Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fresh Eyes

Host Simon Baker travels to Northwest Australia to visit one Aboriginal tribe defending their 'Song Cycle' and way of life as their government and corporations attempt to develop natural gas fields around them.

Very powerful story on Walmadan (James Price Point). Amazing when its put into a context like this, sit back and watch, then share.


  1. No doubt about it Woodside shit-canned the gas plant for financial reasons but the activist campaign against it still stands as a world class effort. It's power has increased with time and has secured it's place in history. Legend it is.

  2. Bad week for Barnett continues...................


    Canadian tax cut deflates Woodside's Browse liquefied natural gas project

    Date: October 22 2014

    Angela Macdonald-Smith

    Woodside Petroleum's nascent ambitions to develop a $C15 billion ($15.14 billion) liquefied natural gas venture in western Canada have received a boost after British Columbia halved a proposed tax on gas export projects – but the same move could hinder its plans for the Browse floating project off Western Australia.

    Under the regime, announced overnight Sydney time, a tax of 3.5 per cent will be levied on LNG export projects, compared with the original proposal in February of up to 7 per cent.

    The cut came after Malaysian national oil company Petronas threatened to suspend its plans for an LNG venture in Canada. It boosts the prospects for projects there, analysts say.

    "It's bad news for Browse because suddenly there's a lot more competition at the high end of the cost curve," said Macquarie Equities analyst Adrian Wood.

    "Cheap projects are going to go ahead no matter what, but suddenly if there is momentum behind these high-cost Canadian projects it makes Australia's role in the LNG market that little bit harder."

    British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada, has 18 potential LNG projects that have, among them, invested more than $C7 billion to acquire natural gas assets, with another $C2 billion spent on preparations for gas export infrastructure.

    Province Finance Minister Michael de Jong said the government believed the framework "strikes the right balance between a competitive economic environment and a fair return to British Columbians".

    RBC analyst Greg Pardy said the tax announcement was "positive" given intensified LNG supply competition from the US, east Africa and elsewhere.

    "It would appear that British Columbia's LNG tax will not unduly burden a sector that has yet to come into existence," Mr Pardy told clients.

    Woodside's proposal for an LNG project at Grassy Point, about 30 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, is at an early stage, with no indication yet of gas supplies or potential partners.

    According to documents filed with regulators in August, Woodside envisages either an onshore export plant or a near-shore floating plant.

    The first phase would have between 6 million and 15 million tonnes a year of capacity, costing $C10 billion to $C15 billion.

    A Woodside spokeswoman could not immediately comment on the tax change.

    The most advanced project in Canada is Shell's LNG Canada venture, which involves major importer Korea Gas Corporation, Mitsubishi and PetroChina.

    LNG Canada said it was "pleased to have certainty" over the tax, which "provides balance" to the sector's challenges.

    Mr Wood said Shell's involvement in LNG Canada was another hurdle for Browse LNG, where the oil major is Woodside's biggest partner, because it likely has little appetite to undertake both projects simultaneously.

    "The front runner seems increasingly likely to be LNG Canada, and I think it's probably just pulled a little bit further ahead."

    Woodside is targeting a decision later this year to start initial engineering work on Browse LNG, and a final investment decision in late 2015.

  3. Juniors’ conventional conundrum

    Friday, 24 October 2014
    Anthony Barich

    WITH majors thinking twice about high-risk jurisdictions globally and re-focusing on the US, Aussie juniors are conflicted about whether conventional or unconventional is the way to go in a plummeting oil price.


    Papua New Guinea LNG shareholder says three more production Trains are possible

    Thursday, 23 October 2014

    OilSearch, the main shareholder with ExxonMobil in the Papua New Guinea LNG project, said natural gas in its resource base in the Oceania nation can support at least two additional LNG Trains in PNG.


  4. BYE BYE FRACKING............................


    Jeffrey Gundlach has never been one for seeing silver linings.

    While some economists see a fillip to economic growth from falling energy prices, the bond investment guru has added the falling oil price to his list of reasons to expect a weak economy and low interest rates as far as the eye can see, US investment correspondent Stephen Foley reports.

    Presenting to's Inside Fixed Income conference in Newport Beach, California, the founder of DoubleLine Capital predicted a further leg down in the price of a barrel of oil would wipe jobs created by the US shale revolution, and he wondered aloud if it might even tip the country into deflation.

    His thesis begins with Saudi Arabia's room to push the cost of Brent crude lower (see first slide below).

    Mr Gundlach said:

    I'm convinced Saudi Arabia wants oil at $70. They love turning the screws on people who mean them harm in the Middle East. That means bye bye fracking, bye bye all that job creation because at $70 fracking becomes too expensive.


    Oil will tumble to $70 says new 'bond king'

    The meltdown in the oil market is not over yet.

    That's the message from Jeffrey Gundlach, the star bond investor who predicts oil will plunge another $10 (it's $80 a barrel now).

    While another decline in oil prices would bring smiles to American consumers -- think around $2.70 a gallon at the pump as a national average -- it could spell trouble for the boom in shale projects boosting the U.S. economy.

    "I think it's going to $70 and if it does, it's bye, bye fracking. Goodbye all of the great job creation from fracking because fracking becomes too expensive if you can buy oil at $70 a barrel," Gundlach said on Wednesday at's Inside Fixed Income Conference.

    Related: Oil prices are plunging. Don't cheer yet

    Those concerns help explain why energy exploration stocks like Apache (APA)and Newfield Exploration (NFX) have been creamed in recent weeks as investors watch the downward spiraling price of oil.

    Crude plunged 2.4% to $80.52 a barrel on Wednesday. That's the lowest price since June 2012.

    Oil politics: While Gundlach acknowledged China's economic slowdown is hurting oil prices, he mostly pointed to geopolitical drivers to support his bearish energy call.

    "I'm convinced that Saudi Arabia wants the price of oil at $70," said Gundlach, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Los-Angeles-based DoubleLine.

    Related: Wall Street bombshell: Bill Gross out at Pimco

    That's because the Arab country's budget can withstand lower oil prices than some other oil-producing countries, including arch rival Iran. Saudi Arabia raised eyebrows recently by ramping up production in the face of plummeting prices.

    "They don't care if they run a short-term deficit because they love turning the screws on the people that mean them harm in the Middle East," said Gundlach, hinting at Iran.

    Another leg down in oil prices would also be bad news for Russia, which relies heavily on oil revenue to balance its budget. Last week, Moody's cited plunging oil prices in its decision to downgrade Russia's credit rating two notches to just above "junk" status.

    Related: Crashing oil prices could crush Vladimir Putin

  5. THE DON COULD BE BACK.......................


    Billionaires Andrew Forrest and Kerry Stokes are understood to have joined the race to buy Apache's WA gas business as they battle front runner Woodside Petroleum for the spoils.

    Industry sources say Mr Stokes' Seven Group Holdings has teamed with US private equity giant KKR, continuing a long-standing relationship between the two dating back to their joint ownership of the Seven Network.

    It is unclear whether they have already lodged a bid with Apache.

    The Forrest-controlled Fortescue Metals Group, meanwhile, is understood to be part of a consortium led by Macquarie Group and including WA's biggest industrial gas user, Alcoa.

    None of the bidders involved would yesterday confirm their interest in the Apache assets, which analysts expects to fetch at least $2.5 billion.

    WestBusiness first revealed Woodside's interest in August.

    There are reports Woodside, which is desperate to secure more oil and gas production to offset a lack of medium-term organic growth, is considering a knock-out bid of more than $4 billion.

    However, there has also been industry chatter Woodside's initial approach to Apache was a low-ball offer, which was rejected outright and sparked tension between the two camps.

    Seven Group is gradually building up an oil and gas business with onshore assets in the US and a pitch to secure Nexus Energy.

    The acquisition of Apache's WA unit, which includes the Varanus Island and Devil Creek gas hubs as well as a stake in the Chevron-led Wheatstone LNG project, would transform Seven Group under chief executive Don Voelte's reign.

    Fortescue and Alcoa's motivation to own the Apache assets is driven by their struggle to secure long-term gas supplies at below market prices for their respective Pilbara iron ore and South West alumina operations.

    Adding to the intrigue is that Alcoa is seeking more than $100 million in damages over the 2008 Varanus Island explosion that crippled WA's gas supply.

    Apache's WA joint venture partner Santos is also evaluating its options, though not expected to join a high-priced bidding war.

    Apache has told its investors it hopes to conclude its WA exit by June though sources close to the process have questioned whether the timetable can be met.

    The WA exit is part of a shareholder-triggered repositioning by Apache from global player to onshore US-focused specialist.

    To achieve its aim and placate restless investors, Apache needs to also withdraw from Egypt, where it is in a joint venture with Sinopec, and the North Sea.

    But it is understood Apache is struggling to sell its North Sea unit because of attached liabilities, which may put an end to its overall strategy of a piecemeal exit from its non-US positions.


    Apache oil find raises WA pulses, triples Carnarvon share price

    Angela Macdonald-Smith

    Local reaction to the news this week that US oil player Apache had discovered oil off a remote part of the West Australian coast ranged from exuberant enthusiasm to deep scepticism.

    Judging by the tripling in the stock price of Apache’s junior local partner Carnarvon Petroleum, the market arguably got ahead of itself.

    Even so, the chat among industry types is that the find of oil in the offshore Canning Basin – known also as the Bedout sub-Basin – is indeed significant.


    Apache was of course cautious, given the early results. Its preliminary estimate of a possible find of 300 million barrels of oil in place made it clear there was just a 10 per cent chance of that volume. With conventional dis­coveries typically recovering only about a third of oil “in place”, the volume that may be produced will be much smaller and will depend on the permeability and porosity of the reservoir.

    Carnarvon boss Adrian Cook was also voicing caution when he spoke with Drilling down this week, and was backing away from the headline of his company’s early media release hailing “the largest oil discovery in Australia in 30 years”.

  6. Just imagine if Woodside were out at Prices Point now building their doomed gas plant.
    It rained for months out there last wet and the road was closed for most of it.

    As Redhand said "..........(we) would just like to remind Proctor/Bloom that if Woodside had gone ahead they would have sunk their corporation and Broome would have gone down with them."

    Now this.....................


    Oil slump is threat to LNG projects: falling prices could cut export revenue by $11bn

    The Australian |
    October 25, 2014

    Matt Chambers

    LOWER oil prices could put a stop to the nation’s future LNG projects, even ones that still stack up on paper, and cut up to $11 billion a year from increasingly LNG-reliant export revenue, ­industry leaders and analysts say.

    Brent crude prices that held above $US100 a barrel for most of the past three years have slumped dramatically since June, falling 25 per cent to a four-year low of about $US85 a barrel and, if ­sustained, hitting the economics of six under-construction LNG plants, whose contract prices are linked to moves in oil.

    If prices don’t bounce, industry experts and analysts say returns will be poor on most existing projects and any Australian future LNG projects will be questionable.

    Adding to the hurdle of getting a new LNG project into construction at a time when shareholders are demanding greater discipline would be a big overall cashflow hit to the oil majors, which are the most likely proponents of new LNG projects.

    Former senior BHP Billiton executive Alberto Calderon, who was a contender to replace chief executive Marius Kloppers last year, says a sustained period of $US80 oil would accelerate an inevitable move to lower LNG prices that would make most Australian LNG projects not return their cost of capital.

    “The problem with Australian LNG is it has a break-even price of somewhere around $US14 (per million British thermal units),” Mr Calderon, BHP’s former chief commercial officer, told The Weekend Australian.

    “An oil price of $US80 a barrel would translate to $US12 LNG, which is close to spot prices and which would hurt the LNG projects. Anything at below $US13.50 or $US14 means money is being lost.”

    Mr Calderon, who was head of corporate strategy when BHP went big into US shale oil and gas when it sold out of the Browse LNG project in WA, said LNG ­prices would probably drift down to $US12 in the longer term as the US exports up to 100 million ­tonnes of LNG a year over the next decade and cheaper Russian gas arrives in China.

    LNG pricing is kept confidential, but the general assumption is that at $US100 a barrel, LNG ­prices are $US15 per MMBtu. A 20 per cent drop in oil would be ­reflected in the LNG price, with contract floors not kicking in until oil prices fall to $US60 or less.

    Oil has slumped as global demand falters, the US and Libya have increased supply and Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to cut production to underpin prices has led to speculation it is happy to leave prices at levels that may hamper US shale oil growth.

    Few are forecasting oil will stay at current levels, with long-term analysts forecasts for Brent remaining at just above $US100.

    But futures markets, where traders are betting on and hedging oil prices, are indicating that prices are now not expected to rise above $US90 in the next five years.

  7. Oil slump is threat to LNG projects: falling prices could cut export revenue by $11bn

    In March, Australia’s Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics forecast a $US105 oil price would earn the nation $60.5bn a year of LNG export revenue in 2017 and 2018, when the $180bn of under-construction projects should be in full production.

    At current prices of $US85 a barrel, and keeping BREE’s currency assumptions of US85c, revenue falls by $11.5bn to $49bn. The lower profits would also substantially extend the wait for the new projects to use up ­depreciation credits and start paying the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax.

    Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said a recent company strategic review had employed consultants to take a close look at global LNG projects.

    It found most Australian projects were not profitable at lower oil prices, unlike in Papua New Guinea. “A number of projects across the world become pretty marginal at $US80-$US85 and if you believe the oil price is going to stay in that range of $US80-$US90, that will start to impact ­future investments for projects,” Mr Botten told The Weekend ­Australian.

    “If you spent your money, you’re still likely to produce but I’m sure that oil price will attenuate new projects.”

    He also warned that the game could change for projects that were still marginally economic as big oil companies dealt with falling cashflow.

    “Where shareholders are already telling you to demonstrate discipline in investment and instead of putting it in marginal projects, give it back, some of these projects are going to struggle to get boards around the world to commit substantial licks of money,” Mr Botten said.

    Neither Mr Botten nor Mr Calderon said they were forecasting oil prices would stay at depressed levels.

    The most likely future LNG projects in Australia are three Woodside-operated Browse floating LNG plants off Western Australia, which would use major partner Shell’s technology, and a $US10bn fourth-train expansion of the Gorgon LNG plant being built by Chevron and which has Shell and ExxonMobil as ­partners.

    London-based JPMorgan oil analyst Fred Lucas said the lower oil price was expected to lead to “big ticket” project deferrals.

    “The prospect of another ­potentially prolonged period of much lower than expected oil ­prices should see big oil’s boards reach for the ‘save cash, preserve value, protect the dividend’ ­restructuring folder,” Mr Lucas said.

    “We expect the first company signals on 2015 upstream capital expenditure to point to lower than prior guidance.”

    JPMorgan estimates that a $US25 drop in oil prices to $US80 during 2015 and 2016 would mean $US38bn of lost free cashflow for Shell.

    Credit Suisse analyst Thomas Adolff, who covers big oil from London, said many LNG projects were based on Brent staying at $US90-$US100.


    No doubt about it - it would have been all over with not just local panic but nationwide panic felt around the world.


  8. The dark property cloud hanging over China
    about 21 hours ago | 2:30pm | Dow Jones Newswires

    The average price of new homes in 70 Chinese cities fell year over year in September for the first time in nearly two years, as property developers continue to cut prices to lure home buyers. The drop is yet another signal of a flagging property market, which poses one of the biggest risks to China’s slowing economy.

    The average price of new homes declined 1.1% in September compared with a 0.5% gain in August. The reading marks the first drop since December 2012 when prices fell 0.1%. On a month over month basis, prices in September continued to fall for the fifth straight month, down 1.0% compared with a 1.1% fall in August, according to calculations by The Wall Street Journal.

    Many economists and investors are concerned that a worsening slump in the property market could cause a sharper-than-expected slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.

  9. Uranium miner ERA 'did not meet expected standards', new report over Kakadu acid spill says

    A report has criticised standards at a Kakadu uranium mine, but local Aboriginal people say the investigation process had broken down and they had not been told the report was being released.

    The investigation looked into the circumstances surrounding the incident at the Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) Ranger uranium mine in the national park, where 1,400 cubic metres of acidic slurry was spilt out of a collapsed tank about 1:00am on December 7, 2013.

    The report found "at the time of the tank failure ERA's management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet expected standards".


    Justin O'Brien, chief executive of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation which represents the Mirarr traditional owners of the area, said they were not informed of the intention to release the report yesterday.

    "I don't know whether they've fallen down their deep dark hole, like in Alice in Wonderland and landed at the Mad Hatter's tea party, because it's just absurd that you would establish a taskforce to investigate, deliberate over a nearly 12-month period and then release the report and not have any dialogue with any taskforce members," Mr O'Brien said.

    "We are bitterly disappointed that the investigation taskforce process has broken down, not for any want of trying on our part.

    "Federal and NT government ministers should not have publicly released the report summary without the agreement of all taskforce members," he said.

    "To date the ministers have refused to commit to undertaking such a process.


  10. What a world they walked into.


    Pintupi Nine mark 30th anniversary of first contact with white Australia

    The last remaining group of Indigenous Australians to make contact with white Australia is marking the 30th anniversary of the event.

    The so-called Pintupi Nine were discovered living a traditional hunter gatherer life almost 200 years after European settlers first landed in the country.

    They spent their days walking enormous distances from rock-hole to water-soak searching for water, until the day in 1984 when they stumbled on the outside world and the media stumbled on them.

    Three decades after they first laid eyes on white Australians, the Pintupi Nine have told their version of that day.

    The family's leader, Warlimpirrnga, now in his early 50s, recalled his first contact with the outside world.

    "We had just speared a kangaroo," he said through a translator.

    "We could smell the shit of other humans in the air and we saw smoke, and we knew there must have been people camping close by."

    He said he and his brother approached the campsite and spotted two men from the Kiwirrkurra community, which is located a couple of hundred kilometres away.

    "The people heard me. They were scared. They became frantic running back and forth," he said.

    The chance encounter sparked a dramatic chase over the next three days to track down the elusive Pintupi Nine.


    Since then the family had been exposed to a life that was, in some ways, easier than what they had previously known, with ready access to food and water, housing, education and medical treatment.

    But it also exposed them to harsher elements of the modern world - "white-fella" diseases, alcohol, substance abuse.

    All have had an impact on each of the family members in one way or another.

    Their transition to community life marked the end of tens of thousands of years of continuous occupation of the Pintupi land, one of the harshest environments on the planet.

    But as Yikultji explained, the land still holds as strong a bond for her today as it did 30 years ago.

    "I'm Yikultji, Lake Mackay is my country, my home, my dreamtime stories, my birthplace," she said.

    "This is my place, my country. I grew up around Lake Mackay. This is where I was born."

  11. The treatment of Ms. Dhu...............


    Ms Dhu death: Family distressed by details of WA lockup death amid calls for urgent inquiry

    The family of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody in August says they are "devastated" to learn details of her death.

    Ms Dhu, 22, died in August after being locked up in the South Hedland Police Station in Western Australia over unpaid fines.

    She was taken to the Hedland Health Campus on three occasions.

    On her third visit to hospital Ms Dhu was not breathing, did not have a pulse and was unconscious.

    The ABC can exclusively reveal the final hours of Ms Dhu's life, including that she was transported from the lockup to hospital in the rear pod of a police vehicle.

    In a letter obtained by the ABC the regional medical director explained on August 4, Ms Dhu "was returned to the hospital by the police unconscious, pulseless and not breathing".


    How can anyone find someone " unconscious, pulseless and not breathing " and not call an ambulance ?

    A male witness from Yandi Yarra saw the police drag her across the concrete floor by her arms.

    Legalised murder.


  12. Accepted bad behaviour by police would question if this man is really the guilty person.

    (Sympathy to the deceased family)


    Judge ruled Gibson was 'denied human rights'

    Ms Bishop remained highly critical of the police investigation into her son's death.

    Gibson was initially charged with murder, but the botched handling of initial police interviews led to Gibson's early admissions about the crime being ruled inadmissible.

    In considering a pretrial application from Gibson's lawyers, the Supreme Court ruled that the police had breached Gibson's basic rights by unlawfully detaining him, failing to record the interview, failing to use an interpreter and failing to respect his right to speak with a lawyer.

    The murder charge was dropped and prosecutors then accepted a guilty plea to a lesser charge of manslaughter.


    Poor policing and courtroom rules

    Poor policing is a problem throughout Australia. Police culture is resistant to change and confession-led rather than forensically driven [11]. CrimTrac, a national database for DNA profiles, was established in 2000 but not used or extended since. Laws making it illegal to routinely sample DNA do not help.

    Robin Napper, who helped clear more than five people from wrongful convictions, found a “huge resentment from Australian police who want to keep their egos intact.” [11] If you have an unlucky day you might be wrongfully locked up. If you’re Aboriginal, 364 days might be unlucky.

    Dr Diana Eades, a university linguist, found that during courtroom hearings Aboriginal witnesses were subjected to bullying and shouting until they finally agreed to the propositions being put out to them [14]. “Despite the obvious fact that the answers were given under great duress, and therefore not given freely, the legal process interpreted them literally,” she said.

    Even if a witness repeatedly answers just “Yes” to a question, courtroom rules allow lawyers to replace this answer with the words from the question, and then report these as if they were the witness’ own words [14].

    Life is cheap in Australia. If the police haven't got a lead in a homicide after a couple of weeks and it's not a high-profile victim, then it's described as a missing person.
    —Robin Napper, independent forensic investigator


    Aboriginal people lack understanding of white law

    More than 90% of people in Arnhem Land, NT, could not answer basic legal questions and think white society is ‘lawless’ [1]. In some Aboriginal communities people are unaware that rape is considered illegal. 95% of Yolngu people could not explain the 30 most commonly used English legal terms, such as ‘bail’, ‘commit’, ‘arrest’ or even ‘guilty’. Even 90% of community leaders, school teachers and council representatives had no understanding of these legal terms.

    This might explain why in 2008 over 80% of the Northern Territory prison population was Aboriginal. Many of them might as well be innocent because they didn’t understand what ‘guilty’ meant.

    “People thought that pleading guilty actually got them through the court quickly and they didn’t go to jail,” says Richard Trudgen, CEO of the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services [1].

    “When they realised what the term guilty meant they were able to identify some of the things that they were convicted of that they never had anything to do with.”

    When asked about their lawyer helping them, many [Aboriginal people] were surprised to hear that this person was 'on their side'.
    —Findings in the An Absence of Mutual Respect report [1]

    Another reason why Aboriginal people make ‘false’ statements in court is that they are hearing-impaired through a cycle of poor health.

    There is a clear relationship between hearing loss and early Indigenous justice problems [9] —90% of Indigenous inmates in Darwin Correctional Centre suffer from hearing loss.


    1. Re "Judge ruled Gibson was 'denied human rights'"
      and "Aboriginal people lack understanding of white law"
      There is a direct link to the Pintubi Nine story "Pintupi Nine mark 30th anniversary of first contact with white Australia"

      "Gene Gibson, 23, from the Western Desert town of KIWIRRKURRA sat motionless as the sentencing was handed down in the WA Supreme Court."

      And this story.

      "KIWIRRKURRA was more an idea than a ­community in October 1984: a collection of steel-mesh humpies and crude timber-and-­corrugated-iron buildings clustered around a windmill water-bore 80km southwest of Lake Mackay. Its only permanent white resident was its government co-ordinator, Charlie McMahon, a didgeridoo-playing jack-of-all trades whose left hand, blown off when he was a teenager messing about with rockets, has been replaced by a mechanical steel hook. The sinking of that bore a year earlier had been a major event for the ­Pintupi, drawing them back to their home country after a long exile. Many were themselves first-contact nomads who had left the desert during the great droughts of the 1950s and early ’60s, ending up scattered to distant locales such as the ­Catholic mission in Balgo, 300km north, or across the Northern Territory border in Papunya, 450km east. In the intervening years whitefella diseases had exacted a heavy toll and the sadness of ­watjilpa (homesickness) had been sharpened by the stigma of being the last mob to give up the old customs of the time “before trousers”.

      When an emaciated Mandildjara couple were found on the western edge of the Gibson Desert in 1977, they were widely assumed to be – as a book about them was entitled – the last of the nomads. But rumours persisted that a handful of remnant Pintupi still roamed the desert near the NT border, and at Kiwirrkurra some even claimed to know their identities."

      "“We were frightened,” she recalls. “We went onwards round the bend – ‘Hey, there’s a lot of people there – Aboriginal people, there they are!’ … We left them and I bolted. I tricked the car on the sand dunes – as the car was coming we were running back on the sand dune, tricky way. They grabbed us. Walala and Warlimpirrnga didn’t know they had grabbed us. They took us four.” Alerted to the drama, Warlimpirrnga hurled a spear at the Kiwirrkurra mob but was persuaded to put down his weapons by Freddy West, a fully initiated elder who had known Warlimpirrnga’s father when he himself lived in the desert 20 years earlier. The stand-off dissipated when the desert group realised they were not being kidnapped but offered a chance to be reunited with their extended clan."

      "David Scrimgeour had only recently started work as the founding doctor of the Pintupi Homelands Health Service when he got a call alerting him to the arrival of nine fully nomadic Pintupi in Kiwirrkurra. Scrimgeour, who was based 180km east in Kintore, drove to the ­community the next day and retains a vivid memory of his first encounter with the group. “They were the most healthy people I have ever seen,” he recalls. “They were literally glowing with health – not an ounce of superfluous fat. They were extremely fit.”

      Which is connected to the other story "Aboriginal people lack understanding of white law"

      For the police to still be acting in this way in 2014 is a disgrace to us all.

  13. Aboriginal prison statistics: “Every year it gets worse”

    Australia is heading towards one in two of the prison population comprised by Aboriginal prisoners – by 2020. In 1992, the ratio was one in seven [38].

    We are at a state of emergency, we can't afford any more experiment.
    —Shane Phillips, Tribal Warrior Association, about Aboriginal prison rates [17]

    The Alice Springs Prison is so far beyond capacity that it's refusing to take prisoners.
    —Mark O'Reilly, principal legal officer, Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, in 2011


    Since 1989, the imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has increased 12 times faster than the rate for non-Aboriginal people


    Half of the 10- to 17-year-olds in jails are Aboriginal [3]. More than 30% of all Australian Aboriginal males come before Corrective Services [37]. No wonder that 91% of all Aboriginal prisoners are male [34].

    In 1992 there were 15,000 Aboriginal prisoners, by 2012 that figure had doubled to 30,000. The imprisonment of Aboriginal peoples skyrocketed from 1 in 7 of all prisoners in 1992 to 1 in 4 in 2012, and to nearly 1 in 3 in 2014 [20].

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), between 2002 and 2012, imprisonment rates for Aboriginal Australians increased from 1,262 to 1,914 Aboriginal prisoners per 100,000 adult Aboriginal population. In comparison, the rate for non-Aboriginal prisoners increased from 123 to 129 per 100,000 adult non-Aboriginal population [35].

    Jailing Aboriginal people in such large numbers has numerous effects on their communities. For example, it prevents elders passing down traditional knowledge to the next generation.

    The fact is, every year it gets worse.
    —Gino Vumbaca, Executive Director, Australian National Council on Drugs, about Aboriginal prison rates [3]

    Prison rates highest in Western Australia

    Western Australia always had a higher incarceration rate of Aboriginal people compared to the rest of Australia, and rates have nearly doubled between 1990 and 2010 [15].

    A parliamentary report in 2010 found the rate of Aboriginal people jailed per 100,000 people in Western Australia was 2,483, while the figure for African Americans in the United States is 2,290 [15]. In March 2009 Western Australia’s rate was 3,741 [23].

    Western Australia incarcerates the Aboriginal peoples of its State at 9 times the rate of Apartheid South Africa.
    —Gerry Georgatos, Human Rights Alliance, Perth [18]

    What you cannot get away from is that the rate of Indigenous imprisonment in Western Australia is far greater than anywhere else in the country and indeed it compares with the worst rates of imprisonment, of African Americans in the United States.
    —Bob Debus, chair of the federal inquiry into the over-representation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system [13]

    Perth based academic, prison reform advocate and restorative justice specialist Dr Brian Steels suggests that Western Australia’s high prison rates could be related to the “frontier mentality” of police or racism

  14. Legacies of the US colony.



    Although many feel that the United States has overcome its racist history, the legacies of colonialism, slavery and racism still affect our policies and practices today.

    Of the nearly 2.1 million adult men and women imprisoned in the United States, roughly 70% are persons of color.

    1 Within the criminal justice system, people of color are imprisoned disproportionately due to racist laws, are denied access to the rehabilitative options given to Whites, and are harassed and mistreated by U.S. agencies.

    Although people of color commit most crimes at the same rate as Whites, the unequal targeting and treatment of people of color throughout the criminal justice system – from arrest to sentencing – results in the disproportionate imprisonment of people of color.


    • On average, 1 in 25 adult American Indians is under the jurisdiction of the nation’s criminal justice system – more than twice the number of White adults in the system.5
    • 42.5% of prisoners on Death Row are Black, more than three times the percentage of Black Americans in the national population.6
    • In 2003, in the United States, White people were imprisoned at a rate of 376 per every 100,000 in the population, compared to 709 per 100,000 American Indians7, 997 per 100,000 Latinos and 2,526 per 100,000 Blacks. in the population.8
    • Black males have a 32% chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives; Hispanic males have a 17% chance; White males have a 6% chance.

  15. And for women..............


    Aboriginal women and the law

    Wednesday, August 12, 1992


    .....Aboriginal women have survived 204 years of violent colonial dispossession, alienation, poverty, rape, assault and murder. Aboriginal customary law was overthrown by the colonial, racist and patriarchal judicial system, based on a false legal framework (terra nullius/empty land) in 1788.

    Conservative estimates show that today our death rate is four times higher than the rest of the community, life expectancy is up to 22 years shorter, infant mortality rates are up to three times higher and hospitalisation rates three to five times greater. Every indicator of social and economic status shows that our people continue to suffer a colonised existence in poverty.

    In Australia it is very clear that the state legitimises violence against women. It has never been able to provide indigenous women and children with basic human rights. It has not provided us

    with the standards of health, housing, education, employment etc, that it has for non-Aboriginal Australians.

    Aboriginal women have no faith in the criminal justice system, as clearly expressed by a Cape York woman:

    "If a white woman gets bashed or raped here, the police do something. When it's us they just laugh. The fellow keeps walking around, everybody knows but nothing is done."

    An Aboriginal woman living in an urban area said:

    "How can we call the police in? They come with their guns drawn, and an innocent person gets killed."


    Inside prison walls

    The prison system has itself been shown to be more dangerous and violent than the outside society. Aboriginal women make up a disproportionately large number of the prison population. In 1989, Aboriginal women were almost 50% of all women in custodial care although Aboriginal women represent less that 1.5% of the national female population.


    Over-policing of minor public order offences — that is, racist practices — are locking up and terrorising our sisters, mothers and daughters.

    Evidence was presented to the Inquiry Into Racist Violence(1991) which indicated that Aboriginal and Islander women and girls have been sexually threatened and abused by police officers. The following are some examples:

    In Mossman (northern Queensland) an Aboriginal woman alleged that she had been raped by a police officer whilst in custody.
    There were also complaints from Alice Springs that Aboriginal teenage girls had been assaulted and raped by police officers and other white males.
    One woman who gave evidence said police in Townsville had threatened to rape her, and issues of sexual harassment of Aboriginal woman were raised in Redfern, Sydney.
    A youth worker in Adelaide told the inquiry about an incident of alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by police officers. According to the youth worker the girl was too terrified and ashamed to lodge a formal complaint. An Aboriginal welfare worker told of a serious police assault on her daughter, who was pregnant and who miscarried as a result of the violence. Besides being assaulted, the girl was allegedly raped by police officers whilst in custody.

    According to her mother, the young woman was too traumatised by the event to lodge a formal complaint. Aboriginal girls have been referred to as "black molls" and "black sluts" by the authorities.

    Aboriginal women are confronted by the dual barriers of racism and sexism. We are confronted by a historically and contemporarily racist police force. We deserve a justice system which provides care and protection. However, the colonial state legitimates acts of violence and police have been given the "licence" to kill, rape and assault Aboriginal women and children because they are not held accountable for their actions.


    Our children

    We are afraid of the consequences the current "law and order" regimes are going to have on our children and future generations.





    An Historical Legacy of Violence
    It is important to recognise the way in which Aboriginal women were treated when white
    man first arrived in their country. All Aboriginal people were treated violently with no regard
    for individuality, culture or spirit. Before white man's arrival, all Aboriginal people were
    treated equally; they had different roles but all had equal importance and all contributed in
    significant ways to day to day needs and the development of society. The following quotes
    from Racist Violence: Report of National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia give
    a brief indication of the violence used against Aboriginal people.
    The process of colonisation was characterised by small scale but systematic
    physical violence as a 'bloody frontier was moved across Australia' for more
    than 160 years. It is estimated that during that time approximately 20,000
    Aborigines and 2,000 Europeans and their allies were killed in frontier conflict
    (Australia. National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia 1991, p. 38).
    According to Aboriginal oral history, those who caused trouble or questioned the
    authority of Europeans could expect little protection from the law or law
    enforcers (Australia. National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia 1991,
    p. 42).


    · The police are slow to respond to calls of sexual assault;
    · police officers' own attitudes determine how quickly they come out and how much
    importance they place on calls;
    · police stations may not be open when needed; and
    · most of the police in country towns are male¾Aboriginal women need to be able to
    talk to female police officers.
    On many occasions, Aboriginal women have accused the police of sexual assaults. For
    instance, in the late-1980s an Aboriginal woman accused a number of off-duty police
    officers of raping her in a police cell. The case was eventually thrown out of court because
    of 'lack of evidence'. The people who were present were unwilling to give evidence against
    the police. This incident has stopped other Aboriginal women and men in the community
    from using the police.

    Only recently, Aboriginal women in another town with a high Aboriginal and police
    population, have complained about sexual assault and threatened sexual assault by the police
    in the police cells. Comments from Aboriginal women in this town include:
    · police do not have a good perception of Aboriginal women;
    · police often have their own sexist and racist views which affect the way they react to
    Aboriginal women;
    · the police do not put much effort into investigating rapes of Aboriginal women. They
    spend more time digging up old warrants; and
    · the police need to make themselves more accessible.
    The women spoken to made the following comments:
    The police would rather dig up old warrants instead of investigating rapes. These
    are the brothers of the girls who are being raped. Their experience of a cop is
    just that [being raped]. Historically, police were raping young girls in the back of
    paddy wagons. So we are talking about mothers of the girls who are now being
    raped. What sort of advice does a mother give her daughter when she knows
    herself or sisters or cousins were raped by police?


    And the word on the street around Broome is the kidnapping and raping of young girls has once again moved into top gear as the lawlessness continues by police in the town.

    No wonder people are pissed off and respect has dropped dramatically.


  17. NSW failed to protect children from abuse, says Michael Coutts-Trotter

    Department of Family and Community Services secretary apologises for response to abuse of Aboriginal children

    Friday 24 October 2014

    A high-ranking NSW public servant has admitted the state failed to protect Aboriginal children from horrendous abuse at a foster home it licensed. He has apologised for the state treating them badly when they asked for an apology and compensation.

    Michael Coutts-Trotter, secretary of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, said on Friday that major changes will be made to the department and its legal services after a review uncovered major failings in how allegations of abuse were handled at Bethcar children’s home in Brewarrina, in remote NSW.

    The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard over three days how the department failed to act to stop abuse when girls reported being raped and beaten in the 1980s.

    It has also heard how 15 abuse survivors were put through legal hell by lawyers working for the Crown Solicitors Office in a long, drawn-out civil case, during which they were not believed and state liability was denied.

    In a detailed apology, Coutts-Trotter, who has reviewed the handling of the case, said that “the terrible physical and sexual abuse inflicted upon children and young people by those entrusted to care for them has had devastating and lifelong impacts … .”


    NSW government solicitor admits flaw in handling of compensation cases

    Women abused at a children’s home in Brewarrina in 70s and 80s had to prove abuse even though perpetrator had already been jailed

    A senior NSW government solicitor admits state lawyers should not have asked women to prove they were sexually abused as children when the man who terrorised them was already in jail for his crimes.

    Helen Allison, senior solicitor at the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office, supervised the defence of a civil claim brought by 15 plaintiffs who were physically and sexually abused at Bethcar Children’s Home in Brewarrina, in the 1970s and 80s.

    On the second day of a royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse hearing into Bethcar, Allison was answering questions about the state’s legal strategy when 14 women and one man sought redress and an apology.

    In defending the claim, lodged in 2008, the state legal team took a tough stance – denying liability and drawing out proceedings, the commission heard.

    They wanted each case tested separately and plaintiffs were asked to prove the abuse although one perpetrator, Colin Gibson, was jailed in 2007 on two sentences of 12 years and 18 years.

    Allison was asked if it was hypocritical to ask the plaintiffs to prove their case when the perpetrator had been convicted and jailed.

    “I believe it should not have been done but I don’t believe it’s hypocritical,” Allison said.

    Allison conceded that forcing some of the plaintiffs to prove allegations when they had been established was not the right thing to do.

  18. Girl, 5, raped and flogged for being late for dinner at foster home, inquiry told

    State of NSW resisted accepting liability for abuse at Bethcar children’s home despite one manager being jailed for 30 years

    Wednesday 22 October 2014

    A girl who was physically and sexually abused from the age of five until 15 by her foster parents at a home for Indigenous children was also lied to and convinced to be so terrified of her biological parents she would not speak to them, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard.

    Kathleen Biles and two of her siblings were made wards of the state and sent to live at the Bethcar Children’s Home in Brewarrina in remote northern NSW more than 30 years ago.

    The state-funded home was run by Burt and Edith Gordon and their son-in-law Colin Gibson from 1969 to 1989.


    Another five-year-old girl was raped and then flogged when she was late for dinner after she was placed in Bethcar at the age of two or three. The abuse began soon after. The girl, given the pseudonym AIQ for legal reasons, told no one until she was in her late 30s.

    Children who went to police and NSW welfare officers with allegations of abuse were returned to the home where they were beaten, the commission heard.

    As the hearing began in Sydney, the commission was told the state of NSW had for years resisted accepting liability for any abuse and disputed for four years that it had occurred – even after Gibson was jailed.

  19. Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

    Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says.


    AARON MATÉ: There’s a very comic scene where then he goes to court, and he has a hard time convincing his public defender why he doesn’t want to pay a fine for standing in front of his home.

    MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, and this is something that I encountered over and over and over again, is that people who were charged with these minor sort of harassing offenses, they—when the state discovers that the case against them is not very good, they start offering deals to the accused. And when people protest that "I’m not going to plead, because I didn’t do anything wrong," they keep offering better and better and better deals. And no one can understand why they won’t plead guilty, because, in reality, most people do. They will end up taking—

    AMY GOODMAN: Like all the bankers plead guilty.

    MATT TAIBBI: Right, yeah, exactly. Of course, it’s completely the opposite situation on the other side of the coin.


    Australia a paradise for corporate crooks says regulator

    The boss of the corporate regulator says Australia is too soft on corporate criminals and increased civil penalties including more jail terms are needed.

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman, Greg Medcraft, told journalists at a Walkley Foundation function that "Australia is a paradise for white collar crime."

    "[In] most countries the penalties are two to three times the amount gained or lost," he told the function.

    "Often [in] Australia it's actually worthwhile breaking the law to do the trade. You can't have that."

    The corporate watchdog is under fire and accused of not doing enough to crack down on financial planning scandals at the big banks and for being too soft on big business.


    Lack of resources

    Mr Medcraft said ASIC is hamstrung by a lack of resources. It has lost 200 staff this year because of budget cuts and another 100 will go next year from its 1,500 strong workforce.


    In a statement Finance Minister Matthias Cormann said: "I asked Greg Medcraft whether he believed Australia was a paradise for white collar criminals and his direct response to me was a clear and unambiguous 'no'."

    Mr Cormann says ASIC needs to competently enforce the current laws and the Government will increase penalties for corporate crimes if it is presented with persuasive evidence.

  20. " is worth contemplating once again what the most concerted enforcement action of the past couple of years has been – the only raid.

    This was the raid on the campsite of a lone green activist, Jonathan Moylan, in Singleton, NSW. Moylan's crime had been to issue a fake press release to rabble a coal company and its bankers. Ironically, this was an action taken from principle, not from personal gain. "


    The response to the Commonwealth financial planning scandal shows banks really are above the law

    Met a bloke the other day who had lost the lot. He inherited a fortune, trusted a bank to invest it for him. They blew it all up in a cocktail of reckless leverage and fees. Now he lives in a Salvation Army hostel.

    We won't mention his name at this point, nor that of the bank. Suffice to say it is one of the usual culprits. This is an unusual case, the riches-to-rags story quite exceptional, but this man is merely one of thousands whose life savings have been obliterated due to corporate malfeasance by perpetrators who will never face justice.

    It is a sad reality that while bankers enjoy the cherished place of being protected by the taxpayers, they are also above the law. Look no further than the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal. Rather than being prosecuted, the careers of those responsible have advanced. And those above them have continued to rake in bonuses. This despite a Senate inquiry that found fraud. The enforcement action has been feeble. It has been conveniently institutional rather than targeting actual people.

    Adding insult to injury for the victims, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann emerged with the government's response to the Inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Friday.

    To borrow from Cormann's own rich vernacular, this is truly the response of an "economic girlie man".

    No penalties, no redress for the palpably poor performance of ASIC. The same crew responsible for a litany of failures is still running the commission. Nor are there any reprisals for the bad behaviour of the people at Australia's biggest financial institution, the Commonwealth Bank.

    There was no need for a royal commission on CBA, something the senators had called for. And some of the Senate's recommendations, embraced by Cormann, are good. A register of financial planners, for instance, is long overdue. Essentially, though, this is little more than a list, a list slated to cost $5 million.

    The problem with corporate regulation in this country is essentially cultural, however. It is about people cowed by the big end of town, spooked into inaction. It is about regulation by press release. It is about the appearance of regulation.

    Now the people running the large institutions have been sent an unequivocal message that they will not be prosecuted come hell or high water, it is worth contemplating once again what the most concerted enforcement action of the past couple of years has been – the only raid.

    This was the raid on the campsite of a lone green activist, Jonathan Moylan, in Singleton, NSW. Moylan's crime had been to issue a fake press release to rabble a coal company and its bankers. Ironically, this was an action taken from principle, not from personal gain.


    Thanks to the high document search fees – for information which is already public – ASIC is a golden goose for government. Yes, the economic girlie men may well be slashing its budget, but historically the commission has cut a cheque to Canberra in the vicinity of $350 million a year.

    Presumably they don't want to encourage too much enforcement, court cases are costly, or that might compromise the golden goose.

    So consumers will lose and the real cost will be in the coming years when there is a downturn and the failure of regulation will cost thousands more Australians their life savings as the big end of town knows their only penalty for bad behaviour is a spot of reputational damage.

  21. Who will pay the most for a higher and/or broader GST ?

    Someone in Perth who pays $1 a kilo for spuds


    Someone in a remote community who pays $2 a spud ?


    The bush will once again carry the biggest burden.


    Meanwhile the subs and F-35's are going ahead ?
    Along with the Chevron smoko spot and Packer Stadium.


    How much faster can we dig it all up just to get worse off ?


    1. The federal government is planning a $10 billion-plus warship building project for South Australia, according to reports.

      The eight navy frigates are expected to be built by the government-owned contractor ASC and an announcement confirming the deal could be announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott within weeks, News Corp Australia says.

      ASC is the nation's largest specialised defence ship building firm.

      It employs more than 2000 people at two facilities in Adelaide and one in Western Australia.

  22. Clive Palmer isn't optimistic there will be a mature debate on federation.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has laid out a timetable for the government's federation review, with recommendations expected in the run-up to the 2016 federal election.

    He's called for a mature debate on the review, which will also look at the future of the GST.


    Former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan said a GST increase would hit low income earners hardest and further entrench inequality.

    "Increasing the GST: that's what tax reform means to the Liberal Party," he told reporters.


    West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has again threatened to vote down any changes to the Goods and Services Tax, unless the state secures a greater share.

    However, the move has prompted South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill to accuse WA of "moral bankruptcy".

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on the weekend the Government was ready to work with the states on changes to the tax, by either lifting the rate of the GST or broadening its base.

    Mr Barnett said he welcomed the Prime Minister's acknowledgement that the "GST system is failing" but said he would not consider any changes to the tax, unless the Federal Government altered its carve-up.

    "Under the GST arrangement, every state and territory has to agree if there's an increase in the rate of GST, or broadening of the breadth of GST, for example to take in fresh food," he said.

    "We've made it very clear for a long time [that] we will only agree to an increase in the rate or broadening of the application of the GST, if the main issue and that is the sharing-up of the GST, is corrected.

    "Western Australia can stop that, unless I sign on the line, it cannot happen."


    South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, the only Labor premier, labelled the Prime Minister's plan unrealistic.

    Mr Weatherill told Radio National Breakfast's Fran Kelly he was philosophically opposed to increasing GST as it placed an increased burden on lower income earners who could least afford it.

    Mr Weatherill also accused WA of "moral bankruptcy" for seeking a higher return of GST.

    "For much of the history of the federation, Western Australia was the beggar state, it had its hand out and the rest of the Commonwealth was shoving money off to Western Australia," he said.

    "Now they've struck gold they want to cut themselves adrift and treat themselves as separate from the rest of the country. Well what an incredible moral bankruptcy that is."

    Mr Barnett rejected the claim.

  23. Blow for giant coal port expansion as US banks opt out

    Two more global banking giants have declared they will not participate in funding for the Abbot Point coal port expansion, adding fresh financial doubts for what are potentially Australia's biggest coal mines.

    US-based Citi and Morgan Stanley have confirmed to opponents of the proposed Queensland port expansion near the Great Barrier Reef and the related coal mines in the Galilee Basin that they will avoid involvement in Abbot Port.


    The mines have been dogged by uncertain finances, made worse by a coal price that has roughly halved over the past four years.

    The need to dredge at least 3 million tonnes to expand Abbot Point has added to the environmental controversy, given the potential impact on the nearby Australia's World Heritage-listed reef park.

    "Citi is not involved and does not plan to be involved in any financing for the Abbot Point expansion," Citigroup director, corporate sustainability, Valerie Smith said in a letter to be released on Tuesday by the Rainforest Action Network..

    Morgan Stanley's executive director for risk management, Francesco Liberti, echoed the comments in a separate letter: "Morgan Stanley will not lend to or invest in the expansion of Abbot Point."

    Two other US banks, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, indicated they may also steer clear of the projects.

    JPMorgan Chase said it would not bankroll natural resource projects within a World Heritage site without prior agreement between UNESCO and the government, while Goldman Sachs said it avoided financing any project that "would significantly convert or degrade a critical natural habitat".

    The Queensland government has said the development of the Galilee Basin coal mines, including the rail and port facilities, would draw $28 billion in investment. The Abbot Point port expansion may cost at least $5.25 billion for the portion for just one of the mine developers, Adani Mining.


    Lengthening list

    The continued negative commentary from banks comes as Adani prepares to offer major tenders for some of the construction for its Carmichael coal mine and related operations within weeks.

    Citi and Morgan Stanley's decisions on the port add to a lengthening list of banks, including Deutsche Bank and HSBC, that have declared they will steer clear of what would be the world's largest new coal developments. Concerns also include the projects' likely greenhouse gas emissions, weighing against the possibility of cheaper electricity for India and other nations.

    Port developers agreed in September to seek an onshore site to dump the resulting dredge spoil from the planned expansion after widespread opposition to an off-shore site within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – despite approval from federal and state governments.

    Thomas Jacquot, a credit analyst with rating agency Standard & Poor's, said the pullback of more banks would add to the difficulties already faced by the mine developers.

    "The maths look challenging," Mr Jacquot said. "I'm ultimately very curious because the coal market is very depressed."

    The ports, mines and railway need to be viewed as a whole, and doubts about the port's prospects will have knock-on effects, he said. "Nobody's going to lend to the port unless you know there's funding for the railway and the mines as well."

    The projects' overall viability will hinge in part on whether Australian banks join the financing.

    The Commonwealth Bank told Fairfax Media it had yet to be approached by Adani or any other party seeking finance for the Galilee Basin mines and related infrastructure.


    A spokeswoman for NAB said the bank would apply a "robust due diligence process" to any major project.

  24. US banks baulk at Abbot Point coal port expansion

    ................Josh Euler, speaking on behalf of GVK and Hancock, said the proposed expansion had been through a comprehensive environmental assessment overseen by state and national governments, and work to develop the terminal would “meet all obligations relating to responsible environmental and social management practices.”

    Adani said the terminal was not in a World Heritage Area and the environmental approval was “among the most rigorous and stringent ever applied in Australia, the US or the rest of the world.” No funding had even been sought from Citibank, Goldman Sachs, or JPMorgan Chase, it added.

    Still, the banks’ letters add fuel to a burning debate in Australia over investment in major resource projects that opponents say run the risk of fuelling climate change by supplying coal-fired power stations and steel mills overseas, often in countries with weak emissions controls, such as China and India. The Australian National University triggered a political storm this month after divesting its investment portfolio of shares in several large energy and resource companies, citing climate change risks.

    In May, Deutsche Bank said it wouldn’t offer funding for Abbot Point after UNESCO condemned a government plan — since reversed — to allow mud and rock dredged from the sea floor during any expansion of the port to be dumped in waters near the reef. US banks join a group that also includes HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland in expressing an unwillingness to get involved if asked.

    The Galilee Basin could see Australia surpass neighbouring Indonesia as the world’s top coal exporter. Mr Abbott said this month that coal would remain the world’s main energy source for decades when opening a new $3.9 billion coal mining venture in the Bowen Basin, south of Abbot Point.

  25. Forget the Green Tape................

    Running out red tape is a growth industry

    What industry sector employs more Australians than construction, education or manufacturing, and three times as many as mining? What function costs private industry and government a combined $250 billion a year?

    Few would have guessed compliance – the red tape industry. And it's booming.

    It now employs more than 1 million people and is growing at a faster rate than any of the above-mentioned sectors. But not all growth is good and the red tape rules and compliance costs are wiping out many of the positive productivity gains that have come about over the past 10 years from the digital revolution.

    When overused it is a conservative monster that strangles innovation and comes at a huge cost to the economy and its productivity.

    Most will be familiar with the Abbott government's crusade against red tape. Abbott has just completed his second stage audit and cull of a series of federal rules and regulations and the organisations that administer them. While the public should remain wary that cuts to particular regulations are not politically motivated or result in more serious long-term problems, the general theme of reducing unnecessary regulation is laudable.

    But what has been achieved to date by the Abbott government is by no means comprehensive. In the five years to 2011, the public sector compliance workforce grew faster (16.0 per cent) than overall public sector employment (13.1 per cent).

    Thus there is plenty more to be done.

    However, a frightening report released this week by Deloitte Access Economics fingers the real red tape culprits – the private sector business community whose compliance costs leave the government looking like rank amateurs when it comes to creating and paying for what, in many cases, are unnecessary and unproductive self-imposed rules.

    The total private sector workforce grew by 10.4 per cent over that same five-year period; its compliance workers grew by 17.4 per cent.

    Ironically, the group that represents our very large companies, the Business Council of Australia, has been a flag-waver for the government's attempts to tackle red tape. The embarrassing reality is that it should be focusing on its own backyard.

    Strikingly, the cost of self-imposed rules created by the private sector is double that associated with government regulations, according to Deloitte Access Economics. The self-imposed rules of the private sector cost $155 billion a year: $21 billion to develop and administer, and a jaw-dropping $134 billion a year in compliance costs.

  26. Abbot Point: study on dumping of spoil in wetlands not required, Hunt says

    Environmental assessment will instead use paperwork from previous plan to dump spoil in Great Barrier Reef marine park

    The federal government has waived the need for a full environmental impact study into the dumping of dredging spoil onto sensitive wetlands under the plan to expand the Abbot Point coal port in Queensland.

    The federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, has agreed to a request by Queensland’s deputy premier, Jeff Seeney, to assess the controversial project using only paperwork from a discredited original plan to dump spoil in Great Barrier Reef waters.

    The Australian Greens and environmental groups accused Hunt of bowing to pressure to fast-track the project while ignoring its effect on the internationally significant Caley Valley wetlands.

    His decision came the same day Indian coal and steel conglomerate Adani revealed it had hired US bank Morgan Stanley to examine the potential sale of part of its share in the project.

    The bank itself had expressed concerns about the negative impact of the port’s expansion on the World Heritage-listed reef through an increase in the number of coal ships passing through its waters.

    The United Nations’ World Heritage Committee, which has criticised the port expansion, will decide next year if the reef is to be deemed “in danger”.

    The long-term welfare of the reef is a political dilemma for governments eager to expand the port so that it can be used for exports from the Galilee basin, which stands to make Australia the world‘s biggest coal exporter.

    Environmental groups said Hunt’s decision meant there would be no proper canvassing of the impact of dumping 3m tonnes of acidic seabed waste onto wetlands which act as a nursery for fish and 40,000 birds, some endangered.

    The plan to dump spoil onshore came after the Queensland government backflipped on the original proposal, which eventually drew opposition from inside federal government ranks.

    The Greens’ environment spokeswoman, Larissa Waters, said the disposal of spoil in the wetlands was “the second cheapest, dirtiest option after dumping the sludge in reef waters”.

    “The Abbott and Newman governments realised that the community was not going to let them dump dredge spoil into the Great Barrier Reef so now they’ve moved on to the second dirtiest option and are closing their eyes to its environmental impacts,” she said.

  27. Sunrise gas gains momentum

    Growing signs of a breakthrough in the stalemate around Woodside Petroleum’s Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea have raised hopes that the $US13 billion project may soon begin to move toward development.

    1. The impossible dream which is Sunrise LNG

      Monday, 3 November 2014

      IT would be good for everyone if the Greater Sunrise gas project was being revived, but soon after Slugcatcher read the latest reports about the gasfield he filed them in the “not bloody likely” tray where everything to do with Sunrise has resided for the past 40 years.

  28. BP spill left 'bathtub ring' of oil across more than 1,200 square miles of Gulf seafloor, new study says

    Scientists have found evidence of a "bathtub ring" of oil particles from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill covering more than 1,200 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico's seafloor, according to a study published online Monday (Oct. 27) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    A team of scientists with the University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-Irvine, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute tested more than 3,000 samples of sediment taken from 534 locations in the Gulf for the chemical hepane, a constituent of crude oil that was found in the oil released from BP's Macondo well.
    The oil was deposited in two ways, according to the paper: " a 'bathtub ring' formed from an oil-rich layer of water" that lay along the Gulf's continental slope at a depth of a half-mile to 4/5ths of a mile; and a "'fallout plume' where suspended oil particles sank to underlying sediment" that was as much as a mile deep."We also suggest that a significant quantity of oil was deposited on the ocean floor outside this area but so far has evaded detection because of its heterogeneous spatial distribution," the paper concluded. The greatest amounts of oil were seen near the Macondo well and in areas just west of the well, according to maps of the contamination, and overlap with several deepwater coral reefs that other researchers have concluded were damaged by oil from the BP well.


    The new report was immediately criticized by BP, which contends the hepane found by the researchers could just as easily have come from natural petroleum seeps found throughout the Gulf.

    "The authors failed to identify the source of the oil, leading them to grossly overstate the amount of residual Macondo oil on the sea floor and the geographic area in which it is found," BP said in a statement released Monday.


    Valentine and his colleagues analyzed how the hopane was distributed "and found that it was concentrated in ways that are clearly attributable to the Macondo well.

    "First, the hopane was concentrated in the top half-inch of the seafloor, indicating that it was deposited recently, and not from a long-term process like natural seepage," he said.

    "Second, we found that hopane concentrations were much higher in the vicinity of the Macondo well, compared to areas further away," Valentine said. "This allowed us to define a background concentration of hopane and an anomaly in the region of the Well. The average hopane concentrations within 25 miles of the well were about 10 times higher than samples collected more than 25 miles, showing a clear association with the Macondo Well.

    "Lastly, we looked at the patchiness of the oil, with the hypothesis that particles/droplets from the spill would fall in (a) highly patchy pattern - which is exactly what we observed," he said.

    "The concentration difference over a few feet was sometimes 100-fold, consistent with the recent fallout. These lines of evidence all point back to the Macondo Well as the source."


    The study does validate earlier research that long-lived deep water coral was coated and likely damaged by the spill, Reddy said. But Reddy and Valentine said there are still questions about other ecological issues that deep.

  29. Darwin port with it's land backed and floating wharfs really is the northern centre for oil and gas projects.

    All this in the last few months.



    19 Aug 2014 -


    Floating shipping port launched in Darwin Harbour to build $34 billion gas project

    10 Oct 2014


    Shell opens $29M Darwin supply base

    Friday, 31 October 2014


    "“We see value for the industry in that, instead of equipment and materials being trucked from Fremantle to the Territory, it can now be shipped direct to Darwin. We then have the transport and logistics support to get it out into these remote onshore fields.”"



    19 Aug 2014 -

    The Darwin Marine Supply Base, a new purpose-built specialist oil and gas facility at Darwin Port, was officially opened by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Hon. Adam Giles at a ceremony on site today.

    International oil and gas services company ASCO has a 20-year contract with the Territory Government to manage the supply base to support Northern Australia’s growth as an international hub for the oil and gas industry.

    The supply base is expected to provide long-term benefits to the Territory and Australia’s oil and gas industry with activity in the Timor Sea set to expand significantly in the years ahead.

    “We are very pleased with how things have been running since we had our first vessel, the Lady Melinda, tie up at the supply base at the end of June,” ASCO Australasia CEO Matt Thomas said.

    “Since then we have had more than 20 vessels come into the base and we are happy with how smoothly operations have gone and how well the layout of the supply base works.”

    Mr Thomas said a number of international oil and gas companies, including ConocoPhillips, Eni, INPEX and Shell, would be supporting their offshore operations from Darwin’s East Arm Logistics Precinct and the supply base would be the critical link in their supply chains.

    Key features of the $110million Darwin Marine Supply Base include:
    •3 working berths
    •4000m2 of laydown alongside each berth
    •efficient pumping rates for fuel and water
    •heavy lift berth capable of operating with a 600 tonne crane
    •open and undercover storage
    •office space and facilities for external workers
    •dangerous goods and waste transit bunds

    A drilling mud plant will also be relocated to the facility, allowing mud to be pumped straight onto service vessels utilising the base’s purpose-built berths.

    ASCO is a global leader in oil and gas field support services, specialising in marine supply base management. The company also manages bases in the UK, Norway, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Azerbaijan and Eastern Canada.


    Mr Thomas is confident it is not only project operators working in the Timor Sea region who will recognise the schedule and cost advantages in using the new facility.

    “The Territory’s substantial onshore gas potential is at an early stage, and we are now well positioned to service the scheduled expansion in onshore drilling activity.”

    According to the NT Department of Mines and Energy, committed onshore petroleum exploration expenditure to 2018 is valued at $168m. Work commitments for the period include 30 exploration wells and the acquisition of more than 5700 line kilometres of 2D seismic data.

    “We see value for the industry in that, instead of equipment and materials being trucked from Fremantle to the Territory, it can now be shipped direct to Darwin. We then have the transport and logistics support to get it out into these remote onshore fields.”

    Offshore activity is also expected to grow. According to the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, investment in LNG, gas and oil projects continues to be the main driver of resources and energy investment in Australia. BREE states that 14 LNG, gas and oil projects at the Committed Stage have a combined value of $197billion, or 86% of committed investment in the Australian resources sector. In addition, Publicly Announced petroleum projects have a combined CAPEX of $28b-$30b.

  31. Floating shipping port launched in Darwin Harbour to build $34 billion gas project

    10 Oct 2014

    In an Australian first, a large floating shipping port is operating in Darwin Harbour to assist in building the INPEX gas plant and pipeline.

    The 'Hydro Deck', which can sustain up to eight-metre tidal variations, will unload equipment from ships along the shoreline to greatly speed-up the construction of the $34 billion Ichthys LNG project.

    Nishant D'Souza, from AG&P ALE Ventures, says the deck uses a water ballast and air tank system to maintain buoyancy control.

    "It's essentially a large mobile port.

    "It is used to offload very large prefabricated modules in areas of extreme tidal variations such as around Darwin Harbour," he said.

    The large floating device, which was built in the Philippines, measures 140 metres in length and can hold 22,000 tonnes of equipment.

    "The ship docks alongside the Hydro Deck, which in turn is docked alongside the shore.

    "While the tide is varying, up and down, modules from the ship can be loaded onto the Hydro Deck, as the ship is tracking the Hydro Deck's trajectory at that point of time," he said.

    Mr D'Souza says the mobile port will be leased to INPEX for several years.

  32. Shell opens $29M Darwin supply base

    Friday, 31 October 2014

    RESOURCES giant Shell has opened a $29 million onshore supply base in Darwin to support operations at its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas project.

    Designed and constructed by Decmil, the base consists of a 6500 square metre warehouse that includes climate controlled storage and office facilities to support base operations. It also boasts of work and storage yards specifically designed to house a range of spare parts and equipment to support Prelude.

    “The Darwin Offshore Supply Base is a vital hub for Prelude, playing a critical role in the ongoing operations and maintenance of the facility,” Shell Australia country chair Andrew Smith said at the opening ceremony.

    The base will also create employment opportunities targeted at disadvantaged people in the Northern Territory through a joint training program between Shell, the NT government, Charles Darwin University and Group Training NT.

    “The Prelude to the Future program will employ 20 Territorians as auto-mechanic apprentices through Group Training NT and support their training through Charles Darwin University,” NT Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

    “The program also includes six weeks work experience and ongoing mentoring for 18 months.

    “Automotive mechanics are identified as a skills shortage area in the Territory.

    “Given that this is an occupation that underpins the delivery of most major project activities, it is expected that the occupation will be subject to increased demand in coming years.”

    Shell and the NT government have each invested $400,000 to fund the training program.

    Eligible applicants include Indigenous Territorians, minority groups, the long-term unemployed, people experiencing financial hardship, trade assistants seeking to obtain higher skills and school leavers.

    The first Prelude spare parts are due to arrive at the supply base in coming weeks.


    "Mr Coleman said Woodside was yet to work out its supply base requirements but pointed to Broome and Derby as likely locations, particularly for Browse’s helicopter service. He ruled out James Price Point."


    "Woodside Petroleum's nascent ambitions to develop a $C15 billion ($15.14 billion) liquefied natural gas venture in western Canada have received a boost after British Columbia halved a proposed tax on gas export projects – but the same move could hinder its plans for the Browse floating project off Western Australia."



    1. This really leaves Barnett "swinging a bit high and dry" all over again.

      Barnett sticks to Woodside base threat

      April 8, 2014

      WA faces a big battle with an aggressive Northern Territory Government to secure the economic benefits of a supply base to service the Browse Basin.

      ........ he issued a rebuke to the Woodside consortium and broader industry, saying he understood why the consortium ditched the James Price Point onshore option for FLNG, though it left his Government "swinging a bit high and dry".

      "Sometimes people talk in an Australian context about sovereign risk," Mr Barnett yesterday told 3500 oil and gas executives during the opening session of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Perth.

      "Well, there is an opposite to that and that is the risk government endures when it pursues (projects) in good faith."

      The Premier did not cave in unconditionally, reiterating WA would not sign over two of the seven relevant Browse retention leases unless the consortium delivered a supply base and also provided a domestic gas solution.

      Mr Barnett insists the supply base be located in WA, which requires a substantial industry-funded investment at a time when Darwin is fast emerging as the default supply base option on the back of supporting Inpex's Ichthys and Royal Dutch Shell's Prelude developments.


      August 20, 2013

      Conservation group prepares for legal fight

      Meanwhile a conservation group has vowed to fight in the courts any attempts to industrialise WA's Kimberley region, including the premier's plans to establish a gas sector supply base at James Price Point.

      Woodside announced yesterday it would seek approval from its Browse project joint venture partners for a floating development, a day after the state environmental approval for the now-abandoned onshore proposal was deemed invalid.

      And later, Liberal leader Colin Barnett told a parliamentary committee he "wouldn't anticipate major opposition from the Broome community'' for a supply base at James Price Point.

      But Peter Robertson of The Wilderness Society, which challenged the now discredited environmental approval, said Mr Barnett would have a battle on his hands.

      "We will fight it all the way,'' Mr Robertson said.

      While a supply base would have a lesser impact than a multi-user gas processing hub, it would still be "completely unacceptable'' in an ecologically sensitive area.

      The Premier is confident that much of the documentation from the original Browse environmental approval application will still stand, requiring a reasonably easy resubmission for the supply base plan.

      He has suggested it wouldn't take as long a second time around, also indicating an appeal against the Supreme Court decision was unlikely.

      Mr Robertson says the state government risked the application being knocked back, throwing good taxpayer money after bad.

      Alternatively, it would have to start from scratch, a suggestion Mr Barnett has already rejected.

      Mr Robertson said the Premier had an unhealthy obsession with the Browse project and was trying to save face.

      "It really is quite difficult the situation he's got himself in.''

  33. China and Argentina chase fracking boom.


    Sinopec Eyes Shale Boost, Debt Reduction with $17.5B Stake-Sale Cash

    by Reuters

    Charlie Zhu
    ...............China, believed to hold the world's largest technically recoverable shale resources, is hoping to replicate the shale boom that has transformed the energy landscape of the United States.

    Output at Sinopec's Fuling shale gas field in the southwestern province of Sichuan - China's first major shale project - had hit 3.2 million cubic metres per day at end-June.

    The Fuling field, with estimated reserves of 2.1 trillion cubic meters, will reach an annual capacity of 5 billion cubic metres by end-2015, and the capacity should double by the end of 2017, Sinopec chairman Fu has said.

    The first phase of the project entails total investment of $4 billion alone, Barclays bank has estimated.


    Argentine Congress Passes Law Aimed At Attracting Oil Investment

    by Reuters

    ...............The law, passed by a 130 to 116 vote in the lower house, cuts the minimum investment needed for companies to be exempt from import controls to $250 million from $1 billion.

    The same level of investment would also allow oil and gas producers to get around foreign exchange controls by holding on to the hard currency earned from 20 percent of their exports.

    "The desired horizon for Argentina is only possible if there are investments," said Mario Metaza, a lawmaker for the ruling coalition, also president of the Congress' energy commission.

    The Senate approved the bill earlier this month. Argentina needs to ramp up production from its vast but barely tapped Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposits in order to reverse a gaping $7 billion energy deficit that is draining foreign reserves.


    Developing Vaca Muerta in the shadow of the Andes mountains and securing energy independence will cost up to $200 billion in the next 10 years, state-controlled energy firm YPF says.


    1. Mozambique LNG’s competitiveness attracts Asian buyers

      Asian countries have been reaching deals to import LNG from Mozambique, keeping the proceedings under the radar.

      Five deals with flexible terms for 20 years have been preliminarily reached one of which is the deal with CNOOC of China for 2.5 mtpa/year. The Mozambique LNG project is targeting Japanese small-scale buyers, while Thailand’s PTT struck a similar deal to the one with CNOOC. Indonesia’s Pertamina is looking for a 1 mtpa/year deal with talks going on with an Indian company as well as UAE. according to industries sources close to the talks, reports Reuters.

      Getting this deals wrapped up is crucial for Anadarko to secure bank financing for its projects. Anadarko Petroleum is building the first two LNG plants in Mozambique.

      Standard Bank believes Anadarko’s initial project will add $67 billion to government revenue over its 30-year life.

      Steven Hoyle, Anadarko’s vice president for LNG told Reuters that LNG cost base and pricing from Mozambique project is competitive in today’s market which is encouraging investments.

      Mitsui, Bharat PetroResources, Mozambique’s state-run ENH, Oil India Limited and PTT are Anadarko’s partners in the project.

  34. Another one of Bergman's flops.

    Pluton goes under

    Nick Evans November 3, 2014

    The iron ore price crunch claimed its first WA victim on Friday, with about 60 jobs on the line after creditors called in receivers to Pluton Resources.

    It is understood mining contractor Watpac suspended operations on the weekend at Pluton's high-grade Cockatoo Island iron ore mine after China's Rizhao Port Group Logistics appointed FTI Consulting as receivers. Watpac is owed about $19 million for Cockatoo Island work, according to Pluton disclosures.

    Watpac would not comment yesterday, but is understood to have temporarily stood down up to 60 workers as it seeks clarity on whether work can continue at the mine.

    It is believed Pluton was seeking advice over the weekend on the validity of the appointment, and could seek an injunction preventing seizure of the company by receivers on Monday.

    Two weeks ago, Pluton was celebrating the close of a $48 million capital raising, including a cash injection and debt restructure.

    Last week its estranged Chinese joint venture partner at Cockatoo Island, Wise Energy Group, moved to oust Pluton as manager of the project.

    Pluton advised the market of the crisis late on Thursday, in response to _WestBusiness _questions about the termination notice, saying it did not believe Wise's move was legally enforceable. Pluton has been brawling with Wise over payment of costs at the project. Pluton believes Wise owes it about $20 million in joint project costs.

    At the time Pluton was also facing legal threats from Rizhao, a major customer and creditor, over allegations it diverted shipments due for delivery to a Rizhao nominee to unknown buyers.

    Last Tuesday, lawyers acting for Rizhao wrote to Pluton and Wise threatening legal action if an explanation for the missing shipment was not supplied.

    On Friday, FTI Consulting's Ian Francis and Michael Ryan were appointed receivers, according to ASIC documents.

    Sources say the move prompted a stand-off at Pluton's office, after senior management queried the validity of the appointment and called police, seeking to have FTI staff removed from the premises.

    A police spokeswoman yesterday confirmed officers attended a West Perth office on Friday afternoon.

    She said no arrests were made and no offences committed.

    Pluton has not released its 2013 annual report and financial accounts. Pro-forma figures released for the recent capital raising showed that at March 31, it had $57.8 million in short-term liabilities.

    Pluton is the first WA victim of the 40 per cent slump in iron ore prices this year.

    In June IMX Resources called in administrators to its 51 per cent owned Cairn Hill iron ore mine in South Australia, and NT producer Western Desert Resources slipped under the waves early in September.

    Pluton shares were suspended in May and last traded at 3.4¢.

  35. Shell to delay Browse LNG investment decision as oil prices fall

    The Australian |
    November 01, 2014

    ENERGY giant Shell says the current depressed oil price environment could delay an investment decision on the Woodside Petroleum-operated Browse floating LNG project off Western Australia and has also cooled on selling its remaining Woodside stake.

    And in more bad news for the Australian LNG export outlook, the oil giant has cast further doubt on the stated timetable of the Chevron-operated Gorgon LNG project that is being built on Barrow Island for $54 billion, and in which Shell has a 25 per cent stake, saying significant revenue is unlikely until 2017 or 2018.

    In an earnings call on Thursday night, Shell chief financial officer Simon Henry said an investment decision on Browse, which would use Shell’s floating LNG technology, was unlikely next year.

    “On some of the non-operated projects, such or Browse or Abadi (an Indonesian floating LNG project), I think in the environment, they may get pushed further out,” Mr Henry said when asked what projects Shell could approve next calendar year.

    Woodside this year pushed back a decision on Browse, from a mid-2015 target to the second half of next year, but Mr Henry’s comments indicate Shell is not on board with this.

    Shell — which owns a 26 per cent stake in Browse — has been focusing on reducing costs and slimming its portfolio and capital spending.

    Mr Henry noted that the recent $US25 a barrel slide in the oil price, if sustained for a year, represented $US8bn a year in reduced cashflow for Shell.

    Shell had planned to sell down its remaining 13.6 per cent Woodside stake through a Woodside share buyback that would have reduced the oil giant’s stake to less than 5 per cent.

    But this was voted down in August by shareholders that believed Shell was receiving preferential treatment.

    “The actual Woodside share price has fallen quite a lot since then, so our appetite to resurrect (the sale) may have declined,” Mr Henry said.

    Like most oil stocks, Woodside shares have been hit by the rapid fall in the oil price, but they are only down 4 per cent since the buyback deal was announced.

    On Gorgon, where Shell has previously questioned Chevron’s latest budget and timing assumptions, Mr Henry gave no indication it was warming to Chevron’s claims that first LNG will be produced in the middle of next year. “Gorgon (and other projects) — they’re all really contributing materially to revenue in the period 2017, 2018,” Mr Henry said when asked about what projects Shell would start production from next year.


    "I'm so worried about contamination. Gates could be left open into ponds, cattle could get poisoned. It only needs one animal to be contaminated and to go into the beef chain and the whole Australian beef industry could be put into jeopardy overnight," he said."


    Allowing coal seem gas wells on property 'a mistake', Qld farmer says, amid Senate committee inquiry

    They rise from clearings on Allan Nothdurft's farm and are surrounded by fences and signs warning that trespassers face prosecution.

    "We had a couple of quiet years and now it's crazy since the gas come. Just no quiet, no privacy" Mr Nothdurft said.

    Mr Nothdurft and his wife Narelle have seven coal seam gas wells on their property south-west of Chinchilla on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

    Each well occupies a clearing about the size of half a football field.

    For each well, the family is paid $265 a year by coal seam gas operator QGC and another $12,000 is paid annually for land access and usage.

    "It adds up to bugger all, especially for the amount of drama we have to go through," Mr Nothdurft said.

    In a statement, QGC defended what it pays the family.


    Other landholders on the western Darling Downs have resisted the gas companies and their lure of a limitless water supply.

    "Once you take anything off them, that's a contract and you're locked in. I've never taken anything off them," western Darling Downs grazier Joe Hill said.

    The grazier has seen plenty of dry times on his 800-hectare property, which spreads across the parched plains between Chinchilla and Miles.

    With the drought hitting hard, some of Mr Hill's neighbours have eagerly taken up the offer of water from Origin Energy's nearby CSG water treatment plants, but the proud Angus cattle breeder says fears for his herd were behind his decision to knock back the treated water.

    "I'm so worried about contamination. Gates could be left open into ponds, cattle could get poisoned. It only needs one animal to be contaminated and to go into the beef chain and the whole Australian beef industry could be put into jeopardy overnight," he said.

    The coal seam gas companies say their treated water has had all chemicals removed, meaning it meets stringent safety standards and is suitable for irrigation, but Mr Hill will not budge.

    He has even erected a sign at his front gate warning the CSG companies they will be prosecuted if they set foot on his place, so QGC has run pipelines along the northern and western sides of his property, while in the distance a big flare burns out of a compressor station.

    Senate Committee to inquire into project approvals

    Approvals for coal seam gas projects in Queensland have long been a source of bitter debate.

    Now a Senate Select Committee will "inquire into and report on the adequacy of Commonwealth oversight of the approval of coal seam gas projects in Queensland".

  37. Far north Qld council bans CSG

    A far north Queensland council has banned future coal seam gas mining in the region amid fears it will affect water quality.

    Douglas Shire Council lies to the north of Cairns and includes the towns of Mossman, Port Douglas and takes in the Daintree area.

    Councillors voted on Tuesday to ban any future coal seam gas projects in the region.

    Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said there had been no CSG sites proposed in the area but the council wanted to take a proactive stance against the industry.

    "Communities that really pull together make it far more difficult for mining companies to enter our shire boundaries when they know that the community is opposed to that," she told ABC Radio.

    "We're very concerned about the impact on water quality and we do have some of our rivers and streams that do have origin from outside of our shire."

    Ms Leu said the council would encourage neighbouring shires to oppose the CSG industry, including calling on them to back efforts by the anti-CSG lobby group Lock the Gate.

    "We're going to be encouraging people to sign what's called a call to country, which is found on the Lock the Gate website," she said.

    "We're also sending letters to our local state and federal members and petitioning the prime minister."

    1. Texas oil town makes history as residents say no to fracking

      •Denton, Texas, is probably most heavily fracked town in US
      •Oil and gas industry asks court for immediate injunction
      •Denton, slacker capital of the American south-west, grows up

      The Texas town where America’s oil and natural gas boom began has voted to ban fracking, in a stunning rebuke to the industry.

      Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas.

      Organisers said they hoped it would give a boost to anti-fracking activists in other states. More than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of an oil or gas well.

      “It should send a signal to industry that if the people in Texas – where fracking was invented – can’t live with it, nobody can,” said Sharon Wilson, the Texas organiser for EarthWorks, who lives in Denton.

      An energy group on Wednesday asked for an immediate injunction to keep the ban from being enforced. Tom Phillips, an attorney for the Texas Oil and Gas association, told the Associated Press the courts must “give a prompt and authoritative answer” on whether the ban violates the Texas state constitution.

      Athens in Ohio and San Benito and Mendocino counties in California also voted to ban fracking on Tuesday. Similar measures were defeated in Gates Mills, Kent and Youngstown, Ohio, as well as Santa Barbara, California.

      Denton remains a solidly Republican town, and oil companies reportedly spent $700,000 to defeat the ban, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle – nearly $6 for every resident.

      “It was more like David and Godzilla then David and Goliath,” Wilson said. But she said residents were fed up with the noise and disruption of fracking, and the constant traffic and fumes from wells and trucks operating in residential neighbourhoods.

      The town is probably the most heavily fracked in the country.

      The industry has drilled wells on church property, school grounds and on the campus of the University of North Texas, right next to the tennis courts and across the road from the sports stadium (and a stand of giant wind turbines).

      In Texas, as in much of America, property owners do not always own the “mineral rights” – the rights to underground resources – so typically have limited say over how they are developed.

      It is also often the case that owners of the mineral rights – who profit directly from fracking – no longer live in the area.

      There are already hundreds of wells within Denton city limits, and nearly a third of the town is permitted for fracking. Wilson and other local activists from the Denton Drilling Awareness Group had spent years trying to get local officials to restrict fracking, but those measures proved ineffective.

      “We did an ordinance but the industry refused to follow it and threatened law suits at every turn. They said they didn’t have to follow the ordinance because of the way the permitting was done,” Wilson said. “There was just no way out of it except to ban it.”

      The ban will almost certainly result in a wave of lawsuits from oil companies as well as mineral rights owners, Wilson said. Republican officials in Texas said they would try to overturn the ban in the state legislature.

      “As the senior energy regulator in Texas, I am disappointed that Denton voters fell prey to scare tactics and mischaracterisations of the truth in passing the hydraulic fracturing ban,” the railroad commissioner, David Porter, a Republican, told the Denton Record-Chronicle. “Bans based on misinformation – instead of science and fact – potentially threaten this energy renaissance and as a result, the wellbeing of all Texans.”

  38. Mineralogy mine bid rejected after native title ignored

    The Australian |
    November 05, 2014

    CLIVE Palmer’s private mining vehicle, Mineralogy, has again ­inflamed tensions with Aboriginal people in the Pilbara after it failed to seek permission from native title claimants before entering their land to seek new mining tenements.

    A West Australian magistrate, Stephen Wilson, ruled that Mineralogy’s application for a mining ­licence was “fatally flawed” and would be rejected because it had failed to comply with the Native Title Act and the state Mining Act.

    Mineralogy — which is owned by Mr Palmer, the federal MP for Fairfax — applied for the mining licence in 2010, but this was ­challenged by the Kuruma Marthudunera native title claimant group.

    Mr Palmer, who stood down as a director of Mineralogy this year, was a board member when the company applied for the licence.

    The Pilbara indigenous group alleged Mineralogy’s proposed ­activities on its land would affect its heritage rights as well as the ­native flora and fauna.

    Several other mining comp­anies, including rival magnate ­Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, also challenged Mineralogy, arguing that it failed to obtain a permit before entering the Kuruma Marthudunera land.

    But Mineralogy said the native title claim — which was registered in 1999 — did not cover the area it had marked out and it was therefore not required to have a permit.

    Mr Wilson, sitting as the WA mining warden, said in his judgment: “I reject any submission by Mineralogy that it was not obliged or required under the act to obtain a permit to enter before entering upon the land for the purposes of marking out the application for the (licence) that was the subject of the native title claim.

    “The (Native Title Act) requires the same procedural rights be ­afforded to native title holders or claimants as private land holders.”

    Simon Hawkins, the chief executive of the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, said it was the third time that Mineralogy had been in front of the mining warden on the same charge in the past 10 years.

    Mineralogy had “blatantly disregarded” the Native Title Act and the Mining Act, Mr Hawkins said.

    YMAC, on behalf of the native title group, would seek costs against Mineralogy at a hearing on November 14.

    Previous findings by magistrates include that Mr Palmer’s company and staff exhibited “a sense of absolute entitlement in relation to mining endeavours” and “adopted an unduly confrontational approach”. One of Mr Palmer’s top executives was found to have been an unreliable witness and the architect of “misleading” sworn documents.

    A Kuruma Marthudunera elder, Matthew Sampi, told The Australian this year that Mr Palmer had told Aboriginal leaders he would establish health services in the Pilbara. “He seemed real good in the ­beginning, saying he was going to help the Aboriginal people in the area. They disturbed special places where there used to be ancient tools.”

  39. CLEANING up existing coal-fired power stations will go a long way to helping Australia meet its carbon emission targets, Environment Minister Greg Hunt says


    The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, has stood by his defence of coal, saying it is the foundation of Australia’s foreseeable future, just days after a United Nations climate report called for an urgent reduction in carbon emissions.

    “For the foreseeable future coal is the foundation of our prosperity. Coal is the foundation of the way we live because you can’t have a modern lifestyle without energy,” the prime minister said on Tuesday.

    “You can’t have a modern economy without energy and for now and for the foreseeable future, the foundation of Australia’s energy needs will be coal. The foundation of the world’s energy needs will be coal.”


    Carbon capture and storage research budget slashed despite PM's coal focus

    Tony Abbott has trumpeted coal as the foundation of Australia’s energy needs but CCS programs have lost $460m in funding

    The government has cut almost half a billion dollars from research into carbon capture and storage – which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems crucial for continued use of coal – despite the prime minister insisting coal is the “foundation of our prosperity”.

    Tony Abbott said on Tuesday: “For now and for the foreseeable future, the foundation of Australia’s energy needs will be coal. The foundation of the world’s energy needs will be coal.”

    The IPCC synthesis report, released on Monday, found that to limit global warming to 2C “the share of low‐carbon electricity supply (comprising renewable energy, nuclear and carbon capture and storage) needs to increase from its current share of approximately 30% to more than 80% by 2050 and 90% by 2100, and fossil fuel power generation without CCS [carbon capture and storage] is phased out almost entirely by 2100”.

    In the budget the government cut $459.3m over three years from its carbon capture and storage flagship program, leaving $191.7m to continue existing projects for the next seven years. The program had already been cut by the previous Labor government and much of the funding remained unallocated.

    The coal industry has “paused” a levy on black coal producers, which was supposed to build a $1bn industry fund to also finance research and demonstration into clean coal technology. It cited low coal prices for the halt. $250m has been spent from the fund on demonstration plants and another $46m worth of grants are under assessment.

    The objectives of Coal21, set up in 2006, have also been changed to allow the industry to use funding already collected to promote the use of coal. Its constitution now allows money to be spent on “promoting the use of coal both within Australia and overseas and promoting the economic and social benefits of the coal industry”. It is unclear whether any has been spent in this way.

    Tony Wood, the energy program director at the Grattan Institute, said: “CCS is the only way Australia, and the world, can keep using coal and also do what it needs to do about climate change, but neither industry nor government seem to be serious about doing anything about it.”

    1. Short-term political fixes pose threat to environment and future prosperity, scientists warn

      Some of the nation's top scientists have warned short-term political fixes pose a threat to both the environment and the nation's future prosperity.

      The first major report in more than a decade from the influential Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists suggests the Federal Government eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and provide tax breaks to landowners who work to protect threatened species and ecosystems.

      "We're increasingly seeing the consequences of our current short-termism and the cost that will impose on this society in the future, because, in the long run, environmental degradation will come at an enormous cost," Wentworth Group director, Peter Cosier, said.

      The report included contributions from former treasury secretary Ken Henry and Clean Energy Finance Corporation director Martijn Wilder.

      The group said the Abbott Government's tentative steps towards reforming the tax system provided an opportunity to better protect the environment.

      "Tax is an effective way [to protect the environment] because it's something you have to pay and it's a measure which governments use all the time to pull triggers in the economy," Mr Wilder said.

      "There's an opportunity here to look at our tax system over the long-term to make it such that it has measures that are beneficial to the environment and the economy."


      The report recommends removing fossil fuel subsidies and instead paying farmers, indigenous communities and other landholders to restore and protect environmental assets.

      "A farmer may take particular steps to look after and manage their land in a more sustainable fashion and by doing that they may be rewarded with some sort of tax concession," Mr Wilder said.

      Professor Bruce Thom, a founding member of the group, said with climate change predicted to bring more extreme heat, bushfires, and damaging storms, smarter planning decisions need to be made now.

      "We spend 10 times more on recovery after a disaster than we spend on mitigating their impacts," Professor Thom said.

      He said he believed preparing communities for climate change has not been well coordinated to date between different tiers of government.

      Professor Thom said recent discussions about tax and federalism should be expanded to include the management of the natural environment.

      "The Federal Government is the driver of the economy and the states are the deliverers," he said.

      "We feel that all three levels of government must be closely working together in better managing our natural capital for the long-term future."

      The authors cite advice from the Productivity Commission, Treasury, and the Garnaut Review that an emissions trading scheme remains the most cost-effective way for Australia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      A copy of the Wentworth Group's report will be sent to every state environment minister and every federal MP.

  40. Fossil fuel ads approved by Brisbane airport despite political intent

    Activist groups hoping to attract the attention of G20 delegates had their adverts declined – but Chevron and the mining-funded Reef Facts campaign were given the green light

    Three advertisements have been banned from appearing in Brisbane airport because they were deemed “too political” – but it has emerged that similar material from energy giant Chevron and the Queensland government’s controversial mining-funded Reef Facts campaign was approved.

    In the run-up to the G20 meeting in Brisbane this month, activist groups tried to place adverts inside the terminal, but were rebuffed by Ooh Media, the airport’s media buyer.

    As Guardian Australia revealed on Sunday, environment and development groups led by the WWF attempted to place a billboard ad depicting a farmer calling for action on climate change, featuring the words: “Action on climate change is #onmyagenda, Dear G20 leaders please put it on yours.”

    The groups agreed to remove the words “Dear G20 leaders”, but Ooh Media still rejected the new advert.

    On Tuesday it emerged that campaign group Transparency International had had its own billboard advertisement rejected for the same reasons – it was “too political”.

    Reading “Dirty money not welcome here. G20, it’s time to:”, the billboard was designed to urge global leaders to support anti-corruption principles being discussed at the summit.

    Again though, Brisbane rejected the advertisement, saying its policy did not allow billboards with a political intent.

    A spokeswoman said the policy ruled out advertising, whether by political parties, groups or individuals, that was “focused on a particular policy issue that is the subject of political contention”. There was no value judgment made about the message, she said.

    Also on Tuesday, civil society forum C20 was told that the airport would not carry its planned lightbox advertisements.

    “We can talk to leaders as an official engagement group, but it seems we can’t talk to the public,” C20 spokesman John Lindsay told reporters.

    But earlier this year the airport hosted adverts as part of a campaign by the Queensland government – funded by the Queensland Resources Council, a peak body representing mining and energy companies.

    The adverts pointed people to a government website which drew criticism for its selective use of statistics to imply that dredging, dumping and shipping were not having an adverse effect on the Great Barrier Reef.

    But the campaign was not considered too political under the airport’s policy.

    “Our judgment is that government advertising on government programs does not constitute advertising with a political intent,” a spokeswoman said.

    Likewise, adverts promoting Chevron’s “We Agree” campaign were not deemed too political and were allowed to be placed in the airport.

    According to Business Spectator, Brisbane airport’s head of corporate relations, Rachel Crowley, acknowledged that Chevron’s ads had a political purpose – but did not row back on the bans on the WWF, Transparency International and C20 displays.

  41. Oil swoons as oversupply fears extend losses

    Oil markets retreated from multi-year lows on Tuesday but still fell more than 2 per cent after Saudi Arabia cut export prices to the United States threatening to deepen a global supply glut that has driven prices down 30 per cent since June.

    US crude futures settled down $US1.59 at $US77.19 after reaching the lowest intraday price since October 2011 in the morning.

    The price of Brent for next-month delivery settled down $US1.96 at $US82.82 after touching its lowest point since October 2010.

    Refined product stocks jumped last week, surprising those analysts who expected declines, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute released on Tuesday after oil prices settled. Distillate fuels stockpiles rose by 155,000 barrels instead of the 1.8-million-barrel drop predicted in a Reuters poll of analysts. Gasoline stocks rose by 240,000 barrels despite an expected 400,000 barrel increase.

    US crude stocks fell 639,000 barrels last week to 374.9 million in the wake of the revved-up refinery output.

    On Monday, Saudi Arabia surprised the market by raising prices for Asia and Europe but cutting prices for US customers. Oil slid as much as $US2 a barrel in late trade, and the sell-off continued Tuesday, triggering technical sell-stops.

    "The Saudis have basically declared war on the US oil producers," said Phil Flynn at Price Futures Group. "I think they believe that the only way they're going to survive in the long term is to break the market in the short term."


    BHP Billiton tests US oil export ban

    Dow Jones |
    November 05, 2014

    BHP Billiton will soon sell US oil abroad without explicit permission from the US government, another sign that Washington’s decades-old federal ban on crude exports is crumbling.

    The Australian-based resources group’s (BHP) deal to sell about $US50 million of ultralight oil from Texas to foreign buyers without formal government approval is likely to be only the first of many such moves as energy companies seek new markets and higher prices for the surge of crude now pumped in the US.

    BHP said it had signed an agreement to sell 600,000 barrels of oil that hasn’t gone through the traditional refining process that turns oil into gasoline and other fuels. The company declined to identify the buyers for the ultralight oil, known as condensate. The few similar cargoes that have been exported with government approval have gone to Asia and Europe.


    How blue skies for Barack Obama in Beijing help to cut iron ore prices

    ..................The raw material used for steel collapsed into a bear market this year as Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton and Vale expanded supplies, spurring a global glut just as economic growth in China slowed. Asia's biggest economy will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the capital from November 7-12, prompting authorities to order factory shutdowns to try to ensure clean air and blue skies for the event.


    The global market needs to absorb a surplus of about 110 million tonnes next year, from 60 million tonnes in 2014, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in an October 23 report. The collapse in prices may deepen as global supply increases and steel-demand growth slows, according to Moody's Investors Service.

    Iron ore shipped to China from Australia's Port Hedland climbed to 31.7 million tonnes last month from 29.8 million in September and 25.2 million a year earlier, data showed Tuesday. The port handles output from BHP, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., Australia's third-largest producer, and Atlas Iron. Total shipments last month were a record 37.5 million tonnes.

    China's manufacturing slowed further in October as a property slump and slowdown in investment growth put the world's second-largest economy on course for the slowest full-year growth since 1990. The economy expanded 7.3 per cent on-year in the third quarter, the weakest pace in more than five years.

    1. Shale 'Sweet Spots' Still Viable At Current Prices

      by Karen Boman

      Rigzone Staff
      Tuesday, November 04, 2014

      Much of the ongoing U.S. unconventional oil activity should continue if the Brent crude oil price remains in the low to mid-$80 per barrel range, but companies operating outside of unconventional ”sweet spots” could be pinched if oil prices continue to fall, according to a recent article by Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA).


      TransCanada Boosts Keystone XL Cost Nearly 50% To $7.02B

      Nov 4 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp, Canada's No.2 pipeline company, on Tuesday raised estimated capital costs for its controversial Keystone XL project to C$8 billion ($7.02 billion) from an initial projection of C$5.4 billion, citing lengthy delays.

      Keystone XL, which would carry as much as 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has been awaiting U.S. presidential permit for more than six years amid bitter opposition from environmental groups.

      However, with Republicans expected to make major gains and possibly even recapture the Senate in U.S. mid-term elections on Tuesday, there may be an opportunity for lawmakers in favor of the 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline to force President Barack Obama to make a call.


      Kemp: Why Argentina Is Most Attractive Shale Play Outside of US

      Follow The Drilling

      There are more rigs drilling for oil and gas in the country than at any time in the last 30 years, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes.

      With over 100 rigs operating in September, the number of rigs has doubled since 2009. (

      There is more drilling activity in Argentina than anywhere else except the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and India.

      In 2013, U.S. oil major Chevron signed a deal with YPF on a drilling programme across 5,000 acres in the Neuquen Basin. In total, they drilled 109 wells in 2013, and the drilling plan includes a further 140 wells in 2014, according to Chevron.

      In a conference call with investors on Aug. 1, the company disclosed it had 19 active rigs in the first half of the year and had already drilled 89 wells.

      "Chevron is pleased with our initial results in the Vaca Muerta," Chevron's exploration chief told analysts.

      "Drilling results have identified two sweet spots where we are focusing our activity. In one of these areas we have commenced a horizontal (drilling) programme."

      He continued, "We have seen a production uptick, which gives us confidence that we will deliver the growth we anticipated when we entered this play."

      Other smaller North American exploration and production companies also have active drilling programmes in the Vaca Muerta.


      In contrast to Sichuan, Bazhenov or the Arctic, let alone Britain's onshore shale deposits, hundreds of wells have already been sunk into the Vaca Muerta and are already producing oil.

      Given its superb geology, Vaca Muerta remains one of the most promising plays around the world for investors willing to look through the extremely polarised commentary to assess the underlying risks and conditions.

    2. Stena Clyde Semisub Mobilizes to Pryderi-1 Well Location Offshore WA

      by IPB Petroleum Ltd.

      Press Release
      Tuesday, November 04, 2014

      IPB Petroleum reported Tuesday that the WA-424-P Joint Venture (IPB 75 percent, CalEnergy 25 percent and Operator) has received notification that the Stena Clyde (mid-water semisub) departed the Puffin field location this morning and that the rig is currently under tow to the Pryderi-1 location in WA-424-P offshore Western Australia.

      IPB Petroleum estimates that the Stena Clyde will arrive at the Pryderi-1 location later this week with spudding to commence shortly thereafter. IPB intends to make a further ASX announcement when this occurs.

      Pryderi-1 is a relatively shallow well and based on the current schedule IPB estimates that the target reservoir will be intersected within a week of spudding the well.

      Following logging this Pryderi-1 well will then be plugged and abandoned.


      Primus Offers Smaller Scale Solution for Stranded Gas

      by Karen Boman

      Rigzone Staff
      Monday, November 03, 2014

      Seeing a great opportunity in flared and stranded gas, Hillsborough, N.J.-based Primus Energy now offers its Syngas-to-Gasoline technology (STG+) in a smaller-scale version to address these issues.

      Primus sees its technology as a “win-win” situation not only for the environment, but for landowners and producers.

      The company, which already offers 2,000-barrel per day (bpd) plants in the United States, decided to see if it could scale down its plant size to address the stranded gas issue in remote areas with not infrastructure.

      After conducting engineering and price studies, Primus has developed a system which is now available commercially.

      The modular-design 350 bpd facility would be deployed on 15 tractor trailers and assembled on site. Through this smaller scale facility, Primus can make a liquid gasoline on or off-spec that can be moved with crude offsite, meaning that a separate logistics train to move gasoline is not needed.

      Primus’ solution works particularly well with heavy crude oil.

      Primus also can convert the syngas into napthta, eliminating the need for companies to truck or pipe in napthta, which is being used to thin heavy oil production. In the STG process, Primus takes natural gas, converts it to syngas and then coverts it to a high-quality, zero benzene gasoline.

      But the company’s STG+ technology is fundamentally different from Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology. FT, which was used in Germany in the 1940s and is used on a large scale in South Africa by Sasol to convert coal to liquid fuels, is commercially well-proven, but is not selective and produces a wide variety of crude products, from light alkanes to waxes, which must be refined extensively to produce marketable products, according to a white paper by Primus.

  42. Off to the Stars, With Grief, Dread and Regret

    Movie Review: ‘Interstellar,’ Christopher Nolan’s Search for a New Planet

    Like the great space epics of the past, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” distills terrestrial anxieties and aspirations into a potent pop parable, a mirror of the mood down here on Earth. Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” blended the technological awe of the Apollo era with the trippy hopes and terrors of the Age of Aquarius. George Lucas’s first “Star Wars” trilogy, set not in the speculative future but in the imaginary past, answered the malaise of the ’70s with swashbuckling nostalgia. “Interstellar,” full of visual dazzle, thematic ambition, geek bait and corn (including the literal kind), is a sweeping, futuristic adventure driven by grief, dread and regret.


    The whole movie can be seen as a plea for forgiveness on behalf of our foolish, dreamy species. We messed everything up, and we feel really bad about it. Can you please give us another chance?


    Nobody goes to a Christopher Nolan movie for laughs. But it is hard to imagine that his fans — who represent a fairly large segment of the world’s population — will be disappointed by “Interstellar.” I haven’t always been one of them, but I’ve always thought that his skill and ingenuity were undeniable. He does not so much transcend genre conventions as fulfill them with the zeal of a true believer. It may be enough to say that “Interstellar” is a terrifically entertaining science-fiction movie, giving fresh life to scenes and situations we’ve seen a hundred times before, and occasionally stumbling over pompous dialogue or overly portentous music. (In general, the score, by Hans Zimmer, is exactly as portentous as it needs to be.)
    Continue reading the main story


    Of course, the film is more than that. It is in the nature of science fiction to aspire to more, to ascend fearlessly toward the sublime. You could think of “Interstellar,” which has a lot to say about gravity, as the anti-“Gravity.” That movie, which would fit inside this one twice, stripped away the usual sci-fi metaphysics, presenting space travel as an occasion for quiet wonder and noisy crisis management. Mr. Nolan takes the universe and eternity itself as his subject and his canvas, brilliantly exploiting cinema’s ability to shift backward and sideways in time (through flashbacks and cross cuts), even as it moves relentlessly forward.

    But “Gravity” and “Interstellar” are both ultimately about the longing for home, about voyages into the unknown that become odysseys of return. And “Interstellar” may take its place in the pantheon of space movies because it answers an acute earthly need, a desire not only for adventure and novelty but also, in the end, for comfort.

    “Interstellar” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). A few expletives, a lot of peril.

  43. This would have to be one of THE great speeches

    One for the ages

    In Full: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam

    Lots of chatter online about Noel Pearson's rousing speech. Watch it in full here. One for the ages, no doubt.

  44. Groundwater information portal launched

    Richard Collins
    Wednesday, 5 November 2014

    The Bureau of Meteorology has released an online groundwater data tool, providing a comprehensive picture of Australia’s groundwater resources.


    About the Groundwater
    Dependent Ecosystems Atlas

    The National Atlas of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems presents the current knowledge of groundwater dependent ecosystems across Australia. It displays ecological and hydrogeological information on known groundwater dependent ecosystems and ecosystems that potentially use groundwater. The Atlas is a tool to assist the consideration of ecosystem groundwater requirements in natural resource management, including water planning and environmental impact assessment.

    The Atlas was funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Commission's Raising National Water Standards Program. It was developed by the National Water Commission, SKM, CSIRO, Cogha and the Bureau of Meteorology with input from every State and Territory as part of the Groundwater Action Plan. A key aim of the Groundwater Action Plan is to improve Australia's understanding of groundwater dependent ecosystems and facilitate how they are considered in water management.

    Read the Information Sheet (169 KB) to find out more

    The scope of the Atlas

    The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Atlas is the most comprehensive inventory of the location and characteristics of groundwater dependent ecosystems for Australia. It incorporates multiple lines of scientific evidence including previous fieldwork, literature and mapping, and combines nation-wide layers of satellite remote sensing data. The physical characteristics that describe each ecosystem are also shown.

    The Atlas shows ecosystems including springs, wetlands, rivers and vegetation that interact with:
    the subsurface presence of groundwater, or
    the surface expression of groundwater

    Using the Atlas

    Explanations are available in the FAQs and methodology reports.

  45. Professor Fiona Stanley speaking on ABC radio from Roebourne November 5 2014 ..........."there are only 1000 indigenous people living in Roebourne surrounded by all this wealth...they should be living in luxury ...we could easily afford it..."


    Disadvantaged Pilbara community to connect with politicians

    A major research project on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal women and young children in a Pilbara town will be capped with a day of celebration on Wednesday, November 5.

    Celebrate Roebourne Day has been organised by Murdoch University’s Professor Rhonda Marriott, her Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing TripleWrap Research Team and supported by Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Limited.


    The event will feature 10 local people sharing a two minute story about themselves with invited guests including Professor Fiona Stanley AC, Telethon KIDS Institute, a Chief Investigator on the research project; Hon Brendon Grylls, MLA; Hon Stephen Dawson, MLC, and other dignitaries.

    The Roebourne Mothering documentary film created by Juluwarlu and Kick Up Dust Productions will also be launched.


    Pilbara documentary celebrates Aboriginal mothering traditions and lessons learned from raising bush babies

    ..................The film is part of a three-year Murdoch University study, known as the TripleWrap Project, focussing on how to provide the best care and support to mothers and babies.

    Research leader Dr Rhonda Marriott says the idea for the documentary was originally conceived to help educate health professionals.

    "We can't bring everyone to Roebourne," she said.

    "We can't bring everyone to rural or regional Australia to work with Aboriginal families, but through a film people can tell their story in their own voices."

    While the study's final results and recommendations won't be released until early next year in Perth, Dr Marriott says there are clear reoccurring themes.

    "What's come through very strongly to us is that families here, and women in families, are strong," she said.

    "The older women really hold the families together and for the town of Roebourne I think it's a real coming-of-age moment."

    Health advocate Dr Fiona Stanley agrees.

    During her time with the project she has spent time on country with the participants.

    "I think the groups who will benefit from this are the parents and future parents of Roebourne," she said.

    "It's really their story, and it's their story about how important it is to have proper birthing and how culture being strong is important for the baby's development and the community."

    Dr Stanley says the lessons learnt in Roebourne aren't only applicable locally.

    "What I'll be taking away is that this is a very strong, vibrant community that has got its act together," she said.

    "While we came up here with our research, what we're going away with is a model that can probably work very strongly elsewhere in Australia."

    Core to that model being successful is Aboriginal engagement, from the ground up, says Dr Stanley.

    "It's a very simple recipe, if you just get Aboriginal people to participate with you, as partners, you'll get better outcomes."

    As part of this week's community film screening, the research team also organised a Celebrate Roebourne Day.

    Dr Rhonda Marriott hopes what she has seen on the ground in Roebourne will resonate with others.

    "Films like this will, I think, go a long way towards opening people's eyes about the strength of culture," she said.

    "There is a different way of thinking about Aboriginal people, this film is about seeing them as they see themselves. It's their film."


    "Controlling the Aboriginal population was perhaps the central task of the Western Australian Police during the early colonial period. Indeed, enforcing the system of indentured servitude which prevailed during the mid-19th century was an important function. To this end, police were vested with wide powers of arrest without warrant (Bolton 1981).

    Increasing contact between the races, and growing availability of alcohol to Aboriginal people increased white authorities' inclination to control the behaviour of natives. Today, no less than in earlier years, Aborigines, who constitute less than 3 per cent of Western Australia's population, comprise one-third of the state's prisoners. One recent census of prisoners showed that on a given day, one out of every twelve male Aborigines in Western Australia between the ages of 19 and 29 was in prison (Mukherjee & Scandia 1988).

    Police are traditionally loath to discuss the specific considerations which underlie the allocation of their resources. The fact that they respond more vigorously to public drunkenness by Aborigines than to domestic violence in white society suggests something about their priorities. Roebourne, by any standard, appears to have been characterised by saturation policing. In 1983 eight officers and two police aides were stationed in the town. The nearby 'white' town of Wickham had half as many police for twice the population. Indeed, the regional centre, Karratha, with a population of over 8,000 had only fourteen officers.

    Nor were Roebourne police content to sit idly by. There was an almost constant police presence in and around the Aboriginal bar at the Victoria Hotel. The power of arrest for public drunkenness was exercised freely - recent years' totals approached 2,000 annually - nearly three arrests for every Aboriginal man, woman and child in the town.

    Even if such scrutiny arises from the noblest of motives (a very questionable assumption) there can be little doubt that this style of policing is counterproductive. For 150 years, police were regarded as agents of oppression. They had come to be perceived as upholding one law for whites and one for blacks. In such a setting, the overbearing presence of police can contribute to an offence where none is imminent. Relatively minor incidents may escalate as a result of police involvement.

    Tne history of abysmal relations between police and Aborigines in Western Australia is long and bleak. Punitive expeditions involving what amounted to summary execution have been documented well into the twentieth century (Western Australia 1927). In January 1975, a group of Western Desert people en route to ceremonies sought to travel through the town of Laverton. At Skull Creek, on the outskirts of town, they were intercepted by police who arrested most if not all of the able-bodied men in the group. A Royal Commission concluded that the arrests were unjustified and that much of the evidence given by police in subsequent court proceedings had been fabricated (Western Australia 1975-76).

    Discriminatory treatment in the arrest and prosecution of Aboriginal Western Australians has also been documented (Eggleston 1976). At Roebourne, in contrast to the nightly arrests at the Aboriginal bar of the Victoria Hotel, a former barmaid related that despite occasional fights involving flying jugs, tables and chairs in the saloon bar, she recalled only one arrest of a white customer.

    It is hardly original to suggest that traditionally, police in Australia had been recruited more on the basis of their physical bulk than on their skills in human relations. "

    1. Geraldton community grieves as Aboriginal boy’s suicide highlights prevention failures

      The Australian |
      November 07, 2014

      THE suicide of an 11-year-old ­Aboriginal boy in the West Australian port of Geraldton has plunged the local indigenous community deep into grief, six months after the state’s Mental Health Commissioner warned suicide victims were getting younger — and prevention strategies were not working.

      Peter Little was playing with other children outside his grandparents’ home on October 19 before he left the group and was found hanging from a tree soon after in a nearby patch of bush.

      The Australian understands he was found by another child.

      An inter-agency briefing note seen by The Australian says the boy “had a number of previously reported suicide attempts”.

      The West Australian Department for Child Protection would not comment on the matter yesterday, saying only that it was providing support to the family.

      People who know the Little family say Peter was being raised by loving grandparents and had been living with them since around the time his parents separated. His mother and father have travelled to Geraldton to grieve with the rest of the family. Peter had been living in an inland regional town before recently moving to Geraldton. He had struggled with numeracy and literacy at school but, ­according to one person who knows the family, he did not seem tormented or troubled and enjoyed being with his young relatives.

      Peter’s funeral will be held today.

  47. NO doubt about it then Barnett's claims of really wanting to improve the lot of Aboriginal people really were a croc of shit.

    "As the suicide rate grows, Aboriginal leaders in the Kimberley are growing increasingly frustrated at the millions of dollars in funding for mental health research and service delivery that is being ­wasted on the ground.

    The West Australian government has been accused of gross complacency on indigenous suicide despite the rising number of deaths and the heavy focus on the issue that sprang from the inquiries of coroner Alistair Hope, who delivered a major report in 2008 into a string of deaths in the Kimberley."

    All we need now is more shit from Bergman & co. about how gas plants can prevent suicide. All the money these c**ts waste with their bastard bureaucracies and the shit that comes out their mouths - nothing but f***ing parasites the lot of them. They should replace the Aboriginal flag with the union jack and "land rights" with "land grabs".

    As for Mundine (Mundane) this story shows how out of touch he is "the pretty boy in his ivory tower".


    A nation shamed when child sees suicide as the solution

    REMOTE Australia is in the grip of a suicide epidemic that is taking the lives of children as young as eight years old, with Aboriginal towns in the Kimberley now suffering the highest rates of suicide in the world.

    As the West Australian port city of Geraldton yesterday buried 11-year-old Peter Little, who was found hanging from a tree in nearby bush by another child, indigenous leaders called for urgent action to address a growing crisis that will see as many as one in 12 Aboriginal deaths caused by suicide.

    “We are talking about an ­epidemic,” said Tony Abbott’s chief indigenous adviser, Warren Mundine. “Quite frankly, you are looking at a society in collapse. I am a ­father and I just cannot get it through my head that at the age of eight or nine a child can’t see a ­future for themselves. It’s unimaginable.”

    Figures compiled by the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project reveal the rate of Aboriginal suicide in the Kimberley is as high as 70 deaths per 100,000 people, more than six times the ­national rate. The latest World Health Organisation data shows Guyana, in South America, has the highest country rate of 44 deaths per 100,000 people. Though the official rate of Aboriginal suicide in Australia is one in every 24 deaths, a researcher at the evaluation project, Gerry ­Georgatos, has put the figure at ­between one in 12 and one in 16 deaths, given the high number of suicides that are put down to other causes.

    “What we have is a rising crisis and the Kimberley is sadly beginning to reach the numbers it reached in 2007, 2008 and 2009,” Mr Georgatos told The Weekend Australian. “The impoverishment of remote communities has ­increased, we have tough sentencing regimes and mandatory jailing. One in 13 adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in WA is in prison: that’s the world’s highest jailing rate.”

    As the suicide rate grows, Aboriginal leaders in the Kimberley are growing increasingly frustrated at the millions of dollars in funding for mental health research and service delivery that is being ­wasted on the ground.

    The West Australian government has been accused of gross complacency on indigenous suicide despite the rising number of deaths and the heavy focus on the issue that sprang from the inquiries of coroner Alistair Hope, who delivered a major report in 2008 into a string of deaths in the Kimberley. Numerous summits have been held following suicide spates in remote communities in the years since.

  48. A nation shamed when child sees suicide as the solution

    Community leaders such as Wes Morris, who runs the award-winning Yirimam Project in the Kimberley, are labelling the state government’s response to the ­Aboriginal suicide crisis ­“pathetic”. Mr Morris said state governments of both political persuasions had failed to understand that “cultural wounds require cultural healing” and had continued with poorly targeted polices ­devised by “white fellas” that only exacerbated the problem.

    The Yiriman Project was initiated by Aboriginal elders in 1997 through the Kimberley Aboriginal law and Cultural Centre. Elders take young people into the bush to help them develop a sense of their cultural heritage, which builds self-esteem and identity.

    In his report on Aboriginal suicides in 2008, Mr Hope hailed the success of Yiriman in saving lives and recommended it be expanded to the entire Kimberley.

    Mr Morris said yesterday this had proved impossible because the state government had refused to provide funding, despite the group’s repeated applications. He said the program survived on modest funding of about $350,000 a year from the commonwealth government and private donors.

    Mr Hope also recommended the government put in place a leadership structure in the Department of Indigenous Affairs “which will command the respect of other government agencies and Aboriginal people”. The department’s budget has only increased from $28 million to $34m in the past six years.

    WA Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the government had “demonstrated its commitment to work with Aboriginal communities” to address the issue of suicide and said the Aboriginal youth suicide rate had “significantly declined” since 2011. Ms Morton said a new suicide-prevention strategy was being developed after the expiration of the prevention strategy that ran from 2009 until last year.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait ­Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda called for more to be done. “It seems to me we’ve almost become immune to the shock,” he said. “We need to be shocked out of our complacency. We’ve become desensitised where we need to be outraged. I find it hard to comprehend what life must be like for a child where suicide is the only option available to them.”

    Aboriginal senator Nova Peris said indigenous youth suicide required urgent action. “Support programs are being slashed, child- abuse reports are up 30 per cent but child abuse investigations have been cut,” she said. “The juvenile justice system is in crisis and only 1 per cent of child sexual- abuse reports are being substantiated. All these factors contribute to increased risks of youth suicide. The problem is being ignored.”

    1. The non stop police pressure targeting Indigenous people, the legalised murder, kidnapping and rape, the bashings and lawlessness of the Broome police, the racist attacks by the Chamber of Horrors and their followers, John McCourt, the Shire and the KLC cheering on human rights abuses all lead to this.


      Officers 'flee angry crowd' after woman apparently hit by police car in Broome

      Police in Broome have reportedly fled from a crowd of people angry that a police car apparently hit a woman at a park.

      Witnesses at the scene say the car appeared to strike the woman accidentally as she was lying on the ground.

      In the minutes afterwards, dozens of people chased the officers involved, forcing them to take refuge in a bus parked nearby.

      The incident occurred at the Town Beach park where people gather every day to drink and play cards.

      It is understood the officers were making an arrest in the area when the woman was hit.

      Dozens of officers sped to the scene to disperse the angry crowd.

      The woman was taken to Broome regional hospital in a serious but stable condition.

      Two police vehicles are badly damaged with all windows smashed in.


      Witness's reported the police knew the woman was there but still ran her over.
      Ironically the police were rescued by the Kullari bus !
      Luckily for them the bus hadn't been scrapped because of funding cuts.

      This is becoming like the Jews vs the Palestinians.

      The NT intervention and the Barnett/Woodside gas plant has seen police lawlessness just go off the scale.

      Big land grab alright - it's on everywhere.

    2. According to people who were there no one was fighting until the police ran over the woman sleeping on the grass - then the mob got wild.
      Sutherland has no credibility with anyone after all the lies and sh*t he did when the gas plant was on.
      He's already proved himself to be the biggest liar and a corrupt cop.

      Police attacked in wild Broome brawl

      "Superintendent Sutherland said the officer driving the van that ran over the woman was positioning the vehicle to assist with arrests when the accident happened.

      He said police would continue its zero tolerance approach on street drinking in Broome."


    3. Suicide-prevention groups accused of not doing enough for indigenous

      MAINSTREAM suicide-prevention organisations and major charities are failing to stem the tide of a rising epidemic of indig­enous suicide, sparking criticism from Aboriginal health workers that local groups are isolated from funding and service delivery.

      The national peak organisation Suicide Prevention Australia has defended the fact that it does not have a single Aboriginal representative on its board, even though some of the nation’s ­remote regions have the highest suicide rates in the world.

      The national rate is falling, a gain that reflects the sustained ­efforts of health-prevention initiatives.

      But at the same time the rate of indigenous suicide has risen to alarming levels.

      Yet the nation’s major charities that are granted millions of dollars in public funds are accused of ­directing too little to indigenous-suicide prevention and instead pairing with professional activists such as GetUp! to raise funds for indigenous programs in competition with Aboriginal campaigns.

      The Weekend Australian revealed on Saturday that the indig­enous suicide rate in the Kimberley is the highest in the world, when referenced against World Health Organisation figures, at 70 deaths per 100,000. The latest analysis by researchers indic­ates as many as one in 12 indig­enous people die by suicide.


      Professor Langton said indig­enous-controlled initiatives were best-placed to stem the crisis.

      “An unknown quantum — it must be in the hundreds of millions of dollars — from the indig­enous-specific commonwealth and state budgets go to NGOs and church organisations to deliver services,” she said.

      “I’m finding it difficult to think of one that intervenes effectively, especially in this area of child suicide.

      “And Aboriginal organisations that have responsibility to convert the coroners’ reports into the many child suicides, now scores of child suicides, into effective polic­ies and program implementation plans are unable to do so because they are not funded adequately and sustainably.”

      A spokesman for the Black Dog Institute, which is raising funds via GetUp! for a suicide prevention app called iBobbly, said as a research institu­te and clinical provider, the majority of its ­income was tied exclusively to tightly-controlled research grants.

      Adele Cox, a consultant on the newly formed ­Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project, says suicide victims are now younger than ever. “Suicide no longer discriminates in terms of age,” she said.

      Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive Sue Murray said the body drew on the expertise of its adviser Tom Calma AO, a former social justice commissioner, on indigenous issues. “We’re acutely aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to be represented,” Ms Murray said.

      Lifeline 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

  49. Tasmania drops mandatory prison sentences from anti-protest legislation

    Protesters now face maximum four-year jail terms and higher financial penalties under bill amended after upper house review

    Mandatory prison sentences have been removed from Tasmania’s controversial anti-protest legislation, but protesters will now face maximum four-year jail terms and higher financial penalties.

    The bill was amended late on Thursday following an upper house review, scrapping mandatory minimum three-month jail terms for protesters who repeatedly “prevent, hinder or obstruct the carrying out of a business activity”.

    The compulsory jail terms, which would have been the state’s first, were slammed by the Tasmanian Law Society, the Human Rights Law Centre and the United Nations, which warned they would have a “chilling effect” on free expression.

    But the 15-member Legislative Council, which is dominated by right-leaning independents, opted to increase the maximum jail term for repeated disruptive protests from two years to four.

    “It sends a very clear message that the Tasmanian parliament believes it’s a serious issue if people are repeat offenders and disrupt workplaces where people are lawfully wanting to undertake their work functions,” independent upper house MP Tania Rattray said.

    Financial penalties under the bill have also been doubled to a maximum $100,000 for organisations and up to $25,000 for individuals, up from $5,000 in the original bill.

    The bill is targeted at industries that the Hodgman government says are “vulnerable to protest action”, including mining, forestry, agriculture and the construction industry.

    The state resources minister, Paul Harriss, had signalled he would be willing to exempt protests outside “shops, markets and warehouses” from the new punishments.

    But MPs opted to keep them within the scope of the bill to protect the “Harvey Normans and Bunnings of the world”, Rattray said.

  50. Nationwide gas grid starts to emerge as NSW and NT sign $1bn pipeline deal

    The plan to link north and east criticised by experts who said NSW buckled to pressure from anti-coal seam gas lobby

    Australia is one step closer to establishing a national gas grid after New South Wales and the Northern Territory formally endorsed a proposed pipeline.

    The planned link would run from Alice Springs to Moomba connecting northern and eastern gas markets.

    Energy experts said it would ease pressure on NSW to fast-track controversial coal seam gas (CSG) projects as the state approaches an expected gas shortage in the next few years.

    The premier of NSW, Mike Baird, and the NT’s chief minister, Adam Giles, signed a memorandum of understanding in Sydney on Friday.

    But the plan has already been criticised by energy experts who said the NSW government had buckled to pressure from the anti-CSG lobby.

    Geoffrey Cann, the national director of oil and gas at Deloitte, said NSW had an ample supply of gas and should be working towards extracting it rather than relying on other states.

    “To move all that gas from such a long distance away when you’re sitting on your own pile of it doesn’t make a lot of economic sense really,” he said, pointing out that NSW imports 95% of its gas from other states.

    “I think the reason the government is promoting it is because they can’t see a way around the environmental movement in NSW and the community opposition to [coal seam gas mining],” he said.

    The project is expected to cost between $900m and $1.3bn and is hoped to be operational by mid-2018.

    Baird said the NSW industrial gas sector was struggling and looking for new contracts. “What this will do is bring additional gas, provide more opportunity for contracts for them and ... bring downward pressure on prices,” he said.


    Quick facts on the pipeline:
    •What is behind the proposal? Fears of an impending gas shortage in NSW.
    •What would it cost? Anything from $900 million to $1.3 billion, according to Australia's largest pipeline owner, APA Group.
    •Where would it go? APA is looking at three potential routes: Alice Springs to Moomba (1,100km), Tenant Creek to Mt Isa (620km), and from midway between Alice and Tenant Creek to the Carpentaria Gas Pipeline (700km).
    •Where would gas come from? The Territory Government prefers developing onshore deposits. It says this would create jobs in remote areas. APA Group says more proven reserves have been identified offshore.


  51. Dublin Shell to Sea shared Juanita Augustine's video: Sooo.... I got arrested today.

    Anti-fracking protest in New Brunswick..

    Juanita Augustine

    "This video has gone viral.

    Some people sharing it don't know the story behind it. There has been an anti-fracking protest taking place for a few months in New Brunswick. This protest has been supported by Acadians, Anglophones, and Mi'kmaq First Nations in the area.

    For about 3 weeks, protesters had blocked off the entrance to a compound where SWN (a fracking company) was holding their trucks and equipment. SWN got an injunction to have these protestors removed. Police had not enforced the injunction for several days.

    This night before this took place, the main van that was blocking the compound was removed. So it was no longer blocked.

    The injunction was for the entrance to the compound. In the dawn hours of that morning, over 200 RCMP with weapons drawn and U.S. military snipers with automatic assault rifles and K-9 units snuck onto the private property located across the road from the compound where the protesters were sleeping in tents.

    By this time it was mainly Mi'kmaq warriors (many youth) who were staying at the protest over night.

    They awoke to rifles and guns being pointed at them. They were no longer blocking the entrance to the compound, and the RCMP say they were there to enforce the injunction, but they made arrests on private property that was not listed in the injunction.

    Word got out quickly that this was happening and their families and community members came to support them, but they were met and stopped by a line of RCMP.

    People were screaming "my kids are in there!" as they heard shots being fired in the woods. Once the RCMP had the warriors on the ground and handcuffed, they stomped on their heads. Many of them are still in jail and they have concussions.

    One female warrior was released, and she had to go to the hospital after her appearance in court. One warrior who was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet is suffering from internal bleeding and may have his leg amputated.

    Where the supporters were trying to reach their family members, emotions were running high and RCMP began attacking these unarmed supporters. An elderly woman was praying with rosary beads when whe was pepper sprayed in the eyes.

    Mi'kmaq supporters prayed and sang with their drums and eagle feathers while RCMP used excessive force. They fired shots, and pointed assault rifles at unarmed elders, women, and youth. They fired rubber bullets at people. They pepper sprayed people. They used batons and riot gear to move the crowd.

    They would single out women when they were alone and throw them to the ground, man handle them and arrest them.

    One Mi'kmaq lawyer was thrown to the ground, man-handled and arrested while she was waving a white flag. All of this because they were trying to protect the water for future generations of ALL Canadians." - Buffy Peters (my sister)


  52. Dublin Shell to Sea


    "Wow, a look of disgust and anger is going to be a crime?!?!

    Last Wednesday in B.C. Supreme court, Giant energy company Kinder Morgan's attorney suggested anti-pipeline protesters’ facial expressions might constitute “assault.” Yes, you read that right.

    The attorney presented photographs of the protesters with facial expressions he said were malicious. “One of the things I will argue is that is not only intimidation, but that is actually an assault,” he said. “Some of the faces demonstrate the anger, and frankly, the violence demonstrated by some of the people.”

    Add this to the list of the military-industrial complex's social media and counter intelligence attempts to harass, divide, and scare the environmental movement. First it was "eco-terrorists," Then it was "environmental jihadists." And now, dictation of our facial expressions. This is patriarchal capitalism, and it is insane and irredeemable.

    Fortunately, Resisters have a sense of humor, and a creative campaign has ensued, with selfies featuring the grimaces & scowls of anti-pipeline activists."

  53. Yawuru people camp out in opposition to Buru Energy's fracking plans in Canning Basin

    Broome locals opposed to a fracking program planned in the Canning Basin are gearing up for a wet season camp-out to try to stop Buru Energy's work in the area.

    In recent weeks, the company has cleared more than 100 hectares of land to lay a grid of seismic testing lines in the area 70 kilometres from Broome.

    The mining company is also due to start a series of so-called 'mini-fracks', where high-pressure guns are used to test rock strength, at two wells in coming weeks.

    Buru spokesman Jon Ford said the tests will help establish which areas are suitable for hydraulic fracturing next year.

    "We're only planning to do two wells this year and we're confident the work will be finished by the end of the year," he said.

    "It's not done using liquids or gels – it's just done with a standard petroleum perforation gun."

    The mini-fracks will be done not far from where Yawuru man Micklo Corpus has been camped out for about two months.

    He has endured sweltering heat at the tent camp at the Jackaroo turn-off.

    The turn-off from the Great Northern Highway is festooned with anti-fracking banners and placards that attract honks from passing traffic.

    This week, Mr Corpus and his supporters have started erecting more permanent structures that will help them sit out the wet season storms.

    "We know this area gets more rain than Broome, and a lot of lightning and thunders," Mr Corpus said.

    "So we're preparing ourselves. [We've] got some material together now to put up a waterproof shelter.

    "We're looking forward to the weather and I think we're going to hit it front-on. It's a cause that we can't afford to get off the gate here."

    The Jackaroo block sits partially on land over which Yawuru were granted exclusive possession native title in 2010.

    The site also lies within the Roebuck Plains cattle station, which in September was formally handed over the Yawuru.

    Mr Corpus said many Yawuru people were furious they remained powerless to approve or stop fracking in the area.

    "Legally it might be right, ethically it's wrong," he said.

    "It really frightens us how they [Buru] behave on country now, just because they've got the approvals."

  54. Yawuru people camp out in opposition to Buru Energy's fracking plans in Canning Basin

    Buru's negotiations with traditional owners largely unsuccessful

    Buru Energy has been trying to negotiate agreements with traditional owner groups across its Canning Basin lease areas to secure their support for its fracking program.

    So far only the Yungngora people, from the Noonkanbah community, have signed on.

    In July, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, which represents the traditional owners of Broome, held a meeting to vote on the issue.

    The group voted overwhelming to oppose fracking, but to continue negotiating with the company to ensure they have some involvement in managing the social and environmental impacts.

    Nyamba Buru Yawuru were contacted for comment for this story but have not responded.

    In October in a newsletter for members, it was stated: "Buru Energy wrote to Yawuru in August, stating that it will go ahead with its Yulleroo fracking program, even though Yawuru does not agree."

    "The company says it has obtained all government approvals and has an obligation under its permit works program to proceed," the statement said.

    Buru spokesman Jon Ford said the relationship remains strong, adding that Yawuru cultural monitors have been invited to supervise ground works.

    "We have a strong working relationship with Yawuru," he said.

    "We don't do anything that will upset them. For instance, the seismic lines – they were all supervised with senior Yawuru people on the ground. We're talking to Yawuru – there's no sneaky business."

    Mr Ford said Buru staff have come into contact with those camped out at the Jackaroo turn-off.

    "It's a cordial relationship. It's not affecting our operations, but what it is affecting is our ability to go in and prepare those sites for the wet season," he said.

    "It's affecting our ability to do some compliance work, such as water sampling, which I think is sort of is counter-productive to what the protesters want."

    Mr Ford maintained that the highly visible protest movement did not reflect the views of the broader Broome community.

    "People come up to us in the street, they're asking about opportunities," he said.

    "We're not getting the strong opposition that some people would like to think we're getting."

    Greens MP Robin Chapple supports the Yawuru people's cause

    Greens MP for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple, visited the camp to show his support.

    "I was actually quite surprised," he said.

    "The camp looked fairly rudimentary until I got there but they've got their own telecommunications, they've got their own fridges coming in, own water supply coming in.

    "They're building buildings that'll last the wet, so they're in for the long haul."

    Mr Chapple said next year's proposed fracking program would likely mobilise Broome residents in a similar way to the Kimberley gas hub protests of recent years.

    "They're out here, they're committed, and I can only get this camp getting bigger and stronger as time goes on."

  55. Renewable energy investment in Australia dropped 70% in past year

    Climate Council report finds Australia is losing green business overseas as China and US exploit global shift to renewables

    Investment in renewable energy has dropped by 70% as Australia loses green business overseas, a report by the Climate Council has found.

    “Investment that could be coming to Australia is instead going overseas to countries that are moving to a renewables energy future,” the report’s co-author, Tim Flannery, said.

    Flannery said over the past year investment in Australian renewable energy projects had dropped 70%, while China installed more renewable energy capacity than fossil fuels in 2013.

    The Coalition government is awaiting the results of a second review into the Renewable Energy Target, with the renewables industry blaming uncertainty over its future for the investment drought.

    The report, Lagging Behind: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change, found China had retired 77 gigawatts of coal power stations between 2006 and 2010 and aimed to retire a further 20GW by next year.

    “The US is also rapidly exploiting the global shift to renewable energy, coming second only to China for installed renewable energy due to a range of state based renewable energy targets, incentives and initiatives,” Flannery said.


    Clean energy group not confident wind projects will be safe under RET reduction

    The chief clean energy lobby has rejected the Federal Government's assurances that large scale renewable projects will not be affected by a reduced Renewable Energy Target.

    The Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane this week told the ABC current wind farm developments in the pipeline would be "more than accommodated" as the Government negotiated with Labor about a reduced target.

    Development of AGL's Silverton wind farm development in far-west New South Wales remained stalled as uncertainty around the RET remains.

    Russell Marsh from the Clean Energy Council says existing wind farm proposals would not fare well under a reduction in the target.

    "What the Government doesn't appear to understand is that the reduction in our RET, to the sort of level they are talking about, is going to have a big impact on existing projects," he said.

    "But they don't appear to have understood the impacts the reduction of the target will have on existing projects and haven't come forward with any strong proposals as to how they are going to ensure that any existing investments are protected."

  56. Coalition bid to strip Tasmanian forests of world heritage cover 'disappointing'

    Leading conservationist says Australia needs to understand the importance of leaving carbon-dense forests standing

    The head of the world’s leading conservation organisation has criticised the Australian government’s attempt to strip world heritage protection from Tasmania’s forests, as new data laid bare the vast number of ecosystems in Australia at risk of collapse.

    Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN, the body that advises the United Nations on conservation matters, told Guardian Australia it was “disappointing” that the Abbott government had launched a bid to remove 74,000ha of Tasmanian forest from world heritage protection.

    A meeting in June of Unesco’s world heritage committee took just nine minutes to reject Australia’s proposal. Portugal’s delegate heaped further embarrassment upon the Coalition by calling its rationale for the removal “feeble”.

    “Australia on the whole has a very good record on protected areas [but] there are challenges, such as the Tasmanian issues,” Marton-Lefèvre said. “They aren’t the first country to try to take away a commitment, but it would send a bad message if the world heritage committee allowed Australia to do that.

    “They didn’t allow them to do that, they didn’t allow them to regress, and that listing should not be revised. I’m disappointed that any government would try that but I believe Australia has accepted the decision.”

    The Coalition had claimed that the forest listing, part of a larger world heritage extension agreed by the previous Labor government, unfairly locked out the timber industry and was not world heritage quality due to heavy degradation caused by previous logging. IUCN experts rejected this latter assertion.

    Marton-Lefèvre said Australia, like other countries, needed to realise that leaving carbon-dense forests standing was preferable, economically and environmentally, than cutting them down.

    “Standing forests are worth far more than those that are cut down,” she said. “You can make money from timber tomorrow, but standing forests can capture and store carbon and provide much better value for communities long term.

    “There is around 2bn hectares of degraded land in the world and we want to restore that. It would be much better to take forest supplies from this degraded land than to destroy undamaged forests. We could restore degraded land and have timber products from it – it would be a win-win for everybody.

    “Leaving these forests standing is important not just for Tasmania and Australia, but to all of us in the world. We need to understand the role of nature in our lives before we destroy it.”

  57. Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

    Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show

    • Interactive - which fossil fuel companies are most responsible?


    "There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

    Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

    Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.

    Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.


    Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

    The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms – mainly oil companies with widely recognised names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.

    Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco, Russia's Gazprom and Norway's Statoil.


    Meanwhile, Oreskes, who has written extensively about corporate-funded climate denial, noted that several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement.

    "For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action," she said.

    The data represents eight years of exhaustive research into carbon emissions over time, as well as the ownership history of the major emitters.

    The companies' operations spanned the globe, with company headquarters in 43 different countries. "These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth," Heede writes in the paper.

    The largest of the investor-owned companies were responsible for an outsized share of emissions. Nearly 30% of emissions were produced just by the top 20 companies, the research found.

    By Heede's calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.

    ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.

    The historic emissions record was constructed using public records and data from the US department of energy's Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Centre, and took account of emissions all along the supply chain.

    The centre put global industrial emissions since 1751 at 1,450 gigatonnes.

  58. Missiles go cheap: defence’s fire sale

    AUSTRALIA is quietly exporting dozens of missiles to other countries to try to recoup some of the $200 million it has wasted on them in botched military purchases.

    The Australian Defence Force has sold 30 anti-ship Penguin missiles to Brazil via Norway, several to New Zealand and two Popeye air-to-surface missiles to South Korea since the start of last year. The sales have been conducted without publicity, in part, because they are an embarrassing reminder of failed defence protects that have cost taxpayers more than $1.4 billion.

    The sale of any missile is highly unusual for Australia, which is an active participant in global ­efforts to prevent the proliferation of larger long-range missiles. Defence says the sales do not breach military export laws.

    The missile sales are an ­attempt by the ADF to reduce its stockpile of redundant missiles which it can no longer fire ­because it has no suitable helicopters or fighters to carry them.

    The ADF has been left stranded with $201m worth of AGM-119 Penguin missiles it purchased between 1998 and 2002 for its Super Seasprite helicopters, which never took off.

    In one of Australia’s most expensive defence fiascos, 11 Seasprites were ordered by the Howard government in 1997 but serious flaws in the helicopters saw the project delayed by seven years before it was scrapped in 2008 at a cost of more than $1.4bn to the taxpayer. To try to recoup some of the $201m it lost on the Penguin missiles, the ADF has struck a deal with their manufacturer, Kongsberg Gruppen of Norway, to offer Australia’s Penguin missiles on the international market, with the profits split equally. “Kongsberg markets the weapons for sale and overhauls the missiles for sale,” a Defence spokesman said. “Australia retains a right of veto over all sales.”

    Defence confirmed that 30 Penguin missiles were sold to Brazil via Kongsberg last year, while another five were broken into parts to support the sale. The deal was reportedly worth $US42m, meaning Australia received about $US21m.

    Defence also confirmed that this year New Zealand bought an undisclosed number of Penguin missiles for its own Seasprite helicopters. Defence refused to say how many Penguin missiles it originally bought or how many it still had, saying such information was classified despite the ADF having no means to fire any of the missiles in anger.

  59. Industrial action imminent at Gorgon LNG project

    Construction workers at Chevron's $US54 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia Island have rejected an offer for a new enterprise bargaining agreement, stirring up a simmering dispute over work rosters that could escalate into industrial action.

    Any such action would come at a critical time for Australia's biggest resources project, which is already running about nine months late and $US17 billion over its original budget.

    The rejection of the EBA offer was confirmed by the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which negotiated on behalf of the employers. Chevron has yet to comment.

    Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Jim Murie said on Tuesday after the vote on the EA offer that while protected industrial action was "always a last resort", unless employers recognised the importance of family friendly rosters "we may be left with no choice".

    A dispute over work rosters for fly in-fly out workers resulted in some workers going on strike earlier this year at the Curtis Island LNG site in Gladstone, where three adjacent LNG projects are under construction. A widening of the strike action was avoided when a revised EA offer was accepted on a third vote by union members.

    At Gorgon, the EA between the largest employer on the island, Chicago Bridge & Iron, expires in January. CBI, through the CCI, offered an improved work roster for FIFO workers in the EA offer, but not on the terms the unions wanted.

    The new EA offered a roster of 23 days on, nine days off, compared to the current system of 26 days on, nine off. The unions are calling for a roster of 20 days on, 10 days off.


    Filipino workers on 52-day FIFO roster at Chevron’s $54 billion Gorgon LNG project

    SOME overseas fly-in, fly-out staff on Barrow Island are working 52 days straight, acc­ording to a WA union.

    The 52-day swing is twice as long as the standard 26 days on/nine days off roster worked by other staff, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said.

    The 30 Filipino welders on 457 visas were hired by ­Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) in August to work on Chevron’s $54 billion Gorgon LNG project.

    CB&I said it did not ­comment on operational ­issues. Chevron also declined to comment.

    The AMWU launched a ­social media campaign to find qualified local workers when the overseas welders were ­recruited.

    “At the time, we couldn’t understand why CB&I would hire Filipino welders, when there were plenty of qualified Australians able to do the job, but it is starting to look like they wanted a workforce they could work into the ground,” AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said.

    “We all know Gorgon is ­delayed and over-budget, but making workers work for 52 days straight is not a responsible answer.

    “I recently gave evidence to the Parliamentary inquiry into the mental health of FIFO workers, and it is becoming clear that the length of time workers spend without a break is a key driver of mental health problems.

    “While we don’t believe there is a need for these ­Filipino workers on Barrow ­Island, but now that they are here, we want to make sure that Chevron and CB&I show them a duty of care and don’t take ­advantage of them.”

  60. WATCH: Facing Down Corporate Election Greed

    In the midst of the midterm elections and the obsession with which party would control the US Senate, there were races at the local and state level with deeper implications for the future of the country.

    In the small city of Richmond, California, a slate of progressive candidates faced off against a challenge from pro-business candidates backed to the tune of more than $3 million by the energy giant Chevron. For years, Chevron has treated Richmond like a company town and its large refinery there has been a constant source of health and safety concerns.

    Since 2007, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a Green Party leader, and her allies on the city council have faced down not only Chevron but other corporate interests like the real estate and financial industries as well. This year, Chevron fought back with an expensive barrage of negative campaign media. But on Election Day, the progressive slate triumphed, despite the roughly $250 per vote Chevron spent.

    McLaughlin -- who this year was term-limited as mayor but won a city council seat -- and Harriet Blair Rowan, a college student and journalist who uncovered the Chevron money story for the news website Richmond Confidential, talk with me this week about the role unlimited sums of corporate cash have played in Richmond. We discuss the great success of the billions spent by wealthy individuals and companies in other races across the country and how to fight back, using Richmond's example as a model for future fights of organized people versus organized money.

    Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at

  61. ANOTHER one of Barnett's plans in trouble.


    Shipping Browse LNG madness: users

    Anthony Barich
    Tuesday, 11 November 2014

    GAS users have slammed operator Woodside Petroleum’s plans to ship LNG from the Browse field to Western Australia saying it would put it beyond the price reach of the state’s industry.


    As mentioned before they would be better off importing it from East Africa.
    Most likely would cost less than Buru's gas too.



    More people need to see this. Please share.

    AGL are currently fracking the peaceful community of Gloucester. The community have taken a stand, and this is how the company treats them.
    Future Super is proud that we will NEVER invest a cent in this company.

    AGL security guards assault Gloucester farmers

    AGL and Halliburton hydraulic fracturing in the Gloucester Valley. Oct 27th, 2014



  63. Oil Change International

    We remember Ken Saro-Wiwa. Killed 19 years ago today.

    In 1990, Saro-Wiwa launched a non-violent movement for social and ecological justice in his Ogoni homeland and the Niger Delta. The movement he led accused the Nigerian government and Shell and Chevron of waging an ecological war and genocidal series of attacks against the peoples of the Delta.

    The movement was so effective, that by 1993 Shell had to pull out of Ogoni. The response by Shell and the military government of Nigeria was to frame him for murder and execute him.The hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa dramatically and tragically illustrated the true price of oil.

    Nine men – Baribor Bera, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbokoo, Barinem Kiobel, John Kpuinen, Paul Levura, Felix Nuate and Ken Saro-Wiwa – were hanged on the morning of November 10, 1995, in the yard of Nigeria’s Port Harcourt prison. 19 years ago today.

    Witnesses reported that Saro-Wiwa’s last words were, “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues.”

    Today, Nigeria's struggle with oil is sadly continuing...


  64. Mick Dodson appeals to save indigenous heritage

    THE Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies will develop an “urgent plan” to identify, gather, store and share indigenous heritage, saying its historic collection of Aboriginal culture is at risk.

    The institute will seek “the best minds across the country and around the world” to help, chairman Mick Dodson will tell a ­National Press Club audience in Canberra today.

    He calls for community and government support for the project, warning the legacy is in jeopardy because the institute cannot protect its collections and is unable to visit communities to record oral history and languages and recover materials from “biscuit tins and shoe boxes in garages”.

    “We will work hard to develop new partnerships with Australian and international corporations, governments and individuals who can contribute to realising a site of pilgrimage for all Australians, and the millions of international visitors, who want to know and understand more about the world’s longest continuous civilisation ... ,” he will say.

    Professor Dodson will warn that long after each of us have passed on, what we leave our children and their children to the Australian nation, “will be measured by the legacy we build, or fail to build, now.”


    Colin Barnett to axe 150 bush towns

    INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has acknowledged there may be no future for some remote indigenous communities in Western Australia as Premier Colin Barnett yesterday revealed he plans to close up to 150 of the state’s 274 tiny settlements.

    “There may well be communities that require a discussion about their future because of a range of issues including their economic future, but this is a matter for the West Australian government,” Senator Scullion said.

    Fraser government indigenous affairs minister Fred Chaney has sent an open letter to Mr Barnett, Senator Scullion and Tony Abbott warning that if governments simply “let things rip” by withdrawing services and driving people out of remote communities without careful preparation, the outcomes for indigenous Australians “will be shameful”.

    The Barnett government has claimed it was pushed into accepting a one-off $90 million payment from the commonwealth in September in exchange for taking over municipal and essential services. It claims the money is well short of what is needed.

    In reply, Senator Scullion says the WA government “has been discussing the closure of these ­remote indigenous communities with the commonwealth government for a number of years, well before the West Australian government agreed to take on ­responsibility for municipal services in these communities.”

    Mr Chaney said he had raised his concerns about responsibility for municipal services being handed to the state but had been told by the Prime Minister’s office that this handover was done by agreement and that it would not hurt ­remote Aboriginal people.

    Mr Chaney wrote: “We can learn from history. What we are facing is a rerun of the 1960s when after the equal wage case, people moved from the stations to the nearby towns with disastrous ­social impacts. It was the social and economic degradation of the people who had been moved off country which led the McMahon government to commence the purchase of pastoral leases to enable people to go back to their country.

    “Good people (were) ­degraded, reduced to social and economic misery.’’

    1. Mick Dodson blasts Tony Abbott for 'negativity' towards Indigenous people

      Former Australian of the Year says the prime minister is contributing to the perception of ‘black failure’

      The former Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson, has blasted Tony Abbott for his negativity towards Indigenous people, saying he’s contributing to the perception of “black failure”.

      Speaking at the national press club in Canberra on Wednesday, Dodson said the prime minister’s Indigenous policy focuses on protecting children, securing communities and building jobs.

      “It’s a three-trick pony and a very small pony at that. Stop the negativity. All of those three things are about our failure, supposedly. Because we’re Aboriginal,” said Dodson, who is chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Aiatsis). “The reality is many, many of us are very successful.”

      “We never hear about them from you guys [the media]. You’re too busy on the entertainment of black failure and that’s where the government’s mind seems to be and where the public discourse seems to be.”

      Before taking office in 2013, Abbott promised to be the prime minister for Indigenous affairs, and moved the portfolio into the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

      Dodson warns that certain government policies, like moves to weaken the Northern Territory Land Rights Act, will be detrimental to reconciliation.

      “I think the present government is picking fights on a number of fronts that don’t help reconciliation and certainly aren’t conducive to an atmosphere that would enable a successful referendum.”


      Outback shame blamed for remote closures

      WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett has cited child neglect and abuse and violence that he characterises as “civil war” in a strident defence of his plan to close more than half the state’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities.

      “They cannot provide education, they cannot provide health, they cannot provide employment,” Mr Barnett said in parliament.

      “They are not viable and the social outcomes and the abuse and neglect of young children is a disgrace for this state.”


      The deputy of the Prime Minister’s indigenous council, Aboriginal doctor Ngiare Brown, yesterday expressed her outrage that the WA government planned to close the remote communities.

      “Let’s be clear, I believe that the love, safety, good health and quality education of our children should be placed at the heart of all determinations affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and all communities,’’ she said.

      “If communities are unsafe or unviable, then governments have the responsibility to understand the historical and contemporary contexts of those communities and the failure of systems which placed them at risk, and then negotiate the best possible ­options so as to minimise negative impacts and maximise opportunities and positive outcomes.

      “I am struggling with what I see increasingly as a predetermined, assimilationist agenda that privileges only economic rationalisation, without consideration of more inclusive and innovative approaches that recognise our strengths and contributions.

      “The forced, non negotiable removal and relocation of communities and entire cultural groups is not in the best interests of achieving the equality governments claim to be prioritising, and will serve only further marginalise families and communities and add to the burden of poor health and social justice outcomes.”

      Mr Barnett said the close of so many communities would be one of the most difficult social issues the state had faced. About 12,000 people live in WA remote communities.

      “It was previous commonwealth governments that created this issue of encouraging Aboriginal people to go back onto lands and helped establish these small and remote communities,’’ he said.

      “We don’t want this issue. We’d much rather it wasn’t happening but it is happening. This will be a process of transition.’’

    2. Plan to close more than 100 remote communities would have severe consequences, says WA Premier

      ..................The move sparked a backlash in parts of the Indigenous community, with Aboriginal elders leading a protest outside state parliament this afternoon over the plans.

      About 50 people gathered as elders warned that closures of communities would only increase the existing social problems that those residents face.

      Labor's Indigenous Affairs spokesman, Ben Wyatt, said it was dangerous territory and showed the Government had "given up" on the problem.

      Later in Parliament, Mr Barnett admitted closing communities was not a good option but said the lack of a better one had tied the Government's hands.

      "It will cause great distress to Aboriginal people who will move, it will cause issues in regional towns as Aboriginal people move into them," he said.

      "But high rates of suicide, poor education, poor health, no jobs ... it's a huge economic, social and health issue.

      "They [the smaller remote communities] are not viable and the social outcomes, the abuse and neglect of young children, is a disgrace to this state ... this is the biggest social issue this state faces."

      The possible closure comes amid Federal Government funding cuts for remote Indigenous communities.

      The Commonwealth was the major funder of around two thirds of the state's Indigenous settlements - with the state funding the rest -but that responsibility is being transitioned to the states over the next two years.


      Mr Barnett said the Government was still working out the finer details of what it would do.

      "The State Government has not yet worked out how we'll handle this but we accept we have no option to accept the responsibility of dealing with this situation," he said.

      "It's a very complex and difficult situation for the Government to handle but we have no option to handle it because the Commonwealth has vacated the territory."

      The move is not without precedent, with the Government in recent years shutting down and moving to demolish the remote East Kimberley community of Oombulgurri after a string of social problems.

      The previous Labor Government also shut the Swan Valley Nyungah Community in the early 2000s after a series of sexual abuse incidents and mental health problems, some of which were linked to community leader Robert Bropho.

      Bella Brohpo, who lived in the Swan Valley community, warned at Wednesday's protest that further closures would be devastating.

      "Closing down these communities will only make more people homeless and despair," she said.

      "The way we choose to live, it should be our choice and we shouldn't have domination of Government people telling us how to live or where to live.

      "The [former Labor] Geoff Gallop Government and today Colin Barnett don't care a damn."

  65. Rich countries subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by $88bn a year

    US, UK, Australia giving tax breaks to explore new reserves despite climate advice that fossil fuels should be left buried

    • Fossil fuel exploration subsidies – mapped

    Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

    The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013, Australia spent $3.5bn, Russia $2.4bn and the UK $1.2bn. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields.

    The public money went to major multinationals as well as smaller ones who specialise in exploratory work, according to British thinktank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Washington-based analysts Oil Change International.


    Renewable energy target thrown into confusion as negotiations collapse

    Labor walks away from RET talks, saying it cannot accept ‘deep and devastating cut to the sector’ being proposed by Coalition


    East West Link road an $18bn waste of money, say Melbourne academics

    One-way toll of more than $13 would be needed, and money could be better spent on improving public transport, says experts from three universities


    Fact check: Can clean coal technology halve emissions within 5 years?

    More than half a billion tonnes of coal is mined in Australia each year from national reserves that are the fourth largest in the world, behind the United States, Russia and China.

    Coal exports have added, on average, $44 billion to the national annual income over the past five years, with Australia predicted to be one of the biggest beneficiaries on increasing global trade in coal. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says coal is "good for humanity" and that he is confident about the future of the industry.

    But the latest 'synthesis report' from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in November, warns that without, among other things, reducing the carbon intensity of electricity generation, global warming is on track to exceed current temperatures by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the Government's "direct action" plan will underpin research into clean coal technology, which will "significantly" reduce emissions from current coal-fired power generators.


    The claim: Greg Hunt says technology which will be available over the next three to five years will reduce emissions from coal-fired power stations by up to 30 to 50 per cent.

    •The verdict: The technology remains in a development phase and is not realistically expected to be commercially operative and rolled out within three to five years. No other clean coal technology sufficient to cut emissions from current generators by up to 50 per cent is economically viable at industrial scale in Australia, or expected to become viable within the next five years.


    1. Australia's treatment of Indigenous people, refugees including children, and one of the poorest countries on Earth - East Timor.

      East Timor's Bairo Pite Clinic crowd-source fundraising campaign unable to save boy

      .................Specialist medical expertise was mobilised in Australia and the hope was that the boy would be well enough to fly to Australia for life-saving surgery and treatment.

      But in the end the money and the best intentions of some of Australia's leading paediatric and oncology specialists arrived too late for Sergio.

      A biopsy conducted in East Timor revealed his nasopharyngeal carcinoma was too advanced and had generated secondary cancers in his abdomen. Sergio's cancer was inoperable.

      Bairo Pite medical staff devised a palliative care plan. He fought on bravely but lost his painful battle and died last month.

      "Sergio happens to be a victim of having been born in the wrong place," Dr Murphy said.

      "He was born in a place that doesn't have any access to proper healthcare ... and as much as we tried and as much as you people tried we could not get him into a facility that has the capacity to deal with his problems."

      East Timor healthcare system reliant on external support

      In an email to contributors, Bairo Pite offered to refund donations to the Sergio fund but hoped the money could be used to help save the lives and relieve the suffering of other critically ill patients.

      "We can assure you that, if you allow us, your donation will be used to continue treating many sick children in Timor Leste," the clinic said.

      "We know that with the help of generous, compassionate people like yourselves, we can make a big impact on the lives of many, many children in Timor Leste."


      Malnutrition, leprosy affect children in East Timor

      East Timor has the highest rate of leprosy in South-East Asia but it is a disease that is completely treatable and preventable.

      Dr Murphy is optimistic that if they can get to all the outlying villages and identify those suffering from the disease, it will be entirely possible to eliminate it from East Timor.


  66. The real story of US coal: inside the world's biggest coalmine

    Despite Obama’s pledge to cut carbon emissions, production at North Antelope Rochelle mine in Wyoming is booming - and climate change is off the agenda. Suzanne Goldenberg gets a rare look inside the biggest coalmine in the world

    .................By Durgin’s rough estimate, the mine occupies 100 square miles of high treeless prairie, about the same size as Washington DC. It contains an estimated three billion tonnes of coal reserves. It would take Peabody 25 or 30 years to mine it all.

    But it’s still not big enough.

    On the conference room wall, a map of North Antelope Rochelle shows two big shaded areas containing an estimated one billion tonnes of coal. Peabody is preparing to acquire leasing rights when they come up in about 2022 or 2024. “You’ve got to think way ahead,” said Durgin.

    In the fossil fuel jackpot that is Wyoming, it can be hard to see a future beyond coal. One of the few who can is LJ Turner, whose grandfather and father homesteaded on the high treeless plains nearly a century ago.

    Turner, who raises sheep and cattle, said his business had suffered in the 30 years of the mines’ explosive growth. Dust from the mines was aggravating pneumonia among his Red Angus calves. One year, he lost 25 calves, he said.


    On an average day, 21 long freight trains full of coal leave North Antelope Rochelle bound for 100 power plants across the country. But the company says that’s still not enough. As for climate change – that’s hardly Peabody’s concern.


    Chris Curran, a Peabody spokesman, refused to talk about climate change or the effects of Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions on the company’s profits. “They are only proposed regulations right now. Nothing is going on,” he said.

    It takes a call to the senior vice-president of corporate communications, Vic Svec, at the head office in St Louis before the company will discuss climate change. As it turns out, the company’s official position is that there is no such thing as human-caused climate change. “We do not question the climate changing. It has been changing for as long as man has recorded history,” Svec said. Climate change was a “modelled crisis”, he went on.

    “What we would say is that there is still far more understanding that is required for any type of impacts of C02 on carbon concerns.” Asked whether he saw climate change as a threat, Svec said: “Climate concerns are a threat to the extent that they lead to policies that hurt people.”


    Australia, where Peabody has three mines and which has the world’s second largest reserves of coal, has ramped up production 37% since 2000, helped by up to $3.5bn in government subsidies to the entire fossil fuel industry, a forthcoming report from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International will say.



  67. Buru Energy Completes Oil Production Testing at Ungani North 1 Well in WA

    by Buru Energy Ltd.

    Press Release
    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Buru Energy Limited, an Australian oil and gas exploration and production company, provided Wednesday the following update on operations at Ungani North 1 well in the Canning Basin, Western Australia.

    Ungani North 1 Completed for Oil Production Testing

    Since the last operations update, the first stage of the production test of the Ungani North 1 well has been successfully completed using DDH1 Rig 31.

    The operation included conditioning the fluid in the well and running the testing tubing completion string. The interpreted oil zone in the Ungani Dolomite is planned to be flow tested next week. DDH1 Rig 31 is now being rigged down and will be mobilized to the Commodore 1 well site with that well planned for spud later next week

  68. High hopes for another exciting discovery in Oz

    Thursday, 13 November 2014
    David Upton

    THE recent run of exciting discoveries by Australian explorers could be extended as early as next week with results from IPB Petroleum’s Pryderi-1 well in shallow water of the Browse Basin.


    Much obliged

    The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity

    By Richard Cooke

    Australian politicians love the idea of mutual obligation. But the disparities underlying it are becoming more and more extreme. Welfare recipients are painted as getting “something for nothing”, and pushed into more and more restrictive versions of the social contract. Meanwhile, corporate citizens are happy to take subsidies and shirk tax, and can expect little or no punishment if they break the law. Some are trying to excise themselves from society altogether. The government has talked tough about tax and regulation at the G20, while gutting enforcement agencies at the same time. Don’t expect that to change.

    “NO PORNOGRAPHY” is what the blue signs used to say, alongside “NO LIQUOR”. To make them more “respectful”, the pornography part was changed two years ago to read “PROHIBITED MATERIAL”. The most important part – the “PRESCRIBED AREA” at the top – stayed the same. There are hundreds of these warnings spread across the Northern Territory, most on the outskirts of indigenous communities, but some placed seemingly at random. Near the town of Emu Bore, there’s one on the lonely road leading to a single family’s property, reminding them again and again of the proscriptions. Outside Yuendumu, the locals have placarded their own counter-suggestion: “IF U WANT PORN GO TO CANBERRA”. These signs don’t just delineate the areas affected by the Northern Territory Emergency Response, better known as the Intervention. They also mark another border: the farthest reach of the idea of mutual obligation.


    Whether or not paid work has an essential dignity rather than a conferred one is open to argument. As the British journalist Jeffrey Bernard put it, “If there was something romantic about [work], the Duke of Westminster would be digging his own fucking garden, wouldn’t he?” But that argument is over for almost everyone in the Australian political class.

    Like the term “economic rationalism”, “mutual obligation” is a piece of Third Way political nomenclature that Australia has made its own.

    Workers are virtuous, but those on welfare are depicted as dole bludgers, job snobs and disability-pension rorters. This is a picture that has little relationship with reality. Unemployment in Australia is almost always a transient and unwilled state, and workers have little control over it. Most of the jobless have worked in the past, and will work again. The official unemployment figure is around 800,000 (and an even greater number of people, almost a million, are classified as underemployed). Total job vacancies in August this year numbered less than 150,000. All the virtue in the world can’t overcome a disparity like that.

    Compared to other countries with our level of development, Australia’s spending on unemployment benefits is already low and well targeted. So is our social-security spending. When the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a compendium of relevant data recently, it showed that regardless of age, household demography, income, wealth, or income source, Australian households in 2011–12 were less dependent on welfare than they were in 2003–04.

    There was no revelation here, nothing new. The reality of welfare in Australia has been known for a long time. But in the media, and even at policy level, anecdotes and age-old taboos about shirkers rule.


  70. Much obliged

    The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity

    By Richard Cooke

    The reality is that the assumptions underpinning work for the dole are not economic, but moral. As former Liberal leader John Hewson told the Saturday Paper, the program “is more about prejudice than it is about policy”.

    If you’re a welfare recipient, especially an indigenous one, your obligations are devised to be onerous to the point of humiliation. Recently the Coalition mooted plans to no longer accept “reasonable excuses” for missing an appointment with a job agency. Only “extreme” excuses would do, like a bushfire or the death of an immediate family member. Being mentally ill wasn’t an extreme excuse. Being assaulted was, but only if you were assaulted the day before the interview. “Someone subject to an assault a week before their failure would not have a reasonable excuse,” the Australian reported, as it would not “directly prevent them from meeting their requirement (unless they were still incapacitated as a consequence of the assault)”.

    Earlier this year, authorities used armed police in riot gear to remove children deemed at risk from an Aboriginal family. The children were later returned to their parents. The Intervention, a multi-million-dollar, multi-agency effort operating from a framework of new legislation, partly implemented by the military, was put together in just six days. By contrast, simply repairing the water supply of the Aboriginal community of Utopia took more than three months.

    The government routinely investigates welfare fraud using powers it originally sought to target terrorism. Centrelink now accesses more personal metadata than any other enforcement agency, more often even than the New South Wales Police Force. It’s a simple procedure: a Centrelink agent fills in a form, gets approval from elsewhere in their department, and is authorised to tap into personal phone records and email history. The subject is not informed.

    So far there’s not much evidence welfare fraud is out of control. Between 2006 and 2010, Centrelink conducted an average of 4 million compliance reviews each year, which covered 60% of its “customers”. The yield of cases referred for prosecution was on average 0.04%, or 3192 people. In 2012, fewer than 1500 people were referred for welfare fraud.

    Humiliating job-seekers is supposed to build their moral character, but even tepid criticism of business might lead to “uncertainty”.

    The Newstart Allowance, always set well below the poverty line, has now become so low that even groups like the Business Council of Australia say it should be increased. Government has so abandoned the unemployed that even employer groups feel compelled to advocate on their behalf, a situation that may be unique in the developed world. According to the current minister for employment, the ideal environment for a young unemployed person is one in which they apply for 40 jobs per month regardless of how many real vacancies are available, work 25 hours per week on menial tasks, and receive nothing in return for six months in every twelve.

    One of the ironies of mutual obligation as it’s now conceived is that the vulnerable receive tough treatment, while the powerful are regarded as delicate, unstable and easily upset.


  71. Much obliged

    The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity

    By Richard Cooke

    So while the most disadvantaged are being surveilled and constrained like never before, the social contract’s claim on the privileged has rarely been looser.

    Multinationals assert their right to government assistance, both direct and indirect, avail themselves of legal systems, infrastructure, political influence and the many other benefits of civil society, and at the same time often assert that they’re not really participants in society at all. In 2009, Apple Sales International’s accounts stated, for example, that “the company is not tax resident in any jurisdiction”. Its average tax rate across all jurisdictions in which it operates is 4%. In Australia, it claims among other things to be a part Bermuda-based, part Singapore-based company selling second-hand Irish electronics. Last year this arrangement let it pay $36.4 million in tax on more than $6 billion in revenues. The then financial services minister, Arthur Sinodinos, “declined to criticise their actions”, according to the Australian.

    The American economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz is less reserved. There’s an asymmetry, he says, between corporations taking benefits from legislation, subsidy and other government actions, and their willingness to contribute. “That kind of asymmetry is, I would say, understandable, because they’re trying to hide any income. They’re acting on behalf of their shareholders – but, we might say, rob the rest of the society to do it.

    “You can see that across the board. Apple in the United States, its very existence almost depends on the internet. Things like the iPhone wouldn’t exist without the internet. And that was created by the government. The company uses American institutional infrastructure, the legal system, the courts – and it doesn’t pay taxes.”

    The company now has greater cash reserves than the US government itself. Apple’s huge war chest is the result of an aggressive form of tax minimisation referred to as base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). There are different kinds of tax architecture that multinationals use to pare down their bills, but perhaps most common is a complex system of profit shifting and reporting known as the “Double Irish Dutch Sandwich” technique. Take Google, for example. The billions the tech company earns from advertising in Australia are paid to a company called Google Ireland Limited, which then pays them to a Dutch subsidiary, which then pays the money back to another Irish company. Google is an Irish company, except when it is in Ireland, where it is a Bermudan company.


    ...............Another Senate inquiry, pushed by the Greens and lacking the support of the government, will examine large-scale tax evasion. There will be well-meaning declarations made at G20. But within the ATO, few expect significant changes. Now the emphasis isn’t on enforcement but “settlement”, avoiding litigation in secret. Not threatening any jobs. More like an agreement among friends.

    That suits the government. You might call it a “general statement of principle”. Besides, their attention is elsewhere. is running stories on scam welfare recipients again. Under the headline, ‘It’s so easy to fudge a bludge: Online guides used to con doctors into giving out disability support pensions’, the yarn outlines how web forum users share information about how to maintain benefits.

    On the web forums themselves, most people are trying to figure out how to get by. “If you do a bit of volunteer work, a bit of study, do some part-time work, you cut your own throat,” wrote one “con artist”. That’s apparently one of the more common kinds of scam among the disabled – trying to work.M

  72. G20 Brisbane: Five corporate tax havens around the world and how the summit can crack down on them

    ..................The Lowy Institute's Mike Callaghan said the issue was a complex one that will not be resolved in a single leaders' summit.

    "But what you need to see in Brisbane is what I call a down payment - something that you can point to to say, 'this is a demonstration that G20 is trying to respond to the way global companies operate'," he told ABC News Online.


    It's not going to happen - we really are a paradise for white collar crime. As is the US.




    Amnesty International's indigenous peoples' rights manager Tammy Solonec said there was no plan to help people evicted from Ooombulgurri integrate into Wyndham or other towns, leaving them "highly traumatised".

    "They were put in dongas for 18 months, inappropriate housing, no compensation," she said.

    She said one of the men who stayed to the end was ultimately evicted, and he took his own life soon after in Wyndham.

    She predicted a repeat of what happened when Oombulgurri was shut.

    "We saw that with Oombulgurri, which had ripple effects all throughout the Kimberley, because it displaces other people and there's already not enough housing," she said.

    "We're concerned about lack of strategy."

    She said governments needed to support communities rather than shutting them down.

    Greens MLC Robin Chapple has gone one step further, accusing the Government of peddling a racially-motivated agenda.

    "It's smacks of the assimilation policies over the early 60s," he said.

    "It's horrendous. This is a diabolical, in my view, highly racially motivated agenda."

    The Barnett Government has said it was forced to accept a $90 million payment from the Commonwealth to take over responsibility for the remote communities.

  73. WA remote closures ‘apartheid’, says Warren Mundine

    WARREN Mundine has accused the West Australian government of “infrastructure apartheid” by threatening Aboriginal people and treating them differently to white communities.

    The plan to slowly shut more than half the remote communities in the state has also drawn an ­impassioned response from the Bishop of ­Broome, Christopher Saunders, whose diocese takes in more than 100 Kimberley communities.

    West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has admitted his government would be forced to close up to 150 of the state’s remote Aboriginal homelands after accepting a one-off $90 million payment from the Abbott government to take over responsibility for municipal and essential services.

    The South Australian government has warned that it too would have to shut communities if it was offered an inadequate funding deal by the federal government.

    Bishop Saunders has accused federal and state governments of “turning their backs on the needs of our nation’s first Aust­ralians and … promising a new dispossess­ion that can only result in further injustices and gross sufferin­g”.

    Mr Mundine, the head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advis­ory Council, met federal Indig­enous ­Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion about the issue and concluded that the Barnett government was using a funding stoush with the federal government to renege on its obligations to fund services for all its citizens, regardless of colour.

    “They should be providing ­municipal services for all people in their state,’’ he said.

    “How can it be that everyone in the state except Aboriginals get the funding, that’s where my anger is. It’s almost like an infrastructure apartheid system.

    “He (Barnett) is moving into a very dangerous area.

    “My argument is that if they are supplying services to communities of the same size of Aboriginal communities but they are not providing them to Aboriginal communities, I call that infrastructure apartheid.

    “This has been going on for decades from state and territory governments and it has got to stop.’’

    Bishop Saunders said the argument that the communities deserved destruction because they needed subsidies was flawed.

    “There is not one shire council in the Kimberley that is financially viable and all these receive subsidies,’’ he said.

    “And yet there is no protest against their continued existence, nor have they been threatened with closure or told they should move to larger towns.’’

    Bishop Saunders, who oversees four priests who live permanently in larger communities and with others who regularly visit communities, said the social dividends from forcing people into towns would be “catastrophic”.

    “Never have state or federal authorities been capable of managing the needs of marginalised town-dwellers,” he said.

    “The numbers of Aboriginal people who live on the edge now in towns like Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek and ­Kununurra are overwhelming services provided by agencies.

    “And now, the addition of people from 100 or more communities to these centres will simply exacerbate a situation that is already appalling.”

    South Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ian Hunter has accused the federal government of ignoring repeated warnings about the dire consequences of its decis­ion to stop funding for essential services in remote communities.

    “At least Western Australia ­received $90m,’’ Mr Hunter said.

    “The federal government only offered South Australia $10m to wipe its hands of all future responsibility.’’ Remote Aboriginal areas need­ed special attention because they had no local council to service them and no rateable tax base with which to ­establish local government.

  74. Fury over one-day Aurukun bauxite mine bid

    THE Queensland government has been denounced for squandering a historic opportunity to give Aborigines a stake in developing a rich bauxite deposit on Cape York, as new details emerged of a bidding process that opened and closed in a single day.

    Former Comalco and MIM chief executive Nick Stump said the selection of Swiss-based miner and commodity trader Glencore International as preferred proponent for the Aurukun development was a disgrace, undercutting efforts to share the proceeds of mining with indigenous communities. The state Liberal ­National Party government ­advised Mr Stump’s joint venture with local traditional owners, ­Aurukun Bauxite Development, that it had lost out to Glencore on the same day competitive bidding was reopened in August.

    The decision may now be challenged in the courts as an abuse of process, while the federal government is under mounting pressure to intervene.

    ABD managing director John Benson said the bidding process was flawed and baffling. “It just doesn’t make sense, the way they went about it,’’ he told The Australian. “It puzzles everybody. I certainly don’t understand it.’’

    In a blistering letter to federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, Mr Stump, the ABD chairman, complained of being personally offended by Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, who said during a stormy meeting words to the effect that his job was to “protect’’ the indigenous community of Aurukun from “people like’’ Mr Stump and Mr Benson, a mining entrepreneur with a chequered history of project development. “In my 45 years in the industry, when discussing projects with governments in countries such as Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and every shade of politics in Queensland, I have never been so outraged,’’ Mr Stump fumed in his September 29 letter to Senator Scullion.

    The veteran mining industry leader told The Australian: “Quite frankly, the embarrassment of that meeting was how Mr Seeney sought to treat our Cape York colleagues. Dismissive, aggressive … he was a man without any understanding in terms of the commitments he had made.’’

    Mr Seeney agreed last night that Mr Stump had “captured the flavour’’ of the exchange. But he insisted the bidding process was fair, and the fact that one of his departmental officers had advised ABD that competitive bids were reinstated on August 28 and settled that day in favour of Glencore was a “technical formality’’.


  75. Lost opportunity for Wik people

    FOR Gina Castelain, the future of the Aurukun bauxite field is intensely personal business.

    Her grandfather was involved in test drilling the vast deposit of red ore that spreads to the north and south of the town, nestled near an estuary teeming with barramundi on the western side of Cape York Peninsula.

    Back then, French company Pechiney was in the driving seat with the development rights. Nothing happened, while to the north the bauxite port of Weipa boomed.

    Then the Chinese came along, state-owned Chalco promising a smelter along with the mine and the hope of jobs for a community that was mostly employed in work for the dole projects, riddled with problems born of boredom, grog, gambling and drugs.

    Ms Castelain, 30, said people jumped at the opportunity to be part of a joint venture to develop the long-promised bauxite mine and take control of their future.

    Instead, they’re looking at a lost opportunity after the Queensland government’s decision to go with Swiss-based Glencore as preferred proponent over the local start-up, Aurukun Bauxite Development.


    “We actually wanted to be the principals and have meaningful participation in the development of the resource,’’ Ms Castelain said. “I can tell you as someone who has dealt with mining companies, they promise the world and they never deliver.


    “I am really disappointed that the state government does not want to support what we want to achieve here. We don’t want to be welfare dependent, we don’t want handouts, we want to control where we are going with this project.’’

    Ms Castelain hopes “reason’’ will prevail, and her Wik Way people and the Wik will end up with some form of equity in the mine, whomever develops it.

    Glencore says nothing is off the table, including the deal proposed by Aurukun Bauxite Development to give traditional owners and native title holders a 15 per cent stake in the operation, and a direct stream from future earnings.

  76. The Pom Tony Abbott with his old Pommy view of 1800 style Pommy coal mines........."..if it wasn't for coal we would never have had a Pommy Empire...'

    People would have to wonder what the headlines could have been with say Turnbull as PM...


    Australia a 'blocker' in G20 fight against climate change, say charities

    Reluctance to commit to contributing to Green Climate Fund is criticised by Oxfam and World Vision as US leads the way

    Australia has been labelled a “blocker” for being the main country resisting a G20 commitment to the global Green Climate Fund even as Barack Obama was using the same meeting to pledge $3bn to it.

    As revealed by Guardian Australia on Saturday, Australia was holding out against pressure from Europe and the US for G20 leaders to back pledges to the fund, which helps poor countries adapt to climate change and is seen as critical to a successful international deal at a United Nations meeting in Paris next year.

    A reference to “encouraging” countries to contribute to the fund remains in brackets in the draft final communique – meaning it has not yet been agreed – with the principal objections coming from Australia. It is understood the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, and his advisers will have to decide whether to allow the language to proceed in the consensus-driven G20 process.


    G20: Obama puts climate change in spotlight as Australian agenda sidelined

    US president pulls focus away from economic growth with announcement of emissions deal with China and call to secure a strong global climate agreement next year

    Climate change was forced to the top of the G20 agenda on Saturday, despite the objections of the host nation Australia, after Barack Obama urged the world to rally behind a new global agreement and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called it “the defining issue of our times”.

    The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, had argued climate discussions would distract from the G20’s economic policy focus and should be left to other UN-led meetings.

    But in a one-two manoeuvre that caught Australia off guard, Obama upstaged Abbott and made certain it was the talk of the conference anyway. First came the joint US/China post-2020 greenhouse emission reduction targets announced in Beijing on the eve of the summit and then the $3bn Green Climate Fund pledge made in a keynote speech as Abbott was greeting other world leaders across town.

    “No nation is immune and every nation has a responsibility to do its part,” Obama said. “You will recall at the beginning I said the US and Australia has a lot in common. Well one of the things we have in common is we produce a lot of carbon … which means we’ve got to step up.”


    AND no shirtfront !

    BUT Putin did give Abbott a two fingered salute !


    1. Alan Jones made a good point about the FTA with China - the Chinese only want the FTA because they will own so much of Australia and all the food, dairy, cattle, you name it will all be exported to yeah the FTA is a good deal for them now.


      "..................occasionally, there's an awkward, pimply youth moment so embarrassing that it does sting. Like when 19 of the world's most important leaders visit for a global summit and Prime Minister Tony Abbott opens their retreat on Saturday with a whinge about his doomed efforts to get his fellow Australians to pay $7 to see a doctor.

      And then he throws in a boast that his government repealed the country's carbon tax, standing out among Western nations as the one willing to reverse progress on climate change - just days after the United States and China reached a landmark climate change deal.

      The Group of 20 summit could have been Australia's moment, signalling its arrival as a global player, some here argued. But in all, the summit had Australians cringing more than cheering."


    Shell 'warned Nigeria pipeline could leak before spills'

    Oil firm Royal Dutch Shell was told a pipeline had reached the end of its life years before it spilled up to 500,000 barrels of oil, according to court documents seen by the BBC.

    Two spills in 2008 affected about 35 sq miles (90 sq km) in southern Nigeria, according to a group suing Shell.

    The area included sensitive mangroves.


    The spills took place in Bodo, a town in the Ogoniland region, where people interviewed for an Amnesty International report into the effects of the incident reported headaches and eyesight problems.

    Following the spills, the price of fish, a local staple food, rose as much as tenfold, according to Amnesty. People who worked in fishing had to find jobs in other industries which proved more difficult to find.

    Oil spills in the Ogoniland region have also contaminated local drinking water sources, seeping into groundwater, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Toxins found by UNEP in the wider Ogoniland area's drinking water include benzene, which is thought to cause cancer.


    • In 2009 Shell paid $15.5m in an out-of-court settlement in a case accusing it of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria. It was brought by relatives of nine anti-oil campaigners, including author Ken Saro-Wiwa, who were hanged in 1995 by Nigeria's then military rulers. Shell denied any wrongdoing and said the payment was part of a "process of reconciliation"



    Oil Dispute Takes a Page From Congo’s Bloody Past

    VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, Democratic Republic of Congo — The trouble started when a British company suddenly appeared in this iconic and spectacularly beautiful national park, prospecting for oil.

    Villagers who opposed the project were beaten by government soldiers. A park warden, who tried to block the oil company, SOCO International, from building a cellphone tower in the park, was kidnapped and tortured. Virunga’s director, a Belgian prince, was shot and nearly killed hours after he delivered a secret report on the oil company’s activities.

    Much like the fight over drilling on federal lands in the United States, the struggle over oil exploration in Africa’s national parks is a classic quandary, pitting economic development against environmental preservation.

    But out here, the quest for oil seems to be more volatile, and the stakes are arguably higher — on both sides.

    While West Africa has been a major hydrocarbon producer for decades, new technology like deeper drilling has led to a bonanza of new energy discoveries here on the continent’s east side.

    Oil companies are now circling several African parks like this one, home to critically endangered wildlife, such as colossal silverback mountain gorillas, among the last of their kind.


    African governments say they have a moral obligation to pursue anything that might lift their countries out of grinding poverty, including drilling for oil in pristine natural environments.


    ...................Virunga’s Lake Edward, where the oil is believed to lie, is part of the headwaters of the Nile. While SOCO has said it will not proceed without Unesco and Congolese approval, an oil spill here could contaminate water that tens of millions, possibly hundreds of millions, rely on.

    “Any toxins from here could flow up to the Mediterranean,” said Emmanuel de Merode, Virunga’s director. “It could reach all the way to Spain.”

  78. Can Zambia save its environment with marijuana?

    Green party’s presidential candidate Peter Sinkamba is promising voters to cut country’s dependency on mining – by growing and exporting marijuana

    For decades, Zambia has staked its economic fortunes on copper mining. But when voters in this southern African nation go to the polls in January to select a new president, at least one candidate will be looking to send that tradition up in smoke.

    On Friday, Peter Sinkamba will announce his candidacy on the Green party ticket to replace the late President Michael Sata, who died on 29 October from an undisclosed illness. Sinkamba, regarded as Zambia’s leading environmentalist for his battles against the country’s big copper mines, is running on an unlikely platform, especially in this socially conservative nation: legalising marijuana.

    His plan, first announced in April, calls for cannabis’ legalisation for medicinal use in Zambia, which would be a first in Africa. The surplus crop would be exported abroad, earning Zambia what Sinkamba claims could be billions of dollars.

    At stake is an opportunity to diversify Zambia’s economy while beginning to clean up the environmental degradation left by close to a century of intensive opencast mining.

    Copper has long been Zambia’s national treasure, having fired the country to middle-income status in the 1960s and 70s. But by the late 1990s, tumbling copper prices sent the country’s mining income to its lowest levels since independence from the UK in 1964.

    Mining has since rebounded. In 2012, copper exports amounted to $6.3bn (£4bn), or nearly 70% of Zambia’s total export market. But many Zambians now find their country’s dependency on copper stifling. Local communities suffer from environmental impacts like toxic sulphur dioxide emissions from refineries.

    In an interview with the Guardian in his hometown of Kitwe, the Copperbelt’s largest city, Sinkamba said his marijuana proposal would wean Zambia off its addiction to mining by prioritising its fledgling agricultural sector.

    “Historically, we’ve been the kind of people that have consumed a lot of marijuana,” said Sinkamba. “It is massively cultivated across the whole country [for the black market] … So what we’re saying is, look, let’s come out of it and legalise it.”

    Sinkamba reckons that Zambia could capture up to 10% of a global marijuana market – estimated at $140bn by the UN in 2005 – which would make it more lucrative than copper mining. In a shadow budget released earlier this year, the Green party claimed marijuana exports would boost GDP by over 68% by 2021.

  79. WOODSIDE is drilling here - is this them again ?

    Dublin Shell to Sea shared Greenpeace International's video.


    Greenpeace International

    Boats rammed during peaceful protest against oil drilling.

    The 23 year old Italian activist who was knocked overboard has been taken to a hospital where her broken leg is being treated. The other activists returned safely to the Arctic Sunrise. Greenpeace Spain’s efforts to protect the Canary Islands from off shore oil drilling continue.

    Read more and share to help us stand up to the oil industry world-wide:


    The video is worth a look.

  80. Hands off Country............

    "Monday, February 18, 2013

    Royalties for Regions money sponsors fracking exploration

    Industry tells us their practices are safe, but fracking wells have already started leaking pollution in Western Australia.


    The Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) is a State Government initiative that aims to encourage exploration in Western Australia for the long-term sustainability of the State’s resources sector.

    The $80 million initiative, funded by Royalties for Regions over five years, will stimulate increased private sector resource exploration and ultimately lead to new mineral and energy discoveries. Most of the activities in the EIS are focused in under-explored greenfield regions.

    New mineral and energy discoveries in these areas will also significantly increase knowledge of the State’s geology and resources, and help increase employment opportunities.

    The EIS will be managed by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), the State’s lead agency dedicated to servicing the future development of Western Australia’s resources industry. DMP has worked alongside the Department of Local Government and Regional Development in developing and approving the initiative’s six programs.


    Remote communities unite with funding plea from afar: don’t shut us out

    THE 35 communities of Western Australia’s Fitzroy Valley, in the deep inland of the state’s far-north Kimberley and home to almost 4000 Aborigines, are calling for a “proper conversation” about their future after the Barnett government’s announcement of mass closures.

    An unprecedented joint statement by the 10 Aboriginal organisations representing the Fitzroy Valley’s three native title-holder groups, the communities themselves, as well as the organisations that service and support the township of Fitzroy Crossing and the surrounding 35 communities, ­acknowledges “real and difficult ­financial issues for governments in relation to supporting remote communities”.

    The statement is also a passionate assertion of the rights of indigenous people to live on their country and pleads: “Do not turn our people into fringe-dwellers once again.”


    Campbell Newman set to bankroll Galilee coal projects

    THE opening-up of Australia’s next coal frontier will begin within months, with the Newman government promising to help bankroll infrastructure for proposed mega-mines in central Queensland’s untapped Galilee Basin.

    Just a day after US President Barack Obama slapped down Australia for not doing enough to tackle climate change and protect the Great Barrier Reef, it emerged that the state government is offering to kickstart a massive expans­ion in coal exports to some of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, which include India and China. An in-principle agreement will be announced today for Queensland to invest and take a stake in ­Indian giant Adani’s $2.2 billion railway line, running from its proposed $16.5bn Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin to the coal port of Abbot Point.

    The agreement, with the amount yet to be negotiated, is being touted as critical for Adani’s Indian and US bankers to back the mine, with construction of the line now set to begin in the first quarter of next year.

    It is understood that the state government will offer hundreds of millions of dollars to fund short-term equity stakes in rail, port, airport, water and electricity infrastructure servicing the basin’s proposed coalmines.

  81. 17 November 2014
    ASX Code: IPB



    IPB Petroleum advises that the Pryderi-1 exploration well in WA-424-P (IPB 75%, CalEnergy 25% and Operator) reached a total depth of 694m (RT) in 12.25” hole late afternoon on 15 November 2014 with no moveable hydrocarbons being encountered.

    Despite some residual oil shows encountered while drilling, the target reservoir at Pryderi is interpreted to be water bearing. Operations over the next 48 hours include the planned plugging and abandoning of the well.

    IPB now intends to complete further interpretation and analysis on the results of the well to gain an improved understanding of the remaining prospectivity within the permit, which includes the existing Gwydion oil discovery (2C Contingent Resources of 5 MMbbls -100%).

    IPB’s Managing Director Brendan Brown said “Although the results of this first well are not as predicted, we know that oil is present in this part of the Browse Basin and the data from this well will help us in our ongoing exploration efforts within the permit. IPB remains confident that the company’s existing acreage offers significant hydrocarbon prospectivity in a basin that is a focal point for so many multinational energy companies.”

    IPB would like to reassure shareholders that the evolution of successful small exploration companies often involves dealing with exploration risk outcomes and pursuing multiple options. The directors aim to also continue with their stated strategy which includes the examination of complementary opportunities, with the ultimate objective of adding to the company’s current exploration portfolio.


    1. OH SHIT...........4 days ago..............

      High hopes for another exciting discovery in Oz

      Thursday, 13 November 2014
      David Upton

      THE recent run of exciting discoveries by Australian explorers could be extended as early as next week with results from IPB Petroleum’s Pryderi-1 well in shallow water of the Browse Basin.

  82. IEA Sees New Era, No Quick Rebound In Oil Prices

    by Reuters

    Alex Lawler & Dmitry Zhdannikov

    LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The oil market has entered a new era with lower Chinese economic growth and booming U.S. shale output, making a return soon to high prices unlikely, the West's energy watchdog said on Friday.

    The International Energy Agency, which typically refrains from predicting oil prices, said in its monthly report that prices could fall further in 2015 after declining to their lowest levels since 2010 below $80 per barrel.

    "While there has been some speculation that the high cost of unconventional oil production might set a new equilibrium for Brent prices in the $80 to $90 range, supply/demand balances suggest that the price rout has yet to run its course," the IEA said.

    Barring any new supply disruption, "downward price pressures could build further in the first half of 2015", it said.

    Oil prices have fallen 30 percent since peaking in June, pressured by a strong U.S. dollar and rising U.S. light oil output while largely ignoring the impact of Libyan supply disruptions.


    Developer of second Papua New Guinea project says costs will be lowest in world

    Friday, 14 November 2014

    InterOil Corp., the New York-listed company developing a second LNG project for Papua New Guinea, said the Oceania nation is emerging as the lowest-cost place to develop a liquefaction plant.


    Japanese banks help to fund plant that marks revival of Indonesian LNG production

    Friday, 14 November 2014

    The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and a consortium of Japanese banks have signed a loan agreement to help finance the Donggi-Senoro LNG production project in Indonesia in which Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp is a partner.

  83. Spanish navy rams Greenpeace boat and injures activists

    Action to prevent protest against oil drilling by Repsol in Canary Islands leaves an activist with broken leg


    Aug 27 (Reuters) - Repsol, part of a consortium planning to explore for oil off the Canary Islands, will carry out the first phase of the project on its own, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

    The Spanish oil company and its partners WOODSIDE Energy Ltd. of Australia and RWE AG's oil and gas arm DEA got the green light to drill two sites off the coast of the Canary Islands earlier this month, despite fierce local opposition.

  84. WA Chief Justice slams end to funding of Aboriginal interpreting service

    Western Australia's Chief Justice says a decision to stop funding the state's only Aboriginal interpreting service could undermine the fairness of the justice system.

    The Kimberley Interpreting Service (KIS) plays an important role in helping Indigenous people who are accused of crimes understand complex court proceedings and police interviews.

    It has around 100 interpreters on its books who speak over 30 Indigenous languages and it services the entire state.

    Since 2006 the KIS has been funded through a state and federal government partnership.

    If somebody doesn't understand English to a sufficient level to be able to participate in the trial process or the sentencing process or to deal with interviews by police, then it's not fair

    Chief justice Wayne Martin

    But that agreement ended in June and the WA Government said it was not in a position to provide any more funding.

    WA's Chief Justice Wayne Martin has been arguing for a better-funded, expanded interpreting service for the past seven years.


    KIS interpreter Desmond Taylor said many Aboriginal people struggled to understand what was being said in court.

    "It's very worrying because a lot of Aboriginal people who don't speak English as a first language will be incarcerated and the prison numbers will go up," he said.

    "There should be an attitude shift... the (Government) needs to support KIS."

    The Opposition's Ben Wyatt warned the decision could see Indigenous incarceration rates rise.

    "I think Mr Barnett needs to take heed of what the Chief Justice is saying and understand that to reduce the number of Aboriginal people going to prison, it's not just about pushing them out of jail, it's keeping them out of jail," he said.

    "The KIS has a very important role to play in that... and I'm stunned the Barnett Government could walk way from that service."


    Mr Wyatt said a lack of trained interpreters could compromise the justice system and lead to a spike in appeals.

    "We see trials fall over and we see police investigations critiqued by judges because ultimately, Aboriginal people need to understand... what their rights and responsibilities are," he said.

  85. Halliburton to Buy Baker Hughes for $34.6 Billion

    ................A merger would help the two companies, both based in Houston, compete better against Schlumberger, which is by far the leader in oil field services. The combined company will keep the Halliburton name and will be led by David J. Lesar, the chief executive of Halliburton.

    Together, the two are expected to save nearly $2 billion in costs through a combination of operations and research and development.


    Combining the two companies would merge two decades-old rivals in the oil field services business. Halliburton was founded in 1919, and has since become one of the leading suppliers of equipment for hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking, the drilling technique underpinning the American energy boom.


  86. They may have to mothball the eyesore mud plant on Roebuck Bay before it is even built.


    Fund manager sees risk in exploration stocks

    (Reuters) - Energy exploration and production stocks are poised to tumble in 2015, especially if the price of oil continues to fall, hedge fund manager Michael Corcelli said on Monday.

    "One of the cheapest ways to get paid hedging stock market exposure is to short E&P stocks - the small ones with excessive leverage," Corcelli, who is founder and managing partner of Miami-based Alexander Alternative Capital LLC, said at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit on Monday.


    .............he believes the exploration industry has gotten ahead of itself by taking on too much debt to plunge into exploration projects that can only be profitable if oil prices stay high.


    "If you look at a lot of the filings for a lot of big, big money managers, you'll see they all own some E&P play in some massive size," said Corcelli. "Some of them are down 60 percent, 65 percent. What's to say they can't go down another 50?"


    Japan’s surprise recession had historical hints

    ................Because Japan is the world’s 4th biggest importer of crude oil, prices fell more than a dollar to beneath $78 a barrel and initial reaction pushed the dollar to a seven-year high against the yen. Investors hope an announcement tomorrow from the Bank of Japan will provide more clarity.


  87. Time for an apology on climate change

    By John Hewson

    As the US and China join the overwhelming number of scientists who believe climate change requires an urgent response, it's time for the Prime Minister to acknowledge he got it wrong, writes John Hewson.

    Tony Abbott's intransigence on climate change, stating emphatically that he will not join significant global leaders in seeking to accelerate the global response to the challenge, has echoes of John Howard's refusal to say "sorry" to Indigenous Australians.

    Howard rarely admitted to making mistakes, and he was sorry for very little, during his political career. Most conspicuously, despite the moral imperative, and mounting evidence of its significance to the process of reconciliation, he consistently refused to make a national apology to our Aboriginal people.

    Having initially essentially ruled it out, in little more than an off the cuff response, he then dug in on the issue, despite ministerial and cabinet pressure to reverse his stand, stubbornly maintaining his defence of the indefensible, rather than admit that he had made a mistake.

    The more he was questioned about an apology, the more resolute he came in his opposition to making one. It is not unfair to say he became obsessed, ignoring all evidence and advice.

    At his end, this was a fundamental, and important, differentiator between himself and Rudd, and a key factor contributing to his loss of government in 2007.

    This was especially so when combined with his similar intransigence in relation to the ratification/signing of the Kyoto Protocol - these are two classic examples of political "pig-headedness" at the expense of the national interest.

    I am sure Abbott has convinced himself, and enough of his team, that his commitment to abolish the carbon tax was fundamental to his winning the last election. He is certainly now claiming this as one of the early victories of his Government.

    But he would be kidding himself, both in terms of its significance to his election and its status as a "victory" in terms of our national interest.

    I seriously doubt that his promise to abolish the carbon tax was anywhere near as important as the basic desire of the electorate to simply throw out the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government, one of the worst in our history.

    Moreover, if that ever was the case, the electorate now recognises that Abbott's fear campaign as to the likely consequences of the carbon tax was a gross over-exaggeration, especially now as voters search for the $500+ benefit promised to flow from its abolition.

    Abbott is now clearly on the wrong side of the climate issue. Some 97 per cent of peer-assessed climate scientists say he is, as do a significant number of world leaders, led by the US and China, that are working to ensure that there is a significant global agreement on emissions reductions by the end of next year.

    The tragedy is that back in 2007 Australia had the domestic community support that could have seen us lead the world on this issue and, in doing so, reap the considerable benefits in terms of prestige, investment, growth, jobs, and emissions reductions.

    But, just like Howard, who Abbott likes to refer to as probably the best conviction politician he has known, Abbott too is digging in, ignoring all rational argument and mounting evidence, and, most importantly, failing to recognise the inherent forces in this that could ensure his ultimate demise.

    Historians often say that the one lesson of history is that we don't learn from history. Let's hope Abbott proves them wrong, to the considerable benefit of our national interest.

    John Hewson is Professor in the Crawford School ANU and former leader of the Liberal Party and the federal opposition. View his full profile here.

  88. Chinese corporations allowed to sue Australian government under free trade agreement

    Academics, Labor and Greens senators have warned about a controversial and little-understood clause in the new China-Australia free trade agreement that will allow Chinese corporations to sue the Australian government.

    The deal struck between China and Australia on Monday will contain a so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism that will allow Chinese corporations to sue Australia's government if a change in Australian law can be claimed to have harmed their investments in Australia.

    Labor and Greens senators warned on Tuesday there will be unintended consequences from the deal and the government ought to explain why it was included in the FTA.

    Labor senator Penny Wong and Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson both asked the Abbott government on Tuesday if the ISDS mechanism would allow Chinese investors, including state-owned enterprises, to "take action" against the Australian government if their profits were harmed.

    "Could future changes to the renewable energy target or carbon farming schemes give rise to liabilities under this dispute mechanism?" Ms Wong asked.


    Dr Patricia Ranald, the Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), said on Monday that the text of the agreement remained secret and the details could therefor not be scrutinised.

    Ms Ranald said the full text of the agreement ought to be released for public and parliamentary scrutiny before it was signed next year.

    "We could face a scenario where Chinese investors could sue local, state or federal governments for damages over a change in environmental or other regulation," Dr Ranald said.

    "We have also opposed this provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with the US, Japan and nine other Pacific Rim countries, because ISDS is clearly against the national interest."

    Craig Emerson said the mechanism would give superior legal rights to multinational corporations to sue the Australian government.

    "The detail has not been provided to show what are the protections or carve-outs for the Australian government [from foreign corporations]," he said.

    "It means, effectively, that the Abbott government will have to include an ISDS mechanism in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with the US," he said.


    FoFA changes in tatters in body blow to Abbott Government

    The Abbott Government has been dealt a major body blow. Its plans to wind back financial advice laws are in tatters after controversial Senators Jacqui Lambie and Ricky Muir decided to band together and support a move against them.

    The debate to remove regulations that were introduced by the government to water down the former Labor Government's Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms will begin this morning.


    Keystone XL pipeline bill dies in Senate

    (Reuters) - A bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline failed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, sparing President Barack Obama from having to veto legislation that several fellow Democrats supported.

    The measure fell just short of the 60 votes needed for passage, despite frantic last-minute lobbying by supporters, including Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana who faces a runoff election on Dec. 6. She has staked her hopes of winning on the Keystone gambit.

    The tally was 59 to 41 on TransCanada Corp's $8 billion, 800,000 barrels-per-day project, with all 45 Republicans supporting it.

    Obama opposed the Keystone bill and wants the State Department to finish its review of the pipeline. He has said he would not approve the pipeline if it significantly raised greenhouse gas emissions.

  89. Spot LNG price plunges

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014
    Anthony Barich

    SPOT LNG prices for December delivery to Asia plummeted 29.4% year over year to average $US12.49 per million British thermal units, Platts’ latest Japan/Korea marker for month-ahead delivery has revealed.


    Japan’s LNG investment rush

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014
    Anthony Barich

    JAPAN’S declining population is driving its banks to target heavy investment in global LNG projects to get bang for their buck, even while geopolitics and cheap US shale gas exports affect off-take deals.


    South Korean LNG imports fall

    Nov 18 (LNGJ) - South Korea imported 2.76 million tonnes of LNG in October, a decline of 13 percent on the same month a year ago. Korea Gas Corp., the world's largest corporate importer of LNG, has deliveries at its three import terminals from countries such as Qatar, Malaysia, Oman and Yemen.


    Tepco LNG imports decline

    Nov 17 (LNGJ) - The October LNG deliveries to Tokyo Electric Power, the largest Japanese LNG importer, totalled 1.99 million tonnes, down 13 percent on the same month a year ago. The deliveries were also down from the 2.22MT imported in the previous month.


    US: Oil and Gas professionals see growing optimism for American self-sufficiency for crude oil within five years - Deloitte survey

    18 Nov 2014

    America today has enough affordable natural gas production to meet rising and changing sources of demand, and the United States also will be self-sufficient in oil in 5-10 years, according to oil and gas decision-makers who participated in a new Deloitte survey titled, '2014 Oil & Gas Survey: The Next Chapter of the Energy Renaissance.'

    Compared with the Deloitte 2012 Oil & Gas Survey, there has been a 150 percent increase in the number of respondents who think the U.S. is or will be self-sufficient in oil within the next five years (20 percent). The vast majority (90 percent) believe the U.S. now has enough affordable domestic natural gas production to meet rising and changing sources of demand.

    The rosy production outlook may have contributed to a general sense of industry optimism, with 80 percent of respondents believing the U.S. energy situation has improved versus five years ago and is headed in the right direction.

    It is noteworthy that the survey was conducted in late October, prior to the nearly 15 percent decline in global crude prices, Republican sweep of the midterm elections and ban on hydraulic fracturing within the city limits of Denton, Texas.


  90. Liberals side with Greens to support fracking inquiry in South Australia

    An inquiry into unconventional gas exploration in South Australia could be underway as early as next week following Liberal Party support for a Greens motion in State Parliament's Upper House.

    The Opposition amended the motion by Greens MP Mark Parnell to ensure the Parliament's Natural Resources Committee (NRC) focused primarily on the south east, an agriculturally rich region heavily earmarked by the State Government for shale gas extraction.

    The Liberals last month voted against the Greens inquiry because its focus was state-wide rather than on the south east.


    Greens disappointed by narrow terms

    Mr Parnell said he was disappointed that the terms of reference for the inquiry had to be so narrow.

    He said those in the south east needed to understand the impact of fracking on an international scale if they were serious about finding out how the region could be affected.

    "So even though the terms of reference are now very narrow, I expect the committee will want to have a look at what fracking has done in other parts of the world so that we can make a bit more of an educated guess about what might happen in the south east," Mr Parnell said.

    The south east is host to prime farmland and the renowned Coonawarra wine region.

    Early exploration for shale gas extraction potential, a form of mining that relies entirely on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has resulted in heavy protest from the community, with multiple local governments, landowners and community groups calling for an inquiry.

  91. Peruvian forest activists killed just months ahead of UN climate meeting

    The killing of tribal leaders trying to defend their Amazon rainforest lands from illegal logging has put Peru's president under pressure ahead of next month's UN climate conference.

    PERU'S COMMITTMENT TO protecting its forests has been called into question by a new report from environmental investigation agency, Global Witness, after four indigenous leaders were killed attempting to defend their lands in the Ucayali region in September.

    The men, from the Ashéninka people of the Peruvian Amazon, included Edwin Chota, a prominent anti-logging campaigner.

    Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness, said: "The murders of Edwin Chota and his colleagues are tragic reminders of a paradox at work in the climate negotiations. While Peru's government chairs negotiations on how to solve our climate crisis, it is failing to protect the people on the frontline of environmental protection.

    "Environmental defenders embody the resolve we need to halt global warming. The message is clear: if you want to save the environment, then stop people killing environmental defenders."

    The killings were highlighted in a report, titled Peru's Deadly Environment, which says "the commitments of Peru to protect its carbon-rich forests and the people who live in them, in light of unfettered illegal logging, disregard for indigenous land claims, and new laws that favour industrial exploitation over environmental protection".

    In two weeks' time Peru will play host to the world as the 20th conference of the parties on international climate change negotiations will take place in the capital Lima.

    The report follows a wider Global Witness investigation of the escalating number of people killed trying to defend the environment. Between 2002 and 2013, it says, 908 campaigners were killed in 35 countries. Brazil was the worst offender, with 448 killings, Honduras second with 109, and the Philippines with 67.

    The recent killings in Peru makes it the fourth most dangerous place to be a defender of the environment, with 57 people killed − 60 per cent of them in the last four years. This is mostly in disputes over land rights, mining and logging. Over 20 million hectares of land claims of indigenous communities have not been processed.

  92. Government Indigenous suicide prevention programs are a failure, NT elder David Cole says

    The $25 billion state and federal governments spend each year on Aboriginal programs has failed to stem high rates of youth suicide, an Indigenous elder from the Northern Territory says.

    David Cole said Indigenous communities in the Top End have some of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world and funding should be redirected to grass roots Aboriginal organisations to stop the deaths.

    Mr Cole established the Balunu Foundation which runs programs for troubled Indigenous teenagers and over the last seven years has worked with more than 650 young people.

    "We actually haven't had one youth suicide [of a person] who's been through our program," he said.

    "So we provide the evidence-based outcome that proves that healing through culture and building that foundation, that identity, that self-worth, that self-belief and building the foundation to allow for the kids to walk in both worlds is effective.


    Call for culturally appropriate support services

    A Productivity Commission report out yesterday found the suicide rate for Indigenous people under the age of 25 was almost four times the rate of non-Indigenous young people.

    Audio: Listen to Sue Lannin's report (AM)

    Mr Cole said that is because many young Indigenous people feel alienated.

    "There's not enough culturally appropriate support services out there that reach the kids and provide them with the support that they need," he said.

    "Far too many of our kids turn to substance abuse to escape the reality of their pain and their challenges and their trauma.

    "The final attempt to escape that pain ultimately becomes suicide."


    But Mr Cole said suicide prevention needed to come from the community, not from Canberra.

    "If you consider that in 2011, $25.4 billion was spent on Indigenous affairs, we're talking about 2.6 per cent of the population," he said.

    "To spend that sort of money on that amount of people and have negative outcomes is a failure on behalf of the Government.

    "We need to ensure that those resources get to where they're going to be most effective and that's culturally healing through the community - controlled, owned and delivered by the people."

    Mr Cole said he thought the Northern Territory Intervention - which was initiated by the Howard government in 2007 - worsened mental health problems.

    "When we have an increase of suicide rates amongst our youth before, during and after the implementation of the intervention, it speaks for itself," he said.

    "The statistics have gotten worse, not better."

    The Indigenous leader said community organisations were also worried about the impact of the Abbott Government's budget cuts.

    "We certainly can't afford to not have the resources directed to where they need to be and it needs to be with the community, it needs to be with culturally appropriate services," he said.

    1. When broken promises become tests of character

      Beyond the convenient promises of campaigning lie the deeper moral obligations of the state. How will Tony Abbott respond as Indigenous Australians face the prospect of being driven once more from their traditional lands? Jonathan Green writes.

      The routine political promise is like a piece of Mary Poppins pastry: easily made, easily broken.

      And do we care? Probably not so much. Trust has been worn down by the constant repetition of brazen insincerity. We are resigned.

      "No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS."

      No change either to the post-truth framing of modern politics, a place where a promise is simply a piece of positioning to sway popularity whose impact is immediate and not dependent on execution.


      Beyond the convenient promises of campaigning lie the deeper moral obligations of the state ... to fairness, justice, equity, opportunity.

      These are the sort of issues that draw broad declarations of noble intent, the sort of statements that truly go to something deeper than political character.

      This kind of thing:

      I want a new engagement with Aboriginal people to be one of the hallmarks of an incoming Coalition government ... I hope to be a prime minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

      This is more than Tony Abbott the politician, this is Tony Abbott the man dealing with an issue that is at the core of the most fundamental moral obligations of any Australian Government: to attempt some honest betterment of the state of Aboriginal Australians.

      As much as any current politician he has put words to the profound necessity of a just settlement between Australia's first and colonising peoples. As he told the Parliament in February 2013:

      Australia is a blessed country. Our climate, our land, our people, our institutions rightly make us the envy of the earth; except for one thing - we have never fully made peace with the first Australians. This is the stain on our soul that Prime Minister Keating so movingly evoked at Redfern 21 years ago.

      We have to acknowledge that pre-1788, this land was as Aboriginal then as it is Australian now and until we have acknowledged that, we will be an incomplete nation and a torn people.

      Clearly we are far from achieving that healing. The Productivity Commission report released this week, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, details a people in a state of psychological crisis. A people amongst whom suicide, self-harm and mental injury are rife.

      . from Western Australia that the State Government intends to close over a hundred remote Indigenous communities, communities now defunded by the Commonwealth and thrust upon the slim resources of a state that sees little future in supporting them.

      Their people will be driven, once more, from their traditional lands, by a Government that fully comprehends the consequences. As WA premier Colin Barnett put it:

      It will cause great distress to Aboriginal people who will move, it will cause issues in regional towns as Aboriginal people move into them.

      And here is a test for the PM, to stand by those principles he presents as deep conviction, as the fundamental tenets of his moral self.

      This is as far from a dumb promise shaken out in the excitement of 11th hour campaigning as you can get, and something that might stand as a serious test of character for Tony Abbott, something, that if he is not careful, might yet make a Juliar of him.

      Jonathan Green hosts Sunday Extra on Radio National and is the former editor of The Drum. View his full profile here.

  93. Browse plans slammed

    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    THE Woodside Petroleum-led Browse floating LNG project remains a “difficult development” according to Macquarie Wealth Management, which also published a timeline of the events during the “costly lost decade” of the project so far.




    Woodside Petroleum has confirmed plans to develop its large Browse gas fields off the Kimberley coast using up to three huge floating LNG vessels in a project that would have a life span of up to 50 years.

    In a draft environmental impact statement for the venture, released this morning, Woodside said the floating LNG design was the “most likely commercially viable option” to develop its three Browse fields, the first of which was found over 40 years ago.

    The release of the draft EIS comes as Woodside seeks to reach a joint venture decision this year with its partners to start engineering design work on the project, expected to cost more than $40 billion. Chief executive Peter Coleman is targeting a final go-ahead for the project in the second half of 2015 but it remains unclear whether all the venture partners want the venture to proceed that rapidly.

    The Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa gas fields, holding about 14.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and 441 million barrels of condensates, lie about 290 km off the Kimberley coast. An initial plan by the venture to develop the resource through a huge new onshore LNG project at James Price Point near Broome was ditched in April last year because it was too expensive, at an estimated $80 billion or more.

    Woodside’s partners in the project include Shell, whose FLNG technology will be used at the venture, BP, PetroChina and a venture between Japanese trading houses Mitsubishi and Mitsui. No LNG sales contracts have yet been agreed for the project.

    The Browse project is the fifth project using the innovative floating LNG technology to be referred under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the first being Shell’s Prelude project which was approved in 2010 and is expected to start production in 2016 or 2017. The world’s first floating LNG projects are due to start production next year.

  94. Kerry Stokes' Seven receives first strike on executive pay

    DateNovember 19, 2014

    Shareholders of Kerry Stokes' Seven Group have delivered a first strike against the company's remuneration report, which included a package worth $5.5 million for chief executive Don Voelte in his first year.

    More than 32 per cent of votes went against the pay structure at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Wednesday. A vote of more than 25 per cent against next year's executive pay would give shareholders the power to vote on a board spill.

    Kerry Stokes, who holds a 69 per cent stake in Seven Group, is unable to vote on executive pay.

    The protest vote came as Seven Group cut its full-year earnings forecast to a fall of between 10 and 15 per cent from the previous year's underlying earnings of $374 million - and flagged it could get lowered further if commodity prices continue to fall.

    Seven Group shares were down 6.7 per cent at $6.065 in mid-afternoon trading.

    Seeking to counter the steep fall in commodity prices, the company's mining services business WesTrac Australia will cut at least another 100 jobs as it is hit by miners cutting costs and delaying projects in response to weaker prices for iron ore, gold and thermal coal.

    Seven Group owns the earthmoving equipment supplier alongside other industrial services businesses, and a stake in Seven West Media, the company behind Australia's highest-rating free-to-air broadcaster and Pacific Magazines.

    Seven Group chief financial officer Richard Richards told the shareholder meeting that a "triple-digit" reduction would be made to WesTrac's fulltime workforce through redundancies, natural attrition and fewer contractors.

    The company cut the equivalent of 1,400 full time jobs across its industrial divisions in the 2013/14 financial year, including 863 at WesTrac.

    "These measures alone have not been sufficient in view of continuing challenging market conditions," Mr Richards said.

    "In response to such challenging conditions, WesTrac Australia is taking immediate action now and in the coming months to continue to implement significant cost reductions and modification of work processes."

    The announcement follows news that Orica would cut 700 jobs in the coming year, due to challenging conditions in the mining sector market for explosives and blasting systems.

    Other mining services firms have also been cutting costs, while major job losses have also recently occurred in Queensland's coal industry.

  95. CSG study finds elevated methane levels near gas fields

    Date November 19, 2014

    Methane levels near coal seam gas fields in Australia have been found to be as much as triple normal levels, raising renewed doubts about the global-warming benefits of using the gas compared with other energy sources.

    The findings of elevated levels of methane and carbon dioxide from the Tara gas field near Condamine in Queensland were originally made public by researchers at the South Cross University two years ago, sparking an angry response from industry and government.

    Described at the time as a world-first finding, the researchers were attacked by then federal energy minister Martin Ferguson for releasing research before it had been peer-reviewed.


    "Let's have a factual, scientific debate, not an emotional debate, because there is too much at risk and the community expects that approach to life," Mr Ferguson said. "Conduct yourself in a professional way and focus on the outcome, not short-lived media opportunities."

    Industry group, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), also wrote to Peter Lee, vice chancellor of SCU, accusing the researchers of sloppy work.

    Those findings, though, have now been published in the Water, Air and Soil Pollution journal. "It's exactly the same data that we presented then," said Damien Maher, a researcher at the SCU's Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, and one of the paper's authors.

    Methane triples

    Deploying sensitive equipment, the researchers travelled hundreds of kilometres through the Tara gas field and an exploration field in Casino in northern NSW to gather air samples.

    The results found methane levels as high as 6.89 parts per million, or more than triple the background levels of about 1.8 ppm. Carbon dioxide levels reached as high as 541 ppm, or approaching a 50 per cent increase compared with general conditions.

    Dr Maher said the research could not identify the source of the higher methane levels although the chemical fingerprints – specifically the isotope of the gas – matched that of the CSG being produced from the field.

    "As soon as we left the gas field, we didn't see any of the increased concentration of the gases," he said.

    "We can't definitely say that it is due to the mining," Dr Maher said, adding that the results suggest baseline work is needed before CSG fields are developed to identify fugitive emissions.

    The findings are likely to stoke concerns among residents living near existing or proposed CSG fields. They are also likely to renew doubts that CSG producers will deliver a lighter greenhouse gas "footprint" than other fossil fuels such as coal. Rising greenhouse gases, mostly from human activity, are blamed for lifting global temperatures and causing climate change.

    "Data from this study indicates that unconventional gas may drive large-scale increases in atmospheric [methane] and [carbon dioxide] concentrations, which need to be accounted for when determining the net GHG impact of using unconventional gas sources," the paper, which includes Isaac Santos and Douglas Tait as authors, said.

  96. CSG study finds elevated methane levels near gas fields

    Potent gas

    Along with CO2, methane levels are now at their highest atmosphere levels in about 800,000 years, with their increase about 2.5-fold since pre-industrial times. Methane is much more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, with a global-warming impact about 72 times that of CO2 over a 20-year period, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    "We now know that communities in NSW on the front line of coal seam gas field developments are staring down the barrel of likely gas leaks, with potential health and bushfire risks from the methane," Naomi Hogan, a campaign manager with The Wilderness Society, said.

    "The myth of coal seam gas as a solution to climate change is quickly unravelling, as new research comes to light across the world of the greenhouse gas emissions from the gas fields," Ms Hogan said, adding that the peer-reviewed study is now one of hundreds pointing to problems with unconventional gas extraction.

    CSIRO study

    Industry groups have pointed to a CSIRO study released in June that attempted to quantify the size of methane leaks from equipment and wellheads at CSG sites in Australia.

    The university study "does nothing to alter the fact natural gas is a cleaner burning energy source than coal," APPEA Chief Technical Officer Rick Wilkinson said. APPEA said natural gas generally produces greenhouse gas emissions 50-70 per cent lower than coal.

    "The initial work done by the CSIRO is far more technically rigorous," the spokesman said, noting the detected emissions from wellheads "is about the same as daily methan emissions from four cows".

    The study of 43 wells, mostly in Queensland, found leaking in all but three of them. The leakage for most of the wells was found to be "quite low, especially when compared to the volume of gas produced", the CSIRO report concluded.

    The study, though, noted that further investigation was needed, not least because "only a very small proprotion" of the total number of wells in production were tested, with many new ones to be drilled.

    "The small sample examined during this study may not be truly representative of the total well population," the CSIRO report said.

    Dr Maher from the SCU said the CSIRO research had focused on wellheads, and not the overall gas field.

    "It's a matter of scale," Dr Maher said. "They measured a small number of wells and were working closely with industry."

    "We were measuring [concentrations] at scale," he said.

    Santos, a CSG developer, also backed the CSIRO report that identified leakage of 0.02 per cent of the output from the 43 wells.

    "Santos is committed to high-quality industry practice and implementing best technologies to avoid fugitive emissions," a spokesman said.

    'Like a sieve'

    Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the federal government should be staffing CSIRO to investigate fully the impacts of CSG.

    "Instead, both this government and the previous government have taken an approach of 'shoot first and ask questions later', not only when it comes to climate impacts, but also water, land and human health impacts." Senator Waters said.

    "Big mining company spin doctors tell us that coal seam gas is better for the climate but in reality it leaks methane like a sieve," Senator Waters said.

    Her NSW counterpart, Greens upper house MP Jeremy Buckingham said the US has found its shale gas boom to have created myriad problems that Australians should avoid repeating here.

    "The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently released hundreds of reports of water contamination caused by unconventional gas drilling and fracking," Mr Buckingham said.

    "This is an industry that seriously pollutes the environment and should be stopped in its tracks."

    Fairfax Media also sought comment from Ian Macfarlane, Mr Ferguson's successor as federal energy minister.

  97. Protesters in WA present petition against changes to Aboriginal Heritage Act

    A petition with more than 1,600 signatures protesting against planned changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act has been presented to Western Australia's Parliament.

    More than 60 traditional owners and elders representing each region of WA rallied on the steps of Parliament.

    They presented the petition to the Opposition's Aboriginal Affairs spokesman Ben Wyatt and Nationals member for the Pilbara Brendon Grylls.

    Port Hedland Nyamal elder Doris Eaton said she was not against mining but wanted protections in place.

    "[Our heritage] is not going to be protected like the European heritage," she said.

    "There's a hell of a lot of mining going on. We're not saying no to mining, but we want Government to negotiate properly with us."

    Mr Grylls was moved by the distance people had travelled.

    "It's relatively easy to come to Parliament and make your point if you live just over the river," he said.

    "It's not easy to come to Parliament if you live in the Gascoyne or the Pilbara, or the Kimberley.

    "That's damn hard, and that makes it very clear to me how passionate you are about this issue."

    Mr Wyatt said it was clear that Indigenous people were not happy with the act's changes.

    "It's my view that the change doesn't give due respect and consultation for Aboriginal people," he said.

    "Aboriginal heritage isn't something for Government to bequeath to Aboriginal people. It's been there well before Government came along here in Western Australia.

    "We need to look after and respect [it], and importantly Aboriginal people need to be involved in the process around heritage recognition and protection. That's my view and that's the view I'll take to the Parliament."

    Changes speed up approval processes

    Mr Grylls and a delegation of elders met Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier to voice concerns about the potential loss of Aboriginal cultural heritage and protection of sacred sites.

    Mr Collier said he thought changes to the Act would be positive.


    The draft bill, which was released earlier this year, speeds up the approval process for mining and other development by giving the Department of Aboriginal Affairs chief executive officer "expedited" or "fast track" authority to declare whether or not an Aboriginal heritage site existed.

    The CEO would be able to issue land use permits when he or she decided a site would not be significantly damaged or altered.

    Submissions on the draft amendments have been overwhelmingly critical of the proposed changes, in particular the new fast track approvals process.

    Mr Collier said the pace of economic development in recent years, particularly in mining and construction, had highlighted inadequacies in the current legislation.

    The proposed changes were labelled discriminatory by the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) which said earlier this year that they would disenfranchise Indigenous people.

    The KLC said the draft bill focused power in the hands of one bureaucrat - the department's CEO.

    Currently the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC), established through the act, provides advice and recommendations to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister on heritage sites.

    The Law Society of WA and other organisations have argued the new process, via the CEO, would largely cut out Aboriginal people.

    The Law Society said the proposed amendments stripped the ACMC of its evaluative role and predominantly shifted power to the CEO, who was not obliged to consult with Aboriginal people or to apply anthropological expertise.

    When the draft bill was released, the department said the CEO would have certain regulations to follow, including having to refer any permit application to the committee if the activity could damage the site.

    1. AUSTRALIA’S sacred site of Uluru would not qualify as a heritage site under new definitions by the WA government ­applying to sites requiring protection.

  98. Sacred sites set to lose status

    The Australian |
    November 21, 2014

    AUSTRALIA’S sacred site of Uluru would not qualify as a heritage site under new definitions by the WA government ­applying to sites requiring protection.

    Thousands of sites could be struck off the state’s heritage register and stripped of protection under a new requirement that religious activity be performed on the site in order to qualify as a site under WA’s Aboriginal Heritage Act.

    The new definition only came to light in a letter to the Widi ­native title group about the Mongers Lake Waterway, a large series of lake systems 260 kilometres northeast of Perth. The letter from the state heritage registrar declared the area was no longer recorded as an Aboriginal site under the act because it lacked evidence that “religious activities” had occurred there.

    “For the place to be considered a sacred area it requires that a religious activity had to occur at this place rather than just a belief or the presence of an Ancestral Being,” registrar Tanya Butler told the Widi group.

    But in expert reports lodged with the registrar in 2005, 2008 and 2010, the lakes were described as “highly significant” as a mythological route for the Beemarra, an ancestral snake.

    Yamatji Marlpa chief executive Simon Hawkins, for the Widi, said the clause was a surprise to everyone and “a gross misunderstanding of Aboriginal spiritual and cultural practices’’.

    “Many places that are sacred to Aboriginal people are not meant to be accessed, either by a specific gender, or at all,’’ he said.

    A famous example was Uluru, where the Anangu people of Central Australia did not perform ceremonies on Uluru, and preferred that visitors didn’t climb it. He said proposed amendments to the Heritage Act would further strengthen the government’s power to unilaterally decide what constituted ­Aboriginal heritage.

    Aboriginal leaders from across the state gathered on the steps of WA Parliament House yesterday in a protest against changes to the heritage laws and plan to close dozens of ­remote Aboriginal communities.

    Pilbara leader Doris Eaton said Aborigines were “not saying no to mining companies on our land but we want them to come and discuss our concerns’’.

    WA Labor Indigenous Affairs spokesman Ben Wyatt said the new heritage definition was calculated to deliberately exclude sites of significance to Aborigines. “There is no requirement for a non-Aboriginal ‘sacred’ heritage sites, like a Christian church, to be in constant use in order to have heritage value,’’ he said.

  99. Julie Bishop writes to White House on Obama’s Barrief Reef comments

    FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop’s office has written to the White House disputing Barack Obama’s claims about the Great Barrier Reef, arguing the world heritage icon is “not threatened” by climate change or environmental degradation.

    Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek branded Ms Bishop’s actions an “extraordinary attack on our close friend and ally”.

    The Australian this week revealed the Queensland government, as host of last weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane, was considering a formal complaint to Washington over what it saw as an insulting and provocative speech by the US President that was based on “misinformation” about management of the Great Barrier Reef.

    It is understood that US offic­ials contacted the Queensland government after the revelation in The Australian.

    The Foreign Minister, in New York to chair UN Security Council terrorism talks, this morning said she was “surprised” by Mr Obama’s remarks and had since sent a “detailed briefing” to the Oval Office on the issue.

    Ms Bishop said state and federal agencies had banned resource exploration and capital dredge dumping near the Great Barrier Reef, and were contributing $180 million annually to manage the health of the reef.

    “I wanted to ensure the White House was well aware of the significant steps that the Australian government and the Queensland government were taking to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef is not threatened by climate change, by nutrient run off from agriculture, by mining or drilling,” she told Sky News.


    Ms Plibersek said Mr Obama’s remarks were consistent with those of the UN World Heritage Committee, which has recommended listing the reef as a “world heritage in danger” site.

    “It seems it’s only the Abbott government that fails to accept that climate change is going to take a significant toll on our Great Barrier Reef, unless we act now. It is embarrassing,” she said.

    Environmentalists argue rising ocean temperatures pose an existential threat to the reef, as does increased traffic from coal ports in central and north Queensland.

    Ms Bishop said: “I hope the President does bring his family to see the Great Barrier Reef because it’s one of our environmental icons, it’s a huge tourist attraction and indeed about 70,000 jobs are dependent on the Great Barrier Reef being maintained.”


  100. Australian mining executives accused of conspiring to pollute Alaskan river

    THE Australian heads of a platinum mine have been indicted in the US, accused of conspiring to dump waste in Alaska’s Salmon River, which crosses a wildlife refuge.

    The 28-page indictment handed down by a grand jury in the US District Court of Alaska portrays Sydney-based Bruce Butcher, the former chairman and chief executive of XS Platinum Inc, and former executive vice president Mark Balfour, of Perth, as focused on the mine’s viability rather than the environment.

    Mr Butcher and Mr Balfour, along with two US and one Canadian co-accused, allegedly concealed violations “to save costs and avoid regulatory scrutiny” while knowingly discharging “a pollutant, namely effluent from a platinum mine”, into the river.

    Prosecutors have listed 23 “overt acts” by the defendants.

    The Platinum Creek Mine, a no-discharge facility, was located on the Salmon River, an anadromous fish stream crossing the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge before entering the Pacific Ocean at Kuskokwim Bay.

    The waterway is important for the spawning of all five species of Pacific salmon — chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye.

    Emails allegedly written by or sent to Mr Butcher, Mr Balfour and other company employees were obtained by prosecutors.

    “I would prefer we not be engaging the regulators at this stage on our so-called ‘zero-discharge’ plant as all that will do is immediately raise expectations to the point that that will become today’s standard,” Mr Butcher allegedly wrote to Mr Balfour and two other executives.

    Despite knowing “for some time about the turbidity and porosity matters that we need to address”, Mr Butcher wrote the company was “not in a position” to install a water clarifier at the mine, prosecutors allege.

    A clarifier cleans and recycles process water and prevents discharges.

    Authorities closed in on August 10, 2011 when a US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist flew over the mine and Salmon River and allegedly observed turbid water all the way to Kuskokwim Bay.

    XS Platinum’s former general manager Robert Pate, of the US, former chief operating officer James Slade, of Canada, and former plant operator James Staeheli, of the US, are also charged in the indictment.

    The five defendants face counts of conspiracy, Clean Water Act permit violations, submitting a Clean Water Act false report and making a false statement.

    The alleged overt acts include:

    * On September 8, 2011, less than a week after receiving a violation notice, Mr Slade wrote a memo to Mr Butcher and Mr Balfour stating the mine would “continue to produce 24/7 until the wheels fall off” and the “major focus is to produce enough concentrate to exceed the contract this season”.

    * The company failed to alert authorities when an employee emailed the mine’s environmental manager declaring turbidity numbers in the river “went through the roof”.

    * Authorities were not alerted when an employee emailed executives stating turbidity levels at a fishing hole downstream had exceeded legal limits and “the issue should be addressed before things get too out of hand”.

    XS Platinum was incorporated in Delaware in 2007 and was a wholly-owned subsidiary of an offshore limited corporation registered in Jersey, Channel Islands.

    The Alaskan mine operated from 2008 to 2012.

    The parent corporation was capitalised at $US34 million by more than 100 international investors, primarily from Australia and Europe, but dissolved in September 2013.



      THE TAX HAVEN.........

      "XS Platinum was incorporated in Delaware in 2007 and was a wholly-owned subsidiary of an offshore limited corporation registered in JERSEY, Channel Islands."

      TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN.........

      "The Alaskan mine OPERATED FROM 2008 to 2012.

      The parent corporation was capitalised at $US34 million by more than 100 international investors, primarily from Australia and Europe, but DISSOLVED IN SEPTEMBER 2013."

  101. Broome struggling to cope with homelessness, drunken behaviour

    .................A lack of affordable short-term accommodation, combined with Aboriginal people moving in from remote communities, has led to people camping on bush blocks and parks in town.


    Broome loses hostel to Derby

    In 2010, the State Government did commit the funds for a short-stay hostel in Broome, where people could pay $20 for a safe place to sleep.

    But the project was shifted to Derby, two hours drive away, because the Broome Shire and the Government could not agree on a location.

    Mr Campbell is still angry about the way the project was handled, and said an organised campsite for homeless people was the top priority.

    "[A place where] welfare agencies can make contact and offer services, where police have the opportunity to move people onto," he said.

    "It's not going to be... the saviour, but at least people will have some basic form of accommodation."

    Centacare runs a return-to-country program supporting Kimberley people to return to their community of origin by arranging bus and plane tickets.

    But in a recent survey, Centacare found almost a third of rough sleepers did not want to return to the bush.

    With the State Government considering shutting dozens of remote communities, Broome shire president Graeme Campbell said the problem was likely to get worse.

    "They'll end up in the streets of Broome, or Halls Creek or Fitzroy ... and what will the Government do about that?" he said.

    "Do nothing and you've got the real risk of people being killed."

    Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier and Housing Minister Bill Marmion declined to be interviewed.

    However, the State Government has called an urgent meeting with indigenous leaders, Commonwealth agencies and the Shire of Broome on Monday.

    In a statement, Mr Marmion said while there was no funding allocated for a hostel facility in Broome, his department was open to discussions with the Shire of Broome.

    He said the department did not support the construction of camping facilities for homeless people.


    1. WA suicides: Touch of hope as state mourns lost children

      AT either end of Western Australia, two indigenous families buried their teenage sons yesterday.

      In the Kimberley town of Kununurra, the Gerrard and Webster clans said goodbye to O., 15, a talented hunter who took his life in his bedroom after returning from school early and apparently showing no signs of distress.

      At the same time in Wagin Town Hall, in the wheatbelt, the Williams family and friends bid farewell to S., 14. His teammates at the Brookton-Pingelly Panthers footy club conducted a guard of honour for the fit, slight boy they described as “a fine young player and member of our club, taken away too soon”.

      As the funerals took place, an investigation by The Weekend Australian revealed Western Australia was again a suicide hotspot, with at least 12 young Aborigines having committed suicide in the state this year, twice the number shown in state government data.

      This month, after the suicide of 11-year-old Yamatji boy P. Little on October 18, the West Australian government released figures that claimed to show a downturn in the number of young Aborigines taking their lives: six in the state this year compared with a high of 18 in 2011. The Barnett government’s figures, said to be current to the end of September, understate the scale of the crisis. The Weekend Australian has evidence of nine suicides in the state by Aborigines under 25 since the start of September, including 18-year-old Bunuba woman P.Powdrill. Five were kids.

  102. Abbott's problems go deeper than Bolt realises

    By Tim Dunlop

    ...............Andrew Bolt is worried. The Abbott Government has, he says, "a serious problem". They are lagging in the polls and unless they do something drastic, they are going to stay that way.


    Bolt makes a long list of the things that are undermining the Government:
    •They are doing OK on foreign policy, but voters don't care about that
    •Their broken promises continue to "kill" them
    •The budget is in "blowout" and the economy is struggling, and that undermines their "entire argument for being"
    •They are suffering an "onslaught" from the media which makes it impossible for them to sell their agenda
    •They have a lousy media strategy which is "too often defensive and reactive"
    •Tony Abbott is just too nice, which means "The Government is getting killed in bare-knuckle politics"
    •Joe Hockey is a dud "who can't dominate the agenda"
    •They lack an effective head kicker, and so look weak
    •Scott Morrison (who Bolt, like many on the right, sees as heroic) is underutilised
    •Julie Bishop is great, but again, no-one cares about foreign affairs
    •Malcolm Turnbull's ability to coddle "the Left-wing media" is being wasted
    •They have no "inspiring cause" they can evangelise about
    •They don't have enough spruikers outside government, including within business circles, who will help them push their plans
    •They lack "inspiring reforms" that will "energise [their] base"
    •They need to dump fights they can't win like Medicare co-payment and the parental leave scheme
    •They are ignoring new talent, especially women, within the parliamentary party
    •They have no senior Victorian ministers, as they have had in the past
    •They keep getting caught out in interviews on the ABC. Ministers "sit there passively while the interviewer asks the gotcha questions"

    The first thing that strikes you is how much of this could have been applied to the last three Labor governments (Rudd, Gillard, Rudd).

    In particular, the idea that the Government lacks an inspiring "big picture" message; that they face a hostile media and have no coherent media strategy; that their Treasurer can't dominate the agenda; that they lack spruikers outside government; that they are lumbered with unpopular policies; and that broken promises are killing them - all of this sounds eerily familiar.


    So what happens when political authority evaporates in this way?

    The void is filled with tales of budget emergencies, a rhetoric of entitlement and of leaners and lifters to justify cuts, a scapegoating of the truly vulnerable such as asylum seekers and the unemployed, and the whipping up of national security concerns: anything that can make it look like the government still has some relevance.

    But people see through it, which is why the polls are as they are.

    Bolt's "solutions" to the Abbott Government malaise, then, are just about pointless because he misses this bigger picture. He says the government must execute a reshuffle and then: "Get sharp. Get tough. Get assertive. Get confident. Offer inspiration. And fight."

    But these all presume that governments, or parties more generally, have some underlying authority, some power to really make a difference in people's lives. Increasingly, though, that power and authority is absent - dissipated into the gossamer connections of a globalised world - and without it, no amount of sharpness, toughness, assertiveness, confidence, inspiration or fight is going to make any difference, especially in the long-term.

    Bolt is right. The Abbott Government is in big trouble. But the nature of the problem goes way deeper than anything a reshuffle and a better media strategy is able to address.

    Tim Dunlop is the author of The New Front Page: New Media and the Rise of the Audience. He writes regularly for a number of publications



    Putting partisanship ahead of patriotism

    By Michael Cooney

    The backlash against US president Barack Obama shows that Australian conservatives were never friends with America as a whole - they were just mates with the American right, writes Michael Cooney.

    How can Julie Bishop expect to make real progress in stopping the spread of terrorism while she undermines our alliance with the United States?

    Her speech to the United Nations this week was a strong one - and a strong reminder of how valuable to Australia's national interest a two-year place on the Security Council is proving. Yet within hours, the Foreign Minister was on national television saying she "understands" conservative fury at the American president.

    What is going on?

    Since President Obama left Australia, the Australian right's attack on our ally has been astonishing. The Treasurer boasts of having ignored the president's speech at the University of Queensland and mocks his troubles with an oppositionist senate. (These remarks, as well as failing to understand how important American executive power can be, seemed smarter before the Abbott Government's own Senate fiasco over FOFA laws.) The Foreign Minister complains that the president doesn't know enough about what the Government is doing to conserve the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland Government whinges that it bent over backwards to help arrange the UQ address and this is the thanks it gets. Queensland state MPs are even considering sending a written complaint to the White House. (The Tsar has been warned!)

    It's not only politicians; conservative commentators have also piled in.

    Peter van Onselen reports that the Prime Minister was "privately seething" about Obama's speech - although not completely privately, if PVO has the yarn. Paul Kelly was so disoriented by the whole event that he briefly demanded Bill Shorten act on climate change - "What the hell is Australia doing?" he hounded an understandably perplexed Opposition Leader on Sunday morning TV. (Meanwhile, Greg Sheridan's contribution on the topic quite defies paraphrasing.)

    These are the people who roar treason at any sign of progressive dissent on foreign policy, yet are now utterly exposed - a conga line of hypocrites.

    When was the last time an Australian government and an American administration had a relationship this bad?


    The reality of climate change policy is that the policies of Australia and the US have never been so far apart in an international forum as they were in Brisbane this month.

    Not ever.

    In turn, the reality is that six decades of conservative mythology about their support for the Australia-US alliance is just that.


    It turns out Australian conservatives never were friends with America as a whole - they were just mates with the American right.

    With a liberal Democratic president in the White House, they are putting partisanship ahead of patriotism - and this doesn't just threaten the Great Barrier Reef, it weakens the fight against terrorism as well.

    And worst of all, it's not a problem which will expire with the end of President Obama's second term. Imagine what the next President Clinton will say when she visits.

    Michael Cooney is executive director of the Chifley Research Centre, the ALP's think tank. He was speechwriter to prime minister Julia Gillard

  104. And it seems there is a connection between Australia refusing to send more troops and the "Climate Change Speech".


    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chides Barack Obama over Great Barrier Reef climate change remarks

    .....................In a speech at University of Queensland, Mr Obama had said that: "Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands ... The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened."

    Ms Bishop told 7.30: "We are demonstrating world's best practice in working with the World Heritage Committee to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef is preserved for generations to come.

    "I think that President Obama might have overlooked that aspect of our commitment to conserving the Great Barrier Reef."

    Extra troops to fight Islamic State ruled out

    It is highly unusual for an Australian foreign minister to openly criticise a US president.

    Ms Bishop also said Australia currently had no intention of committing extra forces or resources to the mission against Islamic State, even though the White House had discussed it with the Abbott Government.

    "We have already given our commitment, and this was at the invitation of and with the consent of the Iraqi government," Ms Bishop said.

    "I think that President Obama was directing his request to the other coalition countries that might not have provided resources within Iraq or within Syria."

    This appeared to contradict Mr Obama's statement on November 10 at the APEC conference in Beijing, where he said: "I am having conversations with Australia and other coalition partners that are already committed to putting trainers in to see how they can supplement and work with us in this overall effort."

    Ms Bishop also made comments that appeared to rule out further Australian involvement, for the time being.

    "We haven't been asked to supplement our resources by the Iraqi government and I do point out that we are in Baghdad at the invitation of and with the consent of the Iraqi government."

    Asked if this was a diplomatic snub directed at Mr Obama in response to the climate change remarks in Brisbane, the Foreign Minister said she was "surprised" such a link would be made and that there was no connection between the two issues.


    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned the Great Barrier Reef could be at risk if more is not done to reduce carbon emissions.

    The Federal and Queensland governments released the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan in September, but the 35-year plan stopped short of banning the dumping of dredge spoil into the marine park.

    Environmental groups wanted a complete ban on dumping dredge spoil in reef waters.

    The UN's World Heritage Committee has deferred a decision on whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as "in danger" until next year.

  105. ASX


    Australia: Apache spuds Commodore-1 farm-in well on Buru Energy's EP 390 permit

    21 Nov 2014

    Buru Energy has advised that drilling operations on the Commodore 1 well commenced November 21 2014. Commodore 1 is the first well to be drilled as part of the Apache Corp farm out announced in November 2013. The cost of the well will be fully funded by Apache under the terms of the farmout which includes a commitment by Apache to fund a $25 million exploration program on EP 390, 438, 471 and 473. The Commodore 1 well is located in exploration permit EP 390 and completion of the well will satisfy the Year 4 work commitment on that permit.

    Buru Energy and Mitsubishi Corp both have a 25% equity interest in the well and in EP 390 with Apache having the remaining 50% equity interest. The well is located some 140 kms to the south of Broome and some 100 kms inland from the Great Northern Highway. The well has a maximum programmed total depth of 1,550 metres and is expected to take some 35 days to drill. The Commodore 1 well primary objective is conventional oil reservoirs in the Grant Formation with secondary objectives in the underlying Nita carbonates. Click here for a prospect review for the well.

    Buru Energy’s Executive Chairman, Eric Streitberg, commented on the commencement of drilling operations:

    'We are delighted to be once more drilling exploration wells, and particularly the Commodore 1 well which is a test of a highly prospective play type using a rig which should substantially reduce our exploration costs. This is the first well in the Coastal Permits farmout funded by Apache and provides a pathway to cost effective exploration drilling in both the Coastal permits and the wider Canning Basin.'

  106. THE BUDGET EMERGENCY ROLLS ON...............


    Arms dealers are setting up shop in Australia. There's still time to reject these merchants of death

    Northrop Grumman, a leading US defence contracting firm, will launch a major Australian expansion next month. We’re a bigger market for arms than you might think

    It’s a good time to be in the weapons business. Three of the leading US defence contractors, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, are all making unprecedented profits.

    In December, Northrop will host an event at the Australian War Memorial to mark the company’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. It will be launched by Federal defence minister David Johnson. It’s a curious location because, as Crikey’s tipster drily noted, “without the endeavours of arms companies stretching back centuries, there’d be significantly fewer Australians for the War Memorial to commemorate”.

    Northrop’s US-based corporate HQ decided in the last 18 months to open a major office in Australia. In March the company purchased Qantas Defence Services, a firm that provides engine and aircraft maintenance to the Australian Defence Force and global militaries. It was an $80m deal. In September 2013, Northrop bought M5 Network Security, a Canberra-based cyber-security outfit.

    Northrop appointed Ian Irving as CEO of the Australian outfit in June, as part of a plan to capitalise on the “strategically important market” of the Asia Pacific. The centrepiece of that plan is to give smaller enterprises in the defence space access to Northrop’s global supply chain. That’s nothing to be sneezed at: they’re a vital defence contractor for the US military and the company’s weapons have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

    Irving explained to Australian Defence Business Review in July that he was pleased to sell the Australian government the firm’s MQ-4C Triton surveillance drones. The machines will be used to monitor the nation’s borders and protect “energy resources” off northern Australia. Northrop Grumman Australia is set to make up to $3bn from selling the drones. Countless European nations are equally desperate to use drones to beat back asylum seekers.

    Despite all this, a Northrop spokesman assured me that the company’s growing presence in Australia has no connection to the Abbott government’s increase in defence spending.


    Defence contractors rarely stop with the profits from war and colonisation. In Britain, Lockheed Martin is now reportedly bidding for a massive National Health Service contract worth $2bn. In the US, Northrop was a presenting sponsor at a recent Washington DC event for honouring war veterans.

    It’s rare to read about arms trading in the Australian press; even the country’s largest privately owned small arms supplier, Nioa, rarely registers beyond the business pages. Our politicians are also loathe to speak out, and are happy to have factories and bases in their electorates, and donations for their parties.


    Australia, the 13th largest spender on arms globally, has a choice. We can keep embracing these merchants of death, and the botched deals and waste that they bring. Or we can reject the the rise of Northrop and its associates, and refuse to participate in an investment culture that continues a cycle of violence both at home and abroad.

  107. Australia one of only four nations forecast to miss 2020 emissions target

    A UN report says Australia and just three other nations will not meet their pledge to reduce emissions by 2020

    Australia is one of just four nations not on track to meet emissions reduction promises, a UN report has warned, while a US-based research firm has poured scorn on Tony Abbott’s insistence that coal is “good for humanity.”

    A report by the UN Environment Programme states that the world should aim to be “carbon neutral” by 2070 at the latest. Exceeding a budget of just 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide would risk “severe, pervasive and in some cases irreversible climate change impacts”.

    In an analysis of each signatory to a UN goal to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, the report found that just four nations – Australia, Canada, Mexico and the US – needed to do more to meet their respective emissions reduction targets by 2020.

    The UNEP analysis finds that Australia is set to emit 710 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020. This is well above the 555 million tonnes it would emit if it were to meet a goal of a 5% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, based on 2000 levels.

    The report notes that Australia’s Coalition government has “replaced carbon-pricing mechanism with Emissions Reduction Fund. This results in an increase in projected emissions for 2020.”

    After scrapping carbon pricing in July, emissions have risen in Australia, reversing a previous downward trend.

    The replacement Direct Action policy, which the government claims will be more effective and a lesser burden on cost of living pressures, will start voluntary payments to businesses to reduce emissions from the first quarter next year. Independent analysis has cast doubt on whether Direct Action will meet the 5% emissions reduction goal.

    The UNEP said countries could slash emissions through renewable energy and energy efficiency while maintaining economic growth.


  108. Empty homes in Nhulunbuy reserved for business despite housing crisis

    Accommodation left by Arnhem Land’s departing workers goes to development corporation despite 12-year wait for housing

    Houses and apartments left empty by departing resource workers have been earmarked for a government development corporation to support businesses, despite long waits for public housing in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory.

    There is a 12-year wait for one-bedroom public housing in the remote town, which sits on land excised for Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine on the Gove peninsula in north-east Arnhem Land. It’s the longest wait in the Northern Territory.


    Lynne Walker, the Labor member for Nhulunbuy, said now was a “perfect opportunity to alleviate a chronic housing shortage and it’s not even on the drawing board”.

    She said while access to these houses for businesses owners and employees – who have also been hit by the housing shortage – was positive, she found it hard to believe that all 250 houses would be taken up, since there was no big business ready to move into Nhulunbuy and fill the void left by Rio Tinto.

    “It beggars belief that the government – with its responsibilities to provide public and social housing – is not trying to leverage through Rio to take the standard 15% into government housing stock and make them available,” she told Guardian Australia.

    Empty houses are “dotted all around town,” she added. “It’s so sad to see them. Brown lawns, palm fronds that are falling down, and then come the first round of rain … everything will green up but then we’ll have overgrown lawns and places looking derelict.”

    Walker said there had to be a balance between accessibility for businesses and for public and social housing.

    “We have people who are desperate for housing,” she said. “I’ve been dealing with a 35-year-old woman, mother of three kids with a husband, dealing with a heart condition. She’s on the priority list [for housing] … It’s doing her health no good whatsoever. She and her family are living under a veranda at a relative’s house in Yirrkala.”

    In nearby Yirrkala the NT government said 12 new and 55 renovated houses had been completed under a capital works program since 2013, with four slated for completion by the end of this year.

    “Even that program hasn’t resolved the overcrowding issue,” Walker said. “It’s made for healthier homes and it has had some impact on overcrowding but there is still a long way to go.

    “There are people who would prefer to remain in Yirrkala and not go to Nhulunbuy. Nhulunbuy has liquor outlets and other things people would not be comfortable with … but there are some families who would genuinely be happy to move if it meant they had a house they could manage, that they were comfortable in.”

  109. Doesn't sound like much so far..................share price is down slightly today.



    Comments from Hot Copper :

    "As you say old news. I not even sure why the announcement was released.

    We already knew the rocks are not as good as at ungani


    "Could be to let people know the price action isn't related to a bad UN result like some were speculating.. I'm sure they're probably getting a lot of calls about it.. probably telling people to chill out and be patient. "


    "Pheeeew! I already factored in nil flow from UNorth"


    That's incorrect WN. They ran 9" csg to 2543 & then ran 7" casing till TD back in 2011 & the reservoir was sealed off from the drill mud etc.

    The Upper Dolomite is tight, so they r banking on vugs/natural fractures (secondary poro, ie) for oil to flow easily. The other issue is sub-surf pressure, not enough to lift the oil up easily, hence using N2 or diesel to create an underbalanced cushion to lft oil to surface after the necessarily acidwash & swabbing r done. Put a ESP & a donkey & u'll get 400-800 bopd's. Typical onshore field, cheap to run with more pain & less gain. "


    Ungani North 1 Well Test Update

    Buru Energy Limited (Buru Energy) provides the following update on the results of the
    Ungani North 1 well test.

    Further to the running of the completion string in the well with DDH1 Rig 31, some 30 metres of Ungani Dolomite section over the interpreted oil column of approximately 46 metres has been perforated for production testing. The perforation was carried out with the well underbalanced with a nitrogen cushion.

    The current operation is continuing with the nitrogen lift process to establish inflow rates and fluid composition.
    It is anticipated it will be several more days before definitive results are obtained and an update will be provided once these are to hand.

    The Ungani North 1 well is located some six kilometres north of the Ungani Production Facility. Buru Energy and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) each have a 50% interest in this well and in EP391, with MC and Buru Energy each contributing 50% of the cost of the test.

    Ungani North 1 was the first well drilled to follow up the Ungani oil discovery, and encountered what is interpreted to be an oil column of approximately 46 metres at the top of a much thicker dolomite reservoir section than is present at Ungani. The reservoir in Ungani North 1 is interpreted to have less well developed vugular porosity than in the reservoir in Ungani 1 and 2, and has some similarities to that encountered in Ungani 3 which recovered oil when it was swabbed on production test.



    18-7-14 :

    "Buru Energy (BRU) appears to have recovered from the shock of the unexpectedly disappointing results of its Ungani-3 exploration-appraisal well, and has announced its plans for the next 12 month, which include up to four Canning Basin oil exploration wells, but the delayed delayed fracking of its tight gas fields until 2015, an announcement that has caused its shares to slump to new lows.

    The company has undergone a shake-up of late with managing director Dr Keiran Wulff stepping down after just 18 months and the return of company founder and major shareholder Eric Streitberg in an executive role after just six months on the bench.

    Streitberg has announced that Buru hopes to drill four low-cost but high impact exploration wells for the remainder of 2013 in addition to the testing of the Ungani-3, Ungani North-1 and Paradise-1 wells, while the much anticipated fracking of the Laurel right gas formation will now happen early in the 2015 dry season.

    The exploration program includes twoApache Energy farm-in wells in the Coastal JV permits, Olympus- and Commodore-1."

    1. News Wrap

      Monday, 24 November 2014

      IN News Wrap:

      OPEC production cut a 50:50 possibility: analyst survey;

      Gina Rinehart backs Shell’s views on Aussie activism;

      *****19 US shale regions no longer profitable; *****

      and Russia won’t cut oil output.


      Another day, another LNG problem child

      Monday, 24 November 2014

      ICHTHYS is an Australian LNG project with a number of unique features which set it apart from other Australian LNG developments, but as Slugcatcher considered recent events at the venture he was dismayed to see that it also shares a number of common features.


      No easy 'plan B' for Iran if nuclear talks with major powers collapse

      .......................China is the biggest buyer of Iranian oil and one of the few countries to continue absorbing large volumes of Iranian exports without any big decrease since U.S. and EU sanctions were tightened in the past three years. Russia has sold Iran weapons, built a nuclear power station and could provide technology.

      Both countries can provide diplomatic cover at the U.N. Security Council, where they wield vetoes that can help prevent sanctions from be widened.

      Still, the help has serious limits: China has demanded steep discounts for buying Iranian oil, and is likely to pay even less now that its own demand for oil is softening and the global price is tumbling. Russia has no use for Iranian oil and is suffering its own sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.


      Another Iranian official said there are factions within Iran that are skeptical about deals with the West and prefer alignments with powers like Russia and China which have condemned unilateral U.S. and EU sanctions.


      Falling inflation a worry for Europe but also the world

      .........................A spectacular drop in crude oil prices over the past month will be the center of discussion when ministers from the world's top oil exporters meets in Vienna on Friday.

      The key question there is whether Saudi Arabia, which signaled last month it was comfortable with lower oil prices, accelerating a plunge in the price of crude to a third since June, will stick to that view.

      But rapidly-increasing U.S. oil production, coinciding with shaky demand from China and Europe, is likely to keep a lid on the price no matter what the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decides.

      The latest Reuters poll suggests euro zone inflation relapsed to 0.3 percent in November, far from the ECB target of just below 2 percent.

      "It is essential to bring back inflation to target and without delay," Draghi said on Friday.



      Despite years of zero interest rates across mature economies and trillions of dollars worth of emergency stimulus from central banks, alarm bells are ringing worldwide.

      Japan's experiment in raising sales taxes to try to revive inflation spawned news of yet another recession.

      The People's Bank of China, which is dealing with a falling property market and an inflation rate that has tumbled to just 1.6 percent, unexpectedly cut its main interest rates for the first time in more than two years on Friday.

      The ECB, with rates as low they can go, has been doing everything in its power short of printing money - an option staunchly opposed by Germany.

      Yet private credit figures this week may once again fail to show any real impact from the cheap long-term loans the ECB has offered banks to lend on to businesses ECONEZ.

      Bank credit to the private sector has been contracting for more than two years and the few economists who gave a forecast expect another roughly 1 percent fall compared with a year ago.


  110. 9:56am: US imports of crude oil from Opec nations is at its lowest level in almost 30 years, underlining the impact of the shale revolution on global trade flows.

    The lower dependence on imports from the cartel, which pumps a third of the world’s crude, comes amid advances in hydraulic fracturing that has propelled domestic US production to about 9m barrels a day – the highest level since the mid-1980s.


    The impact of the shale boom on Opec members has varied, with African countries such as Algeria and Libya being hit the hardest while Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have remained fairly strong. “It has been Africa that has been severely squeezed,” said Paul Horsnell, an analyst at Standard Chartered.

    Read more at the FT.


    Fall in Australian mining investment to be biggest on record, says economic forecaster

    By Nikki Roberts

    24 - 11 - 14

    Economic forecaster BIS Shrapnel expects a fall in Australian mining investment to be the biggest on record.

    BIS Shrapnel has released the findings of its Mining in Australia 2014-2029 report which points to a 40 per cent collapse in investment in the sector over four years.

    "Already we're seeing a substantial slump take place in iron ore and coal investment around the country but now with the LNG investment boom about to end we're about to see the biggest slump ever in mining investment," spokesman Adrian Hart said.

    He said the current slump had barely begun.

    "If anything we see investment continuing to fall right through to about 2017 before stabilising," he said.


    China ‘triple bubble’ points to long slide for commodities

    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The “commodity super cycle” is dead. Now, it’s time to get used to the “commodity super down cycle, and China is the biggest reason why, warn strategists at Credit Suisse in a Thursday note.

    Commodity demand tends to be very cyclical. Commodities, however, have been underperforming cyclical indicators of growth, including industrial production and new manufacturing orders (as measured by Institute for Supply Management survey data), they say. Much of the blame is on China, the strategists argue, noting that the country remains the “most significant source” of demand for most industrial commodities (see chart below).


    Moreover, they see China on track for a “hard landing” at some point in the next three years.

    The report adds to some of the recent gloom around China, where the fate of the economy remains a topic for debate. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Wednesday said its negative outlook for Chinese property developers is casting a pall on the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, though it sees prospects for the sentiment to recover next year thanks to looser government policies, particularly on mortgages.

    The Credit Suisse strategists, meanwhile, see a “triple bubble” in credit, real estate and investment.

    On credit, they highlight a private-sector to GDP ratio that is 30 percentage points above trend.

    China’s investment share of GDP is 48%, much higher than Japan or Korea at similar stages of industrialization, Credit Suisse says.

    Real estate, meanwhile, is in a “classic bubble.” Prices have dropped six months in a row. A drop of another 20% or more will make for a “hard landing,” they write.


    Nasa animation shows stunning year in the life of carbon emissions

    Scientists show in some of the finest detail just how CO2 moves throughout the atmosphere over a year, reports ClimateCentral

    This is what your atmosphere looks like in carbon dioxide (CO2). And it’s not a pretty sight. Nasa provides a stark and stunning view of a year in the life of our planet as humans continue to emit greenhouse gases that warm the planet. The animation comes courtesy of one of the highest-resolution computer models in existence.

    Since the industrial revolution, CO2 has been rising in the atmosphere due to human activities. Seasonal cycles mean that CO2 rises progressively throughout autumn and winter before peaking in late spring. At that point, a flurry of plant growth in the northern hemisphere — where most land is located — draws CO2 levels down over the summer before the cycle begins again.

    That process is made clear in the saw-toothed Keeling Curve, which shows ever rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This past spring, it topped 400 parts per million for three months, a symbolic milestone.


    Climate Change Threatens to Strip the Identity of Glacier National Park

    GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?

    A century ago, this sweep of mountains on the Canadian border boasted some 150 ice sheets, many of them scores of feet thick, plastered across summits and tucked into rocky fissures high above parabolic valleys. Today, perhaps 25 survive.

    In 30 years, there may be none.

    A warming climate is melting Glacier’s glaciers, an icy retreat that promises to change not just tourists’ vistas, but also the mountains and everything around them.


    World bank to focus future investment on clean energy

    World Bank will only fund coal projects in cases of ‘extreme need’ due to the risk climate change poses to ending world poverty, says Jim Yong Kim

    The World Bank will invest heavily in clean energy and only fund coal projects in “circumstances of extreme need” because climate change will undermine efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, says its president Jim Yong Kim.

    Talking ahead of a UN climate summit in Peru next month, Kim said he was alarmed by World Bank-commissioned research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, which said that as a result of past greenhouse gas emissions the world is condemned to unprecedented weather events.

    “The findings are alarming. As the planet warms further, heatwaves and other weather extremes, which today we call once­-in­-a-century events, would become the new climate normal, a frightening world of increased risk and instability. The consequences for development would be severe, as crop yields decline, water resources shift, communicable diseases move into new geographical ranges, and sea levels rise,” he said.



    Andrew Robb: Obama misinformed in 'unnecessary' Great Barrier Reef speech

    ‘I don’t think others should be coming and lecturing us on climate change,’ trade minister says of US president’s comments


    1. Great Barrier Reef threatened by Queensland plan to let miners take billions of litres of groundwater, says Marine Park Authority

      Queensland is set to enact water legislation that the body responsible for protecting the Great Barrier Reef has warned will pose environmental risks to the reef and coastal waterways.

      A package of measures, expected to be voted through this week, will deregulate the use of local water by resources companies, including coal miners, expanding on a model already enjoyed by coal seam gas operators in Queensland.

      Critics say the reforms will allow mining companies to take billions of litres of water without the need for a licence and could have an impact on water supplies to regional towns.

      The proposals have drawn criticism from the state's local government association, landholders and scientists.

      Even the state's coal industry described the legislation as rushed and said there had been insufficient consultation.

      But the ruling LNP's huge majority in Queensland means the reforms are almost certain to become law, just a week after they were considered by a parliamentary committee.


      Tom Crothers, head of the Queensland Government's Water Allocation and Planning group until 2011, said the bill would benefit companies proposing to mine coal in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland.

      "The four mines that have been approved already will take potentially up to 1,770 gigalitres of water, that is over three-and-a-half Sydney Harbours, during their life," the former bureaucrat said.

      "These are all bits of legislation aiding the big end of town – the mining industry. And what happens is the little guy suffers, the landholders suffers."

      Mr Crothers said the bill would affect the Great Artesian Basin.

      "The minister is proposing to grant more water to miners up on the Cape out of the Great Artesian Basin, to grant more water to Toowoomba. But he's also proposing to do a Cooper Basin plan which will potentially take more water out of the Great Artesian Basin as well."

      Water can be a valuable resource at coal mines, where even contaminated water can be used to wash coal.

      By contrast, the coal seam gas industry is struggling to find a workable business model to deal with the saline water found underground alongside the gas.

      Landholders complain that they are suffering because the water table is falling and some of the best quality bores have been irreparably depleted.


      ...........landholder and hydrologist Max Winders, who shares his 1,400 hectare feedlot near Dalby with coal seam gas wells, said the existing make-good provisions favoured the gas companies and were not enforced properly.

      "We don't get a look-in at all. In fact the current system is [that] all these companies pay $5,000 a megalitre on pulling the salt out of the water and then passing on the recovered water to new irrigation farms, for which they can generate very little," he said.

      The whole reform process was short-sighted, Mr Winders said.

      "Extractive industry is 20 or 30 years at the most and you've left a landscape where all that underground water is gone forever and there's very little recharge. It's not a very far-reaching policy, and certainly not the one this Government was elected on."

  112. Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels

    By DIANE CARDWELL NOV. 23, 2014

    For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

    That day appears to be dawning.

    The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

    Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight are abundant.

    Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire, but recent analyses show that even without those subsidies, alternative energies can often compete with traditional sources.

    In Texas, Austin Energy signed a deal this spring for 20 years of output from a solar farm at less than 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. In September, the Grand River Dam Authority in Oklahoma announced its approval of a new agreement to buy power from a new wind farm expected to be completed next year. Grand River estimated the deal would save its customers roughly $50 million from the project.

    And, also in Oklahoma, American Electric Power ended up tripling the amount of wind power it had originally sought after seeing how low the bids came in last year.

    “Wind was on sale — it was a Blue Light Special,” said Jay Godfrey, managing director of renewable energy for the company. He noted that Oklahoma, unlike many states, did not require utilities to buy power from renewable sources.

    “We were doing it because it made sense for our ratepayers,” he said.

    According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low as 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents. In comparison, natural gas comes at 6.1 cents a kilowatt-hour on the low end and coal at 6.6 cents. Without subsidies, the firm’s analysis shows, solar costs about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour at the low end, with wind at 3.7 cents.

    “It is really quite notable, when compared to where we were just five years ago, to see the decline in the cost of these technologies,” said Jonathan Mir, a managing director at Lazard, which has been comparing the economics of power generation technologies since 2008.


    The Downside of the Boom


    North Dakota took on the oversight of a multibillion-dollar oil industry with a regulatory system built on trust, warnings and second chances.

    With spills steadily rising in North Dakota, evidence gathered by The Times suggests that the cooperative approach is not working that well for the state, where the Industrial Commission shares industry oversight with the state’s Health Department and federal agencies.

    One environmental incident for every 11 wells in 2006, for instance, became one for every six last year, The Times found.

    Through early October of this year, companies reported 3.8 million gallons spilled, nearly as much as in 2011 and 2012 combined.

    Over all, more than 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemicals spilled, leaked or misted into the air, soil and waters of North Dakota from 2006 through early October 2014. (In addition, the oil industry reported spilling 5.2 million gallons of nontoxic substances, mostly fresh water, which can alter the environment and carry contaminants.)




    Graft Hobbles Iraq’s Military in Fighting ISIS


    ....................The Iraqi military and police forces had been so thoroughly pillaged by their own corrupt leadership that they all but collapsed this spring in the face of the advancing militants of the Islamic State — despite roughly $25 billion worth of American training and equipment over the past 10 years and far more from the Iraqi treasury.

    Now the pattern of corruption and patronage in the Iraqi government forces threatens to undermine a new American-led effort to drive out the extremists, even as President Obama is doubling to 3,000 the number of American troops in Iraq.


    The United States has insisted that the Iraqi military act as the conduit for any new aid and armaments being supplied for a counteroffensive, including money and weapons intended for tribal fighters willing to push out the Islamic State. In its 2015 budget, the Pentagon has requested $1.3 billion to provide weapons for the government forces and $24.1 million intended for the tribes.

    But some of the weaponry recently supplied by the army has already ended up on the black market and in the hands of Islamic State fighters, according to Iraqi officers and lawmakers. American officials directed questions to the Iraqi government.

    “I told the Americans, don’t give any weapons through the army — not even one piece — because corruption is everywhere, and you will not see any of it,” said Col. Shaaban al-Obeidi of the internal security forces, also a Sunni tribal leader in Anbar Province. “Our people will steal it.”

    Iraqi officers and lawmakers, some speaking on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized, say that army and police payrolls are still wildly inflated by “ghost soldiers,” either conjured entirely by a superior officer or just splitting a paycheck with a patron instead of showing up for work.

    And Iraqi soldiers often charge that they have been furnished with partial supplies and cheaply made weapons because their commanders took kickbacks or skimmed off the savings.

    “If each soldier is supposed to get 100 bullets, he will only get 50, and the officer will take and sell the rest,” Colonel Obeidi said. As he showed a reporter the Austrian-made Glock handgun he obtained from United States forces years ago, he added, “If the Iraqi Army had supplied this, the barrel would explode in two rounds.”

    As the United States invests in battling the Islamic State, the waste and graft within the Iraqi forces may play a critical role in the outcome, according to current Iraqi officials and American officers with experience here.


    American officials say working with the tribes, and military corruption, is beyond the scope of their mission. “Reducing corruption is not part of the advisers’ role,” said one American official involved in the effort, “and there is no reason to believe that advisers’ presence will reduce corruption.”

    . the United States began reducing its numbers of troops in Iraq in 2009, Mr. Maliki began to reach deep into the Iraqi ranks to personally direct officer appointments and to dispense political patronage.

    “As Maliki and his allies exerted greater and greater control of the Iraqi armed forces, they really milked it for the money that was going into it,” Mr. Rayburn said, adding that they would say, “ ‘You want a command or you want your son to go to the military academy? Well, here is how much it is going to cost.’ ”Iraqi lawmakers say connections granted impunity.

    “If you want to punish an officer for what he stole, you find he has political protection within the government and you can’t do anything to get him,” said Mr. Tau’ma, of the Parliament’s defense committee. “It has a demoralizing effect when the soldier who takes all the risk against the Islamic State — and sometimes doesn’t get enough support for months — sees his commander taking all the money.”


  114. Indigenous grants extension a debacle, Greens say

    ...................The Abbott government is deferring assessment of organisations seeking funding from January 1 next year because many applications were very poor quality, and because about 75 organisations running essential services such as women’s shelters in remote community had not applied.

    But the Greens indigenous spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert said the need of the government to extend the period for funding applications for the IAS was the inevitable outcome of a flawed process. “This is quickly turning into a debacle,”

    “Community organisations and service providers have been deeply concerned by the new funding application process implemented under the indigenous Advancement Strategy. The Government cut half a billion dollars from Aboriginal expenditure, rushed the process, did not do an assessment of what worked before reducing the programs and put too much pressure on over stretched organisations to respond.

    “The combining of so cutting so many programs, the tight time frames and application process changes have put a lot of pressure on organisations, as shown by the large number of applications, the issues with the quality of some applications and the fact that other organisations have not applied.

    “On top of this, you have organisations unwilling to speak out against the government, fearing their funding would be affected.

    “Given the flaws in this process we have seen, it was inevitable that the government would be faced with the choice of extending funding or seeing vital service providers close their doors. While this extension from the government is important, a last minute reprieve is not the certainty that organisations need.

    “Planning for the future of service delivery, staffing and resources cannot take place under the cloud of uncertainty the government has created.

    “The government should go back to the drawing board over its indigenous Advancement Strategy and develop a funding process that delivers vital community driven services and supports,” Senator Siewert concluded.

    Labor says indigenous organisations now face months of anxiety and uncertainty about their future with the Abbott government’s “shambolic indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) revealed to be oversubscribed, chaotic and behind schedule”.


  115. THE ABC - ABBOTT'S "JULIAR" MOMENT............


    ABC cuts: had Abbott been honest about his true agenda, he would have been unelectable

    Van Badham

    ......................Of course, the Murdoch papers are cheering on the Coalition’s attacks: Rupert Murdoch’s media baron father Keith was complaining about the competition a national news service provided to his corporate interests as far back as the 1930s. Corporate media serve corporate interests, which are indivisible from the Abbott government’s interests under their “open for business” mindset. They’ve been happy to shed the Australia Network to create a market for a new Sky-owned “Australia channel”, because national broadcasters – like state enterprises, welfare, environmental protection, universal healthcare or accessible education – are founded in community values the Abbott government doesn’t share and is isolating, starving and weakening.

    The “budget emergency”, like so many other Coalition campaign slogans, was long ago exposed as a fairytale. The Coalition flagrantly spends on its own preferences: the useless Direct Action pay-the-polluters scheme, the derided school chaplains programme, the diesel rebate to wealthy corporations. All are of greater priority to this government than autonomous journalism and sanctioned, independent critique.

    It might be the agenda of the Coalition, but it’s certainly not that of the Australian people. Australians oppose the privatisation of services like the ABC. The Coalition’s work is not popular: as we watch the shredding of beloved programmes and the sacking of trusted journalists - let alone what’s happening in healthcare, climate policy and universities – the internecine carnage of the Gillard and Rudd years will increasingly look like a bygone golden age.


    ..................Shorten barely needs to get out of bed in the morning to provide a more cohesive alternative to the government. With a policy platform that articulates what the Australian community actually wants, he’d be unbeatable.

    Abbott lied about cuts to the ABC, SBS and everything else because he would have been unelectable had he campaigned on his true agenda. To pretend otherwise is as disingenuous as the prime minister himself. Save the ABC.


    Local ABC staff in stunned silence

    ..................One of the biggest shocks at the network was the likely loss of three sports voices - Morphett, Dan Lonergan and Peter Newlinds, as part of the paring back of the network's sports coverage.

    The ABC's coverage of the WAFL will end, along with that of the W-League, WNBL and VFL and NTFL football matches. _The West Australian _ was told the trio of ABC Grandstand broadcasters were in "consultation" about their positions but would almost certainly leave.

    Former ABC stalwart Glenn Mitchell expressed his shock at the departure of his former colleagues but was also wary to speak candidly given his wife Karen Tighe is the presenter of ABC Grandstand.

    "It is a painful day for all my ex-colleagues, whether they be staying or going," Mitchell wrote.

    "Difficult to see how ABC can continue to cover Olympic and Commonwealth Games given budget cut(s). Even some domestic radio rights may be an issue."


    Veteran newsreader Alan Knight read bulletins yesterday, his birthday, despite being told he would be leaving the network after more than 20 years.




    ABC facing regional backlash

    THE ABC faces a backlash from rural MPs angry that the broadcaster has sacrificed regional operations in favour of pursuing a digital strategy and centralised television production in Sydney and Melbourne.

    MPs vowed to make direct protests to the ABC board, and independent Nick Xenophon called for a Senate inquiry after its managing director, Mark Scott, yesterday announced up to 400 redundancies, the axing of Radio National’s popular Bush Telegraph program, cuts to Newcastle radio staff and the closure of five regional sites.

    Amid the protests from Liberal, Nationals and independent MPs, the government accused Mr Scott of using budget cuts as an excuse to implement long-held plans.

    Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “It does appear that the ABC is using this as an excuse to implement long-planned programming and structural changes which are entirely unrelated to the savings measures required by the government.’’


    Just another day of neutral, unbiased news at Aunty’s anarchist workers collective


    To save $220 a week, one country town loses its voice


    The national broadcaster’s digital rush to nowhere




  117. Fear and paranoia in Camp Abbott

    By Mungo MacCallum

    The Prime Minister's big moment on the world stage was derailed not by the US president but by the paranoid response of his own supporters, who can see that things aren't going according to plan, writes Mungo MacCallum.


    From day one Abbott's bestie, the Australian's Greg Sheridan, led what turned out to be a running series of attacks on Obama: he was gratuitous and ungracious to speak openly on a subject Abbott wanted to avoid. Not only that, the speech was not given to Abbott in advance, presumably so that our Prime Minister could be forewarned, or better still censor it. And it turned out that the US ambassador in Australia and even some of Obama's own advisers wanted it toned down.

    The culmination was an enormous feature from Sheridan last weekend, reprised as a front page news story, that Obama had shot himself in the foot: he had diverted from his own message about the American commitment in Asia. Bloody lame duck dysfunctional - a bit like Kevin Rudd, really.


    For Sheridan and others to demand that Obama should now ignore his long-held beliefs and passions in order to condone Abbott's ignorance and massage his fragile ego is an absurdity - but it has been one supported not only by The Australian's other usual suspects, but also by politicians who ought to know better.

    Queensland Premier Campbell Newman was particularly miffed: why, he had gone out of his way to host Obama's event, and look what happened. And Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sprang to the defence of the Great Barrier Reef - or rather, of the state and federal management of it. Agricultural run-off, mining and using the reef for dredging waste was no longer permitted, she boasted.

    True; but Obama was not talking about dumping and drilling or any of the other short-term vandalism perpetrated and proposed in the past. He was talking about the future of global warming and the damage it would cause to the reef through rising sea temperatures and increased concentration of carbonic acid, which will affect coral in he same way as it is already affecting the great food supplies of Antarctic krill.

    Bishop, like the republican guard of News Corp, was more concerned with protecting Abbott than advancing the argument. But at least she was trying, because the prime minister is looking particularly vulnerable.


    The last Newspoll was, for the party room, appalling. The headline figure, a 10 per cent gap after preferences, was mega-landslide territory. But wait, there was more: Labor now led on primaries, which was almost unprecedented, and the barely visible Bill Shorten was now seen as a better option as prime minister than the beleaguered incumbent.


    Alan Jones berated Abbott about Chinese takeovers, energy companies warned that gas prices might rise, and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce admitted that food might go up as well.

    In the circumstances, the news that coal and dairy exports would increase did not exactly lead to dancing in the streets.

    The Coalition parties blinked, and blinked again. The troops are not panicking - yet. But they are not happy.


    So, what is to be done? Demagoguery, obviously, and fortunately Andrew Bolt has the answer with a detailed point-by-point plan for redemption. Actually it is a bit simpler than that: a couple of slogans in fact. Bolt's advice to Abbott can be summed up as: No More Mr Nice Guy, and Keep It Simple And Stupid.

    Or perhaps, given Bolt's determination to avoid the science on climate change and bring Abbott back to the one true path: Keep It Stupid. Now there's a mantra to take to the next two years.

    Mungo Wentworth MacCallum is a political journalist and commentator



    Take your convictions to a double dissolution

    By Andrew Bartlett

    .............The decision by Senator Jacqui Lambie to quit the Palmer United Party has put even more focus on the Government's challenges in getting its legislation through the Senate.


    While the Abbott Government faces a very complex Senate equation, it still faces a Senate that is politically less hostile than that faced by many previous governments.


    There is a tendency in current times to scoff at the idea of a double dissolution election, suggesting it would be foolhardy for a government to risk losing seats or even government just to get some legislation passed.


    In the current case, it would mean the Liberal Party is more concerned about staying in power than it is about fixing what they keep asserting is a budget emergency.


    Unless Mr Abbott is willing to use the Senate deadlock-breaking mechanism that is readily available to him, the public are entitled to believe that his frequent exhortations about a budget emergency and the importance of the many budget measures sitting unpassed in the Senate are as hollow as Kevin Rudd's claims about the importance of climate change.

    Andrew Bartlett is a former leader of the Australian Democrats


    Abbott clueless on how to handle US and China

    ..........................last week Tony Abbott went a long way towards endorsing China's ambition to take over from the US as the leading power in Asia. In a telling sign, Andrew Robb has since said that Australia will join China's new Infrastructure bank, which we refused to join last month at Washington's request precisely because it enhanced China's regional leadership ambitions.

    Yes, this is the same Tony Abbott who has, until now, built his political career on an ideology rigorously opposed to everything Xi stands for, and who has built his foreign policy on the most fervent support for the US and Japan in resisting China's claims to regional leadership.

    So why did he do it? The obvious answer is the free trade agreement, but can Australia's geopolitical alignment really be brought so cheaply? For all the hoopla, the agreement is unlikely to do more for Australia's economy overall than the equally-hyped US free trade agreement has done - and that is, according to the government's Productivity Commission, exactly nothing. The government estimates the effect of a free trade agreement with Chinais a possible GDP increase of 0.039 per cent a year, which is so near to nothing that it doesn't matter.

    Another answer is that he is just hopping mad with Obama over his climate change remarks, and has chosen to ignore Obama's warnings about China and cosy up to Xi just to spite him. But surely he couldn't be that petty.

    So perhaps the best explanation is also the simplest. Abbott does not know what he is doing. Despite the speeches he has heard over the past 10 days, he underestimates how stark the rivalry between America and China has become, and he overestimates Australia's ability to stand above it.

    He probably believes that what he said last week will soon be forgotten, and he can return to his alignment with the US and Japan against China whenever he likes, with the free trade deal in his pocket. He perhaps mistakes such patent insincerity for clever diplomacy. He thinks he has struck a careful and clever balance between China and the US, allowing Australia to maintain a close alliance with one while expanding trade with the other. In fact he is swinging helplessly between the two poles of regional power, siding with the US one day and China the next, without any clear conception of where we want to end up.


  119. CSIRO scientists will bear the brunt of funding cuts, analysis shows

    Exclusive: Staff association says cuts will be deeper than forecast and will not fall mostly on support workers, contrary to previous management claims

    Job cuts at the CSIRO this financial year will be deeper than previously forecast and will hit scientists and researchers hardest, the organisation’s union will inform staff on Monday.

    Analysis by the CSIRO Staff Association has revealed that 878 full-time positions are likely to go by June, in addition to 513 jobs lost the previous financial year.

    The figure is higher than previous estimates that about 770 jobs would be lost as a result of an internal restructure, efficiency dividend and federal funding cut amounting to $115m.

    The science agency will have lost more than 20% of its positions over two years.


    Management has previously said the cuts would be deepest among support staff. “Most impact will be felt in the support areas of the organisation,” a management spokesman told Fairfax Media in March.

    But the secretary of the CSIRO Staff Association, Sam Popovski, said the new figures confirmed the cuts would be felt across the organisation.

    “No area of research has been saved, and that’s been very revealing to us. These are very, very significant cuts and just go to prove that these cuts aren’t about achieving efficiency but are essentially about cutting research,” he said.

    Scientists, engineers, lab technicians, field workers and support staff will comprise about 57% of the jobs lost.

    The agency’s land and water division, which aims to deliver solutions to problems such as water availability, biodiversity, land management and climate-change adaptation, will lose 34 scientists and engineers, and 34 lab researchers.

    Another 31 scientists and engineers and 35 lab researchers will go from the mineral resources and energy division, which has responsibility for developing technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in energy and transport.


    ( Northern Australia will lose 17 jobs )

    Most of the jobs will be lost from sites in Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT, where most staff are based. But the impact will be felt disproportionately in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Queensland, where 271 jobs will go.

    Guardian Australia reported last week that morale at the national laboratory had fallen dramatically, with one in three staff “seriously considering” leaving their jobs in the wake of the cuts.

    Ten jobs will be lost in the agency’s astronomy and space science division, which has previously warned that the radio telescopes at Parkes and Narrabri will shut within two years without “substantial long-term investment”.

    Hundreds of scientists took part in unprecedented protests against the budget cuts in June.

    CSIRO has been contacted for comment.

    1. Defence Minister says he 'wouldn't trust' Australian Submarine Corporation to build a canoe

      ...............Senator Johnston launched the scathing attack on the ASC in the Senate during a debate about where Australia's next submarine fleet should be built.

      The Government is under pressure to build Australia's next fleet of submarines locally, rather than opt for an overseas design.


      "You wonder why I'm worried about ASC and what they're delivering to the Australian taxpayer, you wonder why I wouldn't trust them to build a canoe?" he said.

      Senator Johnston said the ASC was at least $350 million over budget in building three air warfare destroyer ships.

      "I'm being conservative, it's probably more than $600 million, but because the data is bad, I can't tell you," he said.

      "ASC was delivering no submarines in 2009 for $1 billion."


      SA Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said Senator Johnston's comments made clear the Federal Government was planning to break its promise to build the next generation of submarines in Adelaide.

      "We are outraged as a State Government and I think it is a clear signal that the promise to build 12 submarines in South Australia was disingenuous at best, some would say a lie," he said.

      Earlier this month ASC general manager Stuart Wiley said it would cost between $18 billion and $24 billion to build 12 submarines in Adelaide.

      The Federal Government had suggested it would cost up to $80 billion.

      The Coalition's Commission of Audit recommended it consider privatising the ASC.

    2. Abbott supports Aussie submarine builders

      .......................He said ASC had transformed its submarine maintenance program over the past year and exceeded navy-set targets.

      Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Senator Johnston's cabinet position was approaching untenable after his "ill-tempered and ill-judged tirade".

      "The prime minister cut him loose," Mr Bowen told ABC radio.

      "(Senator Johnston) needs to clean this up today and he needs to make very clear that this company, which currently maintains our submarines ... does have the confidence of the government which owns it."

      South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon said the minister's comments were "bizarre, ridiculous, unfounded and stupid".




  120. Oil slump threatening Australia's energy exports

    ..................Some forecasters in the market think crude could fall into the US$60's a barrel, others have predicted temporary falls into the $US50's a barrel," said David Hewitt co-head of global oil and gas research at Credit Suisse.

    Oil prices have been falling because of abundant supply, as the US produces more shale oil, as part of its so-called energy revolution, and because of reduced demand, particularly from Europe and Asia.

    Some analysts have raised doubts about the ability of OPEC members to agree because the organisation has a history of working well together in high and rising crude price environments but less so when prices are falling.

    There are also deeper issues going on between Saudi Aradbi and Iran, which wants nuclear sanctions lifted. Venezuela and Nigeria have both urged the group take immediate action to reverse the declines in prices which are weighing heavily on the national accounts of their respective countries.


    "I think there are a number of factors at play. Saudi Arabai is the key producer, they would like a higher oil price, would they be supportive of a cut? I think they would but not if they had to shoulder a lot of the heavy lifting," said Mr Williams.

    Oil prices above $US60 per barrel have gradually seen OPEC lose market share to US fracking companies – which use hydraulics to fracture rock to access oil and gas. The US, which is the world's largest consumer of crude is trying to be less reliant on OPEC member countries and therefore is buying significantly less than it used to.

    Australia on the other hand is a price taker when it comes to oil and it has no ability to shape brent crude outcomes.

    Further price pressure on oil will have consequences for the share prices of oil and gas stocks, such as Santos and Oil Search as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

    "As LNG is directly priced off crude oil, it means Australia will get less for its LNG exports and this could be material," said Mr Hewitt.

    "A lower input cost for the economy for oil, but lower realised earnings and fiscal take for the government."


    He added companies such as Woodside Petroleum would be among those worse affected because they have projects that are yet to be sanctioned, such as Browse.

    "For Browse, project economics will clearly not look as robust in a lower crude price environment. If crude prices stay low it will likely be harder for those projects to take project sanction," said Hewitt.


    "If we don't get a cut we think you can see further price pressure," said Hewitt.

    "We think you need to see a cut of about 1 million barrels a day to bring the market towards balance. Without that we see further negative price pressure, particularly because we are in the winter season in the US. If we don't have a cut at this point you would think we would need to as we approach the next quarter," he said.

  121. AND IT DOESN'T END THERE.............


    Japan: LNG imports and nuclear restarts

    The UK Foreign Office has published a report on developments in the Japanese LNG industry and the impact of nuclear restarts on the global LNG demand.


    In summary, the report highlights major decisions in Japan that look likely to affect global LNG markets:
    1.Two Japanese utilities will partner to create the largest single global importer of LNG.
    2.The Japanese government is using domestic gas reform and global exploration to try to reduce the country’s LNG bill.
    3.The first two nuclear restarts in Japan have received political approval, with 4 – 6 possible restarts by mid 2015.


    Despite projections that global LNG supplies will double by 2020, Asian prices remain stubbornly high. Japan is particularly keen to reduce them, using the following methods:

    •Accessing new supplies: notably US shale, but also resources in ‘deep, distant and difficult locations’ - the Arctic, Canada, Alaska, and Russia which are becoming more accessible with ice melts.

    •Constructing a pipeline: a long-term goal yet to be clearly defined.

    •Liberalising the gas market: this has already started and resulted in a number of new players entering the market including mobile phone giant Softbank.

    •Establishing an Asia trading hub in Japan: the government have taken steps to improve price transparency and are encouraging more flexibility in contracts – e.g. to allow surplus to be sold on. An early Tokyo trading hub started in September this year and has 20 participants so far.

    Nuclear restarts

    All Japan’s 48 nuclear reactors have been idle for the last two years. However, the start of November saw political approval for the restart of two reactors at Sendai Nuclear Power Plant. Further technical and regulatory requirements are likely to take until at least February. Two further reactors could be granted initial safety approval soon, so up to 4 - 6 power stations could be running by the summer of 2015.

    Japan’s nuclear restarts are likely to impact:

    •Global LNG demand - theoretically, each restart displaces approximately 1 million tonnes of Japanese LNG demand although some will substitute oil rather than gas fired plants.

    •Climate change – nuclear restarts could give Japan an extra 10% emissions reduction by 2030.

    •Japan’s economy – this will receive a significant boost, both in terms of trade balance and the financial health of Japanese utilities. Each restart saves a US$ 750 million annual LNG bill.

    Source: UK Foreign Office.


  122. Monadelphous accounts confirms boom’s end

    Tuesday, 25 November 2014

    Diversified construction, maintenance and industrial services engineering group Monadelphous has ended 12 consecutive years of earnings growth, booking lower sales revenue of $2.3 billion for 2013-14, and chairman John Rubino warned that slowing activity in the mining and minerals sector means more subdued times ahead. By Haydn Black


    APEC targets doubling of renewable energy

    Alison Middleton
    Tuesday, 25 November 2014

    ASIA Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies are advancing measures to double the share of renewable energy in the region within 15 years to keep pace with rising demand and ease the environmental impact of economic development across the Asia-Pacific.


    Alaska LNG export permit

    Nov 24 (LNGJ) - The Alaska LNG project being developed by ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips, TransCanada Corp. and the state of Alaska itself has received a permit from the US Department of Energy to export cargoes to Free Trade Agreement countries and is now awaiting a Non-FTA licence for nations such as Japan and China.

    The liquefaction plant is being built at Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula.

    "This FTA licence is good news for Alaska, but by law it had to be approved. The real test is the non-FTA licence," said Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.


    1. Woodside Gets License to Explore Morocco's Rabat Ultra Deep Offshore Area

      by Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

      Press Release
      Wednesday, November 26, 2014

      Woodside Pertoleum Ltd. announced Wednesday that it has entered into a contract for an exclusive Reconnaissance License (RL) with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines, the National Oil Company of the Kingdom of Morocco, to explore a block offshore Morocco.

      The block, known as the Rabat Ultra Deep Offshore area, comprises a total of 14,184 square miles (36,737 square kilometers) with depths ranging from 5,577 feet (1,700 meters) to 14,435 feet (4,400 meters).

      The block is located just west of the Rabat Deep Offshore I-VI permits, in which Woodside has acquired, subject to Ministerial approval, a 25 percent interest.


      British Columbia Approves Petronas LNG Project, Two Gas Pipelines


    2. Woodside approves $1.2b Persephone project

      Energy giant Woodside will push ahead with its $1.2 billion Persephone gas project off the West Australian coast.

      Woodside and fellow stakeholders, which include global giants BP, Chevron, Shell and BHP Billiton, have approved the project, which will be the third major development for the North West Shelf in the past six years.

      The project is expected to cost $1.2 billion, with work expected to start in 2018.

      Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said the project would help maintain supply to its Karratha gas plant.


      Woodside owns just over 16 per cent of Persephone and will operate the project on behalf of its partners.

      The project is set to produce its first gas in early 2018.

      Woodside shares were down 17c to $39.39 1014 AEDT.


      Santos slashes costs in oil price slump

      Santos chief executive David Knox says the oil and gas producer is "relentlessly" pursuing cost cuts and reining in capital investment in response to the faster than expected drop in crude oil prices.

      Mr Knox told an investor briefing in Sydney on Wednesday that the price slump, with about a 30 per cent drop in the last three or four months, had been more rapid than Santos or "anybody" had expected.

      "Companies have to respond," he said. "That's absolutely going on inside Santos and it's a relentless pressure."

      Santos shares fell as much as 2.1 per cent in early trading to $11.58. The company also flagged a likely 30 per cent cut in reserves this year at its Narrabri coal seam gas project in NSW "to match phased development".


      Plunging oil price could trigger next GFC

      ..................According to the bank, energy companies now account for about 15 per cent of outstanding issuance in the non-investment-grade high-yield – or "junk" – bond market.

      It warned in a recent report that many of these issuers would come under severe financial stress if the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped from its current level about $US74 a barrel to $US60.

      "Our calculations suggested that a further 20 per cent decline in oil prices to roughly $US60 a barrel on a WTI scale could push the whole US energy sector into distress," the report said.

      Deutsche bases this scenario on average debt leverage ratios of previously distressed issuers in all non-financial sectors.


      .............the danger level for corpor­ate defaults in the sector ranges widely, depending on the technology in use and the type of hydrocarbon being ex­tracted.

      "You've got companies in the United States that can be profitable at $US45 to $US50 a barrel," he says.

      "You've also got Canadian oil sands players which need $US70 or $US80.

      "There's a wide range when it comes to calculating who gets hurt and who can actually survive."


  123. Low Oil Prices Send Chills Through Oil Patch

    WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Marcus Jundt moved to Williston from Minnesota almost four years ago and has opened four restaurants there since.

    Food isn't propelling his business, though. It's oil.

    "Everything I've done in Williston is a derivative of oil," he says.

    That oil has averaged $96 a barrel over the past four years, fueling more drilling, more hiring, and bigger appetites in North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere. Now oil has hit a rough patch, plunging to $79 from $107 in June on fears of a global glut. Many expect these lower prices are to stick around for a while.

    Lower oil prices, while good for the broader U.S. economy, are a threat to what has been a surprising and dramatic surge in oil production in the U.S., and to drilling communities that have come to depend on oil money.

    "If the price gets low enough and stays there long enough I'm sure it will affect the number of people and the amount of money that will be spent in the greater community — and I have exposure to that," Jundt says.

    U.S. oil production has gone up by 3.5 million barrels per day, or 70 percent, since 2008.


    Drilling in fields that aren't very prolific will stop because it won't be profitable. For example, drillers in North Dakota's Burke County need $81 a barrel on average to break even, according to the Department of Mineral Resources, while the price is just $28 in McKenzie County, the state's top oil producing county.

    North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms says companies are looking to cut costs on such things as electricity generation and water disposal.

    He says the average operating cost of a well has risen 36 percent in the past year to $15,000 a month, mirroring an industry-wide struggle with higher costs.

    The analysis firm IHS calculates in a report released Monday that the income that oil and gas companies made on the capital they spent has fallen by half since 2000, even as oil prices increased.

    "The recent price drop in global crude prices will only add to these financial challenges," said IHS's Daniel Pratt.

    For now, boomtowns like Williston are still going strong. Hotels are full, restaurants like Jundt's are packed with tired roughnecks and roads are choked with hulking oil field trucks.

    But when drillers cut costs, communities will eventually feel it. "I haven't noticed anything yet," says Bert Anderson, mayor of Crosby, a small town just south of the Canadian border where oil is particularly expensive to produce.

    But if oil stays at current prices, "eventually it will have an impact," he says. Helms says that the state's next two-year budget may have to be revised because the preliminary budget forecast was based on $90 a barrel


    Bernstein Research's Bob Brackett estimates one-third of U.S. shale oil production is "uneconomic" at $80 per barrel.

    As a result, he says, producers in the U.S. and elsewhere will cut back and the price will quickly recover.

    Thomas Driscoll of Barclays believes economics are "robust" in most of the U.S. shale regions at prices between $75 and $80 a barrel. While he expects the rate of U.S. production growth to slow, he doesn't think production would stop increasing unless long-term oil prices fall to a range of $65 to $75 per barrel.




      India in a sweet spot as LNG prices crash in Asia

      Spot LNG prices are plunging and are expected to fall further notwithstanding the onset of winter, which traditionally drives prices higher. The fall is not just an outcome of drop in oil prices, but also a strategic shift in the demand-supply balance, and augurs well for Indian consumers.

      "KOGAS in South Korea has been diverting some of its long-term contractual obligations. Similarly, utility buyers in Japan are well-balanced now. The demand from Taiwan and China, too, has been relatively slow. This has disturbed the supplydemand balance," said Roman Kazmin, editor of ICIS LNG Market Daily, a global publisher of pricing data.


      INDIA imported a total 13 mt LNG in FY14 for $8.5 billion, according to the export-import data published by the ministry of commerce. India is the fourth biggest LNG importer with consumption of natural gas slated to grow faster than oil.

      Hence, the crash in spot prices is good for India. Recent spot LNG contracts were struck at prices as low as $10.5 per mmbtu, nearly 45% down from year ago period and 25% down from those struck in October 2014. These contracts are for delivery after two months; hence, contracts in November related to deliveries in January 2015. There are indications the trend will continue well in future.


    2. A shift in LNG market balance

      Since the Fukushima disaster, LNG has been a seller’s market. But the LNG market balance has undergone a sharp transformation in 2014. The summer slump in LNG spot prices sent shock waves through the global gas market. All eyes have been on the approaching winter as a barometer of the LNG supply/demand balance. But after a Q3 recovery, spot prices have slumped again over the last few weeks, falling below 10 $/mmbtu. This is suggesting a structural rather than a seasonal oversupply of gas is looming.

      Renewed LNG spot slump into winter

      Chart 1 courtesy of the team at Reuters, shows Asian spot LNG vs UK NBP prices. There was a sharp Q3 Asian LNG spot price recovery from summer lows of around 10 $/mmbtu. But the recovery into winter has proved short lived. Over the last six weeks spot prices have plunged from above 14 $/mmbtu to break through the summer lows to levels below 10 $/mmbtu towards the end of last week.


      Source: Reuters

      The Asian market looks to be well supplied into the coming winter. Temperatures have been mild to date and there has been a notable absence of the strong incremental hedging volumes that have been common in Q4 over recent years. In fact there has been very little interest from large Japanese and Korean buyers as prices have slumped, given they are already well supplied via long term contract volumes.

      In addition the LNG spot market faces an overhang of ‘floating storage’ volumes. Portfolio players bought spot cargoes during the summer price slump with a view to selling into higher winter prices. This has proved to be a painful strategy and the overhang is contributing to downward price pressure.

      LNG market players are also aware of the impact that the recent spot crude price slump will soon have in pulling down long term LNG contract prices. The majority of Asian LNG contract volumes are indexed to the JCC Japanese crude marker, typically with a several month time lag. This will mean a strong downward pressure on long term contract prices into the spring of 2015. And it will likely cap any recovery of LNG spot prices even if demand picks up over winter, as buyers have the ability to call on contract flex in preference to entering the spot market.

      The impact on Europe

      The Asian spot price slump reduces the risk around a tight winter in Europe. Concerns have been that a prolonged cold spell and Russian interruptions could cause very high and volatile hub prices across winter.

      The threat of large scale Russian interruptions to European supply this winter is unlikely anyway in our view. But if this did occur, or if there were more major infrastructure issues (a higher probability in our view), the UK is particularly vulnerable to a sharp increase in marginal import prices over a cold winter. The price spikes of Mar 2013 are an illustration of what happens when the UK NBP hub needs to price up to attract spot LNG cargoes.

      But weaker Asian spot LNG prices reduces this threat in two ways. Firstly, weak Asian prices will cut-off cargo diversion arbitrage plays from European supply contracts, meaning a higher flow of LNG into the NBP and TTF hubs, as well as the potential for higher volumes of Qatari LNG diverted to the UK. Secondly, if Europe (particularly the UK) does need to price up to attract additional LNG imports it is likely to be at much lower price levels than the last three winters.

      We wrote previously that we would be watching this winter closely as a barometer of transition in the global supply/demand balance. The renewed slump in spot LNG prices suggests the balance in the global gas market is shifting back towards the buyers.

    3. NEW YORK, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Oil tumbled 2 percent to near four-year lows on Tuesday in another volatile session as a meeting of Saudi Arabia and three other nations ahead of an OPEC summit ended with no deal to curb crude output. -



    BP to apply for Bight base

    Tuesday, 25 November 2014
    Anthony Barich

    BP is expected to lodge development applications for a new multi-million dollar aviation base at Ceduna, South Australia, ahead of what promises to be a massive and potentially game changing, if highly controversial, exploration campaign in the Great Australian Bight.

    Earlier this year, BP awarded a $138 million contract to international helicopter company, Bristow Group, to set up an air base at Ceduna to support its initial exploration drilling activities in the Great Australian Bight.

    The base will include a new helipad, passenger terminal, hangars and supporting office blocks. An alternate landing strip to the west of Ceduna is also under consideration.

    South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the base would generate construction work for the local area and subsequently benefit regional communities, from jobs creation to building new infrastructure or providing new services.

    In addition to supplying aircraft and crews to move people and critical material offshore, Bristow will also manage dedicated search and rescue services.

    The fleet will consist of three large helicopters - a Eurocopter EC225, which will ferry workers from shore to BP’s drilling rig 300km offshore, and two Sikorsky S92s.

    One S92 will be a backup for crew change and search and rescue, and the other will be a dedicated search and rescue helicopter – the first of its kind in Australia.

    The base is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2015.

    Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the construction of the air base will align with BP, and joint venture partner Statoil’s, upcoming exploration drilling activity in the Ceduna Sub-basin, scheduled to begin in 2016 and last for two years.

    Other wells, to be undertaken by companies such as Chevron Corporation, Murphy Oil, Santos and Bight Petroleum, are also being planned.

    “This drilling program is part of $5.8 billion earmarked by the oil and gas sector over the next five years for investment expenditure both on and off-shore,” Koutsantonis said.

    Outrage has been growing among conservation groups since the Australian and SA governments jointly announced BP secured four permits to explore for oil and gas off the state’s coast, with a 3D seismic survey acquired over part of the area between November 2011 and May 2012.

    Further, Bight’s acreage around King Island has been highly controversial, leading to a protracted seismic permission process that took almost four years to get signed between permit award and June this year.

    BP’s drilling is expected to start in the summer of 2015-16 in water depths of about 1000-2500m. At its closest point to the mainland, the proposed drilling area is about 400km west of Port Lincoln and 300km southwest of Ceduna.

    The wells will be drilled using a $755 million new-build mobile offshore drilling unit which has been specially designed for use in deepwater.

    It will be the first drilling in the Bight Basin for more than a decade.


  125. Obama’s climate change envoy: fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground

    Todd Stern claims the world will have to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas in order to solve global warming

    The world’s fossil fuels will “obviously” have to stay in the ground in order to solve global warming, Barack Obama’s climate change envoy said on Monday.

    In the clearest sign to date the administration sees no long-range future for fossil fuel, the state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas.

    The assertion, a week ahead of United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, will be seen as a further indication of Obama’s commitment to climate action, following an historic US-Chinese deal to curb emissions earlier this month.


    “It is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground,” he said. “We are not going to get rid of fossil fuel overnight but we are not going to solve climate change on the basis of all the fossil fuels that are in the ground are going to have to come out. That’s pretty obvious.”


    Big four banks under pressure to rule out funding Queensland coal projects

    Environmental groups accuse government of leaning on banks to back mines despite being signatories to Equator Principles

    Australia’s largest banks are coming under pressure from environmental groups not to fund huge coal projects in central Queensland, amid accusations the government is encouraging financial institutions to back the new mines.

    The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the ‘big four’ banks – ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and NAB – to rule out financial support for nine proposed mines in the coal-rich Galilee Basin region of Queensland.

    Financial backing for the mines, which will produce a combined 350m tonnes of coal a year at capacity, is inconsistent with the banks’ international environmental obligations, ACF claims.

    The big four banks are all signatories to the Equator Principles, a set of guidelines on environmental and social risk management adopted by financial institutions in 34 countries.

    The Galilee Basin mines should not secure funding under these principles, ACF says, because they will result in severe local and global environmental damage.

    The nine mines will emit at least 700m tonnes of greenhouse gases once operational and will degrade land, use a huge amount of water and risk damage to the Great Barrier Reef due to shipped exports, an ACF analysis claims.

    “If all projects planned for the Galilee Basin go ahead, the pollution from burning the coal would be more than Australia’s entire annual greenhouse gas pollution,” said Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, a campaigner at ACF.


    Australian banks have been pressured to join international banks that have baulked at the opening up of the Galilee Basin. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and HSBC have ruled out financing the expansion of the Abbot Point port, which is part of a project run by Indian firm Adani that will see the creation of the enormous Carmichael mine.


    Environmentalists have accused both state and federal governments of showing preferential treatment towards the big miners, claiming that banks are now under pressure to fund the new mines.

    Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director for Australian Marine Conservation Society, said “It is extremely concerning that ports like Abbot Point, with so much risk and presenting so much potential damage, are being fast-tracked and given special treatment by our governments.

    “Now there are reports the Australian [federal] government is leaning on Australian banks to invest in this development that is financially questionable and environmentally disastrous. This is unacceptable and must stop.”


    "Our planetary presence was fairly small for 200,000 years, inched toward 2 billion by 1930, and then rocketed skyward. It is now at about 7.3 billion, and expected to rise to 10 billion, give or take a billion, just after mid-century. We are growing, noted author Alan Weisman, at the clip of a million people every 4½ days — tripling or quadrupling our numbers just in the course of one lifetime.

    In doing so, we are fouling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, poisoning the land with chemicals, turning our seas into acid and emptying them of fish, sucking up water and other resources far faster than they can be replenished.

    Yet environmentalists have been loath to say the obvious: The world needs to stop having so many babies.

    “They don’t want to touch this. It’s very explosive, very sensitive,” said Weisman, who appeared on a panel this week at the Boston Center for the Arts to talk about population. “The idea of not reproducing feels somehow unnatural,” he noted. “And then there is religion.”"


    "We may be entering the high-stakes endgame on climate change. The pieces—technological and perhaps political—are finally in place for rapid, powerful action to shift us off of fossil fuel. Unfortunately, the players may well decide instead to simply move pawns back and forth for another couple of decades, which would be fatal. Even more unfortunately, the natural world is daily making it more clear that the clock ticks down faster than we feared. The whole game is very nearly in check."


    The Climate-Change Solution No One Will Talk About

    Studies have shown that improved access to birth control can be a valuable tool in slowing global warming, but many politicians are afraid to broach the subject.

    Jason Plautz

    Nov 1 2014

    ...................Still, the link remains a "very sensitive topic," said Karen Hardee, director of the Evidence Project at the nonprofit Population Council.

    "At the global policy level you can't touch population … but what's been heartening is that over the last few years it's not just us, but people from the countries themselves talking about this," Hardee said.

    Hardee conducted a review of 41 National Adaptation Programs of Action (the vulnerability documents required of low-income nations by the U.N.) and found that 37 mentioned population as a climate-related problem. Of those, six recognized family planning as a possible mitigation technique.

    But none had funding for family-planning programs. And inclusion in a country-level plan doesn't translate to discussion at the international level, which is where the researchers say policy needs to be taking hold.

    The very idea of intervention has even gotten some recent pushback. A study published this month from two researchers at Australia's University of Adelaide also cast doubt on whether population control could even stem growth, projecting that even drastic measures like a one-child policy would result in a population between 5 and 10 billion by century's end.

    But the members of the Woodrow Wilson Center working group—which includes members from the WorldWatch Institute and USAID, as well as climate scientists—say their work can make waves, especially as world leaders prepare to meet for the U.N. climate summit in Paris next year. With countries already engaged on family planning, they say it's just a small leap to tie environmental concerns together.

    "We want to achieve agreement on what the climate commitments are from individual countries," said Alexander Ochs of the Worldwatch Institute. "There's a new opportunity here, a new approach that takes a bottom-up look at what countries want to bring to the table. … We're just focused now on getting over the stumbling blocks."

  127. Jobs in doubt in Koolan collapse

    Nick Evans November 27, 2014

    Disaster has struck again at the worst possible time for Mount Gibson Iron, with its Koolan Island mine flooding as iron ore dipped beneath $US70/t for the first time in more than five years.

    The high-grade mine is now flooded to sea level after a section of its sea wall slumped on Tuesday, the third time in a month the wall has moved. While earlier slumps had left the wall strong enough to withstand the Kimberley high tide, on Tuesday night a section of the wall sank below the tide mark and the pit flooded.

    Mount Gibson said yesterday it was still assessing the impact of the disaster. But the 2km-long pit is fully flooded, throwing doubt over the immediate future of the mine and its 350 workers.

    All non-essential work was suspended yesterday, as Mount Gibson's technical teams assessed the damage to the sea wall and how best to fix the problem.

    With an average reserve grade of 63.9 per cent iron ore, Koolan is the jewel in Mount Gibson's crown.

    It was ramping up to a 4 million tonne a year export rate when the first wall slump interrupted production in October. A second incident this month forced Mount Gibson to downgrade its financial year production guidance by 600,000t, to between 6mt and 6.4mt, saying it would cost $5 million to $10 million and take three months to fix the damage.

    Mount Gibson requested a trading halt yesterday.


    Iron ore continues slide, falls below $US69

    ................Global seaborne output will exceed demand by 100 million tons this year from 16 million tons in 2013, according to HSBC Holdings. The commodity will average $US99 a ton this year and $US85 a ton in 2015, the bank predicts. So far in 2014, it's averaged about $US100.


  128. State gives casino a tax break

    ................Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron will this morning tell State Parliament that the tax Crown pays on profits it makes from so-called whales flown in from abroad will be cut from 11 per cent to 8 per cent.


    Shadow gaming minister Mick Murray questioned the tax cut.

    "It seems strange to be offering a tax break to a casino when the Premier is considering increased taxes and charges for everyone else," he said.


    Indigenous Australia knows the cynicism exposed by Michael Brown's killing in Ferguson

    .................Watching the events in Ferguson unfold raises similar questions about Australia’s own legal system. The parallel is immediately drawn with the failure to secure a conviction in the case of 36-year-old Cameron Mulrunji Doomadgee, who died in a Palm Island lockup over 10 years ago.

    Mulrunji was picked up for singing “Who let the dogs out” at a police officer, Chris Hurley, who drove past him in the street. He was charged with public nuisance. He had been in police custody for only an hour when he died. An autopsy revealed four broken ribs, which had ruptured his liver and spleen.

    Hurley was indicted for assault and manslaughter but acquitted in 2007. He is the only person ever charged over a death in custody of an Aboriginal person in Australia.


    Tony Abbott a backward-looking failure adrift on world stage, says Bill Shorten

    ...............Abbott specifically referenced his difficulties legislating a proposed $7 co-payment on GP visits and the deregulation of university fees in a speech to world leaders at the Australian-hosted G20 meeting the weekend before last.

    Shorten said it was “a weird, cringe-worthy, ‘little Australia’ lecture to the global community” and called on the government to abandon both policies before the treasurer, Joe Hockey, delivers the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook next month.

    “The G20 was an unqualified failure when it should have been an unqualified success,” Shorten said. “Imagine telling the prime minister of Turkey that you’ve got problems with a GP tax when they’ve got two million refugees.”


    Shorten, who has spent the past six months campaigning against Abbott and Hockey’s “rotten” and “unfair” first budget, said the government’s problem was not the sales job but the product.

    The Labor leader used his speech to lay out some markers on the importance of confronting the long-term challenges of climate change and demographic shifts, saying Australia’s future depended on a highly skilled, highly educated workforce.

    Australians were concerned about where the jobs of the future would come from, Shorten said, but the nation should aim to be an innovative “services hub in the Asian century” and a “clean energy powerhouse”.


  129. WA Premier restarts James Price Point “crusade”

    The "pot of gold" at the end of Barnett's rainbow


    EPA reassessing controversial James Price Point site for gas development

    Environmental impact assessors are again at James Price Point on the Kimberley coast, as the State Government pushes ahead to get the site ready for use by industry.


    Premier Colin Barnett said he remains optimistic companies exploring for natural gas, condensate and oil in the Browse Basin offshore will use the site.

    "There will be several LNG projects over future years, and I'd expect that at least one or two of them will ultimately locate at James Price Point," he said.

    "Government has to make these long-term planning decision well-ahead of development."

    But opponents of the project said it made no sense to continue investing time and money.

    Greens MP Robin Chapple said it had become a personal crusade for the Premier.

    "Quite clearly industry, whether it be Shell, whether it be Woodside, have said we're going to use floating LNG technology," he said.

    "There is little likelihood of the site ever being of any value for anything else, because of the capital costs of developing it.

    "I just think that [Premier Barnett] is basically going through the motions.

    "He committed to doing it, and we'll have another white elephant like Oakajee just sitting up there, with nothing ever happening."

    The Premier would not say whether any companies had expressed interest in using the site, either for processing LNG, or for a supply base to support offshore rigs.

    The State Agreement signed in relation to the site restricts its use to oil and gas-related industry.


    Major boost for WA share of Browse gas fields
    Wednesday, 26 November 2014

    •​Potential $2.9 billion spinoff for State
    •Legislation provides certainty of tenure for Browse Joint Ventures
    This week marks a resources milestone for Western Australia, with State Parliament approving legislation which significantly lifts the State’s potential share of the Browse Basin gas field.

    Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the Liberal National Government had moved quickly, after major changes to Commonwealth offshore coastal waters boundaries in May.

    “I congratulate the Department of Mines and Petroleum on its work to expedite these changes, which involved extensive consultation across industry and Government,” Mr Marmion said.

    “Department officers also worked with Australian Government agencies on the changes, which not only extend WA territorial waters but promise increased petroleum royalties for the State when the gas fields are developed.”

    The boundary changes were prompted by Geoscience Australia classifying a number of new outcrops on the Seringapatam and North and South Scott reefs as islands, making them WA territory.

    “It is estimated the boundary changes could mean increases in State royalty collections of up to $2.9 billion over the life of the Torosa field alone,” the Minister said.

    “It is too early to speculate on the royalty potential of the Kronos and Poseidon fields but it could be significant.”

    While the new legislation promises good news in the future for Western Australian taxpayers, it also backs the Liberal National Government’s commitment to minimising sovereign risk in the mining and petroleum sectors.

    “We are now working with clearly defined boundaries in the Browse Basin,” Mr Marmion said.

    The Torosa retention leases are due for renewal on December 24.

    Fact File

    •The Petroleum Titles (Browse Basin) Bill 2014 affects retention leases held by the Woodside Browse Joint Venture and the ConocoPhillips Browse Joint Venture
    •Affected gas fields are Torosa, Kronos and Poseidon
    •The new islands had their beginnings in 2004 when Cyclone Fay caused significant changes to the reefs
    Minister’s office - 6552 6800

    1. WA Premier Colin Barnett labelled 'a disgrace' on issue of Indigenous recognition in constitution

      ......................Former police minister Rob Johnson, who now serves as a Liberal backbencher, blasted Premier Colin Barnett for comments during the debate on the matter.

      Mr Barnett said he wanted to see the bill pass but warned there were "complications and issues" that needed to be overcome and that there was a need for caution.

      "Once that committee reports it will require Government to do other things that are outside of this Parliament," he told parliament.

      "That will include the drafting of the final bill, approval by Cabinet, acceptance by the Parliament and a message to the Governor.

      "Those are matters that fall to the Government and in particular to the Premier, as it's a constitutional matter."

      But Mr Johnson dismissed Mr Barnett's conclusions.

      "I've never heard so much bunkum in all my life as I've heard from the Premier, quite frankly. Absolute bunkum," he said.

      "This does not have to go through Cabinet, the supreme place in this land is the Parliament of WA.

      "You [Mr Barnett] can say what you like, I think you're a disgrace on this issue. To keep making things up as people go along is wrong."

      Mr Johnson was angered by the decision to have Attorney-General Michael Mischin chair the committee, and said it ran contrary to the separation of powers.

      He also said the makeup of the committee was wrong.

      "The idea was to be bipartisan on this - it's not bipartisan, the Government have got the numbers now and that's what the Premier wanted," he said.

      "There is one man who thinks he runs this whole Parliament, never mind what you or I want to do."

      The committee will feature both of the state's Indigenous MPs - Josie Farrer, who introduced the bill, and Ben Wyatt.

      It will also include Mr Mischin, fellow Liberal Murray Cowper, Nationals MP Wendy Duncan and two further members of the Legislative Council, who are yet to be determined.

      The committee is due to report back to Parliament next March.



    Buru Suspends Ungani North 1 Well in WA's Canning Basin

    by Buru Energy Ltd.

    Press Release
    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    Australia's Buru Energy Ltd. provided Thursday the following update on the test results of the Ungani North 1 well in the Canning Basin, Western Australia.

    Since the last report the nitrogen lift operations have been undertaken and these have established fluid influx into the well at relatively low rates. The fluid recovered to date is indicative of drilling fluid filtrate from the original drilling operations and is therefore not diagnostic as to potential reservoir recovery. These results needs to be fully evaluated before further testing. Consequently the well will be temporarily suspended while these results are evaluated and a forward program agreed with the Joint Venture.

    The Ungani North 1 well is located some miles (6 kilometers) north of the Ungani Production Facility. Buru Energy and Mitsubishi Corp. (MC) each have a 50 percent interest in this well and in EPC391, with MC and Buru Energy each contributing 50 percent of the cost of the test.

    Separately, Buru gives an update Thursday on operations at the Commodore 1 well as at 06:00 hours, Nov. 27.

    Since the last progress report, the well has been drilled ahead in 8.5 inch (216 millimeter) hole to the first casing point at 1,564 feet (477 meters). As at 06:00 hours today, operations on the well were preparing to run and cement 7 inch (178 millimeter) casing.


    Australian energy stocks Origin and Santos to be 'annihilated' after OPEC decision, says Credit Suisse analyst

    DateNovember 28, 2014 - 8:53AM

    Australian energy stocks will be 'annihilated' today says an analyst, after Brent oil sunk to a four-year low overnight on the back of the OPEC's decision not to cut oil production.

    Credit Suisse oil and gas analyst Mark Samter said energy stocks would be hit hard on Friday, after suffering falls on Thursday.

    "It's going to be ugly," he said. "They don't meet again until June... but if we're going down this path it's hard it's hard to see it ending any time soon... it's dire."

    Mr Samter said the Brent price could hit as low as $US55 a barrel.

    "Energy companies need to prepare for the worst," he said.

    "There is the clear threat that they will need to raise a material amount of funding."

    Mr Samter said Santos and Origin were in a particularly bad position and would likely take a significant hit in trade this morning.

    "Unfortunately a couple of the Australian energy companies are building projects in a high price world... Particularly Santos and Origin," he said.

    "The net share of capex contribution for Origin will be its market cap, which will put its balance sheet under incredible strain."

    After the OPEC meeting Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said OPEC had discussed a 5 per cent cut in output, the equivalent of 1.5 million barrels a day, but no more.

    Iran is understood to be disappointed with the decision not to cut production, but the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said after the meeting he was "not angry", according to Bloomberg.

    Post-meeting Canadian energy stocks fell the most in three years. Lightstream Resources and MEG Energy Corp slipped more than 13 per cent and Crescent Point Energy fell 7.4 per cent to its lowest point since July 2009.

    1. Woodside, oil stocks hammered

      Shares Woodside and Australia's other oil producers are being pounded amid tumbling crude prices and a decision by OPEC's oil ministers to maintain production targets.

      At 8.10am, Woodside shares were off $2.36, or 6.14 per cent, to $36.11, while Santos shares fell $1.25, or 10.77 per cent, to $10.36 and BHP Billiton lost $1.05, or 3.28 per cent, to $30.95.

      PNG-focused Oil Search had lost 63 cents, or 7.44 per cent, to $7.84 while Origin Energy had given up 76 cents, or 5.77 per cent, to $12.41.

      OPEC oil ministers overnight decided to keep their output target at 30 million barrels a day despite an oversupply of crude and plunging prices.

      West Texas intermediate was down 6.3 per cent to $69.05 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for January hit $US72.74, a level last witnessed on July 7, 2010.

      But there were winners from the falling prices, with Qantas up 8.5 cents, or 4.74 per cent, at $1.88.



    The trauma of Oombulgurri's demolition will be repeated across Western Australia

    Tammy Solonec

    Amnesty International’s research into the homelands showed that Aboriginal people living on ancestral lands live better lives. But the WA government plans to close 150 communities

    Removing people from Oombulgurri was a gradual process.

    First, the government closed the services. It closed the shop, so people could not buy food and essentials. It closed the clinic, so the sick and the elderly had to move, and the school, so families with children had to leave, or face having their children taken away from them. The police station was the last service to close, then eventually the electricity and water were turned off.

    Finally, the 10 residents who resolutely stayed to the end were forcibly evicted, given just two days notice of eviction and allowed to bring only one box of belongings each. They had to leave behind cars, whitegoods, tools and personal possessions.


    Oombulgurri lies on the banks of the Forrest River in the eastern Kimberley.


    Residents described it as great place, where you could “catch two barras on one line”. They told me the community contains several Aboriginal sacred sites, including ceremonial sites, and a cemetery.


    Oombulgurri is part of the Balanggarra native title claim, which was successfully determined in 2013 following a 20-year fight. The determination acknowledged the thousands of years that the Balanggarra people have cared for their country and promised them some right to it in the future.

    Unfortunately for the traditional owners the determination did not include the Oombulgurri settlement, which is owned by the WA government’s Aboriginal lands trust, extinguishing native title. It was this loophole that allowed the WA government to forcibly evict traditional owners from their homelands.

    The official line when Oombulgurri was closed in September 2011 was that it was “unviable”. Communication last month from the WA government to Amnesty International states Oombulgurri was closed due to severe dysfunction and to ensure community safety.

    “Unviable.” That’s a term used by the WA government in recent weeks to justify closing up to 150 more remote Aboriginal communities. But as I have seen first-hand, there is nothing more “unviable” for Aboriginal people than to be forcibly evicted from their traditional lands and assimilated into white townships.


    The claim of voluntary departure looks even hollower when you consider that the Balanggarra Aboriginal corporation, on behalf of 150 residents, has requested for people to return to their land and been refused by the Barnett government. In fact, they have been told they’ll be charged with trespass if they try to return.

    To be disconnected from land and culture, often made homeless, and forced deeper into poverty, substance abuse, violence, lack of education, unemployment and ill health – that’s what it means to be “unviable”.


    Despite community efforts, supported by Amnesty International, the bulldozers rolled into Oombulgurri last month. The WA government has literally dug a hole and in it buried the rubble of people’s homes and personal belongings. The process will soon be replicated in up to 150 communities across the state.


    I urge all governments in Australia to open transparent discussions about the future of our communities that includes those in those communities. Making remote communities “viable” and safe is possible with will and creative thinking. The demolition of Oombulgurri must never be repeated in another community.


    1. Definition of sacred site challenged in Aboriginal heritage test case

      The definition of a sacred site is being challenged in an Aboriginal heritage test case in the WA Supreme Court.

      Those taking the action are trying to stop part of Port Hedland being removed from the state's heritage register and stripped of protection.

      In December 2013, the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee made a finding that land and waters around parts of Port Hedland port should no longer be considered an Aboriginal sacred site because it had not been used for religious purposes.

      The committee had been assessing whether a request for dredging at the port would damage or destroy any heritage values in the area, which had been recognised as an Aboriginal site in 2008.

      Marapikurrinya brother and sister Kerry and Diana Robinson are challenging the validity of the committee's finding and want the decision quashed.

      In court on Thursday their lawyer Greg McIntyre, who represented Eddie Mabo in the historic 1992 native title case, said whether or not the area had been used for religious purposes was irrelevant.

      His argument focused on guidelines issued by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs which state that to be a recognised as sacred site, a place needs to have been devoted to religious use rather than simply mythological stories, songs or beliefs.

      He said a report by the department's Registrar of Aboriginal Sites recommending the Port Hedland area not be regarded as a site was presented to the committee as essential to its decision

      Mr McIntyre told the court the committee had wrongly focused on this, when the Aboriginal Heritage Act made no requirement for religious use.

      "It is not required to be dedicated to religious use to be a sacred site," he said.

      It was enough, he said, for it to be of special importance or significance to people of Aboriginal descent.

      'Very few sites on heritage register have religious connection'

      He pointed out there were many sites on the register which had no religious connection.

      "In fact, there are very few sites that are subject to religious use on the register."

      Mr McIntryre said there was evidence of religious use of the site by the Marapikurrinya people.

      He said they spoke to the Kata-Katara water serpent, which they believed would be disturbed if dredging went ahead and could retaliate by flooding the area.

      "If it doesn't protect this site ... the vast majority of sites on the register will be removed and we'll be left with a small number of ceremonial sites around the state," he said, before withdrawing the comment as a "rhetorical flourish" about the broader implications of the case.

      Lawyer for the committee George Tannin said the clearly accepted definition of a sacred site was one "devoted to a religious purpose".

      He said the act required the area to be more than merely a place of veneration or religious respect.

      "There is no evidence of access to that working port area by the applicants," he said.

      He also rejected Mr McIntyre's assertion that the Marapikurrinya people had been denied a fair say and procedural fairness by the committee.

      He said they could still make a submission to the Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier.

      However, Justice John Chaney said the registrar's report had shifted the whole basis of the committee's decision making.

      He questioned the extent to which any opposition to that report was heard by the committee.

      Mr Tannin said Mr Collier, who on Thursday tabled amendments to the 1972 Aboriginal Heritage Act in parliament, would not act on the committee's findings while the court proceedings continued.

      Justice Chaney has reserved his decision.



      "The former magistrate said he could relate to many of the young Aboriginal repeat offenders who came before him because of his childhood growing up as part of a peasant family in an occupied village in Belgium during the Second World War."


      Former magistrate Antoine Bloemen recounts personal toll of corruption allegations

      .....................In a chapter named "Two Terrible Years" from his newly released autobiography, Mr Bloemen recounts the personal toll of being wrongly reported to the West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

      "I was not ignorant of the fact that a few Kimberley police didn't like or approve of how I interpreted the law, especially in regard to Aboriginal people in remote communities," he wrote.

      "So I should not have been surprised when I found out that a complaint accusing me of corruption had been lodged."

      The complaint was later dismissed and Mr Bloemen successfully sued a newspaper that ran the story, then donated his payout towards Aboriginal education.

      But, in an interview with the ABC's 7.30 WA program, Mr Bloemen blamed the episode and the "intimidation" he faced by some police officers for the heart attack that ultimately ended his career in 2008.

      "Being reported to the CCC for corruption is about the worst you can have," he said.

      "It's enough to commit suicide because my entire family could have been destroyed."




  132. Broome Shire to vote on proposed sites to house homeless

    The Broome Shire will consider fresh proposals of where to locate hostel and camping facilities for homeless and itinerant people.

    At any time there are more than 100 people sleeping rough in the town but numbers have spiked in recent months.

    Previous government funding for accommodation was lost because an agreement could not be reached about the location.

    Shire councillors will tonight vote on two new proposed sites.

    The Yawuru traditional owners of Broome have suggested a dry hostel could be built at a site on Dickson Street in Old Broome.

    A camping ground is also being considered on the Broome Road on the way into town.

    If the motion is passed, the sites would be presented to government in a bid to secure funding.

  133. Coalition marooned in a sea of troubles


    Speaker Bronwyn Bishop ejects 18 MPs, breaking the question time record


    Nothing is more potent than Bronwyn Bishop armed with a 94a


    GP tax confusion highlights split in Coalition


    Dr Martin Parkinson slams big business for calling for cut to the corporate tax rate

    Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson has slammed sections of the business community for repeatedly calling for the federal government to cut the corporate tax rate and increase the GST, saying "a lot of what this debate is about is people saying of government, 'take money from the citizenry at large and give it to me'."


    1. Even The Australian is ripping into him


      Abbott the biggest barnacle on the ship

      - AND Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt !


      Other headlines today


      Toxic Abbott hangs on Napthine


      Crisis caps government's 'worst week'


      Abbott's rudderless ship won't scrape by


      NICTA CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte resigns amid Abbott government funding cuts


      Tony Abbott steers ship into storm of uncertainty


      Australian asylum seeker policy may contravene torture convention - UN


      Indigenous leaders call for Tony Abbott to intervene on remote communities


      ABBOTT'S "barnacle" reference is giving way to the most jokes and mocking since the "dead parrot" carry on by Mark Latham.

      Lots of jokes about ships of state.

  134. Indigenous leaders call for Tony Abbott to intervene on remote communities

    Australia's elected Indigenous leaders have called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to intervene to save remote indigenous communities from closure.

    The elected representative body for Indigenous people, the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, has written to Mr Abbott to urge him to take the issue to the next Council of Australian Governments meeting of federal, state and territory leaders.

    The call follows West Australian Premier Colin Barnett's warned earlier this month that the state would not be able to afford to provide services to as many as 150 "unviable" indigenous communities in his state.

    Western Australia has accepted a one-off payment of $90 million from the Abbott Government to take responsibility for the delivery of municipal and essential services such as power, water and rubbish collection to its indigenous communities.

    South Australia's Labor administration, which rejected a Commonwealth offer of $10 million to take over basic service delivery to its communities, has warned 4000 indigenous people in 60 locations stand to lose services when the Commonwealth ceases funding for these services next July.

    Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion argues that the delivery of such services is a state and local government responsibility, which the former Labor federal government had also sought to transfer to states.

    Senator Scullion said any community closures were a matter for the states, adding that Western Australia had been discussing the closure of communities with the Commonwealth for several years, long before it accepted responsibility for essential service delivery.

    In their letter to the Prime Minister, Congress co-chairs Kirstie Parker and Les Malezer said Western Australia was effectively threatening to discriminate against Aboriginal people by denying them services which were provided to non-indigenous residents.

    The national government held ultimate responsibility for protecting the rights of Indigenous people, the letter said.

    Ms Parker said the the threats of closure had "opened a flood gate of concern amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

    Across the country, families in "hundreds" of communities could be forced to move away from their traditional lands and into regional centres, Ms Parker said.

    "While jurisdictions quibble about who is responsible for what, our peoples are vulnerable, under threat and in distress," she said.

    Ms Parker said the fate of these communities could not be left "to the whims of different jurisdictions," and the Commonwealth, states and territories needed to work together to develop a long-term solution to address remote infrastructure and services.


    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, said what was needed was a national conversation about remote communities, which included indigenous people and which considered the value to the nation of people living in remote areas.

    He said state governments needed to understand that they received Commonwealth funding to provide services to all of their citizens, including their Indigenous people.

    He said in a state as vast and sparsely populated as Western Australia, all communities were subsidised "to one extent or another."

    "I challenge the WA government to tell me how many shires outside of the Perth metropolitan area are viable – I guarantee you there's not many," he said.

    He said he had some sympathy for Premier Barnett's concerns about social problems such as violence, neglect and abuse in some remote communities, but said governments needed to work with Indigenous people to find solutions to these problems, rather than simply "relocating dysfunction."

  135. Iron ore miner Mt Gibson stands down more than 200 staff in WA's Kimberley

    More than 200 staff have been stood down without pay at Mt Gibson's iron ore mine in Western Australia's Kimberley.

    Work at the Koolan Island mine, off the coast north of Derby, was suspended earlier this week after a sea wall slumped, flooding the main pit.

    Mt Gibson CEO Jim Beyer said it was a disappointing but unavoidable move.

    "We had allocated our workforce to other activities around the island while we were working to basically re-stabilise and reinstate an effective sea wall," he said.

    "Unfortunately the failure has made it clear that for at least some period of time, we are not going to have sufficient work to keep our workforce employed."

    The mine employs 350 people, two thirds of whom will be sent home over the weekend.


    Australia: Rey Resources acquires 50% interest in the Derby Block in the Canning Basin from Backreef Oil

    28 Nov 2014

    Rey Resources has announced that its subsidiary company Rey Lennard Shelf ('RLS') has entered into an agreement with Backreef Oil to acquire a 50% interest in petroleum exploration licence EP487, the 'Derby Block', located in the Canning Basin of Western Australia subject to certain terms and conditions.

    The Derby Block is a large exploration licence of approx. 5,000 km2 that was recently granted to Backreef (50%) and Oil Basins Ltd (50%).

    It occurs to the north of Rey’s existing interests in petroleum exploration licences in the Canning Basin (see map).

    The Company considers EP487 to be prospective for hydrocarbons and looks forward to working with Oil Basins to develop the Derby Block.

    Backreef and Oil Basins are currently in dispute over Backreef’s interest in the Derby Block and certain unpaid cash calls that have occurred between the parties since 2012.

    Key Terms of the Agreement

    Under the Agreement RLS will acquire Backreef’s 50% interest in the Derby Blocks for either (at RLS's election):

    $2 million, to be paid on grant of a Production Licence in respect of EP487; or

    a 2% royalty on future production.

    The Agreement is subject to certain conditions precedent, including:

    conclusion to RLS’s satisfaction, of ongoing hearings in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) of Western Australia where Oil Basins is currently seeking to have Backreef’s grant of title in EP487 by the WA Government overturned.

    This is expected to conclude in January 2015;

    termination or expiration of existing agreements to sell the Derby Block to third parties;

    FIRB approval.

    RLS will also assume the conduct of, and bear the costs of, the SAT proceedings and outstanding legal claims on Backreef by Oil Basins in the WA District Court and Magistrates Court in connection with the expenses incurred on management of the Derby Block to date.

    RLS will have the ability to terminate the Agreement and be relieved from any obligation to conduct and bear the costs of these proceedings at any time on the giving of 14 days' notice to Backreef.

    It is expected that, on completion of the acquisition, RLS and Oil Basins will form a joint venture to develop the Derby Block.


  136. Fracking risk compared to thalidomide and asbestos in Walport report

    Historic innovations that have been adopted too hastily with grave unforeseen impacts provide cautionary examples for potential side effects of fracking, says report by government’s chief scientist Mark Walport

    Fracking carries potential risks on a par with those from thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos, warns a report produced by the government’s chief scientific adviser.

    The flagship annual report by the UK’s chief scientist, Mark Walport, argues that history holds many examples of innovations that were adopted hastily and later had serious negative environmental and health impacts.

    The controversial technique, which involves pumping chemicals, sand and water at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release the gas within, has been strongly backed by the government with David Cameron saying the UK is “going all out for shale”.

    But environmentalists fear that fracking could contaminate water supplies, bring heavy lorry traffic to rural areas, displace investment in renewable energy and accelerate global warming.

    The chief scientific adviser’s report appears to echo those fears. “History presents plenty of examples of innovation trajectories that later proved to be problematic — for instance involving asbestos, benzene, thalidomide, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, many pesticides, mercury, chlorine and endocrine-disrupting compounds...” it says.

    “In all these and many other cases, delayed recognition of adverse effects incurred not only serious environmental or health impacts, but massive expense and reductions in competitiveness for firms and economies persisting in the wrong path.”

    Thalidomide was one of the worst drug scandals in modern history, killing 80,000 babies and maiming 20,000 babies after it was taken by expectant mothers.

    Fracking provides a potentially similar example today, the report warns: “... innovations reinforcing fossil fuel energy strategies — such as hydraulic fracturing — arguably offer a contemporary prospective example.”


    There is no way to know how long the wilder state might persist.


    ................Daily price movements in oil and other commodity markets do not follow a normal distribution. (

    Instead, the distribution is leptokurtic: there are more days with either very small movements or very large price movements than would be predicted by the normal distribution, and fewer days with medium-sized ones.

    Moreover, the level of volatility in oil prices is itself volatile. Periods of low volatility alternate with periods of high volatility, with abrupt shifts between the two states.

    Financial markets shift between "mild" and "wild" states, as the French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated, originally with an analysis of cotton prices.

    Thursday's price move signals a shift to a wilder market state after a long period in which volatility has been extraordinarily subdued.


  137. U.S. crude down 10 percent post-OPEC, Brent breaks below $70

    (Reuters) - U.S. crude tumbled 10 percent in its biggest one-day drop in more than five years on Friday, and benchmark Brent broke below $70 a barrel, as OPEC's decision not to cut output sent oil traders and analysts scurrying to find a new trading floor.

    "I see little reason to buy oil now. I think people are either going to drive it down further or just let the market collapse," said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors in Hollow Way, New York.

    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light crude (WTI) settled down $7.54 at $66.15 a barrel, and fell further post-settlement, reaching a four-year low of $65.69. The last time the market lost 10 percent in a day was in March 2009.

    North Sea Brent LCOc1 finished down $2.43, or 3.3 percent, at $70.15. It fell to as low as $69.78 on the day, a bottom since May 2010. Brent also finished down 18 percent for November for a fifth straight month of declines, or the longest losing streak since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

    Since June, Brent has given up about 40 percent of its value, falling from above $115, as increasing U.S. shale oil output helped create a glut amid sluggish global growth.

    Friday's selloff culminated a stunning 24 hours on global crude markets, in near free fall after Saudi Arabia blocked calls from poorer members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production.

    With U.S. markets officially closed for Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, WTI went down about 8 percent in electronic trading overnight. Losses resumed when the New York Mercantile Exchange reopened, with U.S. crude capitulating just before Friday's close.

    The risk flight in oil extended to the stock market, with energy shares on Wall Street taking a hammering despite the broader market closing up for a sixth straight week.

    Shares of shale energy firms saw outsized declines, as $70 oil was considered a level at which shale drilling became unprofitable. Denbury Resources (DNR.N), QEP Resources (QEP.N) and Newfield Exploration (NFX.N) all lost more than 15 percent.

    "The message from OPEC was fairly clear - we are not hurting yet because we are the lowest cost producers," said Iain Armstrong, oil and gas analyst at wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin in London.

    "It is a question of who blinks first - OPEC or the U.S. shale producers. The longer the oil price stays at these levels the greater chance a U.S. shale producer will go under. But it will take time."

    Saudi Arabia's oil minister told fellow OPEC members on Thursday they must combat the U.S. shale oil boom, arguing against cutting crude output in order to depress prices and undermine the profitability of North American producers.

    Traders said if U.S. crude took out the May 2010 low of $64.24, it could technically be headed for a test below $60, toward the low of $58.32 set on July 2009.

    "WTI could certainly be down a couple of dollars more next week, and test newer lows from there," said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital in New York.

    Shale companies aside, shares of oil major Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) fell more than 4 percent to below $91, while Chevron Corp (CVX.N) lost about 5 percent to under $109.

    Activity in the options on the Energy Select Sector SPDR Exchange-Traded Fund XLE.P exploded as traders who had bet on a drop in the ETF scrambled to book hefty profits after the OPEC decision.

  138. Uranium mining in Kakadu at a crucial point

    The skies above Jabiru are busy. Birds of prey circle endlessly.

    Brown falcons or whistling kites are a constant presence above this part of Kakadu National Park.

    It creates a fitting mood for a place facing an uncertain future. Jabiru is a town in limbo.

    Four decades after arriving, uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) will decide soon whether it will continue digging here.

    There is a chance it will choose not to, which will bring down the curtain on perhaps nation's most controversial mine, Ranger.

    Built on the faultlines of environmental and indigenous land rights policy, Ranger is at a defining moment. It has provided fuel to nuclear power stations of the world but the end of its working life is in doubt.

    Depressed commodity prices, revived environmental concerns and tightening purse strings have made the decision over a new mining development at Ranger a close call.

    Having reluctantly accepted mining on their ancestral lands, the indigenous people who live beside the nation's biggest uranium mine could soon watch their industrial interloper depart.

    Whether life will be better when the mine goes is far from clear.

    The end of mining at Ranger would be cause for celebration for some.

    Environmentalists have long despaired at a mine so close to one of the nation's most famous national parks.

    The fact Ranger produces uranium - the radioactive nature of which can be dangerous in certain circumstances - has only turbo-charged the opposition.

    "The exploitation of uranium within the World Heritage property of Kakadu National Park, effectively against the current wishes of significant traditional owners and others, is a historical aberration and ought to finish as soon as possible," former environment minister Peter Garrett said.

    Mr Garrett was minister when ERA was granted permission to conduct further exploration at Ranger. His decision was constrained to ruling on matters relevant to a certain environmental act.

    The process for environmental approvals for the development of the mine is ongoing under a new government but Garrett said Ranger had been a blot on the landscape since day one.

    Most affected over the past 37 years have been the indigenous Mirarr people, whose traditional lands have hosted the mine.

    As late as the 1970s, the Mirarr people lived in these monsoonal wetlands, with little intrusion from white Australian culture.

    "There weren't many white people out here permanently before 1980, something like six or so across the whole region," said Justin O'Brien, the chief executive of the Mirarr's modern corporate organisation, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

    The town of Jabiru was built quickly to support the mine and within one year the Mirarr had become a racial minority.


    Read more:

  139. Australian asylum seeker policy may contravene torture convention - UN

    Human rights agency criticises proposed law that would allow removal of migrants without considering potential persecution

    The UN’s human rights agency has made sweeping criticisms of Australia’s policies towards asylum seekers, saying a proposed law that would allow the government to remove people without considering whether they might face persecution elsewhere could contravene international treaties against torture.

    Considering Australia as part of its universal periodic review – a four-yearly rolling process – the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also expressed concerns about new counter-terrorism legislation, saying it could define terrorism too broadly.

    On migrants, the OHCHR’s committee against torture, a 10-strong panel of independent experts, said it was concerned about the policy of intercepting and turning back boats off the Australian coast without a view on what treatment those on board might face, as well as policies of indefinite detention for unauthorised arrivals, including children, and the use of overseas processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

    The OHCHR has previously voiced its concerns about the migration and maritime powers legislation amendment, currently going through Australia’s parliament, which would greatly strengthen the government’s ability to forcibly remove new arrivals.

    The committee said Australia should “refrain from adopting any legislative or other measures that may lower the existing safeguards and standards of protection”.

    The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill is scheduled to go before the Senate this week.

    It would allow Australia to deport asylum seekers without making any assessment whether they would be tortured if they were returned.


    “The State Party [Australia] should guarantee that all asylum claims are thoroughly examined and that the persons concerned have a real opportunity to effectively challenge any adverse decisions.”

    The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, is trying to wrangle crossbench support for the bill but he faces a difficult task without making substantial concessions.

    This is parliament’s last sitting week before Christmas. If the bill is not passed by Thursday, the government will have to wait until the New Year.

    In its own eight-page report, the torture committee said it was also concerned about the bill. More widely, it criticised the policy of turning back migrant boats without considering the consequences for those on board, saying this could contravene article three of the UN’s convention against torture, signed by Australia in 1985. The article says countries should not expel or return people to another state when there are “substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”.

    The committee’s report said it remained concerned about the policy of detaining unauthorised arrivals, including children, until those held were given a visa or expelled, with no maximum time limit, “reportedly resulting in protracted periods of deprivation of liberty”.

  140. All this sun - but they want to spend untold billions on this ?


    Julie Bishop reopens nuclear debate as route to cut carbon dioxide emissions

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says nuclear energy remains an option for Australia, describing it as an "obvious direction" as it considers how to cut carbon dioxide emissions after 2020.


    new pressure has mounted on Australia in the wake of a recent agreement between the US and China, designed to build momentum for an international treaty due to be struck in Paris in December 2015.

    The Liberal deputy leader said without a zero emissions baseload power source, Australia's reduction effort would rely on the 2020 renewable energy target – which the Government is attempting to cut – research and making the energy supply smarter and more efficient.

    "I always thought that we needed to have a sensible debate about all potential energy sources and, given that Australia has the largest source of uranium, it's obvious that we should at least debate it," she said.

    The Liberal Party and its base strongly supports considering nuclear power, but the Coalition has avoided reviving the debate until now. Ms Bishop lamented the result of a 2006 review, commissioned when she was science minister.

    "The debate didn't go anywhere. It descended into name calling about which electorates I intended to place a nuclear reactor in, and *****would I rule out Cottesloe Beach***** – that kind of puerile debate. So it didn't ever get off the ground," she said.

    The review, headed by businessman and ***nuclear physicist Ziggy Switkowski*** , found nuclear power was "a practical option for part of Australia's electricity production" and, if supported, could see plants built within 10 to 15 years.


  141. Life after coal: Collie faces uncertain future as production stalls and jobs axed

    For more than 60 years, the coal mining town of Collie has been helping to power Western Australia.

    The town's two mines in the Collie coalfields produce WA's entire coal supply and the three power stations churn out 70 per cent of the state's coal-fired electricity.

    But with contract disputes bringing production to a standstill at one, and jobs axed at another, the town is now in limbo.


    Uncertainty over mines' future casts shadow over town

    The Griffin mine was bought by Indian-owned Lanco Infratech in 2011 after long-term owner Ric Stowe's empire crumbled into administration.

    Industry insiders say the mine was overpriced, and Lanco bought in a hurried bid to shore-up coal supply for the boom in India.

    "The cost of production is higher than the return from the coal itself so that's really the basis of the issue and after so long a parent company's going to say enough's enough," member for Collie-Preston Mick Murray said.

    The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) claims Lanco has been falling behind in payments to a local contractor, Carna Civil Mining, which employs the mine's workforce.

    The union said Carna had been ordering workers to go home and paying them out of its own pocket, while trying to recoup what it is owed from Lanco.

    During the last stoppage, workers said pay checks were four days late.

    When they returned to work they found there was no fuel to run machinery for several days.

    Workers have told the ABC they feel they are being left in the dark.


    Concerns over power station maintenance

    The ABC has been told regular maintenance shutdowns at the town's three power stations are being cut short ahead of schedule.

    A source said a shutdown at Synergy's Muja plant earlier this year was scheduled to go for three months, but was halted after just six weeks.

    Earlier this month, a cooling tower at Synergy's Muja D plant collapsed.

    Workers have told the ABC they are sure people would have been injured or killed had it not collapsed on a quiet Sunday.


    .............Energy Minister Mike Nahan said there was capacity in the market to meet demand.

    He said the Government had invested in the coal industry but it would not prop up a private company.

    "If they can't make it viable, I suggest they sell it," Dr Nahan said.


    Renewable energy future for Collie

    Bunbury Against Coal Exports's Laurie Capill believes Collie could become a renewable energy hub, making use of existing infrastructure.

    "Here in the South West, Western Australia, we're incredibly well-endowed, not only with solar energy but also with wind energy and wave energy," Mr Capill said.

    "And particularly wind lends itself to being able to be developed in the Collie area with the power being fed into the grid.

    "This would retain Collie's role as the energy centre for Western Australia but would diversify the local economy away from, start to diversify it away from, coal into these other areas."

    Dr Nahan said there was a growing move towards solar.

    "We will soon see that solar is the largest single supplier of electricity of the metro area," he said.

    "It's not a lot now, it's about 40 megawatts so about 6 per cent, but growing at 20 per cent, it will be larger than the Collie coalfields in a matter of years."

    There is a local saying that all power lines lead to Collie. Many residents hope this will not change.

    "Locally there isn't much here apart from the mines and power stations, you know, power generation," Mr Broomhead said.

    "Basically that's what Collie is."

    Griffin Coal, Premier Coal, Carna Civil Mining and Synergy all declined interviews with the ABC.


    "If the oil and gas gluts force the drill-baby-drillers to hit the brakes, everyone should cheer. It might encourage investors to waste less money on expensive projects that ought to be invested in the fossil-free future required to avert climate chaos."


    The Fracking Rush Hits a Pothole

    Ever heard of Bryan Sheffield? The baby-faced tycoon enjoyed a brief blast of fame a few months ago when he became one of those rare non-tech billionaires under 40.

    What ignited his rise to the ranks of Americans with money to burn? He owns a company called Parsley Energy Inc. that extracts oil and natural gas using the highly polluting technique known as fracking. Sheffield's fortune hit the billion-dollar milestone when Parsley went public in May.

    But a sudden plunge in oil prices quickly spiked the young Texan's newfound status, trimming Sheffield's fortune to a more modest $750 million.

    You see, domestic oil production could hit 9.4 million barrels a day next year. This 42-year high, sparked by a fracking bonanza, is feeding a global glut that's pushing oil prices down to levels not seen since 2010.

    As recently as 2013, energy experts were freaking out about how "expensive" gasoline at U.S. pumps had gotten as it crossed the $4-a-gallon mark. Even though Europeans are accustomed to prices at least twice as high as ours, that problem was supposedly going to choke U.S. economic growth.

    Since then, oil prices have retreated — albeit to the historically high level of about $78 a barrel. The experts are now forecasting that "cheap" gasoline prices will slink along at under $3 a gallon next year.

    That's good news for U.S. consumers, right? Since we're spending less on gas, can't we splurge more on gifts for our loved ones this holiday season? Aren't we more apt to hit the road to visit grandma?

    Yes, but the experts aren't happy.

    Those low prices are imperiling oil fracking operations in Texas and North Dakota. Many companies may start losing money or even go broke.


  143. The Fracking Rush Hits a Pothole

    High-flying bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach says he bets oil will decline to $70 a barrel soon. After that, "It's bye, bye fracking."

    Green-minded people like me aren't upset about the prospect of bidding farewell to fracking. But we do see a risk that "cheap oil" will speed the pace of climate change if more consumers opt to drive gas-guzzlers or refrain from steps that might reduce their carbon footprint.

    Well, maybe that won't happen this time around. Lower prices could mean that lots of companies in the fracking business will wind up defaulting on the mountains of junk bonds they've issued to finance their operations.

    Those companies may go out of business before oil prices recover. While Sheffield has said he plans to snatch up lots of frackers who go broke, it's likely that the overall industry will contract.

    The outlook for natural gas, most of which doesn't get burned by vehicles, is murky too.

    Another domestic glut is crimping natural gas prices. They probably won't rebound until a maze of planned pipelines starts pumping that fracked fuel to distant markets. Massive quantities of liquified natural gas could wind up being sold in overseas markets once the right facilities are built.

    If the oil and gas gluts force the drill-baby-drillers to hit the brakes, everyone should cheer. It might encourage investors to waste less money on expensive projects that ought to be invested in the fossil-free future required to avert climate chaos.

    Perhaps the oddest part of this strange conversation about "cheap gas" is that prices are plunging despite the rise of the so-called Islamic State and the havoc it's wreaking throughout the Middle East. How low would oil prices go if peace unexpectedly broke out over there?

    Poor Bryan Sheffield might have to find something else to do with his money, like investing in solar or wind power.

  144. Oil rout threatens to spoil Australia’s gas bonanza

    Tumbling crude oil prices are casting a shadow over almost $US70 billion ($82.3 billion) of natural gas projects planned in Australia, threatening what's billed as the second leg of the nation's energy boom.

    While Australia remains on track to surpass Qatar as the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas this decade, the oil price decline is bad timing for the next wave of projects in an industry shaken already by China's gas-supply agreements with Russia, high costs and a shale gas revolution in the US that's set to hit global markets.

    "The oil price environment does have the potential to delay and defer projects because of the uncertainty that the volatility brings," said John Hirjee, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in Melbourne.

    OPEC on Thursday took no action to ease a global oil-supply glut, resisting calls from Venezuela that the group needs to stem the rout in prices.

    Woodside Petroleum is at risk of missing its target of approving the Browse LNG project in the second half of next year, Hirjee said.

    Its partners in Browse include Royal Dutch Shell, BP and PetroChina. The project is estimated by the bank to cost about $US35 billion.

    Contacted on Friday, Woodside referred to comments made earlier this month by its chief executive, Peter Coleman, who said that a prolonged oil price slump would hurt returns at existing LNG projects and threaten future developments.

    Asian Market

    Australia's first phase of LNG development has resulted in seven LNG projects now under construction at a cost of about $US180 billion to supply the Asian market.

    Most Australian LNG is sold at prices linked to oil, which has slumped as the US pumped the most in more than three decades and conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine failed to disrupt supply.


    Oil at $40 Possible as Market Transforms Caracas to Iran

    Oils decline is proving to be the worst since the collapse of the financial system in 2008 and threatening to have the same global impact of falling prices three decades ago that led to the Mexican debt crisis and the end of the Soviet Union.


    U.S. Futures Drop as Oil Extends Slump; Gold, Aussie Sink

    ...............Oil in New York fell 1.7 percent to $65 a barrel, set for the lowest close since July 2009 as investors continued to digest OPEC’s refusal to cut output. Gold sank as much as 1.4 percent in the spot market. The Aussie lost 0.4 percent as the nation’s stock gauge dropped 0.6 percent.


  145. Boom’s end delivers hit to budget

    The Australian |
    December 01, 2014

    THE torrent of revenue delivered by the resources boom to the federal government has dried up sooner than expected, all but destroying Tony Abbott’s promise to return the federal budget to surplus even if he manages to convince the Senate to pass his controversial savings.

    The mid-year budget update, due within weeks, will reveal a deficit blowout of more than $35 billion over the next four years and show that for the first time in more than a decade the state of the economy has become a drag on the budget, according to a report by economic forecaster Deloitte Access Economics.


    China won't rescue us from a commodities crash

    By Ian Verrender

    It was an anniversary that escaped unnoticed. No sombre gatherings of the ageing warriors involved in the conflict. No fond remembrance of former colleagues. Not even a passing mention in the media.

    But when Continental Illinois bank failed 30 years ago in May, it sent shockwaves through America's financial system and was responsible for coining the term that now keeps global monetary mandarins awake at night.

    Too big to fail.

    By the time it hit the skids, Continental Illinois was America's seventh largest bank and its collapse preceded a financial crisis that would topple numerous Latin American governments and rock American banking.

    With the sudden and accelerating plunge in oil prices in recent months, the long forgotten ghost of Continental Illinois has returned to haunt a financial system still recovering from the excesses of the boom that culminated in the Lehman Bros collapse.

    And it has raised fears this could be the catalyst for another chapter in the Global Financial Crisis.

    Where Lehman and its Wall Street cohorts gorged themselves fat on a property bubble of their own making, Continental Illinois and its ilk plundered energy markets that had gone ballistic through the 1970s after Saudi Arabia formed its oil cartel.

    Petro dollars flowed in from newly wealthy producers, who borrowed to the hilt to fund grand new projects while energy companies on the make put their hands out for loans to develop once marginal fields.

    When oil prices came back to earth, Continental's corporate clients' earnings plummeted. And when energy prices failed to retrace those lofty heights, a sovereign debt crisis swept through Latin America.

    It is a scenario with an eerily familiar ring that suddenly has raised fears about the potential trigger for a new round of the most recent financial crisis.


    Iron ore prices have halved this year and now sit at their lowest in more than five years. Coal led the charge three years ago in a price rout that has defied all predictions about a recovery.

    Even the prices for many rural commodities, such as dairy, wheat and cotton, are in a deep funk, sitting at multi-year lows.

    None of this is good news for a country like Australia which derives the bulk of its export income from raw materials - predominantly iron ore but increasingly energy and particularly gas.

    As I highlighted in September, slumping commodity prices erodes our nominal income. That directly hits tax receipts. And that will have a serious impact on the budget.

    According to the Parliamentary Budget Office, the collapse in commodity prices will slice $7 billion from income this financial year alone.

    But the broader risk stems from global debt markets. As we saw in 2008, a meltdown in American property markets - a development that would largely have been contained 30 years ago in Continental Illinois' day - ricocheted through the global economy.

    The reason? Debt no longer is confined to individual institutions or even regions. Debt markets are global.


  146. China won't rescue us from a commodities crash

    With interest rates crunched to zero in the US, Japan and Europe, investors have scoured global markets in recent years for any kind of return.

    A great deal of that cash zoomed in on commodities, emerging economies - such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - and raw material exporters. Commodities are now in the toilet and each of those countries faces enormous challenges.

    It wasn't just banks. Mutual funds and sophisticated investors scooped up high yielding corporate debt, a lot of it related to energy and other commodities. It is high yielding, because it is high risk. But risk has been something to ignore and those bonds now are rightly called junk.

    Here at home, vast amounts of capital have been poured into resources in the past decade. But most iron producers are producing at a loss as heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto continue to flood the market, even as demand from China cools.

    Saudi Arabia is playing a similar game. It wants to put pressure on America's emerging energy sector, to squeeze the new players out of business and send them to the wall.

    Brent crude oil dropped to $70 a barrel on Friday. At that price, according to the European Energy Review, most of the OPEC members are losing money, with Iran the worst hit, followed in quick order by Ecuador, Nigeria, Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Angola.

    Only Kuwait and Qatar are pumping at a profit.

    The Saudis can afford to play this game. Many of its fellow members, however, cannot. Outside OPEC, Russia, an economy in serious trouble after being hit by sanctions following the Ukraine conflict, cannot.

    The slump in energy prices will hit us as well. At Curtis Island near Gladstone in Queensland, around $50 billion has been pumped into building three new LNG plants, all of which are due to come on stream in the coming year.

    Another four are under construction elsewhere across Australia, which will cause supplies to surge just as Saudi Arabia is determined to depress prices.

    Australia was saved by China during the first round of the financial crisis, as it turbo charged its investment and growth and commodity prices soared.

    That won't be the case next time around.

    Ian Verrender is the ABC's business editor.

  147. Share market dips as oil prices sink again

    "The price is going to remain fairly depressed if not even lower," IG market strategist Evan Lucas said.

    "It's why ... the oil space as a whole is getting absolutely thumped."

    Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum dropped $1.87, or 5.2 per cent, to $33.88, Santos dumped 65 cents, or 6.4 per cent, to $9.45 while Oil Search was 58 cents, or 7.3 per cent, weaker at $7.39 at 1206 AEDT.

    In the resources sector, diversified mining giant BHP Billiton was down $1.12 at $29.80, Rio Tinto had lost $1.33 to $57.77 and Fortescue Metals had shed 17 cents to $2.77.

    "The one now really to watch is BHP - their two major players which is iron ore and petroleum, both of those commodities are in bear markets," Mr Lucas said.


    The sharemarket has closed sharply lower, losing about $30 billion in value, or $54 billion over the past two sessions, after energy stocks nosedived again on the back of the continuing slide in the oil price.


    Woodside Petroleum shares are down 11.5 per cent since Friday with its market cap losing $3.6 billion. In the same period, Oil Search has fallen 13.4 per cent, Liquified Natural Gas has plunged 32.4 per cent and Karoon has dropped 15.8 per cent.

    "The correction in energy markets has been very strong, but it remains a difficult time for investors because there is a big question mark over how long it will take for supply to rebalance and where the crude oil price will eventually settle," Alphinity Asset Management portfolio manager Stephane Andre said.


    Work dries up as boom ends

    Haydn Black
    Monday, 1 December 2014

    Kwinana-based construction firm AGC has terminated the employment of 170 steel fabricators as work generated by the US$54 billion ($A64 billion) Gorgon LNG project on Barrow Island dries up.


    Protest drama for AGL

    Anthony Barich
    Monday, 1 December 2014

    OVER 20 protesters were arrested on Saturday after more than 300 marched to AGL’s CSG site near Gloucester, just after the company’s completed exploratory drilling onsite revealed “no discernible impact” to ground or surface water during fraccing.


    Japan imported 6,94 million tonnes of LNG in October, down 7.9 percent as compared to the same month in 2013, the country’s Ministry of Finance said.


    Asian spot LNG prices fell to their lowest December levels since 2010 as a build-up of uncommitted cargoes in the Pacific weighed heavily on the market amid weak economic sentiment, according to the ICIS East Asia Index (EAX).

    The December East Asia Index was last assessed on last Friday at $11.094/MMBtu, marking a $3.269/MMBtu fall since it opened as the front month on 16 October. January ’15 EAX fell by $3.725/MMBtu to $11.263/MMBtu over the same period, reflecting further headwinds for sellers expected in the new year.


  148. Australia: Searcher Seismic announces major multi-client seismic campaign in the Offshore Canning Basin

    30 Nov 2014

    Searcher Seismic in cooperation with BGP, has announced a major multi-client seismic campaign in the Offshore Canning Basin, consisting of ~16,000 km of newly acquired 2D data and ~10,000 km of reprocessing.

    The Bilby Non-Exclusive 2D seismic survey comprises of approx. 16,000 km of 2D long-offset, high resolution DUG Broad seismic in the Bedout Sub-basin and Broome Platform, Western Australia, over a 4 x 8 km grid. The survey is designed to provide a grid of modern, high quality data to help identify prospective structural and stratigraphic trends that can be used for regional evaluations and future detailed seismic survey design.

    Mark Ballesteros, Chief Geoscientist for Searcher, said he was looking forward to seeing the results of the new seismic campaign.

    'The discovery of oil in the Lower Triassic at Phoenix South-1 has given explorers cause to question a lot of fundamental assumptions that have coloured the perceptions of the prospectivity of this area for decades and resulted in very limited exploration. We are very excited about the myriad of new plays that are now demanding re-evaluation and look forward to working with explorers to ensure they have the data they need to achieve the task,' Mr Ballesteros said.

    The Bilby 2D survey will be acquired by the BGP Explorer utilising high-end Sercel Sentinel Solid Streamer technology, Bolt Source equipment and continuous recording. The vessel is committed and scheduled to arrive in Australia in January 2015. The seismic data processing will be conducted by DownUnder GeoSolutions, Perth, and deliverables will initially be provided through a comprehensive DUG Broad PSTM flow to produce a high quality, yet timely delivery of final data which is expected from Q2 2015.

    In addition to the Bilby 2D survey, Searcher is also undertaking the Roebuck Super-TieTM, a regional grid comprising over 10,000 km of reprocessed PSTM data and a Prospectivity Study to provide a new look at the big picture of the offshore Canning area. The Prospectivity Study will be available in January 2015 and is being prepared by Paul Harrison from Insight Petroleum. This will provide timely and strategic information to assist companies to understand the implications of the recent Phoenix South-1 discovery and the prospectivity of the Bedout, Rowley and Oobagooma Sub-basins and adjacent platform areas.

  149. China gas squeeze: demand may fall as supply ramps up

    Big gas producers have more to worry about than the immediate problem of tumbling energy prices.

    Longer term, the great new frontier of China may not produce the bountiful legacy the producers expected, as demand forecasts are cut and both the US and Russia enter an already crowded market.

    The National Development and Reform Commission – China's powerful economic planning and management agency – recently downgraded its forecast for future gas demand and that has caused a flurry of number crunching.

    UBS's China-based energy team has downgraded its forecast for gas demand in 2020 from 330 million tonnes per annum (mpta) to 285 mtpa – a cut of 14 per cent.

    PetroChina – the listed arm of the giant state owned China National Petroleum Corporation – says the fall in demand could be far more precipitous, to 238 mpta in 2020.

    For the record, the NDRC forecast – revealed in its climate change policy report earlier this month – is 277mpta, 15 per cent lower than its thoughts on the subject six months ago.

    In the meantime, the next five years will see a remarkable expansion in global gas supply.

    By 2020 Australia is forecast to expand its current exports of LNG from 23 mpta to more than 80 mpta and, in doing so, surpass Qatar as the world's largest LNG exporter.


    US and Russian gas enters a crowded market

    The US is expected to enjoy an even more extraordinary acceleration of LNG exports – from zero to almost 70 mpta in the next five years according to a Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) report released last week.

    At the same time, Russia's fractious relationship with Western Europe has it looking south into China and Asia to sell its burgeoning gas supplies.

    Russia's Gazprom has recently won approval to build two large pipelines from Siberia into China.

    By 2025 they are expected to be supplying China with 50 mpta of LNG – more than double Australia's current export volume.

    Having secured finance in May for the $US75 billion "Power of Siberia" project to supply China's east coast, last month Gazprom signed an agreement to start developing the shorter and cheaper Altai pipeline into the far western provinces.

    The quick succession of deals has been seen in part as a strategic hedging operation to protect Russia from any long term impacts of Western-led sanctions over tensions in Ukraine.

    While the price has remained confidential, analysts have speculated that the Gazprom contracts were at a steep discount of up to 40 per cent below what China currently pays for its LNG imports.


    'Only the fittest will survive'

    A research report from Macquarie analysts earlier this month found that the Russian deals mean that only the "fittest will survive" amongst the new LNG projects.

    "Unsanctioned Australian projects are being pushed up the cost curve at an alarming rate," the analysis found.

    Macquarie argued that the market window has closed for Australian LNG projects that do not already have long term contracts to back their construction.

    It is a view shared by UBS analyst Nik Burns who says China's LNG needs look fully contracted into 2020, particularly given the ready availability of gas on the spot market.

    Mr Burns said there are a number of factors behind reduced demand expectations in China.

    He observed that the US/China pact to cut carbon emissions will accelerate the move to renewable energy and away from all fossil fuels, not just coal.

    Contracts signed in 2013 and 2014 - after the NRDC raised industrial natural gas ceiling prices - have heightened concerns in China about the affordability of LNG as an energy source.


  150. China gas squeeze: demand may fall as supply ramps up


    'Only the fittest will survive'

    Furthermore, the previously runaway Chinese economy – which created the demand expectation – is decelerating.

    On UBS figures China's GDP growth is expected to slow from 7.3 per cent this year to 6.8 per cent next year and 6.5 per cent in 2016.

    Mr Burns said Australian producers with existing contracts – such as the North-West Shelf joint venture and the Queensland coal seam gas operations – should not be too badly affected in the medium term, although they will get lower returns on the spot market.

    "Most of the output is sold under long term contracts, unless they are renegotiated we feel comfortable with (the producers') earnings outlooks," he said.

    Contract negotiations hit by oil price collapse

    Traditionally, major projects forward-sell 80 to 90 per cent of their production on long term contracts to finance their construction.

    The remaining 10 to 20 per cent is sold on the spot market which generally enjoys a healthy premium.

    The recent collapse in oil prices has reversed that relationship and spot prices are now well below existing long term contracted prices.

    Those dynamics, coupled with the abundant new supplies, mean China will most likely be able to aggressively push for lower prices when contracts come up for renegotiation.

    There are rumblings in the industry that China is already pushing to re-negotiate existing contracts.

    New on-shore LNG projects 'effectively dead'

    The fourth train – or processing plant – at Chevron's giant Gorgon project in Western Australian has been shelved already as rising construction costs rendered the development uneconomic.

    In effect US LNG has pushed ahead of Gorgon's expansion and the Asian market will need to absorb the bulk of that new supply before the fourth train can win approval.

    Mr Burns believes Woodside's still unsanctioned $40 billion Browse LNG project off Western Australia is also at risk in the current environment, with its final investment decision already being pushed back into late 2015.

    "On-shore, greenfield LNG projects are effectively dead, however there still is potential for floating LNG offshore which removes the exposure to high Australian costs," he argued.

    Macquarie has an "underperform" rating on Woodside, arguing it is already starting to feel the pinch of falling LNG prices.

    Macquarie noted this is "unsurprising given Browse's position on the cost curve."

    The broker is more positive about Santos as "the company is more about delivering its existing LNG developments rather than considering new ones."

    Macquarie also has an "outperform" rating on Oil Search, arguing the PNG project is comparatively less expensive than others and will face less competition, albeit at lower prices.

    A recent report from the major consulting group, McKinsey and Company found that Australian LNG project costs had escalated to such an extent that they were now 30 per cent higher than competitors from the US, Russia and East Africa.

    "The market post-2020 is likely to be highly competitive, and in such an environment cost will be the main determinant of success," the BREE report warned.

    BREE forecast that the rapid growth in supply will lead to a "softer market" after 2018, with spot LNG prices into Japan sliding by more than 25 per cent.

    So, while gas demand is still expected to grow rapidly over the next 15 years, BREE says earlier predictions of "a golden age of gas" have moderated, particularly as the price of gas has risen at a faster rate than alternative sources of energy.

    That is the big worry for Australian producers who have already made a $200 billion bet on the future of gas.


    1. BRU.

      0.440 -7.37% 0.440 0.455 0.480 0.480 0.430 1,150,432

  151. Hottest spring on record for second year in a row as storm clouds loom

    If spring felt a lot like summer, you wouldn't have been far wrong almost anywhere in the country.

    Nationwide, Australia's mean temperatures during the September-November stretch were 1.66 degrees above the 1961-90 average, making it the hottest spring on record for the second year in a row.

    This gap was even more pronounced for maximum temperatures, with tops 2.33 degrees above average, compared with last year's previous record anomaly of 2.06 degrees.

    "The warmth of spring was not only exceptional in degree, but also in extent, affecting nearly all of Australia," the bureau said in its seasonal report.

    This spring also edged out the 2005 autumn as the most divergent season from averages in records going back more than a century.

    Nine of the 10 hottest Australian springs have now occurred since 2002, according to Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology.

    This past spring was also the driest since 2006, with rainfall down 34 per cent on the average for the season. The lack of moisture reduced cloud cover and limited the cooling role from evaporation.

    "It's the background warming trend connecting with that lack of rainfall," Dr Braganza said.

    According to the Bureau of Meteorology's State of the Climate 2014 report, very much warmer months have become five times more frequent and very cool months one-third less common in the past 15 years ? one of the clearest signals of climate change for Australia.


    Darwin-like outlook

    For Sydney and much of NSW, however, the pattern may take a slight departure for much of the coming week, as a lingering trough brings relatively humid days and the potential for bouts of thunderstorms.

    "It's more typical of a Darwin forecast," Mr Dutschke said.

    The bureau on Monday afternoon issued a warning for severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and large hail stones for the Hunter, south coast, central tablelands, southern tablelands and Snowy Mountains forecast districts.

  152. Adani group's Galilee Basin Carmichael mine project 'not viable', Indian opposition says

    Indian opposition MPs have raised concerns about using state funds to bankroll the Adani Group's Carmichael mine project in western Queensland, which they say is not viable.

    During Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's maiden visit to Australia last month, Adani signed a MOU with the State Bank of India (SBI) for a $1 billion loan to fund the project in Queensland's Galilee Basin.

    The Adani Group's Carmichael mine, rail and port project is worth about $16 billion and promises to create tens of thousands of jobs in Queensland's west.

    But economic analysts said the project would only be viable if coal was at $100 a tonne - currently it is worth about $70 and showing no sign of uprising.

    Indian opposition MP Derek O'Brien raised the issue in the upper house of India's parliament last week, saying at least five international banks had refused to fund the project.

    "Our understanding is these banks refused the loan, so our serious concern is why a $1 billion loan was given by SBI, knowing full well that these five banks have refused," he said.

    The Adani Group believes the project is viable and wants it up and running by 2017, but India's coal minister said last month he hoped to stop imports of thermal coal within three years as domestic production stepped up.


    Queensland taxpayers to help fund Abbot Point coal rail line

    Queensland taxpayers will help fund a rail line from Abbot Point port to what will be Australia's largest coal mine, with the door open to similar deals with other miners.

    Indian company Adani won federal approval earlier this year for the Carmichael mine, which will be unprecedented in scale and represents the opening up the coal-rich Galilee Basin.

    Premier Campbell Newman and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi met in Brisbane today to seal the deal, following the weekend's G20 summit.

    Mr Newman said similar agreements could be reached with other Galilee Basin mining hopefuls, so the resource-rich region is opened for business.

  153. Bank of England investigating risk of 'carbon bubble'

    Enquiry to assess chances of an economic crash if climate change rules render coal, oil and gas assets worthless

    The Bank of England is to conduct an enquiry into the risk of fossil fuel companies causing a major economic crash if future climate change rules render their coal, oil and gas assets worthless.

    The concept of a “carbon bubble” has gained rapid recognition since 2013, and is being taken increasingly seriously by some major financial companies including Citi bank, HSBC and Moody’s, but the Bank’s enquiry is the most significant endorsement yet from a regulator.

    The concern is that if the world’s government’s meet their agreed target of limiting global warming to 2C by cutting carbon emissions, then about two-thirds of proven coal, oil and gas reserves cannot be burned. With fossil fuel companies being among the largest in the world, sharp losses in their value could prompt a new economic crisis.

    Mark Carney, the bank’s governor, revealed the enquiry in a letter to the House of Commons environment audit committee (EAC), which is conducting its own enquiry. He said there had been an initial discussion within the bank on “stranded” fossil fuel assets.

    “In light of these discussions, we will be deepening and widening our enquiry into the topic,” he said, involving the financial policy committee which is tasked with identifying systemic economic risks. Carney had raised the issue at a World Bank seminar in October.

    News of the Bank’s enquiry comes on the day that global negotiations on climate change action open in Lima, Peru, and as one of Europe’s major energy companies E.ON announced it was to hive off its fossil fuel business to focus on renewables and networks. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned that the limit of carbon emissions consistent with 2C of warming was approaching and that renewable energy must be at least tripled.

    “Policy makers and now central banks are waking up to the fact that much of the world’s oil, coal and gas reserves will have to remain in the ground unless carbon capture and storage technologies can be developed more rapidly,” said Joan Walley MP, who chairs the EAC. “It’s time investors recognised this as well and factored political action on climate change into their decisions on fossil fuel investments,” she told the Financial Times.

    Anthony Hobley, chief executive of thinktank Carbon Tracker which has been prominent in analysing the carbon bubble, said the bank’s latest move could lead to important changes.

    “Fossil fuel companies should be disclosing how many carbon emissions are locked up in their reserves,” he said. “At the moment there is no consistency in reporting so it’s difficult for investors to make informed decisions.”

    Both ExxonMobil and Shell said earlier in 2014 that they did not believe their fossil fuel reserves would become stranded. In May, Carbon Tracker reported that over $1tn is currently being gambled on high-cost oil projects that will never see a return if the world’s governments fulfil their climate change pledges.

  154. E.ON to quit gas and coal and focus on renewable energy

    Germany utility firm to sell off most power generating units amid ‘dramatically altered global energy markets’

    Germany’s biggest utility firm, E.ON, has announced plans to split in two and spin off most of its power generation, energy trading and upstream businesses, responding to a crisis that has crippled the European energy sector.

    E.ON said it wanted to focus on its renewable activities, regulated distribution networks and tailor-made energy efficiency services, citing “dramatically altered global energy markets, technical innovation, and more diverse customer expectations”.

    “E.ON’s existing broad business model can no longer properly address these new challenges,” the chief executive, Johannes Teyssen, said in a statement.

    Germany’s power sector has been in turmoil, hit by a prolonged period of weak demand, low wholesale prices and a surge in renewable energy sources which continue to replace gas-fired and coal-fired power plants.

    E.ON said it would prepare next year for the listing of the new company created by its breakup, with the spin-off taking place after its 2016 annual general meeting.

    The split will not be accompanied by job cuts, E.ON said, adding that about 40,000 employees would remain with the parent group, while the remaining 20,000 would join the new company.

    E.ON did not provide an earnings breakup for the two future companies. E.ON’s generation, upstream and global commodities units, the last of which includes trading, accounted for about 35% of its €9.32bn (£7.4bn) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2013. Renewables and regulated businesses alone accounted for 54%.

    E.ON will hold a news conference on Monday about its plans, which will include investing more in wind and solar power.


    Federal Government cuts funding to UN environment agency by over 80pc ahead of Peru climate talks

    The Federal Government has slashed funding to a key United Nations environment agency by more than 80 per cent, stunning environmental groups ahead of a global climate change summit in Peru.

    The ABC has learned the Government cut $4 million from the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which provides advice on environmental policies and climate change negotiations.

    "Whether it's air pollution, whether it's ozone depleting substances, what's happening in the world's oceans, the conservation of biodiversity - for a relatively small amount, Australia benefits from leveraging well over $500 million in contributions that other countries make," UNEP's executive director Achim Steiner said.

    Australia was due to contribute around $1.2 million this year, but has only offered $200,000.

    Over the next four years it will scale back its funding by $4 million.

    Environmental groups are stunned, especially because according to UNEP's Voluntary Indicative Scale of Assessments, Australia should have contributed around $2.2 million next year.

    "As an executive director, you have to be disappointed because clearly the contribution of member states is what enables UNEP to fulfil its mandate and be of service to the global community," Mr Steiner said.

  155. Fred Chaney, retiring Reconciliation Australia head, hopes future Indigenous policies will not threaten 'world's oldest living cultures'

    As Reconciliation Australia's Fred Chaney steps down from the organisation he helped create 15 years ago, he reaches into the past to find the word that captures the challenge still ahead for the cause he has long championed.

    "We don't use the word any more," 73-year-old Mr Chaney told The World Today.

    "But I think that the implication of a lot our [government] policy ... does have a decidedly assimilationist tinge.

    "I think there's an enormous challenge in getting us away from a totally assimilationist mindset and understanding that a continuing part of Australia is the Aboriginal tribes and nations that are such an important ongoing part of the fabric of Australia."

    In the ongoing national discussion about reconciliation, there are few words as emotionally charged as assimilation.

    It broadly refers to the policy framework pursed by successive Australian governments throughout the first half of the 20th Century and well into the 1960s, when it was erroneously assumed that Indigenous Australians would benefit from adopting European customs and beliefs and were absorbed into white society.

    It had a devastating impact on Indigenous communities.

    Mr Chaney believes the same mindset continues to guide white Australia's response to reconciliation.

    "As a nation, I think we're naturally assimilationist," he argues.

    "We voted 90 per cent in the referendum in 1967 because it was a referendum in favour of equality.

    "We have much more difficulty in coming to grips with the continued existence of Aboriginal polities across the country which, post-Mabo, we're certainly going to have for the foreseeable future and indeed perhaps forever."


    .............Mr Chaney said he has serious reservations about Mr Forrest's call for that model to be applied more broadly – and he has told the miner that directly.

    "The discussions I've had with Andrew Forrest, and which are going to continue, are that I'm against any across-the-board universal application of disabling provision - something which takes people's capacity to act on their own behalf out of their hands," he said.

    "To deprive a whole lot of people of any right to run their own lives is, I think, a very poor piece of social policy.

    "I think the big intellectual gap that exists at the moment is people's understanding when we talk about the world's oldest living cultures.

    "They're an ongoing part of this country and we have to find room for them."

    After 15 years on the board of Reconciliation Australia, Mr Chaney believes the time is right to move on.

    "Well, I think that 15 years on any board is probably a bit longer than you should do, so I stepped down knowing in my mind that it's the right thing to do," he said.

    "In my heart I'm very sad about it," he said, but added without hesitation: "But it won't stop my involvement in the reconciliation movement."

  156. EPA refusal to assess Polaris mine proposal puts potential jobs at risk: Chris Ellison

    Thousands of potential jobs are at risk from an Environmental Protection Authority decision not to assess plans for a new Goldfields iron ore mine, the company involved says.

    The EPA has rejected Polaris Metals' proposal to mine the historic Helena and Aurora Range banded iron formation, saying it will have serious and irreversible impacts on the land form.

    It also cited impacts to Aboriginal heritage sites and a lack of mitigation measures as reasons for its decision.

    Polaris, a subsidiary of Mineral Resources, wants to develop the J5 and Bungalbin East iron ore projects on the range, about 100 kilometres north of Southern Cross.

    Mineral Resources chairman Chris Ellison said the projects had high economic value and would create 1,400 jobs during construction and 2,000 jobs during the operational phase.

    He said the EPA was putting those potential jobs on the line.

    "The EPA has made its recommendation based only on its view of the environmental issues and it does not take account of the thousands of jobs created and ongoing economic benefits," he said.

    "The Government explicitly said in 2010 that the area is available to be considered for mining and the company has progressed its plans in accordance with government policy and with very high environmental standards."

    He said the projects would disturb less than 10 per cent of the range.


    Tony Abbott declares Labor 'feral' during morning TV blitz

    ..................."I wish the Labor Party wasn't in such a feral mood," Mr Abbott told the Today Show.

    I wish the Labor Party was taking the kind of view that the Howard opposition took back in the 1980s."

  157. Buru sounded very chirpy in the middle of all the global panic lately.

    Could be they know if the fit hits the shan Barnett has promised them a big bailout most likely from the Royalty for Regions funds ?

    No worries for Buru then ?

  158. Australia: Buru Energy completes Jackaroo 3D seismic onshore Canning Superbasin

    01 Dec 2014
    Photo - see captionBuru Energy has advised that acquisition of the Jackaroo 3D seismic survey was completed on 30 November 2014. Acquisition of the survey commenced on 20 October 2014 after completion of line preparation operations. The completed survey size is some 224 sq km and it was completed with no safety or environmental incidents. The survey is located between the existing Yulleroo and Ungani 3D seismic grids and will join the two grids to give seamless 3D coverage from Yulleroo to Ungani. It covers the currently identified Jackaroo and Praslin prospects and a number of other conventional oil prospects along trend.

    Data quality and prospects

    Field processing has indicated that the data quality of the 3D survey is good to excellent, and the anticipated structural trends and prospects have been properly imaged. Full processing of the data has commenced with a US based processing house, with the aim of having a preliminary data cube available early in 2015. This will allow early selection of prospects for commencement of approvals processes for planned drilling in the 2015 dry season.

    Eric Streitberg, Buru Energy’s Executive Chairman commented:

    'We are delighted that the acquisition of the Jackaroo 3D survey has been successfully completed. We would particularly like to express our appreciation to the Traditional Owners of the area whose support and co-operation contributed significantly to the success of the survey. We would also express our appreciation to Terrex Seismic for their professionalism and dedication in trying field conditions. The Jackaroo 3D survey covers an area of very high prospectivity for conventional oil and we have been very pleased to see the anticipated structural trends being imaged by the data. We look forward to completing the processing and the mapping of the data to confirm drilling locations for next year.'


    Oil Basins Comments on Rey's Acquisition of 50% Stake in WA's Derby Block

    by Oil Basins Ltd.

    Press Release
    Monday, December 01, 2014

    Oil Basins Limited (OBL) made the following ASX announcement Monday to update shareholders and investors on matters pertaining to Western Australia (WA) Petroleum Exploration Permit EP487 (Derby Block) in the Canning Basin.

    On Nov. 28, Rey Resources Limited announced that it had entered into a highly conditional potential transaction with Backreef Oil Pty Ltd (BOPL) for a 50 percent interest in the Derby Block.

    The Company wishes to make the following comments:

    BOPL does not presently hold a 50 percent beneficial interest in the Derby Block

    OBL has outlined its legal position in the recent OBL AGM presentation dated Nov. 25 and is waiting for the WA State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) to deliberate on whether BOPL wrongfully exists on title – quite apart from whether any percentage interest is held beneficially by BOPL

    SAT is expected to hand down its decision on or before Jan. 27, 2015

    The proposed Rey transaction presently has no currency as it is highly conditional, and it is not clear whether it is made by BOPL with the approval of Buru Energy Limited

    If the BOPL deal with Rey is with Buru’s approval or direction, and the BOPL deal with Buru is to expire or be varied, then OBL seeks Buru to change as soon as possible all ASX releases, presentations, maps, website and prospective potential resources relating to its claimed 50 percent interest in EP487 (Derby Block)


  159. As Crude Tumbles, Oil Drillers Seek to Temporarily Idle More Rigs

    by Reuters

    Rujun Shen
    Monday, December 01, 2014

    SINGAPORE, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Offshore drillers globally are increasingly considering "warm stacking" their rigs to take them temporarily off the market, as they gear up for a slowdown in the hunt for oil with crude prices sliding to five-year lows.

    Rigs in warm stack maintain basic operations and most of the crew, and can be put to use once the owner gets a contract. Drillers put rigs in warm stacks to lower operational costs and also to keep them sufficiently ready for quick deployment, meaning they are hopeful a downturn won't be a prolonged one.

    Rigs can also be "cold stacked", or shut down, which typically happens when an owner does not expect to find work for an extended period of time.

    Oil prices have fallen about 40 percent in the past six months, with international benchmark Brent dropping below $68 to a five-year trough and nearing the marginal production cost of the most expensive offshore projects.

    "Six months ago, no one talked about stacking rigs," said Thomas Tan, chief executive officer at Kim Heng Offshore & Marine Holdings Ltd, a Singapore-based oilfield service firm, "In the last few weeks, things have become scarier and the talk of stacking started."

    Tan said his firm has received enquiries to stack dozens of rigs over the past few weeks. Kim Heng currently services four rigs in warm stack around Singapore.

    The company serves about 60 rigs a year in different stage of operations, including providing repair, maintenance and logistics services.

    "A lot of people are looking at warm stack, as they hope that the market will turn around quickly," Tan said.

    "Cold stack is on their mind... but they haven't given up hope yet."

    Seadrill Ltd, the world's largest driller by market value until recently, expects to see a pickup in stacking and scrapping next year, its CEO said. And Transocean Ltd , which owns the world's largest offshore drilling rig fleet, said it may retire additional rigs because of a sluggish market. Transocean and Seadrill are among Kim Heng's customers.

    Rates Fall, Supply Grows Drillers, who provide rigs on hire to oil producers, are in a pinch because day rates to hire rigs have fallen this year while supply grows.

    The day rate for a top specification drillship, which can work in water up to 12,000 feet (3,658 metres) deep, was recently quoted at as low as $400,000, down from $600,000 last year.

    Even rates for jack-up rigs, generally working in water depth below 400 feet, have started to weaken in recent months after holding up relatively well earlier in the year.

    Rig orders soared in recent years when oil prices topped $100 per barrel, making it more profitable to explore in hard-to-reach underwater areas.

    The global fleet of jackup rigs is forecast to grow 9 percent in 2015 and another 7 percent in 2016, Oslo-based investment bank Pareto Securities estimated.

    Pareto also expected the number of jackups and floaters - drillships and semi-submersibles - in warm and cold stack to each reach 100 in the next 12-18 months from 60 and 53 now.

    The marginal cost of producing one new barrel of oil varies, ranging from as cheap as $10 for Middle East onshore, to $60 in deepwater offshore, and above $70 in U.S. shale oil, according to a Reuters survey in September.

    Some producers have announced spending cutbacks. Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd said it will cut next year's capital spending by 15-20 percent. That's the kind of bad news the drilling industry is trying to get a handle on. "What we are seeing now is that people are just standing back and waiting to understand the dynamics of the market before making decisions," said Jason Waldie, Associate Director at energy consultancy Douglas Westwood.

  160. Australian companies lead US West Coast LNG export project based in California

    Monday, 01 December 2014

    Australian Oil Co. and Xstate Resources, along with Indonesia-based Blue Sky Exploration and Production, have formed a joint venture to develop an LNG export project from a base in the US state of California.


    Japanese shipping lines build charter and ownership deals to deliver US LNG cargoes

    Monday, 01 December 2014

    Mitsui Osk Lines, one of Japan's largest LNG fleet operators, has signed another charter agreement to ship LNG from the US to Japan by transiting the expanded Panama Canal from 2017.

  161. LNG seen as bright spot in serious energy challenge confronting Africa

    The sub-Saharan region of Africa accounted for almost 30 percent of global oil and gas discoveries made over the last five years and LNG exports onto the global market are expected to triple by 2040 to around 95 billion cubic metres, or over 70 million tonnes of LNG, the International Energy Agency said in its Africa Energy Outlook.


    Steelhead LNG wins First Nation approval for Vancouver Island export development

    Monday, 01 December 2014

    Steelhead LNG of Canada, owned by a First Nation tribe, said it was advancing its proposed development of a US$30 billion LNG project at Sarita Bay on Vancouver Island.


    Imports drop as domestic gas production rises in Argentina


    India, Mozambique sign oil and gas cooperation MoU







    Can oil fall all the way to $40?


    Oil Shock Streaks Across Globe From Moscow to Tehran to Caracas. Ready for $40?


    Can OPEC Kill the U.S. Oil Boom?

    Oil prices are at five-year lows thanks to OPEC's hands-off attitude. But that alone probably won't be enough to strangle the surge in U.S. oil production.


    Will OPEC bankrupt US shale producers?



    Oil price fall starts to weigh on banks

    Banks including Barclays and Wells Fargo are facing potentially heavy losses on an $850 million loan made to two oil and gas companies, in a sign of how the dramatic slide in the price of oil is beginning to reverberate through the wider economy.

    Details of the loan emerged as delegates of Opec, the oil producers' cartel, gathered in Vienna to address the growing glut in the supply of oil. Several Opec members have been calling for a production cut to shore up prices, but Saudi Arabia, Opec's leader and largest producer, signalled that it would not push for a big change in the group's output targets.

    Repercussions from the decline in the price of crude, which has dropped 30 percent since June, are spreading beyond the energy sector, hitting currencies, national budgets and energy company shares.

    The price slide is having a serious impact on oil producers that rely on revenues from crude exports to balance their budgets. The Russian rouble has lost 27 per cent of its value since mid-June, when crude began to fall, while the Norwegian krone is down 12 per cent and on Wednesday the Nigerian naira touched a record low.


    Marty Fridson, chief investment officer at LLF Advisors, says that of the 180 distressed bonds in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch high-yield index, 52, or nearly 29 per cent, were issued by energy companies.

    "There has been a loss of favour for the energy sector," he said.

    Details of the loan come amid concerns about the impact that the oil price fall could have on credit markets and as US regulators have discouraged banks from making riskier loans.

    Energy companies have come to account for a much larger portion of the outstanding credit universe in recent years as oil and gas companies rode low interest rates and tapped eager credit markets to help fund their expansion.

    The energy sector accounts for 4.6 per cent of outstanding leveraged loans, up from 3.1 per cent a decade ago, according to S&P Capital IQ. Energy bonds make up 15.7 per cent of the $1.3tn junk bond market, according to Barclays data - compared with 4.3 per cent a decade ago.

  163. Oil may prove snag for Apache exit

    Peter Klinger December 2, 2014

    Oil's sudden and spectacular collapse has sparked market chatter that Apache's proposed exit from Australia could yet hit a snag.

    Under pressure from its own investors to refocus on the supposedly higher-margin US onshore shale business, Apache could run into trouble attracting suitable bids for its WA domestic gas operation and a stake in the Wheatstone LNG operation.

    Apache was yesterday not commenting on the sales process though some insiders have expressed surprise a deal with supposed bid frontrunner Woodside Petroleum has not yet been announced.

    As oil and gas stocks led by Woodside endured a second successive day of sharp share price falls, they were joined by copper, nickel, gold and iron ore players on a rotten day for the resources sector as investors worried about Chinese, and therefore global, growth prospects.

    Attention is also starting to switch to BHP Billiton, which is already under pressure because of a weak iron ore price - partly because of its own ramp-up of Pilbara volumes at a time of weaker Chinese demand - only for the price of its second-most important commodity, oil, to now also crumble.

    The falling oil price - the West Texas Intermediate benchmark slumped to a five-year low below $US65 a barrel over the weekend - is the result of the Saudi Arabia-dominated OPEC cartel's decision to maintain its oil output, despite the weak price.

    The OPEC move is seen as the cartel's intent to protect its market share in the wake of rising shale oil output from onshore US operations, where BHP is one of the biggest players.

    BHP petroleum boss Tim Cutt told investors five weeks ago his shale business was "very low on the cost curve".

    Investors in Australia's most valuable company are taking a different view, slicing 8.5 per cent or $8.8 billion from its market capitalisation in the past two trading days.

    Woodside has shed $3.5 billion over two days and Santos $2.5 billion. It has also been bleak for gold miners led by Newcrest Mining and copper and nickel stocks such as Sirius Resources.