Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Labour costs hit gas sector

Labour costs hit gas sector: But Mr Cruddas said labour shortages had affected the ability to deliver major resources projects on time and on budget. “The base costs, mainly labour, are very high in Australia, certainly for us the highest in the world at present,” Mr Cruddas said.

The comments come after credit ratings agency Fitch warned that huge capital expenditure requirements for new liquefied natural gas projects would weaken the financial strength of oil and gas companies.

Free cash flow of Australian oil and gas companies was likely to remain negative, the agency said. It expects debt funding to become more challenging, potentially forcing companies to raise fresh equity to cover project cost blowouts.

Australia has more than 60 million tonnes a year of LNG supply capacity under construction, involving 15 production units, or trains.

However, cost pressures have hit the sector hard.

Woodside Petroleum has suffered a cost blowout of more than 25 per cent at its $14.9 billion Pluto LNG project in Western Australia, which is now due to start deliveries in March.

The company also faced escalating costs over its proposed Browse LNG project, with estimates for building the plant soaring to $US40 billion or more.

Woodside's sneaky strategy to avoid legal consequence at James Price Point

These photos were taken by the Walmandan Tent Embassy protectors yesterday and illustrates the grid-lines within the damaged proposed precinct area that are currently underwater. Woodside's so called investigations have basically created a network of rivers, lakes, dams and ponds, all likely to create a huge health risk because of mosquitoes in the coming weeks.

Woodside are now trying to circumvent the Local Government’s Planning and Development Act 2005 and the Interim development Order No.4. by applying through the state government ‘s newly formed rubber stamp politically motivated Development Assessment Panel, in order to obtain retrospective planning approvals for illegal works undertaken last year Shire of Broome | Lot 259 Wattle Drive, Waterbank, Broome and a variety of other additional works within the Browse LNG Precinct on James Price Point, whose boundaries are yet to clarified.

There are major concerns about the magnitude of impacts of Woodside's investigations works at the proposed project is already having on our community. Already, there is: marked escalation in the social disparity generated, irreversible environmental destruction has already been undertaken, a prevailing sense of anguish at the continued disrespect and devaluation of our Cultural Heritage, the criminalisation of a community who exercised their democratic rights to protect their children’s futures and a newfound understanding that corporate interests exceed those of community concerns.

Woodside’s invasion of 2011 did nothing but create division, distress and disillusionment in the once harmonious and tolerant community of Broome. After months of illegal environmental and cultural heritage destructive activities on Lot 259, Wattle Down, Waterbank, Broome, commonly known as James Price Point (Walmadan) and over 40 arrests of Broome residents trying to protect this bit of Country, Woodside are now trying to circumvent the Local Government’s Planning and Development Act 2005 and the Interim development Order No.4. by applying through the state government‘s formed rubber stamp politically motivated Development Assessment Panels.

This situation is both contemptible to the regards of the Broome community social wellbeing, the environment and highly offensive to democratic local governance. A toxic Industrial area with permanent fencing was created as opposed to a laydown area. A meteorological tower was approved by the Shire before a Section 91 was granted to Woodside. In early June, evidence came to light that this Tower was being used as a communication tower and not only by Woodside but also by the state police force.
The drilling of 50 bores as opposed to the 6 bores Woodside informed the Shire about and the 30 that the Department of Water is aware of. And Hundreds of more vehicle movements along Manari Road that had not been calculated because Woodside did not establish their Shire approved worker’s accommodation camp. Unauthorised and dangerous roadworks have been undertaken by Woodside on Manari Road.

Questions need to be asked like: where, how and who have been managing all the toxic wastes created by Woodside on Lot 259 and how will this be managed in the future? Who will monitor and supervise the applicant’s activities if this Development Assessment Panel grants Woodside this new planning application? Will this responsibility fall again onto the shoulders of concerned and dedicated community members who are arrested, intimidated, fined hundreds of dollars, demonized by main stream media and inconvenienced for their troubles?

Town Planning Scheme No.4 (the Scheme) and Interim Development Order No. 4 are subordinate legislation and each has the power of legislation. Woodside’s outrageous breaches of the IDO are an offence under the Planning and Development Act 2005. A person who commits an offence under this Act is liable to a fine of $200 000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further fine of $25 000 for each day during which the offence continues.

Woodside failed to comply with planning approval conditions or carry out development in accordance with approved plans. Instead of doing the right thing, once caught out, Woodside are now attempting to obtain retrospective approvals from the WA State Government Development Assessment Panel, for illegal work that has already been undertaken. Woodside’s: illegitimate environmental and social devastating actions, this current sneaky strategy of avoidance of consequence, the unmitigated lack of transparency and trustworthiness should be named for what it is criminal, immoral and totally unethical.

Currently, the Broome Shire Council is investigating numerous complaints about these works undertaken by the applicant (Woodside) and violations to the Interim Development Order. However, given the degree of impact Woodside’s actions have had on the community; the intensity of risk to the health and safety of community members; the magnitude of hazards and impacts on the environment; the fact that this matter was intentional to the community; that it will not be resolved in a short timeframe and further impacts are expected in the community, why should the Development Assessment Panel bequeath Woodside’s current application with additional opportunities to continue without penalty or any legislated repercussions?

Woodside exceeded the approved capacity limit of land, failed to undertake and maintain landscaping, undertook the unauthorised dumping of toxic wastes; unauthorised storage of materials, chemicals, toxic wastes and radiation substances; unauthorised use of land, buildings and communication tower; and unauthorised major land clearing, road works and established countless prohibited bores.

Can the Development Assessment Panel legally assess this new application when these investigations have not been completed and the findings released both to the Broome community who first made the complaints and the Shire itself?

Does the Development Assessment Panel legally have the power to assess a retrospective application the original approvals issued by the Broome Shire are still under investigations and the decision about whether to prosecute has not come to a Local Council meeting for clarification?

Has the Department of Local Government and the Minister for Land Administration ever been informed about these breaches?

The Shire should have upheld and enforced section 214 of The Planning and Development Act 2005, when they had not received Woodside “please explain letter” within the prescribed 14 days and issued a Planning Infringement Notice, a stop Work Notice and directly commenced prosecution action under this section of the Act.

Woodside’s proposal still needs to be assessed by the Shire Council under the Interim Development Plan No.4. Therefore, according to Section 4 (b) of IDO4 : Application shall be made by or on behalf of the Owner of the Land ……….. The Land in question is unallocated Crown Land with a registered Native Title Claims of the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr Peoples, WAD 6002/98. WC99/33. Native title has not been extinguished under section 177 of the Lands Administration Act.

Hansard Question 1046: JAMES PRICE POINT — WOODSIDE PROGRAM OF WORKS 2. Is Woodside the occupier or owner of the unallocated crown land where it is conducting its program of works at James Price Point; and, if so, which title applies and under whose authority was the title bestowed? Answer: 2. No

Is this Development Assessment Panel clear as to who legally owns Lot 259 ?

Although the tenure for the Land is considered under the Land and Administration Act and under this Act the Department of Regional Lands is responsible for the management of the land, it still does not give this Department or Woodside ownership or even a fundamental right to submit any planning or development applications.

Under what lawfully Act allows for this Development Assessment Panel to have the right to approve any planning or development application for Lot 259 when Native title has not been extinguished under section 177 of the Lands Administration Act.? The WA Minister for Lands was not successful in his attempts to compulsory acquire the land in question last year, no Indigenous Land Use Agreement has been signed, and there has been no lawful facilitation that has granted any appropriate tenure arrangements with the proposed precinct proponents.

Therefore, in the eyes of the law, no one has to right to make an application of this nature for Lot 259 under the IDO4. What legal rights or legislated powers does the Development Assessment Panel have to grant non owners of the land any planning or development approval over Lot 259, what are the Terms of Reference for an assessment of application of this nature?

Woodside have proven time and time again that they are not good corporate citizen. The Broome community has proven time and time again that they will never issue the social licence to operate. Friedman believes, in a free society, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engage in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” Woodside has not even managed to uphold this one social responsibility.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Woodside browses on $1.6bn deal | The Australian

Woodside browses on $1.6bn deal | The Australian: WOODSIDE Petroleum could reap up to $1.6 billion from the selldown of its $40bn Browse liquefied natural gas project, with interest in Australian gas assets expected to remain strong despite rising labour costs and offshore competition.

After Woodside confirmed on Friday a report in The Australian that it was looking to reduce its 46 per cent stake in Browse, analysts tipped the Perth company would offload up to 23 per cent to a party that "facilitates and adds value" to the development.

Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett said Chinese interests could buy up to 25 per cent.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Mob Violence That Wasn't | newmatilda.com

The Mob Violence That Wasn't | newmatilda.com: Police have laid no charges. No-one appears to have been hurt through the actions of protesters. The available footage, particularly from Channel 9, which can be seen here on the 3AW site, shows no violence from protesters. What it shows is confusion and panic from police and security, protestors milling about shouting, and rough handling of protesters by police.

In response to a question about yesterday’s violence from a journalist at today’s tent embassy press conference, a spokeswoman for the embassy, Selina Davey-Newry, said:

"There was no violence, we had the AFP and riot squad pushing at us in a line, and invited the politicians to come out and speak. The AFP came out against us with force, and we did not retaliatie with force, we did not instigate any wrong-doing or any violence".

Chinese likely to buy 25pc of Browse LNG project from Woodside | The Australian

Chinese likely to buy 25pc of Browse LNG project from Woodside | The Australian
: The news sparked hope among environmentalists that a selldown would kill off plans to build a major processing plant on the Kimberley coast, instead forcing the Browse gas to be piped south to existing facilities at the North West Shelf.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett welcomed Woodside's move and revealed that his government was facilitating talks aimed at bringing China into the project as both an equity partner and gas customer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Kimberley Coast: Press Release: 2011 Kimberley Cetacean Report Released

The Kimberley Coast: Press Release: 2011 Kimberley Cetacean Report Released

Kimberley Whale Watching has just released their 2011 Kimberley Cetacean Report 2011. The report highlights the importance of the Dampier Peninsula and the Kimberley's outer shoals and reefs to the Breeding Stock D population of Humpback whales.

ASX Announcement

Friday, 27 January 2012


In regards to media speculation that Woodside is seeking to divest equity in the Browse LNG Development, Woodside advises it has not made any decision to reduce its equity in the proposed development at this time.

In response to significant interest from a number of parties, Woodside is conducting a limited process to assess the potential sale of a minority portion of the company's equity in the development.

This process provides an opportunity to assess possible early value realisation. Woodside intends to retain operatorship of the development.

This approach is consistent with Woodside CEO Peter Coleman's comments from the 2011 Half-Year results presentation.

"Our tier-one LNG growth options include Pluto expansion, Browse and Sunrise. We have large equity stakes in these projects and this means we have additional options. Through a disciplined approach and robust processes we will deliver value from the LNG growth options over both the medium to longer term."

Woodside denies Browse LNG equity fire sale - Business (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Woodside denies Browse LNG equity fire sale - Business (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "They are currently in a position where James Price Point looks like an incredibly difficult project," he said.

"And the alternatives that we have put forward and their joint venture partners have put forward look more and more palatable as every day goes by."

The Premier Colin Barnett says he believes Woodside would have trouble sustaining its 50 per cent stakeholding in the project.

He says Chinese investors have made it clear they would like to be involved in the venture and the State Government is actively encouraging Chinese involvement both as a customer and an investor.

Woodside is not revealing just who has expressed interest in the development but says it intends to retain most of its equity in the project.

Happy fortieth Tent Embassy - On Line Opinion - 26/1/2012

Happy fortieth Tent Embassy - On Line Opinion - 26/1/2012

The grass-roots political struggle that began as the Aboriginal Tent Embassy successfully subverted the colonial narrative. It did so by placing the lived experiences of Aboriginal people; racism, disease, poverty and dispossession front and centre.

As with the Occupy Movement with protests in cities including New York, London and Sydney, it took on a life of its own and inspired other protest 'embassies' around Australia, most recently on the site of the proposed Kimberley gas hub.

Woodside kicks off $1bn Browse sale as plans for processing plant may be axed

BY: ANDREW BURRELL From: The Australian January 27, 2012 12:00AM

WOODSIDE Petroleum has launched a $1 billion-plus auction of most of its 50 per cent stake in the huge Browse gas project in Western Australia, in a move that could kill off controversial plans to build a processing plant on the Kimberley coast.

Sources say the formal auction process began after Woodside was approached by scores of companies over the past 12 months over a potential selldown.

Although this is very promising news, everyone must please remember that it is the WA State Government who is the proponent for this project. Its the state government who want a deep water port on the Kimberley coast. Woodside have made no official statement and the so-called auction has not started. We do keep our fingers crossed that this is the start of the finish, but lets not hold our breath just yet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Share issue aims to raise $6.5m for Tangiers

Share issue aims to raise $6.5m for Tangiers:

The company holds large interests in speculative exploration projects in Morocco and Australia and is highly leveraged towards exploration success. Major oil companies are understood to interested in a possible joint venture partnership with Tangiers at its Nova prospect in Western Australia.

Fears for life as landslide hits PNG | The Australian

Fears for life as landslide hits PNG | The Australian: RESCUE workers are attempting to reach a remote part of Papua New Guinea after a massive landslide which reports said may have left dozens of people buried.

The landslide struck near a huge ExxonMobil liquefied natural gas project in the country's rugged southern highlands yesterday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said, leaving a trail of destruction.

Before it was aware of the disaster, Oil Search yesterday reported “good progress” at the construction of the huge PNG LNG venture, which chief executive Peter Botten said was on track to start production in 2014.

But the interruption to work at Hides could put the construction schedule under pressure and has highlighted the technical challenges facing the project and the difficult local conditions.

The region received up to 10 metres of rain a year and landslides were “unfortunately a regular feature”, an Oil Search spokeswoman said.

The project involves the development of several gas fields in the PNG Highlands, over 700 kilometres of pipelines and a 6.6 million tonnes per year liquefaction plant near Port Moresby.

LNG is due to be delivered to customers in Taiwan, Japan and China.

David Knox, chief executive of Santos, a partner in the venture, said the company shared ExxonMobil’s “concern for the workforce and the communities in the affected area”.

A Santos spokesman in Adelaide could provide no further details.

Radio New Zealand International noted that the area was geologically unstable and lay in the shadow of the ancient volcano of Bosavi.

New Gouldian finch population found in Kimberley - Australian Geographic

New Gouldian finch population found in Kimberley - Australian Geographic

Friday, January 20, 2012

Correspondence with the Broome Shire about Woodside illeagy Road Works on Manari Road, in Dec 2012.

A series of correspondence with the Broome Shire

To the Broome Shire
Good morning

You stated in your email that

" I am informed the job was done quickly with a front end loader and vehicles with flashing lights were stationed at either end of the work zone to manage traffic".

This is a total lie and no vehicles with flashing lights were present, as the video clearly shows.

You went on to state In your email you have advised there were no signs erected and that Woodside did this to "create a deep dangerous sandy pit, forcing people to slow down or spin out." An inspection of the site did not indicate any signs of such a sandy pit.

Once, handsoffcountry blogged the video evidence on the 19th, Dec 2012 this sand pit and the road had been again altered.
When and who from the Shire inspected this sight?

The only way that my email can be taken seriously is if Woodside are held accountable for this illegal action by the Law. If a private person was to undertake such works i am sure the Shire's approach would be considerable more than a letter of warning.

I would also like to remind you that these roads works took place the day following the Shire Council's Dec Meeting, where numerous complaints and irregularities by Woodside were raised. How long will the Shire continue to turn a blind eye to Woodside and their actions without real consequence ever been enforced?

Your correspondence went on to say that "It is considered, as this was the first such incident, that a warning such as that given, is appropriate."

If someone had had an accident during Woodside's roadwork, would the fact that it was the first time hold any relevance?

If public safety on Shire Roads is a high priority for the Shire of Broome, as you have stated, then I request that the Shire immediately take legal action, with the full extent of the law, and follow through with this claim priority.

Yours faithfully

RE: I120110-65845 - Woodside illegy road works on Manari Road Dec 2011Thursday, 19 January, 2012 12:41 PM
From: "Shire" View contact details

Thank you for the below email concerning actions by Woodside's contractors on Manari Road in Dec 2011.

Apparently, some of the heavy vehicles demobilising from a works program on Woodside's Site caused some damage to Manari Road near the entrance to the laydown area when turning left out of the laydown area and heading towards Broome. A decision was taken by Woodside staff to repair the road to make it safe. I am informed the job was done quickly with a front end loader and vehicles with flashing lights were stationed at either end of the work zone to manage traffic.

In your email you have advised there were no signs erected and that Woodside did this to "create a deep dangerous sandy pit, forcing people to slow down or spin out." An inspection of the site did not indicate any signs of such a sandy pit.

Your email has however, been taken seriously and action has been taken with a warning given to Woodside representatives of their obligations in relation to obtaining approval for work on Shire roads, having an approved Traffic Management Plan and accredited staff on site for all Works on Roads. It has been made very clear that they cannot carry out any works on Shire Roads without prior approval.

It is considered, as this was the first such incident, that a warning such as that given, is appropriate.

Should further instances occur then of course stronger measures would progressively be taken.

Please be assured that public safety on Shire Roads is a high priority for the Shire of Broome.

Yours faithfully

KR Donohoe

Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:08 PM
To: Shire
Subject: I120110-65845 - Woodside illegy road works on Manari Road Dec 2011

Broome Shire CEO

Dear Ken

Woodside had made arrangements with the Broome Shire for the Shire to carry out road maintenance works on Manari Road (a Shire Road) whenever trafficability or road safety risk reaches an unacceptable level. Woodside had recognised that increased traffic from their operations would result in the need for increased maintenance.

Therefore, why did Woodside carried out their own road maintenance work on this public road without appropriate authority from the Broome Shire Council and without any of the basic public safety procedures in place?

Please refer to http://youtu.be/iIjJvFbhBb0 for video evidence taken on the 15th of Dec 2011 at approximately 11am, on Manari Road.

The Broome Shire grader had just completed grading the road. What you are witnessing in this video is Woodside using their equipment and undertaking their own road works which is highly illegal, hazardous and wantons prosecution by the Broome Shire Council. This work was done in order to create a deep dangerous sandy pit, forcing people to slow down or spin out. This allows time for hostiles (Lockforce) Woodside corporate security enough time to record number plates and photograph people who in traveling in Country. Something they have been subjecting locals and visitors alike for well over a year.

Woodside are not in procession of a duly signed and sealed Instrument of Authorisation by the Commissioner of Main Roads to undertake roadwork's, on public roads in Western Australia. Therefore, what are the penalties these types of dangerous unauthorised illegal actions and how does the Broome Shire intend to legally respond to Woodside?

Any person or party intending to undertake an event or conduct works that may impact on traffic (including pedestrian traffic) within any part of the road reserve shall, as a condition of approval by Main Roads WA, Local Government or any other authority responsible for the road, ensure that the person performing the tasks contained in Table 4 - Main Roads' Traffic Management of Works on Roads Code of Practice hold the relevant and current traffic management certificate of accreditation.

Given the seriousness of this action on public safety when is the Broome Shire going to report the driver of the bulldozer to the police because he did not hold the necessary accreditation to carry out this work.

Main Roads WA certificate and proof of certification is provided in the form of a 'Photo ID' card is issued for each category of accreditation to individuals who successfully meet the pre-requisites applicable for each level of accreditation. This proof was not provided when requested.

Woodside did not have the necessary approvals to undertake these road works.This roadwork was not approved by an Authorised Body nor was a MRWA approval obtained.
· Woodside does not have a Traffic Management Plan for these road works.
· This particular section on Manari Road is not located safely with respect to horzontal and vertical alignment. There was no signing and delineation erected to cater for this?
· The transitions from the existing road to the roadworks were not safe or clearly laid out.
· No speed limits were established on-site consistent with the modified road environment.
· The worksite was not clearly defined or appropriately separate from passing traffic.
· The travel paths for both directions of traffic were not clearly defined.
· No "Reduce Speed" signs located in accordance with the TMR Code of Practice.
· No "repeater" speed limit signs that should be erected in accordance with AS 1742.3.
· No signs or devices were placed in such that they are clearly visible to approaching drivers and other.
· No sign of temporary hazard markers (T5-4 and T5-5) aligned and spaced to comply with the requirements of AS 1742.3
· No variable message signs (VMS) used compliant with the requirements of AS 1742.3
· The clearances from the worksite were not consistent with the requirements of AS 1742.3
· No Traffic Controllers on the worksite so no accredited, suitably attired and correctly positioned relative to sight distance and the "Prepare to Stop" signs.

How does the Shire intend to deal with this matter? .Under what legislation are serious matters of this nature dealt with and will there be a full investigation undertaken by the Shire? Given the facts that the Broome Shire has witnessed and forced to investigate numerous planning and development misdemeanors by Woodside over the last 12 months when will the Shire use the fully force of the law to ensure the Woodside does not continue to flaunt the law and so readily dismiss local governess.


Outlook cools for energy heavyweights

Fitch Ratings has sounded a warning on the outlook for the Australian oil and gas industry as sector heavyweights announce falls in their quarterly production results.

Fitch issued a negative credit outlook for the sector this year, saying companies faced rising debt due to the large number of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that were not yet generating revenue.

The agency also has forecast that strong prices for LNG will fall due to competition from North American gas fields.
Fitch Ratings director of energy and utilities Sajal Kishore says skilled labour shortages have contributed to cost blow-outs and project delays.

"What we're seeing more now is that companies are coming out more frequently with announcements of delays, which was not happening two years ago," Mr Kishore said.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eight LNG plants should be enough, says Martin Ferguson · BY:MATT CHAMBERS · From:The Australian

Eight LNG plants should be enough, says Martin Ferguson

THE Gillard government says it will discourage more onshore standalone liquefied natural gas plants, apart from the controversial Browse project planned near Broome and another potential Gladstone plant, with six LNG hubs in northern Australia seen as enough.

At the same time, Exxon Mobil has given a downbeat assessment of its Scarborough LNG joint venture with BHP Billiton - another potential west coast LNG development - flagging high potential development costs.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said those hubs, along with Broome if the Woodside Petroleum-led joint venture decided a plant there was economic, were an "ideal end result".

Analysts are forecasting Browse will be developed at the existing North West Shelf site...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LNG total hits $175bn with Ichthys

LNG total hits $175bn with Ichthys: The next real test for Australia’s LNG sector will be the progress at Woodside’s closely watched Browse LNG venture, which is targeting a 12 million-tonnes-per-year plant at the controversial James Price Point site on the Kimberley coast.

As another greenfield project, planned for a remote, undeveloped site near Broome, Browse LNG faces technical, environmental and economic challenges that have already seen its schedule pushed back by several years.

Woodside, as the project operator, in December pushed back the targeted timing for a go-ahead at Browse to the first half of 2013 from mid-2012.

But the more the project slips in timing, the more it comes up against strengthening competition from rivals, analysts point out.

“[This year] is a massive year for Browse,” says Wood Mackenzie’s McMahon. “It needs basically to sink or swim at James Price Point, and the next 18 months will dictate what happens.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

LNG projects face tougher times

LNG projects face tougher times
Angela Macdonald-Smith
With yet another huge liquefied natural gas project now formally under construction, the signs are pointing to harder times ahead for sanctioning more new LNG projects in Australia.

Inpex’s $US34 billion ($32.89 billion) Ichthys project is the seventh to be approved in the Australian region in just two years, the most rapid rate of approvals ever. But with rising construction costs and mounting competition for lucrative Asian LNG sales contracts threatening to emerge from gas-rich North America, Russia and even eastern Africa, it is crunch time in particular for Woodside Petroleum’s Browse LNG project, which has already slipped down the development queue.

Should the technically and economically challenging venture slip further back, it risks coming into direct competition with inevitably cheaper sources of LNG emerging from other export ventures.

Australia still has a huge volume of gas not committed to one of the eight LNG projects now being built in the country and all the forecasts point to continuing robust demand for the fuel from Asia. The problem is more one of costs, which means the next wave of project approvals is likely to be one of more economical brown-field expansions rather than brand new plants on new sites.
Browse is one of the few green-field LNG ventures still in the wings in Australia. The Arrow Energy project owned by Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina is another, but because it has an in-built customer in the shape of PetroChina, the pressure is off at least in terms of finding sales markets. (The same cannot be said about environmental approvals because of the storm clouds gathering around coal seam gas development in the eastern states.)

Otherwise, however, Australia is now looking towards a new, different period of LNG development. One that will still have a lot of growth, but will be reliant more on brown-field expansions and smaller, niche floating LNG projects rather than groundbreaking green-field projects.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nine arrested at Qld anti-CSG protest

Nine arrested at Qld anti-CSG protest:

"Landowners are really, really concerned about their water and concerned that they're not being listened to," he said.

"All of the people arrested, and I'm one of them, have never been arrested before.

"They are law-abiding citizens who have had to make this enormous step to let people know how important this issue is."


What is coal seam gas (CSG)?

Coal Seam Gas (CSG), or coal bed methane (CBM)
as it’s sometimes known, is a form of natural gas,
typically extracted from coal seams at depths of
300‑1000 metres. It is a colourless, odourless, mixture
of a number of gases, but is mostly made up of methane
- it’s usually more than 95 per cent pure methane.
CSG was made over 200 million years ago when coal
was being formed, and has been held in the coal since
then by water pressure. To get at the gas you first need
to remove the water. This reduces the pressure in the
coal seam enabling the gas to flow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kimberley oil find tipped to fuel exploration surge

Kimberley oil find tipped to fuel exploration surge: The discovery of oil in Western Australia’s remote Kimberley region would usher in a new wave of exploration for oil and gas, including possible controversial coal seam gas fields, WA Resources Minister Norman Moore said.

The veteran Liberal MP said WA badly needed such onshore energy sources for power and industry.

But environmental groups warned that Buru Energy’s announcement last week that it would start trial production at its Ungani oil field next month was another sign, along with Woodside Petroleum’s planned $40 billion James Price Point gas site, of the “industrialisation” of the wilderness area. The groups also want tighter regulations to control the emerging unconventional shale and coal seam gas industry, which has sparked concern in Queensland and NSW.

Mr Moore said he expected Buru’s announcement to spark an exploration surge, with bidding for tenements in the Kimberley area already rising. “This is very encouraging news for us,” he told The Australian Financial Review yesterday. “Canning Basin in the Kimberley has long been thought of as a source of oil and gas, but has been quite disappointing.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Woodside stokes fears of oil leak

Woodside stokes fears of oil leak:
Woodside has taken its complaint over the WA government’s directive to the Federal Court in Perth, arguing the requirement would cost “in the order of $20 million or more”. Yet its legal complaint is based on whether the WA directive was issued correctly, rather than on the merits of using a surface plug.

Woodside noted in legal documents the state government relied partly on “expressions of concern” penned by Chevron without allowing Woodside to respond. (Woodside and Chevron are joint-venture partners in the North West Shelf gas project.)

The issue has arisen at an awkward time for Woodside, which is reliant on state government support to develop the controversial James Price Point gas processing hub.

The state government believes Woodside has reneged on a deal to plug the wells to its standards when it received permission to drill the gas wells. But a person close to the oil and gas company argued that Woodside gave no such pre­commitment.

Barnett keeps his foot on the gas

Barnett keeps his foot on the gas
: ” Barnett says in an interview with The Australian Financial Review. “I don’t think you will find a future premier, Liberal or Labor, who will be prepared to take on the issues in the Kimberley.”

Barnett concedes that opposition to Woodside’s project is a sore point, one which would be better dealt with before 2013.

Would he be disappointed though, after his efforts, if it fell over?

“Not personally, but I want it to happen because it is the right thing and I know as a Premier that it is the only way I can deliver genuine economic opportunity to that part of the country,” he says.

“Despite all the protests, it is a clean industry. It is not the smokestack industry everyone talks about.”

The Australian Financial Review

Sea Shepherd :: Our Sincere Apologies, Prime Minister

Sea Shepherd :: Our Sincere Apologies, Prime Minister:

The suggestion by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney General Nicola Roxon that Sea Shepherd help foot the bill for the recovery of three Australian citizens from the Shonan Maru #2 is absurd.

They have of course taken a page out of Political Media Manipulation 101 where a politician seeks support by indirectly demonizing a non-governmental organization or individual for costing the taxpayer money. Their reasoning is that the public will lose sympathy if they perceive that an action is costly to the tax payer.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pressure on government to help free activist trio

Pressure on government to help free activist trio: The federal government is under pressure to take swift action to secure the release of three Australian activists detained aboard a Japanese whaling security ship.

But the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has conceded the men could be taken to Japan to face legal action.

The West Australian men from the Forest Rescue environmental group boarded the Japanese security vessel Shonan Maru No.2 in waters off Bunbury overnight on Saturday. Their aim was to force the vessel to stop tailing the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's flagship, the Steve Irwin.

FWD: Statement from Forest Rescue Who Have Boarded The Japanese Whaling Ship In Australia's Waters ... In Protest

We have come from the forests of Australia to defend the whales being slaughtered in Australian territorial waters.

We are Australian citizens and we have boarded the Japanese flagged Shonan Maru #2 in Australian territorial waters at a position of (32 degrees zero minutes south and 115 degrees 21 minutes east) We have taken this action of boarding the Shonan Maru #2 to protest the fact that this vessel is part of a whaling fleet that is operating in contempt of the Australian Court and is in Australian waters in defiance of the Australian Federal court ruling and the will of the Australian people.

“We are onboard this ship because our government has failed to uphold its pre-election promise to end whaling in the Southern Ocean,” said Simon Peterffy.

Forest Rescue has decided to take action to prevent the Shonan Maru #2 from tailing the Steve Irwin back to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Forest Rescue is making a stand to assist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their campaign to end illegal whale poaching in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

We are taking this action to remind the Australian government of their obligation to enforce existing laws pertaining to the prohibition of whaling ships in our waters.

We as Forest Rescue are insulted and disappointed in our government for allowing the transit of whale poaching vessels in Australian waters.

AFP spies targeting green activists | smh.com.au

AFP spies targeting green activists | smh.com.au

Documents released to the Herald under freedom of information laws confirm the police are "continually monitoring" anti-coal mining and other environmental groups. Much of the intelligence collection is carried out for the federal police by a private contractor, the National Open Source Intelligence Centre, in Melbourne.

The documents reveal that Mr Ferguson, prompted by lobbying from energy companies, has urged stronger criminal penalties against protests that disrupt "critical energy infrastructure".

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, condemned the surveillance, saying it was "intolerable that the federal Labor government is spying on conservation groups" and wanting to "criminalise political protest".


This surveillance of community groups is one-sided: it is not directed at companies who break the law. There is no surveillance of board rooms to find out what other plans they might have to use their resources to alter the political debate in Australia. Nor is it being used to detect breaches of environmental laws by these companies. It is directed against the very community which should be sovereign in a democratic system.

You won't be able to find out if your group or your emails have been spied on. This would be exempted from disclosure under s 37 of the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act. This means that the community will not be able to challenge the use of these covert powers in any specific instance.

The latest news follows revelations in 2008 that police have been infiltrating community groups and spying on them.

Government in talks to free whaling activists from ship - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Government in talks to free whaling activists from ship - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Greens call on PM intervene over whaling hostages | Rachel Siewert

Greens call on PM intervene over whaling hostages | Rachel Siewert

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Communities angered by fly-in workers - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Communities angered by fly-in workers - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): Non-resident or fly-in, fly-out workforces are an increasing part of mining but many argue they are bad for communities.