work force. And in any case, the jobs argument for the pipeline is basically a sick joke coming from people who have done all they can to destroy American jobs — *****and are now employing the very arguments they used to ridicule government job programs to justify a big giveaway to their friends in the fossil fuel industry.*****


  55. As Oil Prices Fall, Banks Serving the Energy Industry Brace for a Jolt

    By Michael Corkery and Peter Eavis
    January 11, 2015 8:46 pm January 11, 2015 8:46 pm

    Tumbling oil prices are dimming one of the few big bright spots that banks have enjoyed since the financial crisis.

    Banks have been lending hand over fist to companies in the nation’s energy industry, underwriting bonds, advising on mergers, even financing the building of homes for oil workers. All of this has provided a boon to banks that have been struggling to find more companies and consumers wanting to borrow.

    Yet with the price of crude oil falling below levels sufficient for some energy companies to service their huge debts, strains are being felt and defaults are likely. While it may take some time for the crunch in the oil industry to translate into losses, one thing already seems clear: The energy banking boom is over.


    This week, as many of the largest banks report their earnings for the final three months of 2014, investors will press the banks for answers on how a sudden slump in the once-roaring oil and gas industry may hurt their bottom lines.

    The expected slowdown comes as banks, both big and small, have finally dug out from the wreckage of the financial crisis and have been looking for new ways to bolster their revenues.

    When times are good, the capital-intensive oil business is a banker’s dream. .....


    Two of the banks that may be the hardest hit by lower investment-banking fees are among the biggest. Wells Fargo derived about 15 percent of its investment banking fee revenue last year from the oil and gas industry, while at Citigroup, the business accounted for roughly 12 percent, according to the data provider Dealogic.

    At some of the larger banks in Canada, a slowdown in fees could be even more pronounced. At Scotiabank, about 35 percent of its investment banking revenue came from oil and gas companies last year.

    And Wall Street firms that financed energy deals may now have trouble offloading some of the debt, as they had originally planned.


    A precipitous drop in oil prices can quickly turn loans that once seemed safe and conservatively underwritten into risky assets.

    The collateral underpinning many energy loans, for example, is oil that was valued at $80 a barrel at the time the loans were made. As oil has dropped well below that price in recent months, the value of the bank’s collateral has sunk.


    “Some marginal producers will get challenged in this, but this is not something new to them,” he said last month. “Cycles like this happen, so industry will be able to work through this.”

    Investors in the junk bond market — of which energy companies account for an estimated 18 percent, according to JPMorgan Chase — are not so optimistic.

    Junk bonds issued by energy companies are signaling a jarring jump in the number of defaults in the coming months. Martin S. Fridson, chief investment officer at Lehmann Livian Fridson Advisors, said the yields on energy junk bonds appeared to be predicting that 6 percent of the bonds would default this year, and even more in 2016.

    “As far as the high-yield market is concerned, the energy sector is in a recession,” Mr. Fridson said.

  56. Coal seam gas boom, petroleum exploration bust: forecast


    A report by analysts IBISWorld forecasts a boom year for coal seam gas, but downturn for petroleum exploration.

    This year sees several new liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing plants come online, including the start of production for one of the Curtis Island LNG plants in December 2014.

    Other plants on the island, near Gladstone in Queensland, are also nearing completion, and will process coal seam gas from the centre of the state into its liquefied form suitable for shipment.

    As the plants progressively ramp up, IBISWorld expects a 148 per cent growth in coal seam gas extraction revenue to $1.83 billion in 2015.

    On the other side of the ledger, the forecaster is also expecting petroleum exploration spending in Australia to fall nearly 19 per cent to $3.76 billion as a greater than 50 per cent slide in oil prices last year due to oversupply makes developing new projects far less attractive.

    "High oil prices have acted as an incentive for global companies to invest in petroleum exploration over the past five years," said IBISWorld senior industry analyst David Whytcross.

    "However, the subsequent oversupply is going to hamper exploration in 2015, as Australian firms are unable to compete with the low production costs and high production volumes from the world’s major oil producers."


    The final sector tipped to lose out big time in 2015 is the mining and construction machine manufacturing industry in Australia.

    "As the mining boom moves from its investment phase to a production phase, and as falling iron ore prices deter further investment, demand for machinery is likely to suffer in 2015," said Mr Whytcross, forecasting a 6.1 per cent decline in revenue for the sector.


    Larrakia Development Corporation accuses Federal Government of dragging its feet on Kenbi land claim

    An Indigenous group representing people behind Australia's oldest unresolved land rights claim has accused the Federal Government of dragging its feet on the issue.

    The Kenbi land claim was lodged in 1979, but 36 years later it has still not been resolved.

    The claim covers the Cox Peninsula west of Darwin, which was used by the Commonwealth for 70 years.

    A recent report by a federal department said the buildings were harbouring dangerous levels of asbestos, pesticides, heavy metals and other pollutants.

    The report estimated it would cost $32 million to clean up the land.

    The Larrakia Development Corporation has accused the Federal Government of dragging its feet on the claim and the clean up process.

    Chief executive Nigel Browne said the pollution problem has long been known and the proposed clean up should not delay the handover of the land.

    "All Larrakia people who have played their part in the Kenbi Land Claim... are concerned with the issue relating to the remediation of the Cox Peninsula," Mr Browne said.

    He said the clean up of the land was long overdue.


    The Law.

    Australia :

    A nationwide ban on importing and using all forms asbestos took effect on 31 December 2003. Reflecting the ban, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) revised asbestos-related material to promote a consistent approach to controlling exposure to workplace asbestos and to introduce best-practice health and safety measures for asbestos management, control and removal. The ban does not cover asbestos materials or products already in use at the time the ban was implemented.[13]

    Although Australia has only a third of the UK's population, its asbestos disease fatalities approximate Britain's of more than 3,000 people per year.[14]

  57. Oil tumbles 5 percent to new low on Goldman price forecast cut

    (Reuters) - Oil prices slumped more than 5 percent on Monday after an influential Wall Street bank cut its forecasts and Gulf producers showed no sign of being willing to curb output.

    Brent LCOc1 was down $2.36 to $47.75 a barrel by 1:44 p.m. EST, after dropping to $47.16, its lowest since April 2009.

    U.S. crude CLc1 was down $2.07 at $46.30 after earlier hitting $45.90, also near a six-year low.

    Three days of relative price stability ended abruptly after Goldman Sachs slashed its outlook, saying oil could tumble to the low $40s.

    "I figured we’d see $40 in the near term, but everything seems to be happening quicker than expected,” Tariq Zahir of Tyche Capital Advisors.

    Goldman said that despite declining investments in U.S. shale oil, production will take longer to fall. The bank cut its three-month forecasts for Brent to $42 a barrel from $80 and for the U.S. futures contract to $41 from $70.

    The unrelenting rout that has wiped nearly 60 percent off prices since June shows no sign of letting up, with many traders giving up attempts to predict a bottom even amid growing signs that U.S. shale drillers are hitting the brakes.

    The number of rigs drilling for oil in North Dakota fell by eight to their lowest since 2010.

    An unusual spate of major refinery glitches across the U.S. East and Midwest added to the concerns, threatening to accelerate a build-up of surplus crude supplies.

    Four U.S. refineries with a combined refining capacity of more than a million barrels per day were recovering from disruptions at the weekend caused by either cold weather or unexplained fires. Three were restarting on Monday, while the fourth in Lima, Ohio, was expected to be offline for a week.

    "So not only do you have the macro influences on world crude prices, but now you have some refinery outages, so that will put some pressure on U.S. crude," said Richard Hastings, macro strategist at Global Hunter Securities.

    "We do now believe that there are risks of deeper breakdowns," possibly below $40, he said.

    As OPEC's November decision not to curtail production in the face of falling prices piles pressure on some group members, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh on Sunday as part of a diplomatic tour in the Gulf to discuss falling oil prices.

    However, Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has said it will not support prices by cutting production and ignored calls from smaller OPEC members, including Venezuela, to react to falling oil prices at the cartel's November meeting.

    On Saturday, Iran vowed to help Venezuela stem the oil price fall.


  58. BURU would sell as Tapis crude.


    Australian share market falls on slide in oil

    The Australian share market is losing ground, after another round of oil-price related falls on Wall Street overnight.

    The All Ordinaries index had lost 35 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 5,365 shortly before 1:00pm (AEDT).

    The ASX 200 was down 36 points at 5,387.

    The losses are in line with those in the US, as West Texas intermediate crude oil fell 4.7 per cent overnight to $US46.01 a barrel.

    By lunchtime, Tapis crude in Singapore had also fallen, by a more modest 2.7 per cent, to $US49.05 a barrel.

    As a result, energy and mining stocks were bearing the brunt of the local sell-off.

    Oil Search had fallen 3 per cent, while Woodside was down 1.6 per cent and Santos 1.2 per cent.



    European Spot $6.85 MMBtu

    Asia delivered $8.50 "

    Henry Hub $2.95

    NYMEX $2.92


    Shale shows signs of fatigue

    Tuesday, 13 January 2015
    Gomati Jagadeesan

    More signs are emerging that US shale producers are feeling the pain of plummeting oil prices, with many physical crude producers achieving even lower realised prices than paper value.


    US rig decline worst since 1991

    Tuesday, 13 January 2015
    Andrew Snelling

    THE US recorded the highest number of idle rigs in a single week since 1991 last week, as the tumbling oil price continues to menace the industry.


  59. Clean energy sector 'uninvestable' due to renewable energy target uncertainty, analyst says

    Uncertainty surrounding the renewable energy target (RET) has made the large-scale sector of the industry in Australia "uninvestable", a clean energy analyst says.

    A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said large-scale energy investment fell 88 per cent - to $240 million - in 2014 compared to the previous year.

    It was the lowest level since 2002, the report said.

    Analyst Khobad Bhavnagri said uncertainty over the renewable energy target was to blame and that Australia was faring poorly on an international scale.

    "In 2013, Australia was the 11th largest investor in large-scale clean energy projects and in 2014 it slid to 39th," he said.

    "And it's lagging behind Honduras, which came in at 33, Costa Rica, which was 27th, and Myanmar at 24th."

    Total investment in clean energy fell 35 per cent over the same period, the report said, propped up only by investments in rooftop solar power.

    Resource-rich countries such as Canada, South Africa and Brazil invested as much as 20 times more in large-scale clean energy projects as Australia over the year, the report said.

    It follows a November report from the Climate Council that suggested Australia had "moved from a leader to laggard" on renewable energy, with investment dropping 70 per cent.


    Exxon launches $US25B BC LNG bid near Woodside

    Anthony Barich
    Tuesday, 13 January 2015

    EXXONMOBIL has defied the depressed oil climate, lodging a bid to enter British Columbia’s LNG industry with a potential $US25 billion Canadian LNG project, near Woodside’s newly acquired Kitimat development.


  60. Among the oil crash headlines this morning :

    "State revenue bonanza dashed as LNG price crashes"

    "Oil traders betting on $20 a barrel"


    Traders betting on oil falling to $20 a barrel

    Some traders have begun to place bets on oil prices slumping to as low as $20 a barrel – underscoring the scale of the crude rout and the murky outlook for the world's staple industrial commodity.

    A few months ago such a scenario would have appeared apocalyptic – even at the peak of the financial crisis spot prices never went below $30 – but the crash has led some investors to buy options on prices falling even further.

    The number of contracts that give the right to sell the US crude benchmark at $20 a barrel by June – known as put options - has swelled from almost nothing at the start of the year to 13,129 lots, according to Nymex data, the equivalent of 13m barrels of oil.

    These options currently cost just 7 cents, so they are heavily "out-of-the-money" in financial parlance. But even if West Texas Intermediate oil doesn't fall to the $20 strike price, these options can increase exponentially in value if oil starts dipping closer to this level.

    In December the FT reported that some investors were buying options on WTI oil falling to $40 a barrel. At the time that seemed an extreme scenario, but the US benchmark fell to $44.82 today. Last month options for June delivery of oil at $40 were worth 17 cents, today they are worth $1.95 – a return of more than 11 times in just two months (see first chart below).

    In contrast, call options giving investors the right to buy WTI oil at $100 a barrel have collapsed from a peak of $4.32 in June 2014 to just 25 cents today (see second chart below).



    Investors in Woodside Petroleum are in for a shock in the shape of a sharply lower dividend for the 2015 financial year should oil price stay low, signalling that the upcoming dividend in February could be the last of the good times until prices pick up, according to JPMorgan.

    Running a calculation on the hit on Woodside’s dividend assuming oil prices stay around $US50 a barrel, the broker found that the payout could slump to just US64¢ per share for the 2015 financial year from the $US2.58 expected for all of 2014.


    Almost a quarter of homes in regional Western Australia and regional Queensland sold at a loss in the September quarter, according to the CoreLogic RP Data Pain & Gain Report.

    Mackay, the central Queensland regional hub with ties to the nearby Bowen Basin mine projects, retained the unwanted title of region with the highest proportion of homes selling at a loss - 37 per cent in the September quarter, up from 35 per cent in June.

    The report compares how much a property sold for compared with its last selling price on a gross basis.

    Nationally, 9.3 per cent of all home resales recorded a gross loss. That was a slight increase from 9 per cent recorded over the June 2014 quarter, but was lower than the 11 per cent recorded a year ago.

    Total loss-making property resales over the quarter amounted to $383 million with the average loss being $62,246.

    Regional WA was the worst performer with 22.5 per cent of homes selling for a loss over the September quarter, just ahead of regional Queensland at 22 per cent. Hobart was the worst performing capital city, with 15.8 per cent of home selling for a loss.

    The top 10 list of worst-performing regions was dominated by regional Queensland and regional WA, accounting for nine out of 10 places. The West and North West regions of Tasmania - where just under a quarter of homes sold at lost - came in as the seventh worst performing region.

  61. RPT-COLUMN-Breakeven and shut-in prices for oil wells: Kemp

    Wed Jan 14, 2015

    Jan 13 (Reuters) - How low must oil prices fall before production starts to level off and even decline to rebalance the market?

    There is no straightforward answer because it depends on so many factors most of which are uncertain or not observable.

    These include the depth and duration of price falls; expectations about the extent and timing of any future price recovery; drilling and completion costs; wellhead prices and hedging programmes.

    But any discussion about the outlook for production needs to start with an understanding of the lifecycle of an oilfield and the distinction between breakeven and shut-in prices.


    Shut-in prices refer to the minimum wellhead price operators need to continue producing from a hole which has already been drilled and completed and is in production.

    Prices at the wellhead must be sufficient to cover the ongoing costs of operation and maintenance, including pumping and artificial lift, as well as water, gas and steam flooding and other stimulation measures for older reservoirs.

    Shut-in prices are as low as $15 per barrel in North Dakota's Bakken, according to North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources. Elsewhere, however, operating costs and corresponding shut in prices are much higher.

    For example, across the United States there are around 400,000 stripper wells each producing less than 10 barrels of oil per day (the average is 1.8 barrels). But in total they produced three quarters of a million barrels per day in 2012, according to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

    Most of these stripper wells rely on surface pumps (the famous nodding donkeys) or more modern downhole submersible pumps. In addition they require surface separation facilities to remove water, dirt and gases from the oil before it can be sold, all of which cost money to run.

    Stripper wells are not the only expensive form of oil. California's aging fields require the injection of massive amounts of water, gas and steam to maintain their pressure and push the remaining oil deposits towards the wells. The crude must then be separated from enormous amounts of water.

    In 2009, California's operators injected 500 million barrels of steam and almost 1.4 billion barrels of water into declining fields to produce 230 million barrels of oil.

    To make matters worse, more than half of the state's production is heavy oil (with an API gravity of less than 20 degrees). Heavy crude sells for much less than light-oil markers such as WTI and Brent.

    Oil sands in Canada and enhanced oil recovery schemes in Texas and Louisiana also have high operating costs linked to their need for steam or carbon dioxide injection.

    All these high-cost forms of oil production are increasingly vulnerable to being shut in as wellhead prices in the United States tumble below $50 per barrel (and in some cases now below $40 per barrel).


    Shut-in prices are only relevant for existing wells. New wells must cover their full life-cycle costs, including drilling, completion and operating costs, plus an acceptable rate of return, before a production company will authorise drilling.

    Breakeven prices are typically much higher because the cost of drilling and completing a well is enormous. Drilling a hole thousands of feet into the ground can cost from $2 million to $12 million per well, depending on depth, horizontal length and geology, with fracturing and other completion costs on top.


  62. RPT-COLUMN-Breakeven and shut-in prices for oil wells: Kemp

    Wed Jan 14, 2015

    North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources put breakeven prices at between $30 and $75 in different parts of the Bakken in a presentation to state lawmakers. These are the prices producers must expect to receive at the wellhead before they will authorise drilling.


    Breakeven prices are also relatively high in the Permian Basin in Texas as well as in more peripheral shale plays with difficult geology like the Anadarko Basin.

    New drilling in many parts of the Bakken, Permian, Eagle Ford and Anadarko plays will therefore stop unless wellhead prices recover.



    Breakeven rates are critical because production from existing wells is not stable. Output declines over time in a fairly predictable way, a phenomenon known as the decline curve.

    Output from existing fields around the world would decline around 9 percent per year in the absence of new drilling or other capital expenditure to increase recovery, according to the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2013.

    The IEA's average 9 percent decline rate was calculated by analysing output from more than 1,600 conventional oilfields around the globe. Shale wells, however, exhibit much faster decline rates.

    North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources estimates output from a typical Bakken well falls 65 percent by the end of the first year, another 35 percent by the end of the second, 15 percent more by the end of the third, and 10 percent per year thereafter.

    In a world where the marginal barrel of oil is supplied by shale, rather than conventional fields, breakeven rates are critical to sustaining output levels even in the short term because the industry must keep drilling new wells simply to reduce the rapidly falling output from existing holes.


    Production from an individual well or field does not decline because the oil runs out. Conventional fields leave behind more than half of the oil originally in place. In the case of shale plays the proportion is even higher.

    Petroleum geologists talk about oil in "reservoirs" or "pools" which can mislead outsiders into imagining that oil occurs in giant caverns underground.

    In fact, oilfields are like a sponge made from rock. Oil is trapped in the microscopic pores between the individual grains of sand, shell fragments and silt that make up sandstone, limestone, mudstone or shale.

    The oil occurs in combination with water and gases, including methane (natural gas), propane, butane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and helium, all of which are trapped in the same pore spaces.

    Reservoirs are under tremendous pressure from the thousands of feet of rock above them, which coupled with the buoyancy of the gases, means they have what geologists call "natural energy". When the reservoir is initially punctured by a well, this natural energy drives oil, gas and water to the surface.

    Flow rates from a well in its first 30 or 60 days of production are typically high. But as the pressure falls and gas comes out of solution the reservoir's natural energy is dissipated and flow rates decline. Eventually, field operators have to resort to pumping to bring the oil to the surface.

    Other techniques to keep wells flowing include re-injecting gases to maintain pressure in the reservoir; water and/or gas flooding to maintain pressure and sweep remaining oil towards the wells; and injecting carbon dioxide, polymers or steam to make the oil remnants flow more easily and push them towards the wells.

    In the primary recovery phase, oil is extracted utilising only the reservoir's natural energy. In the secondary and tertiary recovery phases, producers resort to pumping, waterflooding and more exotic techniques.

    Secondary and tertiary recovery are expensive but unless capital is spent on field development output will inevitably decline as natural energy is exhausted.


  63. New year stock cleanout 12 Jan 2015

    Each year stocks fall off our watch list to make room for new opportunities. This year's cull is heavy on resources stocks.

    ..................The collapse in oil prices has prompted us to spend research time in the energy sector but there are a few oil hopefuls we are crossing off. Buru Energy displays enormous resource potential and may prove an astute opportunity 20 years from now – if it can get beyond current funding and regulatory concerns. The oil plunge has created better opportunities. Similarly, Horizon Oil shows gas potential in PNG and is not expensive on a resource basis but commercialising those resources requires cash, higher prices or the generosity of peers. We are CEASING COVERAGE on both Buru and Horizon.


    Cheap Gas Makes U.S. Only Place Where Export Makes Sense

    While plunging prices tied to oil have derailed natural gas export projects from Australia to Africa, U.S. plans to build new terminals are getting a boost from a pricing system that charges a set fee to liquefy and ship the gas.

    The U.S. model is based on how much gas is bought, not on the price of Brent, the global crude oil benchmark. Linking the price of liquefied gas, or LNG, made sense when Brent was above $100 a barrel. Now, it’s priced at less than $50 after losing more than half its value in six months.

    That means new LNG facilities whose output remains tied to crude prices will struggle to make money even as more capacity comes online. U.S. suppliers, meanwhile, can be expected to deliver deliver some profits even as energy markets slump, said Chris McDougall, vice president of research at Westlake Securities LLC in Austin, Texas.

    “Oil prices have dropped but U.S. LNG still looks good,” McDougall said in a telephone interview. “There are enough buyers that are willing to commit to paying some fee for the ability to access U.S. gas pricing.”

    The deals that link crude and LNG prices are widely used in Asia, at a cost of about 14 percent of the value of a barrel of Brent for every million British thermal units of gas. Falling oil prices mean cheaper LNG, making the fuel from the region more competitive with U.S. exports and more attractive to buyers.

    For sellers, sliding prices threaten profit for LNG terminals. Projects in Australia, for example, would get less than $7 per million Btu of LNG; they need at least $14 to make a profit, according to a study from Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs.


    1. Canada ready to deliver on LNG projects

      With current oil prices in a slump and LNG pricing likely to remain squeezed for the next few months, further pressure has been heaped on Canadian LNG project investors to move decisively towards Final Investment Decision (FID), or risk losing out completely to their United States rivals.

      British Columbia in particular has driven an ambitious and upbeat message, but before any project reaches FID a formidable array of investors, stakeholders and lenders will need convincing that any such projects are economically robust and rewarding.

      Ultimately, delivering competitively-priced projects will come down to a collaboration of will between the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms and the operators who commission these teams to deliver. Recent months have witnessed many key Canadian LNG front-end engineering and design (FEED) contracts being awarded to the world’s leading EPCs, with a great volume of subsidiary work (such as construction management and project execution) being awarded on both the west and the east coasts of the country, as urgency to move projects forward ramps up.

      Many leading firms including Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I), Fluor, Foster Wheeler, JGC, Linde and Saipem have won major contract awards and other such as KBR, Samsung and Technip await key bid decisions for lead roles in Canadian project delivery.

      Both leading EPC firms and companies interested in becoming supply chain vendors on the construction of these projects are helping to drive awareness of innovation and advancement in LNG technology at the Canada LNG Export Conference & Exhibition, where the inaugural ‘Centre of Operational and Technical Excellence’ will be dedicated to delivering knowledge, education and awareness of technological innovations.

      The ‘Centre of Operational and Technical Excellence’ will provide a platform for global industry experts to showcase latest developments in: LNG Project Management Lifecycle, Pipeline Infrastructure and LNG & Gas Carrier operations and technology, to an audience of Canadian LNG proponents, developers and industry stakeholders.

  64. Superbasin that overwhelms the rest

    John Flint
    The Sunday Times
    February 24, 2013

    CHEAPER gas and lots of it. Reduced electricity prices and royalties flowing, like rivers of gold, into the coffers of the WA Government to fund myriad infrastructure projects at some point in future.

    It might read like any Premier's fantasy, but the bounty locked in deep geological formations beneath the west Kimberley is the stuff dreams are made of.


    ........................Experts say James Price Point would be logical as an export hub for onshore gas producers. Why pipe the gas to the Pilbara when there's a hub on your doorstep?

    Premier Colin Barnett acknowledged as much last month when interviewed by The Sunday Times about James Price Point. His vision is for the gas from the Canning Basin to be processed and exported from the precinct, alongside that from the Woodside Petroleum-led joint-venture.

    Co-locating two LNG projects at James Price Point would "dramatically improve the economics for everyone," the Premier said.

    "The shale gas resource in the Canning Basin is probably twice the size of the combined offshore reservoirs of both the Carnarvon and Browse basins. Again, while that's into the future probably five to 10 years away that's another strong argument why the State Government wishes to see James Price Point developed."


    Native title challenge to gas bill

    June 20, 2013

    .....................Premier Colin Barnett was quick to talk up the Canning Basin's shale gas potential when Woodside walked away from an onshore gas plant at James Price Point, saying it was inevitable those resources would be exploited.

    While he has pointed to the US shale boom, industry experts say the Canning Basin has a different geology and is unlikely to replicate the same level of success.


    Slugcatcher's take on Wulff's comments :

    ..............Rather than being a “new hope” for the NW Shelf a more appropriate observation about Buru’s plans to be a major supplier of gas might have been “what gas”.

    In time, Buru could discover commercial quantities of gas in its Canning Basin tenements. It certainly has not done that yet so to talk about being a supplier before you drill the holes and get the gas to flow is premature to say the least.

    In fact, it’s just as premature as the head of Occidental Petroleum, Armand Hammer, was 30 years ago when he famously described the Canning Basin as “bigger than Libya” thanks to one tiny oil discovery at Blina. He was wrong."




  65. Fracking well deliberately vandalised in Kimberley, Government investigation finds

    A preliminary investigation into a leaking fracking well in the Kimberley has found it was deliberately sabotaged, sparking a police investigation.


    The department's executive director Jeff Haworth has now confirmed the damage to the valve was deliberate.

    "DMP's preliminary investigation identified unauthorised access to the site and significant, deliberate damage to a valve on the well head," he said in a written statement.

    Mr Haworth said the vandalism and subsequent filming of the gas had put lives at risk.

    "It is extremely dangerous to take electrical equipment that is not properly certified into a hazardous location, such as the gas meter in the video," he said.

    "[It] would have endangered the lives of those within the compound had the gas levels been as high as claimed."

    The investigation has also found the gas was not leaking constantly, but only released when the valve was deliberately manipulated.

    The case has now been referred to police in Broome who have visited the site.


    Oilfield layoffs form conga line

    Wednesday, 14 January 2015
    Anthony Barich

    MAJOR US oilfield services company Halliburton cut more jobs in Houston yesterday, blaming the weakening oil market, having already cut 1000 jobs across multiple regions in its eastern hemisphere operations recently.


    Teekay LNG carrier remains grounded off Nigerian coast as first refloat attempt fails

    Tuesday, 13 January 2015

    The Teekay LNG-owned carrier, the 165,500 cubic metres "Magellan Spirit", is still aground in the Niger Delta in West Africa, near the Nigeria LNG plant on Bonny Island, after a first attempt to refloat the vessel failed.


    Australian migratory bird numbers in freefall due to destruction of east Asia tidal flats: report

    ....................The research suggested these important ecosystems were at risk of total collapse because of coastal development, widespread pollution and algal blooms, researcher Dr Nick Murray said.

    Without these feeding grounds, birds cannot make the several thousand kilometre return trip, he said.

    "We found that about 65 per cent of those habitats have disappeared," he said.

    "What that means for migratory shorebirds is there have been large population declines because they no longer have a fuel stop on their migration."

    Dr Murray warned that previously common migratory shorebirds were in serious decline.

    "Across Australia we are seeing declines in several species of migratory shorebirds," he said.

    "In fact the Federal Government is assessing two of these species to be listed on our national environmental legislation as endangered.

    "The curlew sandpiper and eastern curlew are migratory shorebirds that come to Australia in our summer and as they migrate back to Asia, they need to rest and refuel.

    "The decline that we have discovered means they have nowhere to stop and get the energy they need to continue the journey back to their breeding sites."

    Curlew sandpiper and eastern curlew populations each crashed by about 70 per cent over the past 20 years, according to the National Environmental Research Program.

    Bird watchers also reported a drop in bird numbers.


  66. Oil fall could lead to capex collapse: DoubleLine's Gundlach

    (Reuters) - DoubleLine Capital's Jeffrey Gundlach said on Tuesday there is a possibility of a "true collapse" in U.S. capital expenditures and hiring if the price of oil stays at its current level.

    Gundlach, who correctly predicted government bond yields would plunge in 2014, said on his annual outlook webcast that 35 percent of Standard & Poor's capital expenditures comes from the energy sector and if oil remains around the $45-plus level or drops further, growth in capital expenditures could likely "fall to zero."

    Gundlach, the co-founder of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine, which oversees $64 billion in assets, noted that "all of the job growth in the (economic) recovery can be attributed to the shale renaissance." He added that if low oil prices remain, the U.S. could see a wave of bankruptcies from some leveraged energy companies.

    Brent crude LCOc1 approached a near six-year low on Tuesday as the United Arab Emirates defended OPEC's decision not to cut output and traders wondered when a six-month price rout might end.

    Brent has fallen as low as just above $45 a barrel, near a six-year low, having averaged $110 between 2011 and 2013.

    Gundlach said oil prices have to stop going down so "don't be bottom-fishing in oil" stocks and bonds. "There is no hurry here."

    Energy bonds, for example, have been beaten up and appear attractive on a risk-reward basis, but investors need to hedge them by purchasing "a lot, lot of long-term Treasuries. I'm in no hurry to do it."

    High-yield junk bonds have also been under severe selling pressure. Gundlach said his firm bought some junk in November but warned that investors need to "go slow" and pointed out "we are still underweight."

    Gundlach said U.S. stocks could outperform other countries' equities as the economic recovery looks stronger than its counterparts, though double-digit gains cannot be repeated.

    He also reiterated that it's possible yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note could drop to 1 percent in 2015. The 10-year yield traded around 1.91 percent on Tuesday, little changed from late on Monday after hitting 20-month low of 1.8640 percent.

    "The 10-year Treasury could join the Europeans and go to 1 percent. Why not?" Gundlach told Reuters last month. "If oil goes to $40, then the 10-year could be going to 1 percent."

    The yield on 10-year German Bunds stood at 0.47 percent on Tuesday.

  67. Oil surges 5 percent on options expiry; bounce seen fleeting

    ""The options expiry is definitely the main reason for the big rally just before the close. A lot of shorts are so deep into their put options, the only way to exit their position is to buy back futures," said Oliver Sloup, director of managed futures at LLC. "


    (Reuters) - World oil prices had their biggest surge in two-and-a-half years on Wednesday, rebounding from a nearly six-year low as traders turned away from the bearish pressures of a worldwide glut to cover themselves on expiring options.


    "(With the) velocity of the downward trend that we've been in, you can expect to see violent snapbacks," said Tariq Zahir of Tyche Capital.

    Even so, there were growing signs that low prices were finally beginning to slow the unrelenting growth in U.S. oil production, a key factor for markets as OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia refrains from cutting output despite a growing glut.

    North Dakota's chief oil regulator said he expects production to be steady until mid-year and could decline in the third quarter. And the closely watched Brent/WTI spread CL-LCO1=R settled at 16 cents, matching its narrowest level since 2010 as traders scrambled to buy benchmark U.S. crude for storage.


    "The options expiry is definitely the main reason for the big rally just before the close. A lot of shorts are so deep into their put options, the only way to exit their position is to buy back futures," said Oliver Sloup, director of managed futures at LLC.

    U.S. government data showed crude stocks rose 5.4 million barrels, more than 10 times what analysts had expected. Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for the U.S. futures contract, rose 1.8 million barrels.


    Asia hit by growth worries as copper slides, oil extends bounce

    (Reuters) - Asian stocks slipped on Thursday after weak U.S. data compounded worries over plunging copper prices and the health of the world economy, while a bounce in crude oil failed to calm anxiety over a supply glut that has seen prices collapse in recent months.

    The mood among investors remained subdued after a fourth successive drop on Wall Street overnight, pushing MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.2 percent.

    Stocks in Australia, heavily dependent on exports of natural resources, lost 0.7 percent, though Japan's Nikkei bounced 0.5 percent.

    Copper skidded to a 5-1/2 year low on Wednesday as the recent decline in oil prices amplified fears about the state of the global economy.

    Benchmark LME copper fell to as low as $5,353.25 overnight, lowest since July 2009. The industrial metal is generally considered a barometer of world demand.


    "The question is whether the market sees the current decline as overdone and is now establishing a bottom or is resetting and will go again," Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, said in note to clients.

    "I see the latter as the most likely scenario – the oil rout is far from over and it looks to me like a dead cat bounce."


    THE copper crash has raised serious doubts that the oil crash will start a global resurgence in economic growth.


  68. ACCC admits petrol price gouging probably taking place

    The competition watchdog has outlined how it hopes to unravel the mystery of volatile petrol prices and uncover why it is so much cheaper to fill up in the city than in regional Australia.

    However, the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, said regional consumers were probably right to feel they were being gouged by petrol retailers.

    "I think you'd have to say the presumption is that there's a bit of gouging going on in the sense that the price falls internationally aren't being properly passed on into the market place," Mr Sims told ABC radio's AM program.

    "We need to get more evidence on that, but that's how it looks at first glance."

    The ACCC is under pressure to come up with answers after a recent directive from Small Business Minister Bruce Billson to determine why people in regional Australia paid an additional 17 cents per litre for petrol in December after a dramatic fall in the price of crude oil.

    Back in July, the gap between capital city and regional prices was narrower at an average 5.7 cents per litre.


    The ACCC will produce at least eight reports in 2015 which will examine petrol price movements and what drives volatility.

    The first report, covering all capital cities and 180 regional locations, is due next month and will look at international refined prices, terminal gate prices and the exchange rate.


  69. Farmer takes on Santos

    Anthony Barich
    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    NATURE Conservation Council of New South Wales group Our Land Our Water Our Future has roped in a Liverpool Plains farmer to call on the state government to stop what he calls Santos’ “financially unviable” Narrabri CSG project in its tracks.


    Obama to impose methane regulations

    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    NEW regulations are in the works for the US to stem the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane.


    Total starts renewables revolution

    Anthony Barich
    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    FRENCH super-major Total has invested in a California-based technology to alter the way energy is distributed and pave the way for a greater and more flexible use of renewable energies.


    Oil-linked price strategy backfires for gas producers

    Thursday, 15 January 2015
    David Upton

    THE complete fallout from the collapse of oil prices is a long way from being understood, but one certainty to emerge is the risk for the gas industry in linking its own prices to oil.


  70. LOOKS like Coogee Chemicals have had to buy 20 million + more BURU shares at $0.315 to try and cover their substantial losses from their previous purchase they bought at $0.75 cents.



    Of course for us here on the edge of the Canning Basin we await the Buru announcement that they have reached their "Shut in" point for existing wells and their "Life Cycle" costs for new wells are no longer financially viable.

    The latest from WOODSIDE re Browse :

    Woodside Petroleum set to cut spending in response to falling oil prices

    Australia's largest oil and gas producer, Woodside Petroleum, is set to cut spending in response to a dramatic fall in oil prices.

    The company made the comments to the ASX as it revealed a 10 per cent slump in sales revenue for the last three months of the year in its quarterly report for December released today.


    Woodside cost cutting signals likely to lead to further Browse project delays, analysts say

    Woodside's signals that it will cut costs in the wake of falling oil prices are likely to lead to further delays to the Browse LNG project, analysts say.


    In its announcement yesterday, which saw it reveal a 10 per cent drop in sales revenue in the final quarter, the company also confirmed the termination of a joint marketing agreement for the Browse contract.


    Fellow analyst Tim Treadgold said production at Browse was unlikely "until the early 2020s".

    "I think they have pushed it into an area where they hope there's a clearer view on the price of oil and gas," he said.

    "Basically Browse is in a condition known as pending."



    Low Oil Prices Prompts Apache, Schlumberger to Lay Off Workers


    Tullow Slashes Exploration Budget


    Ithaca Cuts Capex Budget by 60% for 2015


    Tullow To Begin Oil Sector Job Purge As Weak Prices Bite.


  72. Schlumberger to slash 9,000 jobs as oil prices plunge

    16 Jan 2015

    Schlumberger, the world's No.1 oilfield services provider, said it will cut 9,000 jobs, or about 7 percent of its workforce, as it focuses on controlling costs amid plummeting oil prices. The company said it took charges amounting to $1.77 billion in the fourth quarter including impairment charges related to its seismic business, Venezuela currency devaluation and job cuts. Schlumberger had said last month that it would take a $1 billion charge related to jobs cuts and the writedown of some seismic vessels.

    'They did say they would be cutting jobs, but the magnitude of them is definitely a shocker,' Philip Van Deusen, an analyst with Tigress Financial Partners, told Reuters.

    A slew of global oil majors such as BP and ConocoPhillips have cut jobs due to a nearly 60 percent slump in oil prices over the past six months. Brent crude closed at $47.67 on Thursday. 'If oil prices stay at this level, none of these companies would just be able to adjust with one round of workforce reductions,' Robin Shoemaker, analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, told Reuters.

    Schlumberger's customers - oil producers - have slashed capital budgets for 2015 and reduced the number of rigs. The Houston-based company said capital expenditure, excluding multiclient and project management investments, is expected to be $3 billion for 2015. Capex for 2014 was $4 billion. 'In this uncertain environment, we continue to focus on what we can control.' Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said.


    Schlumberger to cull 9000 jobs

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    SCHLUMBERGER will cut 9000 jobs and announced $US1.77 billion ($A2.15 billion) of impairments as the oil industry downturn hits the field services giant.


    Apache to axe staff

    Friday, 16 January 2015
    Blair Price

    APACHE’s Western Australian office has been left in the dark on specifics over news that the company will cut up to 250 jobs worldwide.


    Panic stations in UK after BP, Conoco slash jobs

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    IF it wasn’t evident already that the UK oil and gas industry is haemorrhaging, it is now with BP, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips all announcing hundreds of jobs to go in the North Sea, prompting unions to call for a “crisis management approach” as the UK government ordered an urgent enquiry.


    News Wrap

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    IN News Wrap: Crude falls as Bank of America makes $US31 a barrel prediction; Browse project not likely until early “2020s”; and Santos CEO on Credit Suisse.


    BP braces for $US13.7B in fines over spill

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    BP HAS appealed for leniency but is bracing for the worst as it faces fines of up to $US13.7 billion ($A16.68 billion) after the US District Court found that 3.19 million barrels of oil were discharged into the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.


    EPA investigates fraccing site

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    THE New South Wales Environment Protection Authority is investigating AGL’s Gloucester CSG project after trace samples of a chemical used in fraccing were found in water monitoring sites.


    Japan analysis says LNG price gap may lead to spot cargo surge and Asian index

    Wednesday, 14 January 2015

    The gap between Japanese long-term liquefied natural gas contract prices and spot cargo prices because of the oil plunge could lead to more market liquidity through more spot buying and could help hasten the advent of an Asian natural gas index.


    Japanese spot LNG cargo prices plunge almost $3 per MMBtu on oil market fall

    Wednesday, 14 January 2015

    The average price of spot LNG cargoes contracted for Japan last month plunged by almost $3 per million British thermal units to $11.60 per MMBtu compared with $14.40 per MMBtu the previous month.


  73. Suncor Energy Inc cuts 1000 jobs, reduces capital spending ...


    Premier Oil Sees Impairment Charge and Job Cuts Due to Crashing Oil Prices ...


    Crude price drop triggers major layoffs in US oil industry ...


    Gravy Train Derails for Oil Workers Laid Off in Slump


    Spillover effect: Oil price crash bankrupting 'small oil'


    Canada's ARC Resources Latest To Cut Budget As Oil Prices Fall.


    Lewis Energy cuts jobs in wake of oil price crash - Eagle ...


    Economists predicting layoffs in Alberta's oilsands as oil ...


    Oil price crash threatens the future of the North Sea oilfields ...


    WOODSIDE down 2.91% - $1.02 to $34.04

    BURU shares are bouncing back and forth between $0.38 and $0.37 ?

    The cavalry are in and buying to keep the price up ?

    A very interesting point in this is the BURU market cap.

    Not long ago to the sound of blaring trumpets BURU was a ".....half $ Billion company....."

    Today a $119 million company !

    NO announcement yet from Buru.


    1. Apart from the diving share price Buru will also have to face giving Alcoa back their $40 million ( split over 3 years I think ) if no FID on major gas by July !st this year.

      So with more share price falls likely and minus $40 million that will make Buru a $50 or $60 million dollar company.

      Who knows where this will go ?

      Could be even worse.

    2. A market cap of that order would completely rule out fracking.

      Remember at $80 billion JPP would have seen Woodside owe more on their share of the project than the market cap of the company.

      "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."

      Barnett's " informed gut feeling" at the time :

      "WA Premier Barnett:

      “The reason we’re pushing ahead with James Price Point is not from some political standpoint that we’re right and everyone else is wrong- there is logic in our madness. It’s an informed gut feeling that the Browse basin will be home to not one but possibly two or three projects”, Wednesday, 29 August 2012, Energy News Premium."

      "Extract from Hansard [ASSEMBLY— Thursday, 25 October 2012
      Mr C.J. BARNETT: There will be only one site from which offshore gas reserves can be processed, and that is James Price Point. There will not be one at the top of the Kimberley or somewhere else. The issue, and it has really developed rapidly over the past couple of years, is the process of proving up the Canning Basin gas reserves, which are looking very, very extensive. If there were to be a domestic gas component of the Canning Basin and at some stage an export component also, then this does not preclude a site for export. I think what would happen is that the Canning Basin would negotiate to have an LNG facility within James Price Point. That would be the government’s policy intent. We would still see this as the single site. Indeed, it is basically adjacent to Canning Basin. Canning Basin gas could go out through James Price Point"

      To the present and can anyone seriously see Buru building a gas pipeline to Port Hedland by mid next year ?

      As for the FID to supply Alcoa by July 1st 2015 - forget it !

      Buru's shares at $0.20 would value the company at $60 million - take away the Alcoa $40 million and it's a M.C. of $20 million - a battle to drill one conventional well even.

  74. Gravy Train Derails for Oil Workers Laid Off in Slump

    By David Wethe Jan 15, 2015

    The first thing oilfield geophysicist Emmanuel Osakwe noticed when he arrived back at work before 8 a.m. last month after a short vacation was all the darkened offices.

    By that time of morning, the West Houston building of his oilfield services company was usually bustling with workers. A couple hours later, after a surprise call from Human Resources, Osakwe was adding to the emptiness: one of thousands of energy industry workers getting their pink slips as crude prices have plunged to less than $50 a barrel.

    “For the oil and gas industry, it’s scary,” Osakwe said in an interview after he was laid off last month from a unit of Halliburton Co. (HAL), which he joined in September 2013. “I was blind to the ups and downs associated with the industry.”

    It’s hard to blame him. The oil industry has been on a tear for most of the past decade, with just a brief timeout for the financial crisis. As of November, oil and gas companies employed 543,000 people across the U.S., a number that’s more than doubled from a decade ago, according to data kept by Rigzone, an employment company servicing the energy industry.

    Stunned by the sudden plunge in the price of oil, energy companies have increasingly resorted to layoffs to cut costs since Christmas, shocking a new generation of workers, like Osakwe, unfamiliar with the industry’s historic boom and bust cycles.

    Workers who entered the holiday season confident they had secure employment in one of the country’s safest havens now find themselves in shrinking workplaces with dimming prospects.

    Short-lived Salvation

    Sean Gross, 35, was over the moon when he secured a job in March last year at Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), the world’s largest oilfield service company. He’d been laid off from a technology company and saw the oil business as his salvation.

    “I was happy. My life was starting to take shape. Life was really, really, really, really good,” he said.

    Oil prices started drifting down after hitting a high of $107 a barrel on June 20, but were still at $91 at the end of September. In the next few weeks the market buckled, falling to $80 by the end of October, to $66 by the end of November, and to $53 at the end of the year.

    After hitting an intraday low of $44.20 on Jan. 13, oil traded higher today, rising to $49.62 at 9:15 a.m.

    By December, Gross said talk was spreading through his Houston office about people losing their jobs “left and right.” Old-timers were suddenly retiring. Yet Gross still thought he’d be okay working in information technology far from the oilfield.

    Not Again

    As a newcomer to the energy industry, he didn’t realize how crashing oil prices would ripple through the company. He’d made it through another unsettling day and was in the parking lot, buckling on his motorcycle helmet for the ride home, when he looked up to see his boss running after him. “Hey Sean, I need to talk to you in my office.”

    “Oh God, here I go again,” Gross recalled thinking as his boss delivered the news that he was getting laid off.

    There’s no firm number yet on how many oil industry workers are losing their jobs, or how many more cuts might be coming. Halliburton said last month it was laying off 1,000 staff in the Eastern Hemisphere alone as it adapted to a shrinking business. Suncor Energy Inc., a Canadian oil company, said this week it will cut 1,000 jobs in 2015, a day after Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) said it would cut 300 in the region. Other companies have announced layoffs, but many are making the cuts without public fanfare.

    The effects are being felt beyond the oil companies as cutbacks trickle down to suppliers and other companies that thrived along with $100 oil. The biggest drilling states -- Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado -- are expected to feel the most pain. The Dallas Federal Reserve bank estimates 140,000 jobs directly and indirectly tied to energy will be lost in Texas in 2015 because of low oil prices.

  75. Gravy Train Derails for Oil Workers Laid Off in Slump

    More Coming

    Halliburton said it will continue to make adjustments to its workforce “based on current business conditions,” according to an e-mailed statement from Emily Mir, a spokeswoman. “While these reductions are difficult, we believe they are necessary to work through this challenging market,” she wrote.

    Joao Felix, a spokesman for Schlumberger, declined to comment on the company’s layoff plans.

    The job-hunting website has filled up with thousands of newly posted resumes from oil industry workers over the past six weeks. Among them is Scott Brewer, another industry transplant who had been working for big-box retailer Home Depot Inc. (HD) before jumping into the Texas oilfield four years ago with plans to bulk up his savings.

    Burning Money

    Brewer felt sure the boom times would churn along for at least another decade. “It was just consistently getting better,” he said.

    His confidence was boosted by watching all the money the oil companies threw around. “They’d spend $20,000 like you and I spend $10 at McDonald’s,” he said, recalling catered meals at the drilling site featuring catfish, shrimp and lobster. “It was insane.”

    The downturn hit everyone by surprise, said Brewer, who worked on wells mostly in South Texas for a small, private drilling technology company called Leam Drilling Systems LLC. After sitting at home a month waiting to be called to his next job, Brewer got a phone call at the end of December telling him he was no longer needed.

    Jean Chapin, director of human resources, declined to say how many jobs Leam has had to cut.

    ‘Right Sizing’

    “We are constantly in the process of trying to right-size our company,” Chapin said in a phone interview. “We do anticipate a continued downturn in domestic drilling activity.”

    Like many in the industry, the oil business runs in the family for Svetlana Mazitova, 39, compounding her anxiety. A third-generation oil veteran, her Russian roots and two masters degrees in science and business helped her secure a job in June with a Houston-area company selling drilling equipment around the world.

    Her husband, a native Texan, works for a company that sells the material drilling companies use to prop open the cracks in rock that allow oil and gas to flow. Her son is planning to start college in August to study engineering.

    Mazitova’s company was hit first by U.S. and European economic sanctions against Russia, related to the nation’s conflict with Ukraine. The sanctions eliminated an important market, and when oil prices fell, the company had to lay off workers, including Mazitova. Now she’s worried for her husband’s job, too, and wondering how they’ll put her son through school if both are out of work.

  76. Gravy Train Derails for Oil Workers Laid Off in Slump

    Shrinking Future

    “It’s terrifying,” said Mazitova. “I’m upset. I don’t know what to do for a future.”

    For 31-year-old Australian engineer Adam Beaton, the oil crash has dashed hopes of returning to work in the U.S., where he lost his non-energy job -- and his work visa -- during the 2009 recession.

    Beaton has been working back at home in Australia helping develop huge offshore oil and natural gas projects, hoping to transfer to the U.S. when his current project ended. Instead, he was laid off, with no prospects for getting more work.

    “When the oil price goes down, everything happens quickly,” Beaton said.

    As industry analysts and consultants increasingly predict that low oil prices could linger for years, laid off workers face a workplace where their chances of getting rehired by an energy company are remote. Many don’t plan to even try.

    “I’m pretty much decided I’m not gonna do this oil thing again,” Brewer said.

    New Reality

    Osakwe is thinking of going back to school to broaden his physics training with an eye toward looking for “something that’s hard to do without.”

    Scott Richardson, 47, of Longview, Texas, is still trying to get an energy job back. It’s what he knows best after 10 years in the oilfield, spending 300 days a year on the road bouncing from drilling site to drilling site. He drives a $120,000 Jaguar XFR-S, bought with the bounty of his well-paying job as a supervisor of an oilfield equipment operator.

    That decade of prosperity made Richardson so complacent that he hadn’t been paying attention to the price of oil in early December when he quit his job in frustration over equipment problems.

    “I honestly didn’t give it any thought,” he said. “The oilfield’s been good to me for 10 years.” When he cooled off and asked for his job back, his boss told him the position had been eliminated. Now he’s pounding the pavement looking for anything he can get, resigned to making a third of his old salary just to sign on somewhere.

    “That car payment still comes around,” said Richardson, who now checks oil prices more than four times a day.


  77. Unprecedented Level of Human Harm to Sea Life Is Forecast

    A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

    “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

    But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found. Compared with the continents, the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health.

    “We’re lucky in many ways,” said Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and another author of the new report. “The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them.”

    Scientific assessments of the oceans’ health are dogged by uncertainty: It’s much harder for researchers to judge the well-being of a species living underwater, over thousands of miles, than to track the health of a species on land. And changes that scientists observe in particular ocean ecosystems may not reflect trends across the planet.


    There are clear signs already that humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree, the scientists found. Some ocean species are certainly overharvested, but even greater damage results from large-scale habitat loss, which is likely to accelerate as technology advances the human footprint, the scientists reported.

    Coral reefs, for example, have declined by 40 percent worldwide, partly as a result of climate-change-driven warming.

    Some fish are migrating to cooler waters already. Black sea bass, once most common off the coast of Virginia, have moved up to New Jersey. Less fortunate species may not be able to find new ranges. At the same time, carbon emissions are altering the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic.

    “If you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,” Dr. Pinsky said. “In effect, that’s what we’re doing to the oceans.”

    Fragile ecosystems like mangroves are being replaced by fish farms, which are projected to provide most of the fish we consume within 20 years. Bottom trawlers scraping large nets across the sea floor have already affected 20 million square miles of ocean, turning parts of the continental shelf to rubble. Whales may no longer be widely hunted, the analysis noted, but they are now colliding more often as the number of container ships rises.


    “There are a lot of tools we can use,” he said. “We better pick them up and use them seriously.”

    Dr. McCauley and his colleagues argue that limiting the industrialization of the oceans to some regions could allow threatened species to recover in other ones. “I fervently believe that our best partner in saving the ocean is the ocean itself,” said Stephen R. Palumbi of Stanford University, an author of the new study.

    The scientists also argued that these reserves had to be designed with climate change in mind, so that species escaping high temperatures or low pH would be able to find refuge.
    Continue reading the main story


    “It’s creating a hopscotch pattern up and down the coasts to help these species adapt,” Dr. Pinsky said.

    Ultimately, Dr. Palumbi warned, slowing extinctions in the oceans will mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them.

    “If by the end of the century we’re not off the business-as-usual curve we are now, I honestly feel there’s not much hope for normal ecosystems in the ocean,” he said. “But in the meantime, we do have a chance to do what we can. We have a couple decades more than we thought we had, so let’s please not waste it.”

  78. Abbotts woeful performance rolls on :


    Abbott in trouble after Medicare fumble


    By Norman Abjorensen

    The Government's backdown over the Medicare rebate is evidence of decision-making that is as chaotic as it is confusing, and does not augur well for a Prime Minister who continues to fumble, writes Norman Abjorensen.

    It's been asked whether Medicare will survive the Abbott Government, but it might now be more pertinent to ask whether Tony Abbott will survive Medicare.

    The extraordinary volte-face of the Government over the short consultation fee suggests that either the PM changed his mind on a key policy at the last minute, or this has been one of the most humiliating rebuffs to a prime minister in recent years, with the new Health Minister, Sussan Ley, being sent out to announce the retreat just a day after it was talked up by Mr Abbott.

    What the Government's backdown means is that Australians will not pay more from Monday if they have a short consultation with their doctor. A mere 24 hours earlier, the Prime Minister was robustly defending the proposal to cut $20.10 from the rebate paid to GPs for consultations of less than 10 minutes.

    Whatever gloss is put on the decision, the unavoidable picture that emerges to an outside observer is that that either the Prime Minister has been rolled, comprehensively, totally and most embarrassingly, or chose to back down at the last minute. If the latter, it would be interesting to know how he was persuaded.


    This was inept whichever way you look at it. Not only were there howls of outrage from the medical profession and other groups, not to mention the embattled LNP Government in Queensland in the throes of a tight election campaign, but even from within Government ranks there was head shaking aplenty. This is not just policy on the run, it is policy at a frenetic gallop. It was an assault on what wise Ben Chifley liked to call "the hip pocket nerve". Did the Government not realise this? It is inconceivable that the Government was taken by surprise. Whatever the merits of the policy, it was bad politics, politics at its worst.

    For starters, did anyone think about the timing with the Queensland election campaign under way? It was even more egregious than the former defence minister, David Johnston's gaffe, during the crucial Fisher by-election in South Australia, about the SA-based Australian Submarine Corporation not being capable of building a canoe. The comment came after pre-poll voting had opened but before the poll, and the Liberal vote plummeted in a contest that handed Labor majority government.


    And it is not only backbenchers who are looking at events with increasingly furrowed brows. The rapidity of the reversal of the Medicare decision smacks strongly of serious intervention; in effect, the Prime Minister was faced down and a new minister was sent out to save his face.

    This scenario does not augur well for the Prime Minister who continues to fumble. His recent secret visit to Iraq, intended to show his support for the Australian forces there, merely offered another opportunity for embarrassment, when he referred to "president" al-Abadi at a joint media conference. Haider al-Abadi is of course prime minister (the president is Fuad Masum). A slip of the tongue, perhaps, but it did serve to undermine Mr Abbott's professed concern for and interest in Iraq. (An equivalent gaffe in Australia would be for a visitor to publicly greet Mr Abbott as the governor-general).

    A Liberal MP with a deep interest in foreign affairs said to me at the time with a wry smile: "I wonder what Julie Bishop thinks of this?"

    Indeed. And we also might wonder what role the Foreign Minister and Deputy Liberal Leader played in the Medicare revolt. It would not, one might reasonably assume, have been a minor one.

    The Liberal party room will no doubt be a lively affair when the troops return from their electorates in a few weeks.

  79. Fresh from his fiasco's over at Health, Dutton is now hopelessly out of his depth at Immigration - already !


    Peter Dutton 'worried' about 'volatile' Manus Island protests; says hunger-strikers 'will never arrive in Australia'

    The Immigration Minister says he is worried about the "volatile" situation at the Manus Island detention centre, where asylum seekers have reportedly swallowed washing powder and razors as part of ongoing protests.

    Peter Dutton said he was concerned about the behaviour of asylum seekers, but would not give any detail about the information he had received.

    "I'm worried about developments across the last 24 hours, I'm concerned about what I've learnt in the last hour or so and the situation is volatile there's no question about that," he said.

    Mr Dutton said people outside the centre had been encouraging the behaviour by telling asylum seekers it could help them get to Australia.

    "I'm very concerned that somehow people are conveying a message that through non-compliant behaviour, by refusing to take food or water that somehow that behaviour will change the outcome for those individual cases in terms of their desire to be settled in Australia," he said.

    "If people are acting on that advice they should dismiss that advice."

    Mr Dutton confirmed there had been incidents of self-harm at the centre and said asylum seekers had been offered medical help.

    He said one detainee had been transferred from the facility for X-rays and more specialised treatment.

    Banner on Manus Island
    Photo: A banner on display inside the Manus Island detention centre (Supplied)

    The minister said the behaviour would not change the Government's resolve on border security and detainees on Manus Island would never be resettled in Australia.


    Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said there was a "human disaster" unfolding inside the detention centre and the minister's response was "woefully inadequate".

    "I fear that the harsh message that he attempted to send to those who are already showing such awful, tragic signs of desperation will simply inflame the situation," she said.

    "What we need is not harsh sound bites from the Immigration Minister but a little more heart and a little more compassion and empathy."


    Video appears to show men being taken away on stretchers

    The ABC has obtained video from inside the detention centre showing what appears to be two men being taken away on stretchers.

    An asylum seeker said the images showed Pakistani men who had consumed washing powder and then collapsed.

    He said another Iranian man swallowed razor blades, the second such alleged case this week.

    The ABC cannot independently verify the reports, and the condition of those who have collapsed is not known.

    Other footage, said to be from Delta compound, showed asylum seekers chanting for freedom while guards patrolled on the other side of a fence.


    Asylum seeker on hunger strike moved from hospital

    Meanwhile, an asylum seeker on an extended hunger strike in Darwin has been moved from hospital - where he was being treated for an infected foot - back to the Wickham Point Detention Centre.

    The 33-year-old Iranian man has spent the past four years in immigration detention, and stopped eating in November last year in protest over losing his visa application.

    He was near death seven weeks later, when a renewed legal appeal persuaded him to break his strike for just a few days.

    But he has since resumed the hunger strike and is now emaciated and disabled from infected mosquito bites that saw him sent to hospital, according to his lawyer John Lawrence.

  80. The Budget will haunt them forever.

    How can anyone declare a "Budget Emergency" and then expect the old and the sick to pay for all of it ?

    Meanwhile the cigar chompers are getting a free ride.

    The worlds biggest companies are robbing the Australian taxpayer of over $8 billion a year - and Abbott and Hockey will not do a thing about it.

    Complete stupidity.

  81. Oil price slump hits boom jobs

    Sarah-Jane Tasker and Sonia Kohlbacher

    TENS of thousands of jobs across Australia’s resources sector are set to be cut in the next two years.


    Continued low oil price raises spectre of GFC levels of debt in US

    The plunging oil price is not only devaluing Australian oil and gas companies, it is sparking fears of a new recession in the US.

    West Texas crude hit a six-year low overnight of just under $US45 a barrel before climbing up to $US46.07, down 4.7 per cent.

    Brent crude dropped 5.3 per cent to $US47.43 and the price for both products was near six-year lows.

    With the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) sold from Australia into Asian markets determined by oil-linked contracts, Australian gas companies are feeling the squeeze.

    Company values have been wiped as share prices drop and company impairments have been widespread.

    One of the worst hit has been Santos, one of the most exposed energy stocks.

    On two consecutive days in one week it was declared 'worthless' by one finance house, Credit Suisse, and a 'good buy' by investment analysts Citi.

    But the impairments and pain being felt by Australian companies are magnified for US shale oil and gas producers.


    "Companies like BHP are significant producers of onshore shale oil in gas, such as in the Fayetteville and Petrohawk projects in the USA," Peter Strachan said.

    "They pump around 300,000 barrels of oil a day, while in total, Australia's production is around 400,000 barrels a day, so you can see the BHP oil business isn't a little tinpot one.

    "Yet last year that business needed the support of BHP shareholders to the tune of $2 billion to support the capital and exploration spending.

    "And a lot of other producers in the US haven't had the funding ability of BHP so they've had to go to Wall Street banks and raise money by creating debt.

    Audio: Oil analyst Peter Strachan draws parallels with impact of oil price on GFC recession in US and today (ABC Rural)

    "So that four million barrels per day has really been financed on the never never, by debt.


    Mr Strachan said that was a situation that won't be replicated with Australian banks, despite the low oil price.

    "No, for a start we don't have the high cost shale industry here.

    "The banks here may loan to the likes of Woodside and Beach Petroleum on a project basis, but these are conventional oil and gas production projects.

    "And outside the production of oil from the US, oil production has actually been falling globally. So there's still demand."

  82. Indian miner Adani condemns 'fascinating' court case challenging Carmichael coal mine approval

    Indian mining giant Adani has condemned the latest legal challenge from the Mackay Conservation Group over a central Queensland mine.

    The Group has launched action in the Federal Court over the approval of Adani's $16 billion Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project in the Galilee Basin.

    Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Ellen Roberts, said the case argues that the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, in his approval process, did not consider the greenhouse gas emissions generated when the coal is burnt for power generation.

    "We do consider this to be a major breach of Australia's environment laws at this time, with the threat of climate change well known," said Ellen Roberts.

    "This will be an important test case and if we're successful it will change the way governments approach the assessment of fossil fuel projects like coal mines."

    But in a statement Adani said: "The legal action is designed, to frustrate progress on an approved project, and reflects dissatisfaction with the Minister's decision, rather than a genuine concern in regards to the assessment process".

    "It makes crystal clear that this is not an action dealing with the merits of a process that saw the strictest environmental conditions imposed in Australian history - rather, it is a highly politicised action by professional activists determined to put to an end the coal industry in Queensland and the jobs it delivers to our state.

    "A key part of building our long term future with Queensland has been the strict adherence to the rigorous approvals process in place that, far from being rushed, has been underway for several years."

    Deakin University Professor of Law Samantha Hepburn describes the court action as 'fascinating'.

    "The challenge is really focussing on a judicial review and it's arguing that the Minister was obliged to consider economic and social matters as is provided for under section 136 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act."

    "The real focus of the Federal Court is going to be on the principles of sustainable development."

    "This has the potential to be a landmark decision and the Federal Court will be examining the role of the national environmental legislation in terms of, ultimately, climate change and global warming," said Professor Hepburn.

    The proposed Carmichael mine is situated 160 kilometres north-west of Clermont.

    If built, the mine would be Australia's largest, producing 60 million tonnes per annum over a 60 year operating life.

    Adani received Federal Government conditional approval for the mine in July 2014.


    Woodside strikes deal with India's Adani

    Woodside Petroleum has struck an accord for an alliance with big Indian energy and industrial conglomerate Adani Enterprises, in a move that points to a potentially significant new market opening up for its LNG.

    Woodside and Adani will work together to identify and develop "potential business arrangements and commercial initiatives", Woodside said on Sunday.

    The memorandum of understanding was signed in Gujarat by Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman and Adani chairman Gautam Adani at a ceremony attended by Australian trade and investment minister Andrew Robb. It will set the scene for co-operation between the two companies on technology transfer, potential LNG sales and investment opportunities.


  83. Wilderness World Heritage Area will be protected, says Greg Hunt

    FEDERAL Environment Minister Greg Hunt has vowed to “fully and completely” protect Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area in a strong response to state plans to open the region to tourism developments and ­logging.

    Mr Hunt told The Weekend Australian yesterday there would be “no compromise” on the 1.58 million hectare area’s world heritage values, nor any attempt to shirk federal scrutiny of all major projects put forward.

    “Both myself and the federal government are utterly committed to ensuring that all world ­heritage values are fully and completely maintained,” Mr Hunt said.

    “There will be no compromise on this. Any proposals which could have an impact on matters of nat­ional environmental significance are required by law to be considered — and we will ensure this happens.”

    His comments represent a hardening of the federal response to the release by the state Liberal government this week of a contentious draft management plan for the WHA.

    The plan rezones the WHA’s core wilderness region to allow a host of tourism activities, including accommodation, as well as special species timber logging, provoking condemnation from conservation groups.

    Mr Hunt’s department is still assessing the Tasmanian plan for federal implications but the minister’s comments appear to dispel conservationist fears he might seek to wash his hands of the issue.

    It comes as The Weekend Australian obtained legal advice from Tasmania’s Environmental Defenders Office confirming Mr Hunt is legally obliged to play a role in the fate of the state’s new WHA management plan.

    EDO principal lawyer Jess Feehely said that after reviewing all the relevant legislation, she believed Mr Hunt must approve each significant proposal put forward under the new plan — and ensure the plan itself meets Australia’s treaty obligations.


    The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act explicitly requires the national government to “use its best endeavours” to ensure that state WHA management plans meet Australia’s convention obligations.

    “Irrespective of the outcome of management plan process, the (federal) minister will remain ­responsible for assessing any proposed development or logging ­activity with the potential to significantly impact,” Ms Feehely said.

    The federal minister might be able to avoid assessing less significant proposals for the WHA by agreeing on a “one-stop shop” environmental assessment process with the state.

    However, in this case he would first need to assess the state’s WHA management plan to ensure it was consistent with the con­vention and Australia’s WHA principles.

  84. 2014 was hottest in modern history, continuing trend towards a warming planet: US science agencies

    Last year was the Earth's hottest on record, which America's space agency NASA says continues a long-term trend towards a warming planet.

    NASA's data shows that not only was 2014 the warmest year recorded since 1880, 10 of the hottest years on record have happened since 1998.

    The NASA reports said that while its scientists expected to see year-to-year fluctuations caused by phenomena like El Nino and La Nina events, 2014 was a 'Nino neutral' year.

    The analysis is backed up by a separate, independent report from NASA's sister agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - as well as the British and Japanese weather offices.

    NASA said 2014 was the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades – and it attributed the long-term trends to drivers of climate change it said were dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

    Parts of the world that saw record heat included Russia, western Alaska, the western US, parts of interior South America, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia, north Africa and most of Europe.

    Record cold for the year was apparent only in some parts of the eastern and central US.


    Mr Schmidt said the trends in greenhouse gas emissions were continuing so further record highs could be expected in the years to come.

    Marshall Shepherd, a University of Georgia meteorologist, said: "If you are younger than 29 years old, you haven't lived in a month that was cooler than the 20th century average."

    Scientists have warned of grave consequences this century if global temperatures keep rising as anticipated, including heavily populated coastal regions being swamped by rising ocean levels, more deadly extreme weather events and droughts that may harm food production.

    This year representatives of about 200 governments will meet in Paris to try to forge a deal to limit global warming to avoid floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels blamed on increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, which result from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil.


    "Taken together, the warm temperatures of the recent decades demonstrate the impact of greenhouse gases on our climate, and invalidate the sound bite that global warming has somehow 'stopped'," said Joe Casola, staff scientist at the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions.


    The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.69C above the 20th century average, NOAA said.

    Last year's warmth surpasses the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04C, the scientists said.

    The United Nations said it was already clear that promises for emissions curbs at the Paris summit in December 2015 would be too weak to get on track for a UN goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celcius above pre-industrial times.


  85. Fremantle Docker Michael Walters appointed WA's first suicide prevention ambassador

    Fremantle Dockers forward Michael Walters is appointed as Western Australia's first suicide prevention ambassador.

    Mental Health Minister Helen Morton announced the 24-year-old's appointment today as part of the State Government's suicide prevention strategy One Life.

    "It's such an honour for me to be a part of One Life," Walters said.

    "It really struck home when I heard that the Indigenous population is above average in Western Australia for suicide."

    Walters said he was personally touched by suicide a couple of years ago when a close friend, whom he considered to be like a brother, took his own life.

    "That's the reason I want to be a part of this and why I'm so excited and thankful they chose me," he said.

    "I just want to get out to the community, the schools and do what I can to stop it."

    Walters said the importance of encouraging people to talk through their problems could not be overstated.

    "If you do feel like something's going on, make sure you speak out, especially with Indigenous men," he said.

    "There's always a stigma of trying to be strong and be a strong man but the thing is to speak out no matter who you speak to: friends, family, whoever. Just speak out and get things off your chest."

    Walters played eight games last year due to a serious ankle injury.

    He returned to training early in preparation for the 2015 season.

    He said he was looking forward to mentoring some of the team's younger players.


    Nation's highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome documented in WA's Fitzroy Valley

    One-in-eight children born in a group of remote communities in Western Australia's Kimberley region has fetal alcohol syndrome, a new study shows.

    The Lililwan Study was initiated by Aboriginal leaders who invited researchers and clinicians into the Fitzroy Valley community.

    The study title comes from a Kimberley Kriol word meaning "all the little ones".

    The survey of 108 babies born in the area between 2002 and 2003 found 13 were confirmed to have the disorder.

    Fetal alcohol syndrome is a lifelong condition which can affect babies born to women who drink alcohol during their pregnancy.

    The condition can lead to intellectual impairment, learning disabilities and behaviour problems.

    It is also characterised by abnormal facial features and poor growth, before or after birth.

    Report author Elizabeth Elliott said the figures were the first reliable numbers from a remote Australian community where high-risk alcohol use was common.

    "The prevalence rate we report for fetal alcohol syndrome, at 120 per 1,000 children aged seven to nine years, is the highest documented in Australia," Professor Elliott said.


    *** Article contains the original report ***


  86. Amid US Oil Price Crash, Cost Cutting Ripples Through Industry

    by Reuters

    Edward McAllister
    Friday, January 16, 2015

    NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Any lingering doubt about the depth of the crisis facing the U.S. energy industry is quickly evaporating as even the biggest firms slash spending amid the steepest oil price crash since the recession, sending ripples across the vast sector.

    In a stark sign of how a sudden, 60 percent drop in oil prices is biting, oil services giant Schlumberger Ltd on Thursday said it will reduce spending this year by 25 percent and fire 9,000 workers worldwide, surprising investors with the size of the cuts.

    As activity slows and drillers idle rigs at the fastest pace in more than 20 years, the magnitude and speed of the changes are surprising firms that provide some of the raw materials and equipment essential to drilling that even two months ago hoped to dodge the ill effects of the slowdown.

    "There is total chaos and uncertainty and it is impacting the whole ecosystem," said Aamer Sarfraz, chief executive of United Guar, which provides guar gum used in fracking to major oil service firms, but not Schlumberger.


    While projects have been postponed or canceled across the globe, the price drop is likely to have a "significantly more dramatic" impact on North America than on the rest of the world, Schlumberger said on Friday, following the release of its earnings a day earlier.


    Argentina's Vaca Muerta Shale Output 33,000 Bpd In Sept And Rising


    Canada's pipeline natural gas exports to US hit 20-year low to leave glut for LNG use

    Friday, 16 January 2015

    The Canadian National Energy Board said the nation's pipeline natural gas exports to the United States are on track to hit their lowest level for 20 years, falling another 5 percent in the past year, and leaving abundant feed-gas supplies for the LNG projects being developed in Canada and targeted at Asian customers.


    LNG carrier will pay $680,480 for Panama Canal round-trip transits from US to Asia

    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    LNG carriers of around 173,000 cubic metres capacity will pay a total of $680,480 for round-trip transits through the expanded Panama Canal delivering a cargo from the US Gulf Coast or the Atlantic Basin to the Far East and returning with ballast, according to new tariffs released by the canal authority.


  87. THIS had to bite Abbott sooner or later - how could he be so stupid and set himself up for this ?

    A comment from another article "Queensland taxpayers subsidise Abbott Point......" rings true.

    "@Kinsayder, Here. Here. My thoughts exactly! But what troubles me is how easily the mass of swing voters seem so unprotected from the propaganda BS of media and simpleton messages from the extreme right.

    Its why i often think extreme right wing gets in power as a minority, propped up by folks who have not had the benefit of a broader education about the bigger context of reality, and why the centre left tend to gather the vote of those who do."


    "Which is why they hate education - students challenge government authority more than anyone. They don't want people in university. Keep people ignorant they can keep destroying society to steal resources"

    IT is no mystery why they keep the Aboriginals in "worse than third world" conditions either - easier to steal off someone if they are poor, sick and in jail.


    Labor, Greens pressure Tony Abbott to act on climate change as 2014 named hottest year on record

    Labor and the Greens are pressuring the Government to do more to combat climate change, in light of a new report showing 2014 as the hottest year in modern history.

    The data from America's space agency NASA shows that not only was 2014 the warmest year recorded since 1880, 10 of the hottest years on record have happened since 1998.

    Researchers said the long-term trend was being driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly the burning of fossil fuels.

    Opposition environment spokesman Anthony Albanese said the Government simply does not get it.

    "It's putting ideology in front of common sense," he said.

    "Whilst we know that we can't attribute specific events to climate change, what we can say is that extreme occurrences are happening more regularly and are more extreme."

    Greens leader Christine Milne said the climate was "getting out of control".

    "If Tony Abbott is serious when he says he doesn't want to run up the credit card for our children, then don't run up the debt on the environment," she said.

    The Government consistently said Australia was on track to cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.


    "Historically in Australia, more people die from heatwaves than they do from any other type of natural disaster," Professor Steffen told ABC's AM program.

    "It does have consequences and it isn't the meteorological record that scientists and geeks like to look at, it's actually affecting us on the ground, now.

    "There is no doubt that to really get on top of this problem we have to have deeper targets, more ambitious targets for 2020."


    The NASA analysis is backed up by a separate, independent report from NASA's sister agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - as well as the British and Japanese weather offices.

    Parts of the world that saw record heat included Russia, western Alaska, the western US, parts of interior South America, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia, north Africa and most of Europe.


  88. Queensland taxpayers subsidised Abbot Point coal port expansion by up to $2bn

    Australia Institute says state government provided $1,947.1m to the project despite no public cost-benefit analysis and questions over environmental risk

    Queensland taxpayers have subsidised the Abbot Point coal port expansion to the tune of almost $2bn with it expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars more, according to a paper released by an independent policy thinktank.

    While the environmental risks of the Abbot Point port expansion have been widely reported, the economic impacts have been overlooked, according to the Australia Institute.

    The thinktank found Queensland taxpayers had contributed $1,947.1m to the project despite no public cost-benefit analysis of the project being done.

    “The Queensland government money spent on Abbot Point comes at the expense of spending on other government services such as education and health. This fact has been emphasised by Queensland Treasury,” the paper, released on Friday, says.

    “… No cost-benefit analysis or other economic assessment has been conducted, contrary to Queensland government guidelines and statements by treasurer Tim Nicholls. The dubious financial viability of Galilee Basin coal projects threatens the expansion of Abbot Point and the large sums spent by taxpayers.”

    The Abbot Point port is in central Queensland, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. Ships accessing the port must pass through the reef and it is being upgraded to a capacity of 70m tonnes of coal a year. In the 2013-14 financial year 30m tonnes of coal passed through the port.

    The port is owned by the Queensland government’s North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBPC) and is funded by user fees and the state’s budget.

    The taxpayer expenses for the port expansion include adding terminals to the port, upgrading infrastructure and development of the land being used.

    The paper says that although there is an argument taxpayers will see their investment returned, it was not a sure thing.

    “Mining investment is risky. Markets may change, companies may go bankrupt and projects may not proceed as expected. The returns to the state are uncertain and in the future, while the opportunity costs to the budget are certain and immediate, as are many wider environmental and social impacts of the projects,” it says.

    The upgrade is in anticipation of the development of mines in the Galilee Basin and the paper comes as the federal court is being asked to overturn the environment minister, Greg Hunt’s approval of Indian company Adani’s $16.5bn coalmine in the Galilee Basin because he did not take into account the impact on the Great Barrier Reef of the greenhouse gases emitted when the coal is burned.


    Asked where Indian media, who have reported that his government had proposed a $450m investment in Adani’s railway, had got this figure from, Newman replied: “I’m not going to comment on things I haven’t seen.”


  89. Proposal will trash Tas wilderness: Brown

    THE Tasmanian government is on course to "trash" the state's wilderness world heritage area if proposed tourist development goes ahead in the region, former Greens leader Bob Brown says.

    "TASMANIA'S unique status in having the only world heritage area on Earth actually labelled 'wilderness' should be thrown out if this selfish land-grab goes ahead," Dr Brown said in a statement on Sunday.

    "This will trash decades of community commitment to Tasmania's wilderness pre-eminence.

    "The brigade backing the government ... has dollar signs in its eyes."

    The comments come as the Hodgman government is said to be pushing ahead with moves to allow tourist development in the previously off-limits World Heritage wilderness.

    Large swathes of the 1.58 million hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will reportedly be opened to development under a new draft management plan released last week.

    The tourism industry is backing the changes, but conservationists say the plan has the potential to allow damaging large projects.

    Dr Brown said the area would have to change its name if the plan went ahead.

    "Wilderness fame, more than anything, is the factor raising Tasmania's visitor numbers and tourism jobs by 10 per cent per annum," Dr Brown said.

    "Let our beautiful island at least retain its integrity. It could be renamed the Tasmanian Once-Was-Wilderness World Heritage Area."



  90. Another chapter in WOODSIDE'S violent history closes.


    Spain: Repsol abandons drilling off Canary Islands

    18 Jan 2015
    Repsol on Friday said it would abandon drilling off the Canary Islands, ending a year-long conflict that had pitted the Spanish oil company and central government against islanders worried about the effect oil extraction may have on the environment.


    The company said it would seal off the well within a week and that it won’t carry out a previously planned second drilling.

    The well closure puts a cork in a controversial project that began over a decade ago, when seismic studies first suggested there could be substantial amounts of oil off the coast of the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.


    The head of Lanzarote’s local government, Pedro San Ginés, said the Spanish government should guarantee that the well—located 60 kms off the coast of the island—is sealed off permanently without spills and withdraw permits to drill further exploratory wells in the area.

    Environmental agencies had also put up a staunch fight.
    An online petition against the drilling promoted by such organizations as the World Wild Fund for Nature, Oceana and Greenpeace attracted more than 200,000 signatures against the project.

    WWF said it 'celebrated' the end of the drilling in an area frequented by whales and dolphins. The NGO, with backing from the island’s governments, has proposed to turn the area where drilling took place into a sanctuary for these animals.



    Repsol Abandons Oil and Gas Exploration Off Canary Islands

    MADRID — The Spanish energy company Repsol said on Friday that it was abandoning oil and gas exploration off the Canary Islands after an initial survey yielded insufficient results to merit extraction.


    Repsol is the lead operator of a consortium that earmarked $350 million for an exploration phase that was expected to last four months. It had teamed up with WOODSIDE Petroleum of Australia and RWE of Germany.



    "AnonymousJanuary 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Hi. I'm writing from Canary Islands (Spain, West Africa). We have big problems with a Woodside oil project offshore.
    Could you send me a email contact to change information about Woodside activities? Thanks."

    "Red Hand January 30, 2013 at 4:57 PM
    Love to talk to you about woodslime. youtube handsoffcountry for videos. "


    Greenpeace activist injured off Canary Islands in oil protest

    Greenpeace and the Spanish navy have issued conflicting accounts of two collisions between dinghies in the Atlantic Ocean. A Greenpeace activist, protesting Repsol oil exploration there, was hospitalized as a result.

    Environmental organization Greenpeace on Saturday said that four of its activists were injured, one of them seriously, when Spain's navy rammed into their dinghy during a protest off the Canary Islands. Greenpeace released video footage of the scenes, showing two collisions between its vessels and ones belonging to the Spanish authorities.


    Calling the incident "another reminder of the lengths governments will go to protect the oil industry from peaceful protesters," Greenpeace said in its statement on the incident that the navy reacted violently, "deliberately ramming the boats and putting the lives of peaceful activists at risk."


    The Greenpeace crew protesting the development is aboard the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker, the same ship that was seized last year and held for months by Russian authorities. It returned to the Netherlands for repairs in August, almost a year after a similar alleged attempt to board a Russian oil rig.


  91. Oil price forecasts diverge

    Monday, 19 January 2015

    IT takes a lot of heat to melt a crystal ball but as Slugcatcher considered the latest batch of contradictory forecasts for oil, he suspects a few crystal balls might already be melting, which could explain why seasoned players in the game are seeing things so very differently.


    Oil Declines as Iraq Pumps Crude at Record Pace Amid Supply Glut

    By Ben Sharples Jan 19, 2015

    Oil declined as Iraq pumped crude at a record pace, with the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries planning to boost exports this year.

    Futures lost as much as 1 percent in New York and 0.9 percent in London. Average Iraqi output is at 4 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said at a news conference after meeting his Turkish counterpart, Taner Yildiz, in Baghdad. U.S. producers idled a record number of drill rigs during the past six weeks, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.


    “The bigger picture remains from a fundamental point-of-view,” Ric Spooner, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “We have a supply surplus and there is yet to be any significant news of reduction in capacity so the market remains very vulnerable to further price decline.”

    West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, which expires on Jan. 20, slid as much as 50 cents to $48.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $48.56 at 11:56 a.m. in Singapore. The more-active March future fell 49 cents to $48.64. The volume of all futures traded was about 7 percent below the 100-day average. Prices rose 0.7 percent last week.

    Iraq Output

    Brent for March settlement was down 46 cents at $49.71 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It gained 3.9 percent to $50.17 on Jan. 16. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $1.01 to WTI for the same month.

    Iraq plans to increase crude exports to 3.3 million barrels a day this year, including sales from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, Abdul Mahdi said. The OPEC producer pumped 3.35 million barrels a day in December, according to the oil marketing organization SOMO.

    In Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, oil exports rose to a seven-month high in November when it led OPEC to keep the group’s production quota unchanged. Overseas shipments climbed to 7.3 million barrels a day from 6.9 million barrels in October, according to data on the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative.

    OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s crude, maintained its collective quota of 30 million barrels a day at a meeting in November. The 12-member group pumped 30.2 million a day in December, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

    Rig Count

    U.S. output rose to 9.19 million barrels a day through Jan. 9, the fastest pace in weekly records dating back to January 1983, data from the Energy Information Administration show.

    The number of operating oil rigs in the U.S. has declined by 209 since Dec. 5, the steepest six-week drop since Baker Hughes Inc. began tracking the data in July 1987. The count was down 55 in the week ended Jan. 16 to 1,366.


    The IEA lowered its non-OPEC supply growth estimate by 350,000 barrels a day, the first reduction since the 2015 forecast was introduced in July. Half the cut is from Colombian output while effects on U.S. production are so far “marginal,” the Paris-based group, which advises 29 nations on energy policy, said in its monthly market report on Jan. 16.


  92. Rig Trends: Gulf of Mexico Jackup Market Showing Effects of Slowdown

    .........................Within the fleet, certain segments are faring better than others. As is normally the case, the premium jackup fleet, that is independent-leg, cantilever jackups with a rated water depth of 250 feet or more, is doing the best.

    Currently, 14 of the 18 marketed units in this segment are under contract for utilization of 78 percent. That leaves utilization for the remainder of the fleet at just 36 percent, with only five of 14 rigs under contract.

    Obviously, any rig can be cold stacked at any time, but based on these numbers, it is likely that any additional rigs removed from the marketed fleet will come from the latter category.


    So, what about dayrates? For contract fixtures, there are many variables to consider when looking at the numbers and sometimes timing is everything. For most of 2014, rig owners were able to either maintain prior rates or realize very small increases in most of their new contracts or renewals.

    The first sign of trouble occurred in September when a 300’-IC contract extension was inked at $110,000, a $20,000 drop from its prior rate.

    It then took until November for rates as a whole to begin falling. Based on data from RigLogix, for all of 2014 there were just 52 jackup fixtures meaning the total number of new deals signed in any one month is not large and not every segment of the fleet has a new fixture every month. However, comparisons for a few key jackup classes can be made.

    In January 2014, the average new fixture rate for ultra-premium jackup (350’-IC and greater rated) rates was $155,000. In December, the average was $105,625, a 32 percent drop.

    For 300’-IC units, leading edge rates have suffered a similar fate, dropping from an average of $130,000 in early 2014 to around $100,000 in January 2015, a 30 percent fall.


    In regards to Gulf of Mexico jackup utilization and dayrates, it is clear that the market is in for a fairly prolonged rough patch.

    In 2015, utilization will fall under 50 percent as rig owners will not be able to cold stack their way to higher numbers. It should follow that the premium and ultra-premium fleets will continue to enjoy the highest utilization as they are most in demand at the moment. However, some contractors have in selected instances already bid their largest jackups below $100,000/day, so the only question is how low will rates go?

    We previously mentioned the 30 percent drop in rates for a couple of fleet segments, but there clearly is room for further reductions. In down markets the rate gap between jackup classes always narrows and this time will be no exception.

    The range of the most recent fixtures for the entire fleet is $77,500 to $117,500. We expect the range could ultimately fall somewhere in the $50,000-$80,000 range, but when that happens is likely several months away.



    Hating Good Government

    Paul Krugman NYT 18/1/15

    It’s now official: 2014 was the warmest year on record. You might expect this to be a politically important milestone. After all, climate change deniers have long used the blip of 1998 — an unusually hot year, mainly due to an upwelling of warm water in the Pacific — to claim that the planet has stopped warming. This claim involves a complete misunderstanding of how one goes about identifying underlying trends. (Hint: Don’t cherry-pick your observations.) But now even that bogus argument has collapsed. So will the deniers now concede that climate change is real?

    Of course not. Evidence doesn’t matter for the “debate” over climate policy, where I put scare quotes around “debate” because, given the obvious irrelevance of logic and evidence, it’s not really a debate in any normal sense. And this situation is by no means unique. Indeed, at this point it’s hard to think of a major policy dispute where facts actually do matter; it’s unshakable dogma, across the board. And the real question is why.


    So will we see conservatives scaling back their claims about the magical efficacy of tax cuts as a form of economic stimulus? Of course not. If evidence mattered, supply-side economics would have faded into obscurity decades ago. Instead, it has only strengthened its grip on the Republican Party.

    Meanwhile, the news on health reform keeps coming in, and it keeps being more favorable than even the supporters expected. We already knew that the number of Americans without insurance is dropping fast, even as the growth in health care costs moderates. Now we have evidence that the number of Americans experiencing financial distress due to medical expenses is also dropping fast.

    All this is utterly at odds with dire predictions that reform would lead to declining coverage and soaring costs. So will we see any of the people claiming that Obamacare is doomed to utter failure revising their position? You know the answer.

    And the list goes on.On issues that range from monetary policy to the control of infectious disease, a big chunk of America’s body politic holds views that are completely at odds with, and completely unmovable by, actual experience. And no matter the issue, it’s the same chunk. If you’ve gotten involved in any of these debates, you know that these people aren’t happy warriors; they’re red-faced angry, with special rage directed at know-it-alls who snootily point out that the facts don’t support their position.


    The question, as I said at the beginning, is why. Why the dogmatism? Why the rage? And why do these issues go together, with the set of people insisting that climate change is a hoax pretty much the same as the set of people insisting that any attempt at providing universal health insurance must lead to disaster and tyranny?


    And why this hatred of government in the public interest? Well, the political scientist Corey Robin argues that most self-proclaimed conservatives are actually reactionaries. That is, they’re defenders of traditional hierarchy — the kind of hierarchy that is threatened by any expansion of government, even (or perhaps especially) when that expansion makes the lives of ordinary citizens better and more secure. I’m partial to that story, partly because it helps explain why climate science and health economics inspire so much rage.

    Whether this is the right explanation or not, the fact is that we’re living in a political era in which facts don’t matter. This doesn’t mean that those of us who care about evidence should stop seeking it out. But we should be realistic in our expectations, and not expect even the most decisive evidence to make much difference.


    Is a Climate Disaster Inevitable?

    By ADAM FRANK JAN. 17, 2015 NYT

    OUR galaxy, the Milky Way, is home to almost 300 billion stars, and over the last decade, astronomers have made a startling discovery — almost all those stars have planets. The fact that nearly every pinprick of light you see in the night sky hosts a family of worlds raises a powerful but simple question: “Where is everybody?” Hundreds of billions of planets translate into a lot of chances for evolving intelligent, technologically sophisticated species. So why don’t we see evidence for E.T.s everywhere?

    The physicist Enrico Fermi first formulated this question, now called the Fermi paradox, in 1950. But in the intervening decades, humanity has recognized that our own climb up the ladder of technological sophistication comes with a heavy price. From climate change to resource depletion, our evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of a sustainability crisis. In the wake of this realization, new and sobering answers to Fermi’s question now seem possible.

    Maybe we’re not the only ones to hit a sustainability bottleneck. Maybe not everyone — maybe no one — makes it to the other side.

    Since Fermi’s day, scientists have gained a new perspective on life in its planetary context. From the vantage point of this relatively new field, astrobiology, our current sustainability crisis may be neither politically contingent nor unique, but a natural consequence of laws governing how planets and life of any kind, anywhere, must interact.

    The defining feature of a technological civilization is the capacity to intensively “harvest” energy. But the basic physics of energy, heat and work known as thermodynamics tell us that waste, or what we physicists call entropy, must be generated and dumped back into the environment in the process. Human civilization currently harvests around 100 billion megawatt hours of energy each year and dumps 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the planetary system, which is why the atmosphere is holding more heat and the oceans are acidifying. As hard as it is for some to believe, we humans are now steering the planet, however poorly.

    Can we generalize this kind of planetary hijacking to other worlds? The long history of Earth provides a clue. The oxygen you are breathing right now was not part of our original atmosphere. It was the so-called Great Oxidation Event, two billion years after the formation of the planet, that drove Earth’s atmospheric content of oxygen up by a factor of 10,000. What cosmic force could so drastically change an entire planet’s atmosphere? Nothing more than the respiratory excretions of anaerobic bacteria then dominating our world. The one gas we most need to survive originated as deadly pollution to our planet’s then-leading species: a simple bacterium.

    The Great Oxidation Event alone shows that when life (intelligent or otherwise) becomes highly successful, it can dramatically change its host planet. And what is true here is likely to be true on other planets as well.

    By studying these nearby planets, we’ve discovered general rules for both climate and climate change. These rules, based in physics and chemistry, must apply to any species, anywhere, taking up energy-harvesting and civilization-building in a big way. For example, any species climbing up the technological ladder by harvesting energy through combustion must alter the chemical makeup of its atmosphere to some degree.



    Is a Climate Disaster Inevitable?

    Combustion always produces chemical byproducts, and those byproducts can’t just disappear. As astronomers at Penn State recently discovered, if planetary conditions are right (like the size of a planet’s orbit), even relatively small changes in atmospheric chemistry can have significant climate effects. That means that for some civilization-building species, the sustainability crises can hit earlier rather than later.

    Even if an intelligent species didn’t rely on combustion early in its development, sustainability issues could still arise. All forms of intensive energy-harvesting will have feedbacks, even if some are more powerful than others. A study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, found that extracting energy from wind power on a huge scale can cause its own global climate consequences. When it comes to building world-girdling civilizations, there are no planetary free lunches.

    This realization motivated me, along with Woodruff Sullivan of the University of Washington, to look at sustainability in its astrobiological context. As we describe in a recent paper, using what’s already known about planets and life, it is now possible to create a broad program for modeling co-evolving “trajectories” for technological species and their planets. Depending on initial conditions and choices made by the species (such as the mode of energy harvesting), some trajectories will lead to an unrecoverable sustainability crisis and eventual population collapse. Others, however, may lead to long-lived, sustainable civilizations.

    Such research is, however, more than prospecting for scientific curiosities.

    One answer to the Fermi paradox is that nobody makes it through — that climate change is fate, that nothing we do today matters because civilization inevitably leads to catastrophic planetary changes. But our models may show that isn’t the case.

    By studying sustainability as a generic astrobiological problem, we can understand if the challenge we face will be like threading a needle or crossing a wide valley. Answering this question demands a far deeper understanding of how planets respond to the kind of stresses energy-intensive species (like ours) place on them. It’s an approach no different from that of doctors using different kinds of animals, and their molecular biology, to discover cures for human disease.

    With this perspective, we also gain an essential truth. We are one form of life, on one planet, in a universe of countless planets. Through hard-won scientific gains, we’ve begun discovering the patterns and laws governing planets together with the life they host. Ten thousand years from now the Democrats and the Republicans and their squabbles over climate change will be long gone. But the laws of planets and life we’re now revealing won’t have changed. Not on this world or any other.

  96. Game over for BURU if oil hits these low prices.


    Iran sees no OPEC shift toward a cut, says oil industry could withstand $25 crude

    (Reuters) - Iran sees no sign of a shift within OPEC toward action to support oil prices, its oil minister said, adding its oil industry could ride out a further price slump to $25 a barrel.


    Oil slips $1 on China economy worries, record Iraq output


    Asia on edge, braces for China growth data

    (Reuters) - Asian markets were on edge on Tuesday ahead of data expected to show China's economy grew at the slowest pace in 24 years last quarter, adding to the case for more stimulus measures both at home and abroad.

    A soft result would only magnify concerns about global demand and put further pressure on commodity prices, with oil slipping again on Monday.


    World’s Largest Traders Use Offshore Supertankers to Store Oil

    Companies Are Buying Oil Now to Sell Later When Prices Rise

    The supertanker TI Oceania was built to ferry vast quantities of oil across oceans, but for the next year it is expected to remain anchored off the coast of Singapore, storing millions of barrels of oil for Vitol SA, a giant trading house.

    According to shipbrokers and analysts, the 3-million-barrel megaship—one of the largest in the world—is just one example of efforts by traders to turn a profit in the slumping global oil market. The strategy is simple: buy and store oil at cheap prices now, selling futures contracts to lock in the higher oil prices expected later.


    According to shipbrokers and analysts, major traders including Vitol SA, Gunvor SA, Trafigura Beheer BV and Koch Supply & Trading Co. Ltd have chartered supertankers capable of storing a combined total of more than 30 million barrels of oil—many of them in the past few weeks. Vitol, Gunvor and Trafigura declined to comment. Koch didn’t respond to requests for comment.


    The oversupply has given rise to a so-called contango in the market, when the current price of a commodity is lower than prices for delivery in the future. That makes it attractive for buyers to purchase oil now at the cheaper rates, store it and strike sales agreements at a higher price in the future, locking in profits.

    The price difference between the March and August contracts for Brent crude oil, the international benchmark grade, is currently $6 a barrel. That is the steepest premium since an oil-price slump in 2008 and 2009.


    Onshore storage tanks are filling up fast. According to Citigroup Inc., China’s coastline storage facilities ran out of space as the country filled up strategic oil reserves last year. Stocks at the U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Okla., have risen more than 20% since December, according to Genscape Inc., a data provider based in Kentucky.

    That means more unusual storage options, such as the ships, are becoming increasingly popular.

    “Because so much oil doesn’t have a home right now, there is a frenzy of traders and companies looking to hire supertankers,” said Halvor Ellefsen, chief executive officer of Galbraiths, a London-based shipbroker .


    .............Bank of America Merril Lynch predicts the volume of oil stored on tankers could rise to 55 million barrels by the end of the second quarter.

    However, the potentially lucrative storage trade isn’t open to everyone, nor is it risk free. It requires detailed knowledge of the way oil is moved around the world that few outside a tightknit group of oil traders possess. Making a profit depends on numerous factors, including rates for freight and storage and, ultimately, finding a buyer for the crude.

    “If people think the contango is some kind of magical way to make money they are incorrect,” said Benoit Lioud, senior research analyst at Mercuria Energy Group, a Swiss-based trading house. “Storing big quantities of crude oil is not an easy game. It’s not a game at all.”


  97. In Texas, Hunkering Down for the Oil Bust

    MIDLAND, Tex. — With oil prices plummeting by more than 50 percent since June, the gleeful mood of recent years has turned glum here in West Texas as the frenzy of shale oil drilling has come to a screeching halt.

    Every day, oil companies are decommissioning rigs and announcing layoffs. Small companies that lease equipment have fallen behind in their payments.


    “We all have backup plans,” Mr. Allred said with laugh. “You can be sure oil will go up and down, the only question is when.”

    Indeed, to residents here in the heart of the oil patch, booms and busts go with the territory.

    “This is Midland and it’s just a way of life,” said David Cristiani, owner of a downtown jewelry store, who keeps a graph charting oil prices since the late 1990s on his desk to remind him that the good times don’t last forever. “We are always prepared for slowdowns. We just hunker down. They wrote off the Permian Basin in 1984, but the oil will always be here.”


    UK's shale gas revolution falls flat with just 11 new wells planned for 2015

    Progress on fracking ‘glacially slow’ despite backing from prime minister and promise of generous tax breaks

    The UK government’s planned shale gas revolution has barely got out of the starting blocks with just 11 new exploratory wells for shale gas and oil due to be drilled this year even before the impact of plunging oil prices has fully begun to impact on the industry.

    David Cameron has said the government is going “all out for shale” but just a handful of new wells are in line to be created in 2015 and just nine wells – eight new and one existing – have been announced as candidates for fracking.

    Professor Jim Watson, research director at the UK Energy Research Centre and author of a recent report on the potential for shale gas in the UK, said that statements by politicians on shale gas’s potential had been speculative.

    “Given the low number of wells that have been drilled in the UK, and the very low level of experience of shale gas production here, it is far too early to say how much shale gas could be produced.... The prime minister’s statement that shale could provide gas for the UK ‘perhaps for as long as 30 years’ is therefore very speculative and optimistic,” said Watson.

    He added that it was unlikely the UK would have a significant shale industry until the early 2020s and even then the UK would still need to import the majority of its gas.

    Neither the trade body representing the industry, the United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (Ukoog) nor the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is responsible for much of the regulation, collects data on how many shale gas projects are currently taking place and where. The list of 11 sites comes from a Guardian analysis of company statements, planning applications and communication with the main companies involved.


  98. Oil and gas companies converge on the Great Australian Bight to explore reserves

    The race is on to uncover the potential oil and gas reserves in the Great Australian Bight.

    It's a future the sector promises could create thousands of local jobs and a massive boost for the South Australian economy.

    The Department for State Development confirmed there are new surveys in the pipeline by some big explorers to assess that potential.

    One such company is oil giant BP, which, subject to approval and in conjunction with Statoil, plans to drill four deep water exploration wells from early 2016.

    A spokesperson said preparation for the project was well underway, which includes environmental planning.

    Jason Kuchel, from the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy, said the Bight was one of the most prospective, unexplored offshore basins in the world.

    "There certainly has been exploration over the last 20 years but generally that's been abandoned purely because of the expected difficulties in bringing it to production.

    "But times have changed, the technology is now there and available to both find and also extract the oil and gas," he said.

    "Now it's considered quite an exciting possibility."

    Mr Kuchel said there were strict regulations to keep check on the environment as the exploration took place.

    However, the Wilderness Society SA was worried what the developments might mean for the region, which is known as a whale sanctuary.

    Director Peter Owens said there had been regulation failure in other parts of the world and it could happen in Australia.

    "Many years ago, the Great Australian Bight marine sanctuary was declared for southern right whales and their calves, obviously recognising the importance of this area for these animals.

    "I don't believe that that recognition is being made by the oil industry here at all," he said.

    "So we are quite seriously concerned about what is being proposed here."

  99. Yellowstone river clean-up begins after Montana oil pipeline breach

    Officials said about 50,000 gallons of oil had been spilled, but that they were unaware of any threats to public safety

    Crews worked on Monday to clean up crude oil that spilled in and near the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana while officials with Bridger Pipeline LLC tried to determine what caused the weekend breach.

    Bridger has said the break in the 12in steel pipe happened on Saturday morning in an area about 9 miles upstream from Glendive. Bridger’s spokesman, Bill Salvin, said on Monday that the company is confident that no more than 1,200 barrels – or 50,000 gallons – of oil spilled during the hour-long breach.

    “Oil has made it into the river,” Salvin said. “We do not know how much at this point.”

    Oil has been seen in the river in spots 15 and 25 miles downstream from Glendive, Salvin said. Some of the oil is trapped under ice.

    The company, which is based in Casper, Wyoming, is testing the water in Glendive for any contamination.

    The Poplar Pipeline system runs from Canada to Baker, Montana, and carries crude oil from the Bakken oil producing region in Montana and North Dakota. It remained shut down on Monday. It receives oil at the Poplar Station in Roosevelt County, Fisher and Richey Stations in Richland County and at Glendive in Dawson County, all in Montana.

    The pipeline was last inspected in 2012, Salvin said, and is at least 8ft below the Yellowstone river bed where it crosses the river near Glendive.


    An Exxon Mobil pipeline broke near Laurel during flooding in July 2011, releasing 63,000 gallons of oil that washed up along an 85-mile stretch of riverbank.

    Montana officials are trying to determine if oil could have been trapped by sediment and debris and settled into the riverbed.

    Exxon Mobil is facing state and federal fines of up to $3.4m from the spill. The company has said it spent $135m on the cleanup and other work.

    Montana and federal officials notified Exxon that they intend to seek damages for injuries to birds, fish and other natural resources from the 2011 spill. The company also is being asked to pay for long-term environmental studies and for lost opportunities for fishing and recreation during and since the cleanup.

  100. Sea levels rising faster than previously thought says new study

    Assessment of 600 tidal gauges across the globe suggests a 25% greater acceleration in the rise over the past 20 years

    Sea level rise in the past two decades has accelerated faster than previously thought in a sign of climate change threatening coasts from Florida to Bangladesh, a study said on Wednesday.

    The report, reassessing records from more than 600 tidal gauges, found that readings from 1901-90 had over-estimated the rise in sea levels.

    Based on revised figures for those years, the acceleration since then was greater than so far assumed.

    The report said the earlier readings were incomplete or skewed by local factors such as subsidence.

    The new analysis “suggests that the acceleration in the past two decades is 25 percent higher than previously thought,” Carling Hay, a Canadian scientist at Harvard University and lead author of the study in the journal Nature, told Reuters.

    The study said sea level rise, caused by factors including a thaw of glaciers, averaged about 1.2 millimetres (0.05 inch) a year from 1901-90 - less than past estimates - and leapt to 3 mm a year in the past two decades, apparently linked to a quickening thaw of ice.

    Last year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated the 1901-90 rate at 1.5 mm a year, meaning less of a leap to the recent rate around 3 mm.

    The Harvard-led study said the new findings might affect projections of the future pace of sea level rise, especially those based on historical trends.


    Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a world expert in past sea levels, said further analysis was needed to pin down 20th century sea level rise.

    The new findings confirm that “sea level is rising and ... the rise has accelerated, with the most recent rates being the highest on record,” he told Reuters.

    Sea level rise is gnawing away at shores from Miami to Shanghai. In cities such as Jakarta, the rise is aggravated by big local subsidence.


    Posted on: 18.01.2015

    MELBOURNE, January 19, 2015 – A new report by energy and emissions market analysts, RepuTex, indicates that Australia’s long-term emissions reduction opportunities are much smaller than previously estimated, with climate policy uncertainty over the last five years leaving the economy with fewer options to cut domestic emissions, and a much higher cost of action.

    RepuTex has forecast the emissions reduction potential of the Australian economy in 2020 and 2030, analysing 88 separate opportunities to reduce emissions across six key sectors – power, forestry, industry, buildings, agriculture and transport – identifying actions to reduce emissions, the barriers to their implementation and their relative cost.

    The report, titled “An Updated Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for Australia to 2020 and 2030“, is the first to forecast at Australia’s domestic emissions reduction potential through to 2030 since research by McKinsey & Company, undertaken in 2008. RepuTex analysis takes account of changes in gas and electricity prices, electricity demand and policy, including the repeal of the carbon tax.

    Click here to view a briefing (PPT) of our report: An Updated Marginal Abatement Cost curve for Australia to 2020 and 2030.

    RepuTex Executive Director, Hugh Grossman, said the report shows that the Australian economy will be able to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions by just 15 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030 – or 300 million tonnes of CO2e – at a cost of A$10.6 billion.

    The findings are a significant decrease on the 2008 estimates, which found that Australia could reduce emissions by up to 60 per cent by 2030.

    Mr Grossman said that the fall in emissions reduction potential through to 2030 is due to a lack of clear climate policy, which has delayed investment in long-term emissions reductions over the past five years, and extended the economic lifespan for more carbon-intensive technologies.

    “The new data indicates that a significant portion of Australia’s earlier 2030 emissions reduction potential has been lost due to delayed investment, due largely to policy uncertainty around the carbon tax, and more recently, the renewable energy target” said Mr Grossman.

    - See more at:

  102. Excelerate LNG carrier in Niger Delta to offload cargo from grounded Teekay ship

    Monday, 19 January 2015

    The Teekay LNG carrier, "Magellan Spirit", grounded off Nigeria since January 5, was scheduled to be refloated in the next day or so with the help of a ship-to-ship cargo transfer by a carrier that has now arrived in the Nigeria LNG shipping channel.


    Papua New Guinea LNG project expansion accord signed for third processing Train

    Monday, 19 January 2015

    Exxon Mobil Corp., as operator of the liquefaction plant in Papua New Guinea, has signed an agreement to expand the facility with a third Train almost a year after the Oceania nation became the world's 20th LNG producer.


    LNG prices plummet

    Blair Price
    Tuesday, 20 January 2015

    SPOT LNG prices have plunged to a four-year low that is south of $US10 per million British thermal units.


    Bechtel redundancy wave

    Blair Price
    Tuesday, 20 January 2015

    BECHTEL retrenched about 150 workers on Friday as some Curtis Island-based LNG project construction work winds down.


    Barents fields spell 'financial disaster'

    A high-profile Norwegian investor has reportedly dubbed possible future field investments in the Barents Sea a “financial disaster” ahead of the delayed launch of a planned licensing round to offer exploration acreage in the Arctic region.


    Russia: ExxonMobil begins production at the Sakhalin-1 Arkutun-Dagi field

    19 Jan 2015

    ExxonMobil has announced that production has begun at the Sakhalin-1 project’s Arkutun-Dagi field – the last of the three fields to be developed. Peak daily production from the field is expected to reach 90,000 barrels.

    The field, located off the northeast coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East, will bring total daily production at Sakhalin-1 to more than 200,000 barrels. The other two fields – Chayvo and Odoptu – began production in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Production from Sakhalin-1’s Arkutun-Dagi field will be routed through the existing Chayvo onshore processing facility on Sakhalin Island and delivered through pipelines to the De-Kastri oil export terminal located in Khabarovsk Krai, Russia.


    GoM: Eni announces production start-up at the Anadarko-operated Lucius field in Gulf of Mexico deepwater

    19 Jan 2015

    Eni has announced the production start-up from the Lucius field in the Gulf of Mexico deepwater, 240 miles south of the Louisiana coast, United States.

    Lucius, which is in approx. 7,000 feet of water, has a production secured through 6 subsea wells tied back to a moored production handling spar connected to the shore via dedicated oil and gas pipelines. The spar has a design capacity of 80,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 450 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) of gas. Once all wells are ramped up, Eni’s share of the Lucius daily production is expected to be approx. 7,000 boed.


  103. FROM about a week ago :

    Mitsubishi, Mitsui pull out of deal to buy Aussie LNG

    SYDNEY – Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. have withdrawn from an agreement to buy liquefied natural gas from Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s Browse venture in Australia after delays to the project.

    The Mitsui and Mitsubishi venture, Japan Australia LNG, won’t go ahead with the purchase of about 1.5 million metric tons of LNG annually from Browse because the deal depended on the project reaching an investment decision by the end of 2013, Perth-based Woodside said Thursday in a statement.

    Woodside, Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, scrapped a plan last year to build Browse onshore in Western Australia state, estimating later that it would have cost more than 80 billion Australian dollars ($71 billion). Instead, the company plans to decide in mid-2015 whether to proceed with a plan to liquefy the gas on giant ships offshore, using Royal Dutch Shell technology.

    The Japanese companies, which reached a deal in 2012 to buy a 14.7 percent stake in Browse for $2 billion, will continue to work with Woodside to jointly sell LNG from the venture to the Asian market, according to the statement.

    The Australian company remains in talks with other regional customers to sell gas from its LNG projects, including Browse, according to the statement. PetroChina Co., Shell and BP are also partners in the Browse development.

    “Global demand for LNG is growing at a very fast pace,” Woodside said Thursday in an emailed response to questions. “Woodside believes Browse will play an important part in future regional supply of safe and reliable LNG.”


    TODAY :

    Asian LNG demand much lower than expected: Global study

    The LNG industry celebrated its 50th birthday in 2014, but while the industry may have matured, global mining research and consultancy Wood Mackenzie found in its annual review that Asian LNG demand was much lower than expected.

    Wood Mackenzie Principal Analyst – Global LNG Giles Farrer said: "Demand in emerging markets, like China, failed to grow to the extent anticipated and demand in the established South Korean market fell considerably."

    Lower demand from Asia contributed to the crash in LNG spot prices last year – which fell from a peak of over US$20/million British Thermal Unit (mmbtu) on Valentine's Day to under US$10/mmbtu at Thanksgiving. Mr Farrer added: "Prices dropped in the summer as new supply from PNG LNG and reduced Asian demand left the Pacific basin long supply. Then fell further – as Brent oil tumbled from $110/bbl in August to below $60/bbl in December."


    2014 in numbers
    1. Global LNG production reached 246 mmtpa; 2. Asian spot LNG prices peaked at over US$20/mmbtu but fell to under US$10/mmbtu; 3. South Korea imported 9% less LNG in 2014 than 2013; 4. PNG exported 3.7 million tonnes in first 7 months of operation, operating at close to 90% of nameplate capacity; 5. 67 new LNG ships were ordered, topping the previous peak of 52 ordered in 2011; and, 6. 30 mmtpa of new production capacity took FID.

  104. OZ LNG needs $14 MMBtu to make a profit - at these prices the people over at Curtis Island must be having sleepless nights.

    MORE Contango ! ( see traders hire super tankers )


    Platts JKM™ for February-Delivered LNG Falls to Four-Year Low

    Tuesday, 20 January 2015

    Prices of spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) for February delivery to Asia plunged to a four-year low, averaging $9.911 per million British thermal units (/MMBtu), according to latest Platts Japan/Korea Marker (Platts JKM™) data for month-ahead delivery. The figure reflects the daily Platts JKM assessed between December 16 and January 15, expressed as a monthly average.

    The February JKM average registered a 47.3% year over year drop, the largest on record since Platts began assessing the JKM in February 2009. The JKM reached levels not seen since February 2011, when it averaged $9.854/MMBtu.

    On a month-over-month basis, the marker was down 1.5%, with the market tipping from contango* into backwardation towards the end of the month as pressure from unsold cargoes and low demand began to build.

    "The JKM has dropped to levels we haven't seen since pre-Fukushima," said Stephanie Wilson, managing editor of Asia LNG at Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider and a premier source of benchmark price references. "This is due to a relatively mild winter across much of the northern hemisphere; reduced power consumption from various industrial users in northeast Asia; and users switching fuels, as commodity prices across the board have fallen."

    With Asian buyers still holding high LNG inventories, many of the larger Japanese, South Korean and Chinese buyers were absent from the spot market for February cargoes. In contrast, the market has seen an increase in supply from projects in Russia and Australian, in addition to those cargoes on offer from projects in the Atlantic basin.

    "Continued declines in the crude oil markets are also starting to impact LNG term contract prices; we may start to see this from April onwards, which could cap LNG spot prices over the summer," Wilson added.

    The majority of Asian LNG term contracts are indexed to the Japanese Customs-cleared Crude (JCC) price, which continues to fall in line with ICE Brent futures.

    Although the losses on the JKM have been significant, competing fuels remain more attractive. The Platts FOB Qinhuangdao coal price averaged $3.665/MMBtu over December 16-January 15, falling 18.1% year over year and increasing 1.6% month over month. Platts FOB Singapore 180 CST fuel oil averaged $7.761/MMBtu over the same period, down 51.0% year over year and 26.6% month over month.

    **Referred to as month-ahead, the figures in the table are monthly averages of daily
    values assessed by Platts from December 16 and January 15. The Platts JKM rolls on the
    16thof each calendar month

    The Platts JKM™ is an assessment of LNG prices for spot cargoes delivered to Japan and South Korea, based on the most recent trades and/or bids and offers from buyers and sellers in the open market prevailing at the close of the trading day. The monthly JKM assessments are month-ahead delivered prices and are an average of the daily JKM price assessments reported by Platts. The monthly reports on Asia LNG prices and market developments are typically published shortly after the 15th of each month.

    * Contango is the condition whereby prices for nearby delivery are lower than prices for future-month delivery.

    Backwardation is the opposite of contango.

    Source: Platts


    Backwardation ? Contango ? What great new words we have today !


  105. BHP Tipped To Cut US Shale Spend To Shore Up Dividend Promise

    by Reuters

    Sonali Paul
    Monday, January 19, 2015

    MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton Ltd may be forced to slash its planned $4 billion spending this year on U.S. shale wells and book writedowns on its shale assets as it battles plunging prices for its biggest earners iron ore, oil and copper.

    The mining giant, which has cut capital spending for the past two years, needs further savings to have enough cash to meet a promise not to reduce its dividend, analysts and investors said, with some tipping it could slice its U.S. onshore drilling budget in half.

    The spending cuts could come as soon as Wednesday, when BHP will release its December quarter operational review.

    U.S. onshore drilling, the biggest single item in the company's capital budget, is seen as the easiest target after a 41 percent plunge oil prices, 16 percent drop in iron ore prices and 12 percent drop in copper prices over the past three months. Other candidates for cuts in its $14.2 billion capital and exploration spending plan could be its longer-dated projects like BHP's Canadian Jansen potash project and Australian Olympic Dam copper expansion study.


    Shale drilling is much easier to shut than conventional oil and gas wells as individual wells are smaller, making it a logical target for cuts. It is not expected to cut spending on its conventional wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Writedowns on the shale assets, which BHP acquired in 2011 for $17 billion when gas prices were much higher, are also inevitable, analysts and investors said, based on a much weaker outlook for forward prices.


    Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Young estimates the company will cut U.S. onshore capital spending to $2.7 billion, cutting rigs in the Permian and Black Hawk basins and driving down production volumes in 2016 and 2017.


    - See more at:

  106. Douglas Westwood: 'Offshore Drilling Contractors Facing Uncertainty'

    by Douglas-Westwood

    Press Release
    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Douglas-Westwood, a UK-based headquartered provider of energy business strategy, research and commercial due-diligence services, comments on "Offshore Drilling Contractors Facing Uncertainties" in the latest edition of DW Monday.

    Companies in the deepwater drilling market have lost more than half of their value over the last year; Transocean, Seadrill, ENSCO and Diamond are currently priced 56 percent lower on average compared to January 2014 in line with the decrease in oil prices.

    While these sharp falls in share prices reflect similar trends across the oil and gas industry, the number of active ultra-deep water rigs have remained high with 171 units contracted versus 175 units last January. Dayrates have also increased slightly from an average of $470,000 to $485,465, though this is largely a result of contracts signed before the fall in oil prices.

    Concerns about drilling contractors’ backlogs and their ability to put their most expensive assets to use are well founded with operators announcing decreases in capital expenditure.

    However, based on Douglas-Westwood’s offshore drilling forecast, there are still plenty of wells to be drilled if the 2015 oil prices average between $50-70 a barrel. Total wells drilled could be expected to increase by 17 percent by 2020 with deepwater wells growing at 32 percent, despite the current price environment.

    A fundamental issue is not only a lack of demand, but one of the industry’s own making. The recent build cycle has resulted in a sharp growth in supply that will need time to be absorbed by expected long-term growth in demand. Like other subsectors of the offshore marine industry such as offshore vessels and production assets, supply not just demand will determine the future direction of the offshore drilling market.


  107. Queensland election: Newman government under scrutiny over coal donation

    Exclusive: New details emerge of donation from New Hope Coal director to minister who oversaw air pollution clearance for coalmine expansion


    Newman hit the election campaign trail on Tuesday with Ian Walker, who Guardian Australia can reveal took a donation from a board director of New Hope Coal before his election in 2012.

    Walker, as the minister for science, information technology, innovation and the arts, subsequently oversaw the department which cleared levels of air pollution from uncovered coal trains in Brisbane before the expansion of New Hope’s Acland mine.


    New Hope and its parent company, Washington H Soul Pattinson, donated more than $700,000 to the LNP at a state and federal level between 2011 and 2013.

    Asked if New Hope’s donations influenced the government’s approval, Newman said: “I will not be commenting on Alan Jones.”


    Clean Air Queensland organiser Michael Kane said his tests showed emissions of particulate PM10 from uncovered coal wagons in Brisbane exceeded national safety levels tenfold, as often as 10 times a day.


    New Hope’s chairman, Robert Millner, was called before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) in NSW last year over a donations controversy involving another Washington H Soul Pattinson subsidiary of which he was chairman, Brickworks.


    ‘Koch Primary’ Opens for Republican Hopefuls

    .................“What they’ve built is incredibly impressive,” said Phil Cox, who has worked for the Koch-affiliated group Americans for Prosperity and recently served as executive director of the Republican Governors Association under Mr. Christie as chairman. “The invitation to the seminar is a big deal. It’s important entree to those donors and potential donors, and having Charles or David or other leaders in the network say good things about any particularly candidate at one of these seminars is a big deal.”

    Mr. Cruz, Mr. Paul and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida have all received invitations to the event and are expected to attend. Other invited Republicans include Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, who is not expected to make it because of a scheduling conflict.


    “Whether we like it or not, one of the first primaries in either party is the fund-raising primary, and having access to that network helps you,” said Greg Mueller, a Republican strategist. “Being before a Koch-like network of prominent conservatives, who have financial resources, helps put you on the path to clear those early primary hurdles.”


    For those with strong relationships in the Koch network, this week’s gathering in the California desert will provide a critical early test of the race to win the Koch sweepstakes. The seminar, said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, is as much for the candidates as for the donors.

    “Everyone is on display,” Ms. Krumholz said, “either being courted, or being interviewed for the job.”


  108. Newman’s paradise for developers

    QUEENSLAND is home to some of Australia’s most important environmental assets. The Great Barrier Reef, the rainforests, Fraser Island, Cape York and the Channel Country have either been protected through World Heritage listing or have been recommended for future protection due to the global significance of these places.

    Economically however, Queensland very much remains a frontier state. Its decentralised population and dependence on a narrow economic base mean the contest between development and conservation provides a constant backdrop to all features of public policy.

    These tensions become particularly pronounced during elections over the past few decades. The coming Queensland election on January 31 is no different.

    Since the 1980s, the debate between jobs and the environment have turned into electoral flashpoints over issues including the protection of the Daintree, Fraser Island, the infamous Koala toll road, landclearing, the Traveston Dam on the Mary River and the protection of wild rivers.

    This election campaign has already featured debate about the future of the Great Barrier Reef, coal mining in the Galilee Basin and controversy about the winding back a raft of existing environmental protections and laws by the Newman government.

    Environmental debates have often driven wedges between the conservative political parties in Queensland, particularly in respect to issues such as landclearing.

    These divisions have been papered over since the creation of the Liberal National Party but these divisions remain.

    Added to this volatile mix, the Queensland economy has been struggling for several years and Campbell Newman and the LNP were elected with a heavy focus on the promotion of mining and agricultural development over environmental considerations.

    Following his landslide election, many hoped that the election of a large number of Brisbane based LNP MPs would constrain some of the ‘‘develop at all costs’’ instincts of the old Queensland Nationals.

    The actions of the Newman government since then have shown that hope was misplaced.

    Over the past three years, Premier Newman used his massive parliamentary majority to weaken landclearing laws, remove protection from rivers on Cape York, the Gulf and the Channel Country through the repeal of the Wild Rivers Act, promote cattle grazing in existing national parks and to dust off discredited plans to build a cable-car through the World Heritage listed rainforests on the Gold Coast hinterland.

    The government has also removed a range of incentives to support renewable energy and limited the ability of community members to object to large scale development proposals, particularly in respect to mining.

  109. Newman’s paradise for developers

    The Newman government is a supporter of plans to build a irrigation development on the Gilbert River in the Gulf country, championed by the people that brought us the Cubbie Station cotton farm debacle in western Queensland.

    The coal industry has also been strongly backed by the Newman government. Controversially, the government is proposing to provide hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds to build the infrastructure required to enable the Adani company to open up the Galilee Basin coal fields in central Queensland.

    This is at a time when thousands of Queenslanders have lost their jobs through cuts to the public service and through cuts to services. The Galilee Basin coal proposal has also led to renewed concerns about the future of the Great Barrier Reef with proposals to build coal export facilities at Abbott Point and significantly increase the number of coal ships through the reef.

    These concerns have caught the attention of UNESCO which later this year will consider whether to list the reef as ‘‘in danger’’ because of overdevelopment and the lack of adequate plans to guarantee the ongoing health of the reef.

    Such has been the vigour of the Newman government’s support for mining that even traditional allies, such as Agforce have accused the government of abandoning them in favour of the interests of mining.

    On January 7, the President of Agforce, Grant Maudsley, told the Courier-Mail that “the Newman government was not looking after the interests of the individual against the power of multinational coal and gas companies’’.

    Few expect the LNP to lose government, though the tightening of the race over the several months, underlines the deep sense of concern that this government has gone too far and that the balance has shifted too far in favour of development over the environment.

    If re-elected, perhaps they will hear this message and take environmental concerns much more seriously.

    Lyndon Schneiders is the National Director of the Wilderness Society.

  110. China's interest in mining Antarctica revealed as evidence points to country's desire to become 'Polar Great Power'

    New evidence has emerged of China's interest in exploiting Antarctica's minerals despite an international agreement preventing it.

    It is thought the icy continent has abundant supplies of oil, gas, coal and iron ore.

    An emerging polar power, China has a growing scientific program. It has increased the number of its research stations and has started building a new icebreaker


    Another 2013 report for the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration obtained from a confidential source said: "Regardless of how the spoils are divided up, China must have a share of Antarctic mineral resources to ensure the survival and development of its one billion population."

    Professor Brady said Chinese sources showed a suspicion that other countries were covertly interested in Antarctica's resources and alleged some may be covertly prospecting.


    Global temperatures are batting above their average

    There's now no doubt global temperatures are heating up. If the planet was a cricketer, their soaring average would be beyond dispute in the commentary box, or newspaper column or around the barbecue over the holidays, writes Greg Jericho.

    With 2014 being recorded as the hottest year on record by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science, the UK MET Office, the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the evidence that the planet continues to heat is now beyond overwhelming.

    Those who have been pushing the line that the world has not warmed since 1998 really need to admit their ignorant charade is over.


    Halliburton, Baker Hughes to lay off thousands as oil slumps

    (Reuters) - Oilfield service providers Baker Hughes Inc and Halliburton Co plan to cut thousands of jobs as drilling activity slows further due to a steep fall in crude oil prices.


    The company, which employees more than 80,000 people, said it cut 1,000 jobs in its operations in the eastern hemisphere in the fourth quarter.

    Baker Hughes, which is being acquired by Halliburton in a near-$35 billion deal, said earlier in the day it would lay off 7,000 employees.


    The job cuts, which come days after industry leader Schlumberger NV said it would cut 9,000 jobs, underscore the abrupt slowdown in drilling activity seen in the past two months.

    The U.S. land rig count has fallen by 250 rigs, or about 15 percent, over the last 60 days, Halliburton Chief Executive Dave Lesar said on the call.

    Halliburton and Baker Hughes derive about half of their revenue from North America, a region they expect to fare worse than the rest of the world in the oil slump.

    Baker Hughes said most of the workforce reduction would take place in the first quarter, when it expects to book a one-time severance charge of $160 million to $185 million.

    The company, which had 61,100 employees as of Sept. 30, said it was also considering closing facilities.


  111. Foetal alcohol syndrome: Fitzroy Valley leader June Oscar hopes study brings long-term change

    The Fitzroy Valley community leader who pushed for alcohol restrictions in the area says the discovery that one-in-eight children has foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is devastating, but provides the hard evidence needed to demand change.

    June Oscar was made an officer in the Order of Australia in 2013 for her work in successfully pushing for alcohol sale restrictions in the Fitzroy Valley in 2007, despite fierce local opposition.

    In 2009, Ms Oscar was one of a group of Aboriginal leaders who invited researchers into the community, and the report released last week found that, of 108 babies born in the area between 2002 and 2003, 13 had the disorder.

    The figures are the highest ever documented in Australia.

    FASD is an incurable condition that can affect babies born to women who drink alcohol while pregnant, and results in intellectual impairment, learning disabilities, and behaviour problems.

    "We know that the conditions that these children have are 100 per cent preventable," Ms Oscar told 720 ABC Perth.

    "We now have the hard evidence that we need people to sit up and take note of.

    "Now we need to look at getting the conversation happening with those of influence, so that we can secure the resources that are required to address this."

    Ms Oscar says children with the condition will have lifelong problems and can often end up in trouble with the police when they get older.

    "Their emotions run up and down and all over the shop," she said.

    "These are the children who are often labelled as misbehaving children but it's not that at all."

    Ms Oscar hopes the restrictions on the sale of take-away alcohol introduced in 2007, more than a dozen suicides, and growing community concern about alcohol-related violence, will also reduce the number of children born with FASD in the future.

    "Women don't realise – that seems to be the story the world over," she said.

    "We hope we can make FASD history here," adding that she would focus on the need to educate women on the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

    Although the alcohol restrictions have since been hailed by community leaders, police, and the state government for reducing violence in the Fitzroy Valley, Ms Oscar says there are people who continue to challenge them.

    "Looking back, we found the courage somewhere within and pursued this because we fundamentally believed that our children were worth fighting for," she said.

    "We live in hope and we continue to do this because the children are our most precious resource, and they need us to have hope."

  112. Buru Updates on WA Operations, Including Damaged Valve at Yulleroo Project

    by Buru Energy Ltd.

    Press Release
    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Blina/Sundown Site (Buru 100 percent)

    The other area of focus for the Company's rehabilitation programs is the legacy site known as the Blina/Sundown area. Buru Energy is continuing its remediation of this area which has been under the previous ownership of seven different companies since the discovery of oil in the area in 1981. The Company took the decision to cease production from the area in 2013 in order to address the legacy issues, including the rehabilitation of interceptor and evaporation ponds. The Company has worked With DMP to prepare and implement an Environmental Plan to address legacy issues, and during 2014 continued the remediation work across the sites. An ongoing comprehensive water monitoring program has not detected any evidence of groundwater contamination in the area. The full remediation program is expected to take up to two years to complete and the field remediation operations will be recommended as soon as practicable in the dry season in the second quarter of this year.

    Administration and Corporate

    The Company has continued its program of internal re-organization and review of programs and budgets to ensure they are appropriate for the current global oil price and share market conditions. The Company is very cognizant of the requirement to restore and continue to add value during these current difficult times and looks forward to an active and cost efficient exploration program during 2015, the details of which will be released once alignment is reached with joint venture partners.

  113. Gunvor: no rebound to $100 oil, contango to deepen

    23 Jan 2015
    Oil trader Gunvor's head of analysis said on Thursday crude was unlikely to return to $100 a barrel in the foreseeable future, but prices were expected to be volatile as traders sought to move oil into storage during the current glut.

    David Fyfe, formerly research chief at the International Energy Agency, said OPEC would not want to see a return to triple digits as lower prices, which have more than halved to below $50 since June, were only now starting to slow output from outside the producer group. 'Why would they want that?' Fyfe asked an oil storage conference in Amsterdam of allowing oil to resettle above $100 per barrel. 'They'd be back at square one.'

    Gunvor traded around 2.5 million barrels of oil a day in 2012, according to the most recent data on the company's website, the equivalent of almost 3 percent of global supplies. Oil prices averaged around $110 a barrel between 2011 and 2013, but fast-growing U.S. shale output and slowing demand growth have seen prices collapse since June, falling to a near six-year low near $45 a barrel last week.

    Fyfe said the gap between spot prices and barrels for later delivery could widen further as traders look to finance the storage of crude and as energy majors slash investments in future production. This market structure, known as contango, has already led traders to stretch the available storage space for crude oil and products in Europe despite a 30 percent capacity increase over the past five years. Traders have also booked vessels with an estimated 40 million barrels of capacity to store oil at sea, while some are shipping additional crude to the United States where more on land tanks are available.

    'I suspect there is some potential for that contango to steepen. Particularly as companies are curbing their spending that looks to me like a very cheap back end of the curve,' Fyfe said. He added there is 'very good reason to expect short-term volatility is going to remain elevated in 2015,' arguing most oil projects outside OPEC and the United States would cost more than $70 a barrel to develop.

    Storage plays have boosted terminal operators that struggled through years of limited demand.

    Dutch firm Vopak, one of the world's largest independent oil storage firms, has been able to rent additional space during the recent price slide, its global oil director Hari Dattatreya said on Thursday.

  114. Wood Mac: US Onshore Well Count to Fall by 26% in 2015

    by Karen Boman

    Rigzone Staff
    Friday, January 23, 2015

    The U.S. onshore well count will decline by 26 percent, from more than 37,000 in 2014 to an estimated 27,000 in 2015, as the decline in oil prices prompted many operators to cut their 2015 spending plans, according to a recent estimate by Wood Mackenzie.

    North American drilling and completion expenditures exceeded $140 billion in 2014, but Wood Mackenzie expects operators to commit less than $90 billion to upstream development over the next 12 months.

    “Such sizeable cuts will have serious implications across the oilfield services sector,” said Wood Mackenzie in a statement.

    Using its North America Supply Chain Analysis Tool, Wood Mackenzie forecasts that rig day rates will decline by 30 percent, while the rig count will drop from an annual average of nearly 1,800 in 2014 to under 1,300 in 2015. This decline will curtail demand in other services sector markets, including tubulars, drilling services, frac proppant and pressure pumping.

    Well activity will decline more quickly in oil plays such as the Niobrara and Bakken versus plays such as the Eagle Ford and Marcellus, Scott Mitchell, supply chain analyst with Wood Mackenzie, told Rigzone. While the Marcellus gas play is still more favorable in terms of economics versus the Haynesville, economics in the Marcellus are a struggle too.

    As the drilling rig market goes slack, Mitchell sees the potential for older, less efficient rigs to be retired or moved as companies favor using bigger, more efficient rigs. Wood Mackenzie views cost pressures as higher on the drilling side versus completions side. Even if drilling slows, support could continue for pressure pumping market as companies hydraulic refracture existing wells versus new wells. On the completion end, Wood Mackenzie sees a potential cost reduction of 15 percent.

  115. Where are Buru in the oil price crash ?

    Nothing in this :

    Media Release
    22 January

    Buru Energy informing the Broome community

    Buru Energy held its Community Information Session in Broome today as part of its extensive community consultation program.



    This from ABC last year :

    11 August, 2014 10:15AM AWST

    Analyst says Kimberley gas fracking company suffering at the hands of traditional owners and environmentalists

    By Ben Collins

    .................Buru Energy took a blow earlier this year when a new well drilled into their Ungani oil resource, east of Broome in the West Kimberley, showed the rock was too dense to allow oil to flow. As a result, the expected revenue from Ungani of $60 million annually is yet to materialise, with just $1.7 million net cash-flow in the last quarter.

    "Buru was gearing up for success with a large overhead cost for people. The poor outcome at Ungani along with TO (traditional owner) delays means that the company needs to cut costs big time to survive," says Mr Strachan.


    While the high cost of fracking gas in the Kimberley is a significant issue for Buru, Mr Strachan says a more immediate problem is the negative influence traditional owner groups and environmentalists are having on Buru's ability to attract funds and maintain their share price, which is essential for a small gas company."


    From Hot Copper 1/12/14

    Buru Energy (ASX:BRU) has completed the acquisition of 3D seismic over an area of very high prospectivity for conventional oil in the onshore Canning Basin, Western Australia.


    ..................Buru’s Ungani 1ST1 well is producing at stabilised rates of 900 barrels of oil per day.

    Water cut at the Ungani-2 well has also fallen to between 1% to 2% from about 4% after its production rate was reduced to accommodate the Ungani 1 ST1 production rate.


    BUT nothing anywhere on the high cost fracking in the Canning Basin and $40 a barrel oil ?


    An old one from Buru "Cracking the Canning'. ( 2009 / 2010 )

    "The Basin has effectively been “embargoed” for 20 years
    ► Exploration in the Basin picked up in the early 80’s with the increase in the oil price and initial oil
    discoveries at Blina and associated fields
    ► Oil price came off in the mid-80’s followed by the stock market crash in 1987
    ► Just prior to the oil price downturn there was the first commercial oil discovery at Blina, followed by a
    number of smaller oil discoveries
    ► Low oil prices, poor equity markets and difficult native title negotiations (the perfect storm) killed
    exploration for 20 years
    History has a way of repeating itself! "



    The current price collapse is not sustainable

    Finding and development

    F&D Costs Oil have escalated to over $30/bbl
    with full cycle prices required for reinvestment
    close to $50/barrel.

    Patience is required."

    and..........For Blina....

    " • Field opex ~$10/bbl
    Blina oil production facility
    • Trucking costs to Perth ~$20/bbl
    • Current A$ oil price ~$ 65/bbl
    • Projected annual net revenue at current rates ~$4.5 million "


    ► The NPV per barrel in the Canning with trucking to Perth is some A$40/bbl,

    a 3 million barrel discovery (similar to the existing Blina field) would be worth some $0.77 per share.
    ►A 10 million barrel discovery (like many prospects in the portfolio) would be worth at least $2.50 per share "

    " Drilling high value prospects

    Indicative value per share for each of the wells in the current program is shown.
    Given the very large size of these prospects conservative
    parameters have been applied to derive an indicative value.

    Indicative product values used are A$20/bbl NPV at US$40/bbl for oil and A$1.00 /GJ for gas "

    BUT that applies to share values.


  116. Where are Buru in the oil price crash ?

    Quarterly Report
    Period ended 30 June 2014


     Production and sales - year to date production of 172,535 bbls with four shipments totalling 143,317 bbls giving joint venture sales revenue of $14.54 million (year to date sales revenue net to Buru Energy $7.27 million)


    Four shipments totalling 143,317 bbls have been made from the Port of Wyndham and the fifth shipment of 34,170 bbls has been sold and was lifted on 22 July 2014. The oil has all been sold into Asian refineries under the marketing agreement between Buru Energy and Mitsubishi.


    They were getting about $101.00 a bbl back :

    Tapis @ $49.00 a bbl.

    Using the same formulas as above :

    Buru's share of a shipload = $837,165


    If a barrel of oil to Wyndham is about the same as a bbl to Perth 5 years ago - $20.00 - then :

    Trucking costs per shipload $683,400.

    Then the shipping costs to Singapore.


    Not hard to see they are making loss or very close to it.

    So 2014 a very disappointing year for Buru.

    Another duster to kick off 2015 would be a bit more than just disappointing.

    I am no expert at all this but if Buru was a car they would be running on fumes.


  117. In a world run by corrupt elites this really sucks.

    "Tony Abbott's Bunyip Aristocracy: arise, Lord Clive and Lady Gina

    ...................Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart, you'd imagine, would be holding their breath for the announcement that His Grace Tony the Abbott, Duke of Australia, has quietly decided there should be a new title for Lord and Lady Wardens of the Iron and Coal Ports.


    David Flint, surely near apoplexy, must be considering an appeal to the Privy Council.

    Mr Hawke did away with appeals to the Privy Council in 1986, too, but a bit of a chat between Sir Peter Cosgrove and His Grace could put that to rights in this new age of the bunyip aristocracy, you'd think.

    Mr Hawke, as it happened, was the recipient of a knighthood himself. King Bhumibol of Thailand invested him as a Knight Grand Cordon of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant in 1989.

    Meanwhile, Lord Clive and Lady Gina, Wardens of the Iron and Coal Ports, has a certain ring to it. And the Senate? About time it became Australia's House of Lords. His Grace may be on to it already."


    Overseas comment from REUTERS US Edition :

    "Australia knights Prince Philip, sparking national outrage

    (Reuters) - Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has awarded Australia's highest honor to Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, sparking a barrage of criticism across the country on its national day of celebration.

    Prince Philip was made a Knight of the Order of Australia, awarded as part of the country's honors system announced on Australia Day, with Abbott saying it paid "tribute to an extraordinary life of service".

    The award grated with republicans who want to sever ties with Britain and appoint an Australian president.

    "It's a time warp where we're giving knighthoods to English royalty," Opposition leader Bill Shorten told Australian radio.

    Commentator and associate editor of the national daily, The Australian, Chris Kenny tweeted, "Just another own goal and an embarrassment for Australia on our national day".

    Australia is a constitutional monarchy, with the British monarch its head of state who acts in predominately a ceremonial manner but has the power to approve the abolition of parliament, which happened in 1975 toppling the then government.

    Australians also questioned the procedure for issuing knighthoods, which are awarded solely on the recommendation of the prime minister to the queen. Any Australian can nominate a fellow citizen for other honors. Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment. At the time he said they were intended to recognize "pre-eminent Australians".

    Abbott, whose popularity has fallen sharply in recent months, said he stood by the decision to award the knighthood to 93-year-old Prince Philip because "the monarchy has been an important part of Australia's life since 1788". "


    One for the cigar chompers.

    This is all about "trickle down".

    When the elite's are making money there is no trickle down.
    When the elite's are losing money THEN all their debts trickle down - For the old, the sick and the poor to pay.


    Greece shows what can happen when the young revolt against corrupt elites

    Paul Mason

    The rise of Syriza can’t just be explained by the crisis in the eurozone: a youthful generation of professionals has had enough of tax-evading oligarchs


    1. NT Chief Minister Adam Giles says knighthood for Prince Philip 'makes us a bit of a joke'


      Tony Abbott under fire from Cabinet colleagues over decision to grant knighthood to Prince Philip

      Some of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's most senior colleagues are bewildered, angered and dismayed by his decision to award an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip.

      Prince Philip and former Defence Force chief Angus Houston were named Australia's newest knights today, under an honours system reinstated by Mr Abbott last year.


      Houston like Abbott was born in Pommyland.


    2. Prince Philip’s uncle and sponsor, Lord Louis Mountbatten (originally, Battenberg of the House of Hesse) was a central figure in the 1930s Nazi-British channel. Until he was forced to abdicate, King Edward VIII enjoyed the full backing of Dickie Mountbatten. Through much of World War II, secret channels of communication were maintained between the British royal family and their pro-Hitler cousins in Germany, by Lord Mountbatten, through his sister Louise, who was crown princess of pro-Nazi Sweden. Louise was Prince Philip’s aunt.

      Prince Philip’s uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten ‘fixed it’ for Savile to mentor Prince Charles and they became lifelong friends. Savile invited the Prince of Wales to his cottage in Glencoe, which he hoped to turn into a home for disabled and disadvantaged children, called Jimmy’s Place! Uncle Dickie, with his predilection for ‘peasant’ boys, was linked to the Kincora Boy’s Home vice-ring, which allegedly sent Belfast orphans to Birr Castle in the Irish Republic, the home of Lord Snowdon’s stepbrother, for ritual abuse at the Hellfire Club. Snowdon was Princess Margaret’s ex-husband

      Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, a yachting enthusiast, was also a visitor at Kincora Boy’s Home and it’s claimed that Savile supplied him with victims from Haute de la Garenne in Jersey to misuse aboard his boat. Another of Savile’s close friends, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, often played host to him at Chequers and her successors, Major, Blair and Brown were all “fans” deaf to the ‘open secret’ which everyone knew. Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, friend of the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, sent Christmas cards to Savile right up until he died and Charles led the tributes after his death in 2011 saying, how “saddened” he was… the Prince has not issued a statement about his sadness over the allegations…[…]

      Andrew, who 4th in line to the British throne, has been exposed in the news as a paedophile. His buddy, Jeffrey Epstein, is a convicted paedophile who served up underage girls to Prince Andrew like lolly pops.

      Photos published in the British media show Andrew strolling in a park with Epstein — the New York billionaire jailed for soliciting child prostitutes in Florida. A photograph has also emerged showing Andrew with his arm around the waist of the child prostitute who is at the centre of that case. It has emerged that Andrew allegedly enjoyed massages at the Florida mansion where the Epstein child sexual abuse went on.

      Epstein also gave Andrew $30,000 to help pay off his ex-wife Fergie’s massive debts that she was blackmailing him for. Andrew was finally forced to step down as Britain’s trade ambassador because of #1 – his criminal behaviour with underage girls. Two – a six million dollar tax evasion charge. Three – conflicts of interest from friendships with a convicted paedophile and with Libyan leader Gadafi’s son whose country was being bombed by the British military.

    3. NZ Honours Scandal

      A few weeks ago, I was left a comment on an article about Jimmy Savile by a man calling himself Frank Jackson. I have since been in contact with Frank and now know his real identity.

      In his comment, Frank had urged me to look into the background of two St John Ambulance men from New Zealand who are both in line to be decorated sometime this month, in honour of their service. New Zealand is of course owned by the current UK Monarch and as such, the honours that these two men are having bestowed on them by the Governor General have been sanctioned by the Queen.

      The two men in question are Karl Berghan and Sam Brens. However, far from receiving top awards, sanctioned by our Queen, the pair of pond life should both be strung up by their bollocks. You see, Berghan and Brens are both prolific paedophiles who groomed Franks 14 year old daughter and persuaded her into having a regular threesome with them. Franks daughter was just one of 5 similar girls these two men, along with another man, laid their grubby little hands on.

      However, that is only the beginning of what, had I not seen the proof, would have been a totally unbelievable story. That the Queen is unaware of these two monsters crimes just isn’t possible, as you will see once you read the full story.

      Never the less, the award ceremony is still going ahead. Sadly, I cannot say that I am surprised since I am aware of the many, many people who have received awards sanctioned by the Queen and who have subsequently been convicted of crimes relating to child sex abuse.

      You can read Franks horrific story and the devastating toll it has taken on his family – courtesy of the NZ government, Police, judiciary, and Social Services, all of whom are every bit as corrupt as ours – at the following link:

    4. It was reported that Savile stated he was introduced to the Royals in 1966 by Lord Mountbatten, by then a known pedophile and sexual pervert. In addition to Mountbatten, Greg Hallett, in his book Hitler Was A British Agent, also names Prince Philip as a pedophile. With reference to how he became introduced and ingratiated within the Royal family, Jimmy Savile stated:
      "Coming from Lord Louis, who was the favourite uncle of Prince Philip, it was quite something. So obviously I hooked up with the Prince – what was good enough for Lord Louis was good enough for me. The thing about me is I get things done and I work deep cover.” (The activist post).

      A convicted child rapist, Rev William "the beast" McGrath, who was an MI5 agent as claimed in the 1996 book, The Kincora Scandal, by ex-BBC journalist Chris Moore, alleged the prominent unionist had sickening sex attacks on kids covered up and claimed two police probes were obstructed by “the establishment”. Mountbatten – murdered by the IRA more than 20 years ago – has also been sensationally linked to the notorious Kincora Boys’ Home scandal in east Belfast.

      "Jimmy Savile had accomplices in high places and procured children for other famous personalities, revealed by the FBI to ‘Operation Ore’ in 1999, which the MET are reluctant to name. In 2003 Tony Blair issued a D-Notice to prevent the media disclosing government involvement and compromising ‘National Security.’

      Jimmy Savile was implicated in the shocking Haute de la Garenne scandal in 2008, where the burnt bones and milk teeth of children were found in the cellar, alongside rusty shackles. It sends shivers down your spine, but this children’s home was not unique, it followed a pattern in orphanages throughout the British Isles, where children experienced sex abuse and torture or disappeared altogether with ’Toffs’ in yachts and limousines"

      "Senior Whitehall mandarins repeatedly warned former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher against knighting Jimmy Savile because of long-standing concerns over his private life. Previously unseen Cabinet Office papers reveal that suspicions about the DJ’s “strange and complex” personality were known at the highest level for decades. Lady Thatcher – who invited the presenter to Chequers – made four attempts to appoint Savile to the knighthood before eventually succeeding in the final year of office in 1990." - Independent, July 2012.

      “Lord Louis Mountbatten had the nickname “Dickie” …and for good reason. Philip’s uncle Dickie was the last viceroy in India where he was a known paedophile who sexually exploited young working class Indian peasant boys”.

      “The Kincora Scandal connects Lord Dickie Mountbatten to a child prostitution vice ring in Belfast, Ireland. Authorities failed to intervene at the Kincora care home for boys until 1981, despite reports over the years of child sexual abuse”.

      The operators of the Kincora child prostitution ring were eventually convicted in 1981 of the RITUAL sexual abuse of defenceless young boys who were sold like prostitutes. No charges were ever brought against the VIP customers made up of Royals, Politicians, lawyers, and Judges. However, Belfast citizens finally had reason to celebrate when Prince Philip’s paedophile uncle was killed by an IRA bomb planted in his boat”.

      Princess Margaret was a spoiled, vain, racist, promiscuous waster who never worked a day in her life, called the Irish people “Pigs, all pigs”, was an adulteress, who also, most insidiously, sponged tens of MILLIONS from the people of Great Britain through the civil list at a time when most British “subjects” were near starving due to rationing.

      Her Uncle was an unrepentant Nazi sympathizer and friend of Oswald mosley who would have (if given the chance) allowed the perptrators of the holocaust a foothold in Britain.

    5. Jill Dando murdered by the State to keep lid on elite paedophile Ring

      We learn this month that Barry George has been denied compensation for being falsely imprisoned for the murder of Jill Dando.

      The brutal murder of Jill Dando was linked to a VIP paedophile ring which was operating within the BBC and beyond.

      The brutal murder of Jill Dando was ordered by the highest echelons of British society once it became clear that she had evidence of the ring and was about to expose it.

      Jill Dando was shot at point-blank range in the head to silence her and also to serve as a warning to other journalists to keep their mouths shut.

      We now know that child-rapist DJ Jimmy Savile had been abusing and procuring children at the BBC for decades and Jill Dando knew about Savile

      Jill's close friend and confidante, Cliff Richard, has himself been named as a visitor to the notorious boy-brothel Elm Guest House, where vulnerable children were trafficked from local care homes to be abused by VIP's.

      These Elm Guest House VIPS's included former Home Secretary Leon Brittan who is famed for conveniently 'losing' the child abuse dossier given to him by Geoffrey Dicken's MP in 1983. And proving the cover-up is not historic at all copies of these dossiers naming senior Politicians and Judges were seized in 2010 and 'lost' again by three police forces Derby, North Wales and Yorkshire.

      One of the first journalists at the scene was Clarence Mitchell, who is employed by the intelligences services and was later the spokesperson in the mysterious disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

      Mitchell is a notorious master of the dark art of spin and lies, a talent shared by Labour filth, Alastair Campbell, who was strangely also quizzed by the Met at the time of the murder.

      Eye witness Barry Lindsey who saw the murderer says he felt the Police "didn’t want to listen" Police had no interest in his evidence they " brushed it aside because they were obsessed with nailing Barry George" he said.

      There were many procedural ‘mistakes‘ made by the Met Police during their investigations.

      Officers conveniently forgot to question Jill’s neighbours and also botched the e-fit photo of the suspect by making his hair brown when it was actually blond.
      Were these mistakes made deliberately to ensure the real killer would never be caught?

      In a most sinister development DCS Hamish Campbell, who was in charge of the investigation, was then put in charge of Operation Yewtree. Campbell was also head of the investigative review into the disappearance of little Madeline McCann .

      Are these mere coincidences or is there much more to the murder of Jill Dando than meets the eye?

      Are the Police, the Judiciary, the CPS, the BBC and the Government implicated in one of the biggest cover-ups this country has ever seen?

      It’s no wonder the Establishment won’t give Barry George the justice and compensation he deserves. If they did, their sordid child-abusing secrets may finally be exposed.

  118. UK Parliament Group Calls for Shale Gas Fracking Moratorium

    by Reuters

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    ....................."A moratorium on the extraction of unconventional gas through fracking is needed to avoid both the inconsistency with our climate change obligations and to allow the uncertainty surrounding environmental risks to be fully resolved," the members of parliament (MPs) said in the report.

    Britain is legally bound to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 and cutting reliance on fossil fuels in the energy mix is an essential part of this goal.

    Environmental Committee MPs, including the Conservative Party's former environment minister Caroline Spelman and the Green Party's ex-leader Caroline Lucas, said Britain could not get enough shale gas out of the ground to make its development commercially viable.

    The lawmakers also expressed concern about environmental risks linked to fracking, such as chemical leaks into groundwater resources and disposal of waste water produced in the process.

    They added that if a country-wide moratorium was not imposed, fracking should at least be banned from national parks and other areas of environmental importance.

    Britain imposed a moratorium on fracking in 2012 after a series of earth tremors were measured near a shale gas drilling site in northwest England.


    BURU : "there has never been any groundwater pollution from fracking".

    Remember this...........

    Children given lifelong ban on talking about fracking

    Two Pennsylvanian children will live their lives under a gag order imposed under a $750,000 settlement

    Two young children in Pennsylvania were banned from talking about fracking for the rest of their lives under a gag order imposed under a settlement reached by their parents with a leading oil and gas company.

    The sweeping gag order was imposed under a $750,000 settlement between the Hallowich family and Range Resources Corp, a leading oil and gas driller. It provoked outrage on Monday among environmental campaigners and free speech advocates.

    The settlement, reached in 2011 but unsealed only last week, barred the Hallowichs' son and daughter, who were then aged 10 and seven, from ever discussing fracking or the Marcellus Shale, a leading producer in America's shale gas boom.

    The Hallowich family had earlier accused oil and gas companies of destroying their 10-acre farm in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania and putting their children's health in danger. Their property was adjacent to major industrial operations: four gas wells, gas compressor stations, and a waste water pond, which the Hallowich family said contaminated their water supply and caused burning eyes, sore throats and headaches.


    Campaigners say the secrecy has helped the industry resist more stringent environmental and health controls – by burying evidence of water contamination and health problems associated with natural gas operations. The Hallowichs' lawyer, Peter Villari, told the court he had never seen a gag order imposed on children in his 30 years of practicing law, according to the released transcript.

    During the proceedings, the attorney representing Range Resources, James Swetz, reaffirmed the company sought the gag order on the children. "I guess our position is it does apply to the whole family. We would certainly enforce it," he told the court.

    Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream and MarkWest Energy were also defendants in the case.

    However, once that gag order came to light, two years after the August 2011 proceedings, the company told reporters it did not agree with Swetz's comments. "We don't believe the settlement applies to children," a Range Resources spokesman told the Gazette. He went on to tell the paper that there was no evidence that the Hallowich family was affected by exposure to gas development.


  119. Oil and gas industry 'needs $US170 billion cut in costs'

    The global oil and gas industry needs to cut costs by at least $US170 billion to avoid an increase in net debt, with cutbacks a matter of survival for some companies as they struggle with plummeting oil prices, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

    Exploration budgets, operating costs and dividends will all see the impact of cost-cutting, as well as investment in new projects, the Edinburgh-based firm advised in its 2015 corporate oil and gas outlook.


    It said that cost cuts of 37 per cent, or $US170 billion, were needed to keep debt at 2014 levels, assuming a Brent oil price of $US60 a barrel.

    That signals that at current prices more than $US10 below that level, even greater cost cuts are required to prevent an increase in debt.

    In Australia, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Senex Energy are among those that have already announced cost cuts, while others such as Oil Search have said they are also reviewing spending plans.

    The consultant said that in 2013-14 oil and gas companies were already making strategic choices related to messaging around value versus volume as they tried to increase their appeal to investors.

    "Capital discipline in 2015 will be less about choice and more about survival for some players," it said, adding that the effects could last well beyond this year.

    Debt management has become a critical priority for the industry as revenues slump along with the oil price.


    While 2015 will not be a vintage year for exploration it will provide a window of opportunity to capture high-impact acreage and to acquire discovered resources, Wood Mackenzie said.

    While lower costs will help offset the impact of sharply reduced exploration budgets, it remains uncertain how much and for how long costs will fall. In the meantime, many companies will hold off from expensive frontier drilling.


    March Brent crude fell 44 cents to $48.35 a barrel by 0442 GMT, wiping out light gains made on Friday after the death of the Saudi King Abdullah, but off an early low of $47.85.

    West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for March delivery was trading down 57 cents at $45.02 a barrel. Front-month WTI earlier slid to an intraday low of $44.35, just above $44.20 hit on Jan. 13, which was the lowest since April 2009.



  120. The oceans are warming so fast, they keep breaking scientists' charts

    NOAA once again has to rescale its ocean heat chart to capture 2014 ocean warming

    .....................The folks at NOAA do a great job updating this graph every three months or so. We can now say that the 2014 Earth had more heat (thermal energy) than any year ever recorded by humans. We can also say that the folks at NOAA will likely have to rescale their graph to capture the new numbers. The NOAA site is updated by Dr. Tim Boyer and can be found here. Click on slide 2 to view the relevant image.

    If people want to read a review of ocean heating that is written for a general audience, I suggest our recent peer-reviewed paper which can be found here.

    So when we look back on 2014 and the records that fell, it gives us some pause about the so-called pause (hat-tip to Dr. Greg Laden for that phrase). Some people tried to tell us global warming had “paused”, that it ended in 1998, or that the past 15 years or so had not seen a change in the energy of the Earth. This ocean warming data is the clearest nail in that coffin. There never was a pause to global warming, there never was a halt, and the folks that tried to tell you there was were, well, I’ll let you decide. For me, the facts speak for themselves.


    Obama proposal to expand Alaska Arctic refuge angers Republicans over oil

    President will propose 12.28 million-acre expansion of protected area
    Alaska senator Murkowski: ‘We will fight back with every resource'

    President Barack Obama will propose expanding the protected area of Alaska’s Arctic refuge by 12.28 million acres, including the state’s Coastal Plain where oil and gas are drilled, the Interior Department said on Sunday.

    The proposal to expand the part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge designated as wilderness faces an uphill battle in Congress, where Republicans in control of both chambers oppose curbs to oil production, and drew immediate criticism.


    The area in question, a narrow strip wedged between the peaks of the Brooks Range and the Arctic Ocean, is a vital site for polar bears and the migratory Porcupine caribou herd which raises young there.

    The US Geological Survey estimates the coastal plain holds 10.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

    The Washington Post, which first reported the story, said the Interior Department would also place part of the Arctic Ocean off limits to drilling and is considering additional limits on oil and gas production in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

    The announcement is one of a series that the Interior Department will make this week that will affect Alaska’s oil and gas production, the Post said.


    1. Antarctica's Totten Glacier, twice the size of Victoria, 'melting from below'

      Warm ocean water is melting one of the world's biggest glaciers from below, potentially leading to a rise in sea levels, Australian scientists have discovered.

      Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis recently returned to Hobart from Antarctica, with a team of 23 scientists who had used new technology to collect the first water samples near the Totten Glacier.

      At 538,000 square kilometres, Totten is twice the size of Victoria and holds enough water to raise sea levels by six metres.

      Steve Rintoul from the Australian Climate and Environment Cooperative Research Centre said the results indicated the glacier was being melted by the sea water beneath it.

      "The measurements we collected provide the first evidence that warm water reaches the glacier and may be driving that melt of the glacier from below," he said.


  121. Buru protects Yulleroo from further vandalism

    Anthony Barich
    Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    BURU Energy has modified the Yullero 2 wellhead configuration, removing components that could be susceptible to further damage after activists deliberately vandalised the valve.


    Where did that come from ?

  122. UK: Britain to ban fracking in national parks after policy u-turn

    27 Jan 2015
    Britain said on Monday it would ban fracking in national parks, reversing a policy announced last year, in a concession to the opposition Labour Party which had called for tighter controls to be written into law. 'We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special interest and areas of natural beauty,' said junior energy minister Amber Rudd during a debate on new laws regulating the extraction process.

    Last year the government said fracking -- extracting gas and oil by pumping chemicals, sand and water at high pressure into underground rocks -- would be possible within national parks in exceptional circumstances. The government also accepted a Labour proposal to tighten several other rules governing when and where fracking would be permitted.

    'This is a huge u-turn,' said Labour energy spokeswoman Caroline Flint. 'The government has been forced to accept that tough protections and proper safeguards must be in place before fracking can go ahead.'

    Prime Minister David Cameron has championed fracking as a way to offset a decline in the country's North Sea energy resources and reduce its dependence on gas imports. But the method has attracted criticism over its potential environmental impact. Critics have expressed concerns about chemical leaks into groundwater resources and the disposal of waste water produced in the process.

    Last year an application by London-based oil and gas exploration firm Celtique Energie to explore for shale oil and gas within a national park in southern England, where large reserves are believed likely to exist, was rejected. Lawmakers voted down a separate bid on Monday to introduce a moratorium on all fracking.

  123. AGL suspends operations at Gloucester coal seam gas project after discovery of potentially toxic chemicals

    Gas company AGL has suspended operations at its Gloucester coal seam gas (CSG) project north of Newcastle, after the discovery of potentially toxic chemicals in flowback water.

    AGL announced on Tuesday afternoon it was voluntarily suspending the controversial coal seam gas pilot program in Gloucester.

    Late in 2014 the company performed test fracking operations on four pilot wells at Waukivory, just outside the Gloucester township.

    The company said the chemical BTEX was found in a sample of flowback water, taken from two of the wells and an above-ground tank.

    But the company said it can categorically state BTEX was not in any of the hydraulic fracturing fluids used in their pilot operation.

    Flowback water is water returned to the surface after it has been pumped into the ground mixed with chemicals to open up coal seams.

    AGL managing director Michael Fraser said a full review of the samples taken was underway.

    "Because of the community's concern about any detection of BTEX and in the interests of acting prudently, AGL has voluntarily suspended the Waukivory Pilot Project until a full review of the sample results has been completed," he said.

    Greens NSW mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said AGL should leave the Gloucester Valley following the discovery.

    "BTEX chemicals in the water are an absolute nightmare and the Greens want a permanent ban on coal seam gas and fracking in NSW," he said.

    "Coal seam gas is unsafe, unnecessary and unwanted.

    "AGL should pack up and leave the Gloucester Valley for good following this latest pollution incident before they do any more damage to either their battered corporate reputation or our precious water.

    "How many more spills, leaks and accidents will it take before the government acts to ban coal seam gas?"

    Julie Lyford from Groundswell Gloucester, a local activist group opposed to CSG activities in the area, said it was time the licence was removed all together.

    "What we'd like Mr Baird to do or Mr Foley if he gets elected, is to actually remove the licence from the Gloucester Valley completely," she said.

    In a statement, the NSW Government Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said AGL had notified the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), NSW Office of Water and Office of Coal Seam Gas about the chemical discovery.

    "The NSW Government supports AGL's decision to suspend its operation pending further investigation," he said.

    "The use of BTEX chemicals for fracture stimulation processes are banned in NSW."

  124. Koch Brothers’ Budget of $889 Million for 2016 Is on Par With Both Parties’ Spending

    The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.

    The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races. In the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent a total of $657 million.


    Tony Abbott still lives in the 18th century on climate change, says Labor

    Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler says prime minster is more concerned with awarding knighthoods than tackling global warming

    Tony Abbott is “living in the 18th century” when it comes to tackling climate change, Labor has said, after the release of a new report warning that Australia’s temperatures could rise substantially in coming decades.

    Modelling by the national science agency the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted average temperatures in Australia could rise by more than 5C by 2090.

    It warned that the “business-as-usual” approach of burning fossil fuels will contribute to soaring global temperatures.

    Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, criticised Abbott for focusing on the issue of knighthoods which he said “doesn’t reflect national priorities”.

    “Instead of indulging his strange personal fascination with the British royals … Tony Abbott would have been much better served spending some time on a serious climate change policy,” Butler said on Tuesday.

    “But we know Tony Abbott still lives in the 18th century and refuses to join the rest of us to face this challenge.”

    The Greens leader, Christine Milne, said potential changes in climate will derail plans for Australia’s future.

    “Australia’s future is grim in the climate sense,” Milne said in Hobart on Tuesday. “All the projections they [the government] want to talk about – about the economic growth, about food and agribusiness – will come crashing down unless we get serious about global warming.”


    Climate change will hit Australia harder than rest of world, study shows

    Science agency the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology predict temperature rises of up to 5.1c in Australia by 2090 in their most comprehensive forecast yet

    ........................Kevin Hennessy, a principal research scientist at the CSIRO, said it and the Bureau of Meteorology now had a greater confidence than ever in their forecasts of Australia’s climate.

    “We expect land areas to warm faster than ocean areas, and polar regions faster than the tropics,” Hennessy told Guardian Australia.

    Given Australia’s geographical position, that would mean much of the country was expected to warm faster than the global average.

    “Australia will warm faster than the rest of the world,” Hennessy said. “Warming of 4C to 5C would have a very significant effect: there would be increases in extremely high temperatures, much less snow, more intense rainfall, more fires and rapid sea level rises.”

    Hennessy said even the internationally agreed limit of 2C of warming on pre-industrial times would cause severe problems for Australia.

    “That intermediate emissions scenario would have significant effects for Australia,” he said. “Coral reefs are sensitive to even small changes in ocean temperature and a 1C rise would have severe implications for the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo reef.


    A long, slow road

    It's a world the rest of Australia would never know existed. Photojournalist Ingetje Tadros spent more than six months in Kennedy Hill, a remote Aboriginal community in Western Australia, documenting the lives of its residents.

    "The Hill", as locals call it, is at risk of closure due to loss of federal funding for remote communities. A large shell midden nearby indicates it has been a living area since before colonisation.

    Despite the nearby town of Broome receiving 30,000 visitors each year, photojournalist Ingetje Tadros says she was shocked by the poverty at Kennedy Hill. Many of the residents live in condemned houses.

    "First of all I was appalled that people are living in such poverty in a country like Australia," Tadros says. "But the people opened up their homes for me."

    "I've learned so much from countrymen and women: Their relationship within their families, the strong family ties, to know who they are and know where the come from."

    She says many elders and community leaders were distressed by Western Australian premier Colin Barnett's decision to close communities after federal funding was removed.

    There are more than 270 remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, which are home to 12,000 people.

    "Taking Country away from people is like committing Spiritual Genocide" she says.

    Tadros, who has spent four years documenting the lives of Indigenous Australians, says elders fear the loss of communities will only entrench social disadvantage.

    "By closing down communities, ancient knowledge that has been passed down through generations will get lost and people will be lost because of this disconnection that nurtures them physically, emotionally and spiritually," she says.

    "Consequently, poverty, disadvantage, alcoholism, unemployment, etc. – which are contained within communities because of ongoing cultural connection – will be relocated and intensified and brought to the bigger towns."

    Over seven per cent of the Kimberley population is homeless and 90 ninety per cent of this homelessness is comprised of its First Peoples.

    Photography by Photojournalist Ingetje Tadros

    Words by Amy Corderoy | Design by Kathleen Vrinat

    1. Before we get the usual alcohol is to blame sheep shit comments people should try educating themselves a bit.

      So the next thing I remember was that they took us from there and we went to the hospital
      and I kept asking – because the children were screaming and the little brothers and sisters
      were just babies of course, and I couldn’t move, they were all around me, around my neck
      and legs, yelling and screaming. I was all upset and I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t
      know where we were going. I just thought: well, they’re police, they must know what
      they’re doing. I suppose I’ve got to go with them, they’re taking me to see Mum.You know
      this is what I honestly thought. They kept us in hospital for three days and I kept asking,
      ‘When are we going to see Mum?’ And no-one told us at this time. And I think on the third
      or fourth day they piled us in the car and I said, ‘Where are we going?’ And they said, ‘We
      are going to see your mother’. But then we turned left to go to the airport and I got a bit
      panicky about where we were going ... They got hold of me, you know what I mean, and I
      got a little baby in my arms and they put us on the plane. And they still told us we were
      going to see Mum. So I thought she must be wherever they’re taking us.
      Confidential submission 318, Tasmania: removal from Cape Barren Island, Tasmania, of 8 siblings
      in the 1960s. The children were fostered separately.

      Our life pattern was created by the government policies and are forever with me, as
      though an invisible anchor around my neck. The moments that should be shared and
      rejoiced by a family unit, for [my brother] and mum and I are forever lost. The stolen
      years that are worth more than any treasure are irrecoverable.
      Confidential submission 338, Victoria.

      The exploitation of "half-caste" or mixed-blood children was justified by racist ideology, which deemed them inferior to pure whites but superior, because of their white blood, to full-blood Aborigines. Thus, half-caste children could, it was argued, be trained to be productive members of society, but only at a low social level.

      From the 1930s, those Aborigines deemed to have enough white blood could apply for a certificate which exempted them from being Aboriginal. To be eligible, Aborigines needed to display "exemplary" behaviour. In Western Australia, this included: dissolving all tribal associations, except for filial relations; serving in the armed forces or demonstrating they were fit and proper; being able to speak and write English; being free from serious disease (this often meant venereal disease) and having two references from reputable white citizens.

      Dumping on Traditional Owners: the ugly face of Australian racism

      The nuclear industry has been responsible for some of the crudest racism in Australia's history.

      This racism dates from the British nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s but it can still be seen today.

      The British government conducted 12 nuclear bomb tests in Australia in the 1950s, most of them at Maralinga in South Australia. Permission was not sought from affected Aboriginal groups such as the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Tjarutja and Kokatha. Thousands of people were adversely affected and the impact on Aboriginal people was particularly profound.

      Many Aboriginal people suffered from radiological poisoning. There are tragic accounts of families sleeping in the bomb craters.

      Tony Abbott says Australia was 'unsettled' before British arrived

      “Our country is unimaginable without foreign investment,” Fairfax Media reported Abbott saying. “I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land.”

    2. In Broome we have the stuck up racist pommy attitudes of the 1950's championed by the likes of John McCourt, Proctor and Bloom, the "dog whistle" c**t Campbell and his real estate cronies who only know how to make money the stuck up pommy way.
      Steal some else's country.

  126. North Dakota: oil producers aim to cut radioactive waste bills

    (Reuters) - North Dakota's oil industry is pushing to change the state's radioactive waste disposal laws as part of a broad effort to conserve cash as oil prices tumble.

    The waste, which becomes slightly radioactive as part of the hydraulic fracturing process that churns up isotopes locked underground, must be trucked out of state. That's because rules prohibit North Dakota landfills from accepting anything but miniscule amounts of radiation.

    The most common form of radioactive waste is a filter sock, a mesh tube resembling a sandbag through which fracking water is pumped before it's injected back into the earth. Tank and pipeline sludge are also radioactive.

    It's not clear how much of this waste is generated, as North Dakota officials only began requiring tracking last year; final 2014 reports aren't due until next month. Some put the number at 70 tons per day; others say 27 tons.

    Given that, estimates on potential savings aren't precise. But the oil industry says allowing North Dakota's landfills to accept more radioactive material could save at least $10,000 in transportation costs per truckload. There are 11,942 active wells in the state, so assuming each well generates at least one 15-cubic yard Dumpster's worth of radioactive waste each year - a conservative estimate, state officials say - that translates to an annual savings of about $120 million statewide.


    Radioactive waste at heart of new fracking fight

    10:55am EST - 01:32

    Reuters correspondent Ernest Scheyder reports North Dakota's oil industry is pushing for new rules that would allow companies to dump radioactive waste at landfills in the state. The measures would save companies money as oil prices struggle, but has drawn outrage from environmental groups

  127. APPEA angry as Vic probes fraccing again

    Anthony Barich
    Thursday, 29 January 2015

    VICTORIA extended its CSG exploration and fraccing ban and launched yet another parliamentary inquiry announced yesterday, drawing scathing criticism from APPEA suggesting the government was not serious about welcoming investment and defying its own 2013 Gas Market Taskforce recommendation of facilitating new supplies.


    Wake-up call: the activists have won
    Thursday, 29 January 2015
    David Upton

    WITH Victoria extending its ban on all onshore drilling – conventional and unconventional – for another 12-18 months, when do we stop thinking about that as setback for our industry and start talking about the fact that the activists have won?


    News Wrap

    Thursday, 29 January 2015

    IN News Wrap: Crude prices slip again; oil crash to hurt BHP earnings; and analysts unimpressed with US bill to accelerate LNG export approvals.


    Obama wants to bleed us dry: oilers

    Thursday, 29 January 2015

    THE Texas Alliance of Energy Producers has launched a scathing broadside at US President Barack Obama, saying his relentless drive to further bleed the industry dry in taxes and regulations would actually increase oil imports, despite his boasts that the US was “weaning itself off” imports.


    Woodside-China gas dispute

    Blair Price
    Thursday, 29 January 2015

    WOODSIDE is facing claims it played a leading role in delaying contracted North West Shelf LNG shipments to China which were priced under what was dubbed the “worst deal ever”.

    1. Woodside in China gas deal debacle

      Woodside Petroleum and its partners have been accused of holding back natural gas shipments to try to get out of a deal guaranteeing China 25 years of cheap gas.


      29 Jan 2015 - 9:18am

      Woodside in gas dispute with China

      Woodside Petroleum and its partners in the NW Gas Shelf reportedly have been accused of withholding shipments from China to lift the price of a contract.

      Woodside Petroleum has been accused of holding back natural gas shipments from China in an effort to lift the price of a 25-year supply contract.

      The energy company and its partners in the North West Shelf Gas consortium have reportedly withheld eight gas shipments covered by the contract since 2011, according to the Australian Financial Review.

      It said the contract, signed in 2002, did not include a provision to lift prices and now requires the consortium to provide gas to China at what is less than half the current market price for the energy source.

      Woodside in gas dispute with China

      WOODSIDE Petroleum has been accused of holding back natural gas shipments from China in an effort to lift the price of a 25-year supply contract.

      THE energy company and its partners in the North West Shelf Gas consortium have reportedly withheld eight gas shipments covered by the contract since 2011, according to the Australian Financial Review.
      It said the contract, signed in 2002, did not include a provision to lift prices and now requires the consortium to provide gas to China at what is less than half the current market price for the energy source.

    2. THE news back in 2002 :

      Australian Broadcasting Corporation


      Late night news & current affairs


      Broadcast: 8/8/2002

      Aust secures $25b gas deal with China

      The Prime Minister says a $25 billion deal to supply China with gas from the north-west shelf offers the hope of more to come. The deal is the biggest contract Australia has been involved in since Federation.

      Compere: Tony Jones
      Reporter: Emma Griffiths

      The Prime Minister says a $25 billion deal to supply China with gas from the north-west shelf offers the hope of more to come.

      The deal is the biggest contract Australia's been involved in since Federation. John Howard says Australia has now broken into the growing Chinese energy market.

      EMMA GRIFFITHS: After five years of negotiations, Australia has hit pay dirt. One single contract to supply gas to China will increase our exports to that country by more than 10 per cent.

      JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: This is the single biggest export deal this country's ever picked up and this is going to nourish our export income for a quarter of a century.

      It will reinforce the already very strong links between Australia and China and it offers the hope of more to come.

      EMMA GRIFFITHS: For now, the 25-year contract worth up to $25 billion is more than enough.

      Australia's north-west shelf venture will supply three million tonnes of liquified natural gas to China every year beginning in 2005.

      JOHN AKEHURST, WOODSIDE ENERGY: We have broken into the Chinese energy market, a market of over one billion people - 1.2 billion people- and growing almost exponentially.


      EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Prime Minister is happy to claim some credit. The deal was a major focus of his visit to Beijing earlier this year and he says it's a fitting way to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and China.

      JOHN HOWARD: There's the atmosphere of trust that exists between the Australian Government and the Chinese Government. I have worked very hard as Prime Minister to build a sensible relationship with China.


      Gas boom as China signs $25bn deal

      By Tom Allard and John Garnaut
      August 9 2002

      An Australian-based consortium has won a contract to supply China with liquefied natural gas worth up to $25 billion in what will be the nation's biggest single export deal.

      The contract gives Australia a foothold into what promises to become a highly lucrative market.

      The gas, from the North-West Shelf off Western Australia, will be worth between $700 million and $1 billion a year for 25 years.

      China's offshore oil company will invest in the project, which promises $1.5 billion of capital works and new jobs in remote Western Australia.

      The Prime Minister, John Howard, who announced the deal, said the contract to supply China's first liquefied natural gas power station in the rapidly growing Guangdong province would benefit Australia for years.

      "This is a gold medal performance," he said, hailing the deal as the fruits of a close but realistic engagement with China.

      Mr Howard has met President Jiang Zemin more times than any other foreign leader and went to Beijing in May in a final push to secure the deal.

      Woodside Petroleum, which operates the North-West Shelf project, saw its shares surge yesterday by 91� to $14.05 before easing to a closing price of $13.60.

      BHP Billiton Petroleum, BP, Chevron, Shell and Japan Australia LNG are the other members of the consortium.

      As recently as two weeks ago, prospects of landing the entire contract looked poor but Australia's political stability, quality of product, extensive lobbying and competitive price won through.

      The strong likelihood of a war in Iraq did not help rival bids from Qatar and Indonesia, although Jakarta did win another contract.

    3. THE news today 2015 :

      Could Woodside Petroleum Limited’s LNG contract with China end up costing the company billions?

      January 29, 2015

      Back in 2002, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) signed a landmark contract with China to supply up to $25 billion in gas over a 25-year period.

      Touted as ‘the biggest deal since Federation’, this contract single-handedly lifted Australia’s total exports to China by 10% and prompted Woodside chairman John Akehurst to state ‘we have broken into the Chinese energy market’.

      It was a pretty big deal at the time, but one that was in hindsight, perhaps negotiated too defensively by the Aussies.

      The deal contained no clause for renegotiating gas prices in line with the market, which today sees Woodside shipping natural gas to China for US$3.80 per Million British Thermal Units (MMBtu), less than half of the market price at present.

      This also meant Woodside was safeguarded against losses if the market collapsed, but for the last ten years it’s been costing the company money.

      Now, the Chinese are claiming that Woodside and related parties to the supply contract (including Shell, BP and Chevron, among others) are delaying shipments in order to initiate renegotiations over price.

      Fairfax media reported that 8 scheduled gas shipments have apparently not arrived in China since 2011, and Australian officials were alerted to the dispute in December 2014.

      This could possibly be due to the supplier claiming a ‘force majeur’ (the investing equivalent of an ‘act of god’) on shipments by stating that the cost of production exceeds the value of a shipment under the contract.

      Woodside has denied that the contract is running at a loss, and has also previously ruled out renegotiating the contract, unless ‘there’s an opportunity to engage with our buyers on that… (in which case) I can assure you we’ll do that’.

      Given the high stakes of the contract and the money that Woodside is not making on gas it sells to China, investors can be sure that management would jump on any chance to renegotiate the deal.

      It’s even more likely that Chinese industry is not going to be interested in renegotiating their contract.

      No-one likes to pay more for something they’ve already agreed a price on, and Chinese industry players have traditionally displayed high levels of suspicion towards Australia’s iron miners, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and the way they influence commodity markets.

      There’s no reason this suspicion couldn’t carry over into gas contracts as well.

      At the present time, Woodside shareholders have nothing to worry about, since this gas contract is already factored in to company earnings and has been for many years.

      Furthermore, based on Woodside’s margins on the North-West shelf business (as at half-year ended 30 June 2014), the contract does actually appear to be modestly profitable.

      However there is the (very slim) potential for a modest upside thanks to contract renegotiation, or a somewhat higher chance of moderate to heavy costs thanks to arbitration, or the total loss of Chinese business if the North-West shelf consortium really manages to tick the Chinese government off.

      Those are all unlikely outcomes, so for the moment it appears to be business as usual at Woodside Petroleum.

  128. Forget cops and robbers

    Its cops and rockspiders.

    Police failed to act on child sexual abuse complaint against Allan Huggins, victim says

    He described Mr Huggins as like the "headmaster" of the program, and said on one occasion, in 1990 or 1991, when he was about 13, he was taken to his office, where the door was shut and locked and he was sexually abused.

    The man said he ran out of the building and went to his aunt's house, where he told her Huggins had touched him.

    He testified his aunt then went to East Victoria Park to confront Mr Huggins.

    The man said later, when he was in juvenile detention, he was visited by two police officers and asked about the allegation.

    "I specifically remember saying I did want him charged," the man told the court.

    "I never heard from them again."

    The court heard that in 2013 the man made an application for compensation under a system called Redress, and police again investigated his complaint.

    Mr Huggins has pleaded not guilty to all 49 charges against him.

  129. ACOSS budget submission calls on Hockey, Abbott to close tax loopholes rather than cut spending

    The peak social welfare group is urging the Federal Government to focus on closing tax loopholes, rather than making spending cuts, to repair the budget.

    In its budget submission for 2015-16, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) said more than $13 billion of savings would be available next financial year, and $18 billion the year after, from reducing tax concessions and tightening middle and upper-class welfare.

    Among the tax loopholes, ACOSS said the Federal Government could save $6.6 billion in 2015-16 from axing the private health insurance rebate, $2 billion by curbing the use of trusts and private companies to reduce income tax liabilities, about $800 million through tightening and extending the taxation of superannuation and $2.2 billion from cutting poorly targeted tax rebates and concessions.

    ACOSS also recommended reforming negative gearing so that expenses on investments (such as interest payments) would only be deductible against earnings from the same investments, rather than against the taxpayers' whole income.

    The organisation's chief executive Cassandra Goldie told AM that reducing negative gearing would not only save the Government money, but would also be good for first home buyers.

    "We're fuelling professional investors into the real estate property market. It's to the detriment of people who are trying to get into that market for housing purposes," she said.

    "We have a problem with affordable housing in Australia and we also have a problem with the lost revenue that comes from this kind of property speculation leading to tax minimisation."

    The welfare group also pointed to $1 billion in savings available from removing capital gains tax concessions for small business assets, which it argued encourages risky speculation.

    Tighter expenditure measures include an estimated $1.35 billion saving from tightening the age pension assets test, $1.8 billion from reducing subsidies for out of patent medicines, and $400 million from abolishing the extended Medicare safety net.

    Cassandra Goldie said ACOSS is only proposing taking the pension assets test back to pre-2006 levels, before it was increased by the Howard government.

    "Now what happened during that period was the government of the day eased the assets test for eligibility for the aged pension," she explained.

    "All we're simply saying is we need to restore it to where the test was prior to that period."

    In its submission ACOSS suggested that some of these savings could be put towards a $51-per-week increase in allowances, such as the Newstart unemployment benefit, a 30 per cent increase in the rent assistance cap, the indexation of allowances and family payments to wages, an investment in dental care, maintaining Aboriginal health funding and establishing an affordable housing growth fund, amongst other programs.

    ACOSS estimated the Government would come out more than $7 billion ahead in 2015-16 if it adopted all the proposals, and more than $10.5 billion in 2016-17.

    In December, the Federal Government revealed the projected 2015-16 budget deficit had blown out from $17.2 billion in May's budget to $31.2 billion in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

    That deficit also assumes that the Government will get through a number of budget savings measures still currently stalled in the Senate.

    From other news sites:
    •The Australian yesterday at 9:11pmWed 28 Jan 2015, 9:11pm
    ACOSS wants Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to ask rich Australians to do more heavy lifting to fix budget

    •The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday at 9:19pmWed 28 Jan 2015, 9:19pm
    Abbott government's second budget must be fairer than its first, says ACOSS

  130. Buru Energy Continues Drilling at Sunbeam 1 Well in WA's Permit EP 129

    by Buru Energy Ltd.

    Press Release
    Thursday, January 29, 2015

    Buru Energy, an oil and gas exploration and production firm, provided Thursday the following weekly update on drilling operations at the Sunbeam 1 well in EP 129 in Western Australia as at 06:00 hours, Jan. 29 (AWST).

    Since the last progress report, the well has been drilled ahead in 8.5 inch (216 millimeter) hole to a measured depth as at 06:00 hours today of 1,863 feet (568 meters).

    The forward operation is to drill ahead to the first casing point planned at approximately 2,296 feet (700 meters) and run and cement 7 inch (178 millimeter) casing.

    The Sunbeam 1 well is located in exploration permit EP 129, and completion of the well will satisfy the Year 4 work commitment on that permit.

    Buru Energy has a 100 percent equity interest in the well and in EP 129. The well is located some 53 miles (85 kilometers) south east of Derby and some 11 miles (18 kilometers) south of the Gibb River Road.


    LNG player Hess cuts spending

    Jan 27 (LNGJ) - Hess Corp., the US oil and gas company with plans for a liquefied natural gas tolling agreement with the Northwest Shelf LNG plant in Western Australia, is cutting its investment this year by 16 percent to $4.7 billion from $5.6Bln in 2014.

    Amongst the budget reductions, New York-based Hess is reducing its spending in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to $1.8 billion compared with $2.2Bln in 2014.

    Chief Executive John Hess said: "Our company is well positioned to manage through the current price environment, with a strong balance sheet and resilient portfolio. Our 2015 budget reflects a disciplined approach to maintaining our financial strength and flexibility."


    'Big oil' cuts $25 billion spending within hours to shield dividends

    Date January 30, 2015 - 11:30AM

    Royal Dutch Shell, Occidental Petroleum and ConocoPhillips pledged to slash spending by almost $US10 billion this year alone - enough to drill more than 1,400 shale wells. The risk: cannibalising budgets to feed cash to shareholders may leave companies with reserves too anemic to fuel future output, said Timothy Doubek, who helps manage $US26 billion in corporate debt at Columbia Management Advisors.

    "It's a pretty impressive ax they're taking to their drilling budgets, but when the stock is down 30 or 50 per cent, what are they trying to protect by preserving dividend?" Doubek said. "You're protecting a stock price that can't be protected. Why don't you keep as much cash as possible so you can be the first one to take advantage when assets go up for sale?"


    Crude oil fell below $US44 a barrel in New York trading Thursday, the lowest in almost six years, as rising US production adds to oversupplies.

    Statoil, Tullow Oil and Premier Oil said they've delayed projects or cut exploration spending. BP has frozen wages and Chevron delayed announcing its 2015 drilling budget so that it could reassess the market.


    Shell missing expectations by about 20 per cent "doesn't bode well for competitors," said Kim Fustier, an analyst at Edison Investment Research.

    Occidental swung to a loss of $US3.41 billion after the company wrote down the value of oil and gas fields it won't drill until energy prices rise enough to make them profitable. The company announced $US2.9 billion in spending cuts.

    ConocoPhillips, the third-largest US energy producer, said it lost $US39 million and announced $US2 billion in additional spending cuts. The Houston-based company will spend $US11.5 billion drilling wells in projects from Colorado to Indonesia, a decline of almost a third from last year. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company by market value, reports earnings on Monday.

  131. Shell shelves Arrow LNG project in Queensland

    DateJanuary 30, 2015

    Royal Dutch Shell has finally ditched plans for a new $US20 billion-plus liquefied natural gas project in Queensland,making it the latest casualty of the oil price slump.

    Global chief executive Ben van Beurden said the proposed greenfield Arrow LNG project with PetroChina was "off the table", while other ventures would be slowed as priority was given instead to Shell's North American LNG projects.

    The Arrow greenfield project is formally "cancelled," Shell said in a presentation released for its fourth-quarter results in London which cited several ventures that were being deferred or abandoned in the wake of the collapse in oil prices.

    However the energy giant's Australian spokesman said that work was going ahead on the development of the Arrow coal seam gas reserves, which would just not be commercialised through a separate LNG project.

    "Work continues on development of Arrow's substantial gas resources in the Bowen and Surat Basins," Shell Australia spokesman Paul Zennaro said.


    The comments confirm that the focus of Shell and PetroChina is now on supplying their Arrow gas to one or more of the three LNG projects already under construction or operating in Queensland.

    BG Group's $US20.4 billion Queensland Curtis LNG project, which started exports earlier this month, is short of gas feedstock, as is Santos' $US18.5 billion GLNG project. Arrow gas could potentially also feed into Origin Energy's $24.7 billion Australia Pacific LNG project and underpin an expansion.


    Speaking to investors overnight in London, Mr van Beurden said other international gas projects were also being slowed, casting doubt on Shell's eagerness to pursue the Browse floating LNG project in Western Australia, which has already been delayed by six months.

    Shell on Thursday announced a three-year, $US15 billion ($19.3 billion) cut in spending as a result of the collapse in prices, and signalled that spending in 2015 would be at least 15 per cent down on the original budget approaching $US40 billion.

    "In integrated gas, we have slowed down on new developments, which for example means Arrow greenfield LNG is off the table, and Abadi FLNG and Browse FLNG have been re-phased to optimise the concept by the operator," Mr van Beurden said at the briefing.

    "We are prioiritising North America LNG options in that timeframe, LNG Canada and Elba," he explained, referring to Shell's LNG export projects in western Canada and the US state of Georgia.

    In the Woodside Petroleum-led Browse floating LNG project, where Shell is Woodside's biggest partner, the timing for starting engineering and design had already been deferred by six months to mid-2015. While the Shell chief executive's words place some uncertainty whether the oil major wants to proceed in that timeframe, the company has still listed Browse among final investment decision "choices" for the 2015-16 period.

    Shell has several major investments in construction in Australia including the $US54 billion Gorgon LNG venture in WA, in which it has a 25 per cent stake and which is due to begin production later this year, and its Prelude floating LNG venture in the Browse Basin, due to begin production in 2016-17.


    "Resources plays spending outside of North America will be cut by around $US200 million, 20 per cent in 2015, and we expect to exit from several positions," he said. This may potentially result in new impairments and well write-downs."

  132. Silver lining to linking Asian gas prices to oil

    Tuesday, 3 February 2015
    Gomati Jagadeesan

    FOR Asia’s key natural gas buyers grappling with high natural gas prices, the slide in oil prices couldn’t have at a better time – it has become a buyer’s market with many long-term contracts likely to be renegotiated.

  133. Why was Newman handing out billions to an Indian coal mining company that didn't need it?

    Richard Denniss

    The Carmichael coal mine project will go ahead in Queensland without the incentives offered to Adani by the previous government

    The Newman government was handing an Indian billionaire billions of dollars of taxpayer money for literally – literally – no reason.

    During the recent state election, both the LNP and Labor in Queensland broadly supported the Carmichael coal project by Indian mining giant Adani. The key difference was whether they were expecting the taxpayer to support it as well.

    Adani’s statement that it doesn’t need taxpayer assistance to get its enormous, controversial 60 year Carmichael coal project off the ground should have Queenslanders scratching their heads as to why it was being offered in the first place.

    Adani was offered $450m from the Newman government to help fund a rail project to deliver coal from its mine to its export port.

    On top of this, the LNP then offered to waive its right to collect, on behalf of the public, potentially billions of dollars in royalties for the start of the mine’s life, as an incentive to get the project off the ground.

    But after the LNP’s loss on Saturday, Adani have wasted no time coming out and reassuring Queenslanders that, never fear, the project will go ahead with or without Newman’s generous incentives to proceed.

    Hold the phones. Weren’t those incentives designed to secure a project that wasn’t able to go ahead without them?


    Typically, whenever a government throws taxpayer money behind a project, the largesse is defended by telling everybody we’ll earn it back in time.

    Queensland Treasury, the ones charged with checking to see if that money is actually earned back, showed that argument is bankrupt.

    “There are also risks associated with expenditure on infrastructure that must be borne by government”, they write. “The continuation of the mining boom is not guaranteed.”

    The money the Newman government was dangling in front of Adani to encourage it to make a decision it had already made was ridiculous as much as it was irresponsible. Billions of dollars more funding to go straight into an Indian mining company’s profits comes at the expense of billions of dollars of hospitals and schools.

    Adani’s latest statement shows that money should never have been offered in the first place. It also shows the voters of Queensland had every right to be concerned about transparency and accountability in government decision making.

    What’s so disappointing is that only now do we find out that Adani, who was happy to accept the money being offered, never needed it in the first place. Rent seeking is alive and well. Future governments should take note.

  134. 2015 the year the truth will come out.

    Thatcher stopped Peter Hayman being named as paedophile-link civil servant

    Papers released to National Archives about senior diplomat will be of interest to campaigners for victims of historical sex abuse

    Margaret Thatcher was adamant officials should not publicly name Sir Peter Hayman, a senior diplomat connected to a paedophile scandal, even after she had been fully briefed on his activities, examination of formerly secret papers released to the National Archives shows.

    The 37-page file includes numerous handwritten notes and annotations by the late Conservative prime minister. It also reveals that security services were not initially informed about Hayman’s proclivities, as a secretary forgot to pass on a message to the relevant official and police neglected to follow up the matter.

    The densely typed documents, which are available for view to the public for the first time on Tuesday, also describe how Hayman, who died in 1992, apparently arranged for “obscene correspondence” to be sent to the British high commission in Ottawa when he was the most senior diplomat there. A member of domestic staff at the mission was wrongly blamed at the time for the letters, which were sent to a false female name.

    The file, compiled between October 1980 and March 1981, is made up of memos and background notes put together for Thatcher, then prime minister, and is littered with her handwritten notes, underlinings and crossings out.

    The existence of the file was revealed by Sky News last month. On Friday the Cabinet Office announced it had reviewed the decision to keep the file secret beyond the standard 30-year deadline and was releasing it to the National Archives in Kew. A preview of the file was issued to the media.

    The details of the treatment of Hayman’s case will be of interest to campaigners seeking justice for the victims of historical sex abuse, whose cases will be considered by an inquiry commissioned by the home secretary, Theresa May.


  135. 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, UN says

    World Metereological Organisation’s analysis narrowly places 2014 as the hottest recorded since 1850, as global warming continues

    Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, according to the UN World Meteorological Organisation, as rising carbon emissions continue to trap heat and drive climate change.

    The WMO’s new analysis narrowly places 2014 as the hottest recorded since 1850, as have recent analyses from other organisations. The WMO analysis is particularly authoritative as it brings together a number of leading temperature records, as well as alternative ways of estimating the warmth of the globe.

    The average global air temperatures over land and sea in 2014 were 0.57C above the average of 14.00C for the 1961-1990 reference period. The record temperature was above those in 2005 and 2010, the next hottest years, but only by a small amount which was within the margin of uncertainty in the calculations.


    The confirmation of 2014’s extreme heat comes ahead of the next round of preparatory UN climate change negotiations in Geneva, starting on 9 February. These are intended to pave towards a global agreement to tackle climate change, the deadline for which is a summit in Paris in December.

    The WMO analysis is based, amongst others, on three datasets - Hadcrut, NOAA and NASA - and the analysis from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

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