Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Australians Lock the Gate on mining -- New Internationalist

Australians Lock the Gate on mining -- New Internationalist

The power of the Lock the Gate movement, which has mobilized thousands of people, is no mean feat in a country dominated by the interests of billionaires, who’ve made their fortunes drilling and digging holes. In Australia, mineral resources are legally the property of the state, but the profits are well and truly private.
In 2012, the Country Women’s Association, the largest conservative women’s organization in the country, often stereotyped as ‘great scone-bakers’, broke with 90 years of tradition and took to the streets, joining an anti-CSG rally of around 10,000 people in Sydney.
But until now, the rhetoric of the movement has largely focussed on protecting farmland and water resources, often peppered with nationalistic sentiments. On the surface the potential for a radical challenge to corporate mining interests would seem somewhat blunted. The fight seems to have pitted emerging, cashed-up mining magnates against entrenched agricultural elites. This includes millionaires from Sydney, who own vineyards and breed race-horses in New South Wales’ coal rich Hunter Valley.
In the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, an exciting branch of the campaign has decisively shifted the focus away from protecting patches of private property. Vast numbers of volunteers have been mobilized through town meetings, going door-to-door, sharing information on mining processes and surveying roads and towns.
The results of the survey process have been universally positive, with the overwhelming majority of residents electing to declare their roads and towns free from mining development. Subsequently, large numbers of people have been trained in peaceful civil disobedience, including techniques like blockading access to drilling sites and ‘lock-ons’, where people chain themselves to equipment or strategic locations.
Blockades in Glenugie and Doubtful Creek both lasted around 50 days, costing Metagsco, the company involved, tens of millions of dollars. Groups like the Knitting Nannas Against Gas, made up of retirees willing to be arrested (and knit) for a cause, have made it impossible for the mainstream media, governments and companies to dismiss the resistance as ‘the usual bunch of hippies and ferals’.

Friday, May 10, 2013

3rd Degree

3rd Degree:
Woodside has signed an agreement with Shell to develop floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) technology at the Browse Basin project at James Price Point near Broome.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman stated that the FLNG has the "potential to commercialise the Browse resources in the earliest possible time frame."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Repeating the mistakes of JPP and lacking consultation and common sense

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has stopped the clock on the Commonwealth's environmental approval process for the James Price Point gas hub until he receives fresh details of any reworked State plans for the site.

The decision complicates the Barnett Government's attempt to rescue something from the wreckage of the decision by Woodside Petroleum and its joint venture partners to walk away from the controversial $40 billion land-based LNG hub, amid spiralling costs.

As part of this drive, Premier Colin Barnett yesterday reintroduced legislation into the WA Parliament to help develop massive gas reserves in the onshore Canning Basin, which are considered a possible Plan B for James Price Point-based exports.

Canning Basin development Bill introduced
  • Legislation will allow for the development of the Canning Basin gas
  • Domestic gas project the first priority
  • Will ensure gas supplies for State’s future energy needs
Western Australia has taken another important step in ensuring the development of the vast gas resources of the Canning Basin.

Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett said the vast onshore gas resources of Canning Basin would be developed under the provisions of a Bill read into State Parliament today.

Mr Barnett said the Bill ratified the Natural Gas (Canning Basin Joint Venture) Agreement signed by the State Government with joint venture partners, Buru Energy Limited and Mitsubishi Corporation.

“This legislation will bring about the continued exploration for natural gas in the remote Canning Basin, the development of a gas pipeline to the Pilbara and ensure Western Australian consumers have first use of any gas discovered,” he said.

The Premier said the US Energy Information Administration estimated the Canning Basin unconventional gas resources at about 229 trillion cubic feet - about one and a half times WA’s currently identified offshore resources. 

The Canning Basin covers 530,000 sq. km stretching from the coast between Port Hedland and Broome, to the State’s eastern border.

The gas resources in this arid area are located between two and four kilometres below the ground’s surface.

“Tapping this vast resource will guarantee Western Australia’s domestic gas supplies well into the future,” Mr Barnett said.

“Because this gas is located onshore, it is also entirely owned by the State Government.

“This agreement ensures gas discoveries are rapidly brought into production, and that gas is delivered to the State’s domestic gas network, before any is exported.”

Once the domestic gas project is under development, the agreement provides for potential future gas supply for gas export.

Natural gas provides about 50 per cent of the State’s domestic electricity generation, and contributes to the production of key resource exports including iron ore, alumina, base metals and gold.

“This will also ensure that future energy-intensive mining opportunities and other manufacturing industries will benefit considerably from an expansion of WA’s domestic gas supply sources,” the Premier said.

“Natural gas is also an ideal partner for the State’s growing renewable energy production as a back-up in times of adverse weather conditions and peak demand.”

The Premier said the agreement provided additional security of tenure for 17,000 sq. km (1.7 million hectares) covered by five exploration permits held by the joint venture. These permits anchor the joint venture’s Canning Basin Domestic Gas Project, with the agreement facilitating further targeted gas exploration in these permits and the development of a pipeline to transport gas south to existing industrial areas.

If commercially viable gas resources are discovered, by mid-2016 the partners will be required to submit a plan for construction of the domestic gas project, including a pipeline connecting to the existing State gas network in the Pilbara.

Under the agreement, the partners are still required to obtain relevant State and Commonwealth environmental, safety, Aboriginal heritage and Native Title approvals for their exploration, development and infrastructure proposals. 

          Fact File
  • The agreement, which is for an initial term of 25 years, with a possible 25 years extension, will:
    • encourage investment in a significant exploration and evaluation program to determine the technical and economic viability of the natural gas resources
    • enable the Government to set firm timetables for development of gas discoveries
    • ensure domestic gas production and delivery occurs before any gas is supplied for export
    • ensure an amount equivalent to 15% of any gas processed for export is reserved for domestic use
    • make available for sale related products such as ethane, propane, butane and condensate, for the possible manufacture of chemicals or use as transport fuel
    • defer relinquishment conditions of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 for five key permits
    • facilitate the development of pipelines and other infrastructure to deliver gas to the State’s domestic gas network
  • This Bill was also introduced to Parliament in November last year but lapsed with the prorogation
Premier’s office - 6552 5000

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chaney says floating LNG processing most likely - Business - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Chaney says floating LNG processing most likely - Business - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Mr Chaney has told the ABC that while other options will be evaluated, floating LNG is the most likely to succeed.

"The capital cost of the floating LNG option is considerably cheaper," he said.

Cousins floats new threat to Woodside | The Australian

Cousins floats new threat to Woodside | The Australian: "Well the royalty stream is going to be precisely the same with the floating option so the money will still be there. And if the aim all along was to help the Aboriginal people, then I assume they're going to do that just as they promised."

Mr Cousins said Woodside and the state government would be "hypocrites" if they did not go through with their compensation packages, given they had cited the need for greater investment in remote Aboriginal communities when arguing with environmental groups over the merits of the James Price Point plan.

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman last week made clear the $1.5bn compensation package previously negotiated with indigenous claimants around James Price Point would not materialise in the event that the Browse gas was processed through alternative methods.

Woodside backs floating LNG for Browse | The Australian

Woodside backs floating LNG for Browse | The Australian:

Environs Kimberley welcomed Woodside's "common sense" and said even a smaller onshore plant at James Price Point would have been an environmental disaster.

"It's now clear that it would be economic and political madness for any other company to think about developing this site for heavy industry," Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said.

He also called on the state government to extend the Great Kimberley Marine Park, promised at the state election, to cover the sea at James Price Point.