The Bullroarer - Saturday 17th November 2007

Congestion charges 'needed in NZ cities'

Congestion charges must be introduced to dampen our insatiable appetite for cars, a transport expert has warned.

Lee Schipper, a United States academic whose research focuses on transport congestion, told a transport forum in Wellington this week that cities such as Auckland and Wellington were prime candidates for congestion charges - under which drivers pay to bring their cars into the city during certain hours.

Yallourn closure puts strain on grid

THE huge landslip at Truenergy's Yallourn coal mining operation will provide a major test for the national electricity grid that links the eastern states.

The system will have to cover the loss of around 4 per cent of the nation's generating capability.

While the immediate loss of electricity-generating capacity has been covered, a substantial proportion of the power station's 1480 megawatts of capacity may be out of action for weeks.

Phil: And we've got 37 degrees forecast in Melbourne on Tuesday. The air conditioners will be cranking, putting even a full capacity grid under pressure.

Liquid coal for cars 'dirtier' than petrol

Some alternative vehicle fuels such as liquid coal can cause more harmful greenhouse gas emissions than petrol or diesel, scientists warn.

"Liquid coal, for example, can produce 80% more global warming pollution than [petrol]," says the US non-profit environmental group, the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Gull extends biofuel roll-out

Australian family-owned oil company Gull Petroleum expects to have more than a third of its 30 service stations supplying a 10 per cent biofuel blend before the end of this month.

The company, which says it has made about 50,000 forecourt biofuel sales since introducing the high-octane blend to some petrol pumps in August, is now providing it at eight North Island stations after extending its supply line in the past two days to Whakatane and to New Lynn in Auckland.

Tourism hit by climate change fears

THE tourism industry wants to conquer the fears of Europeans that air travel - and therefore a flight to Australia - is a primary cause of global warming.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources is commissioning a study into how Germans and Britons feel about climate change. The study will gauge their worries on the travel plans of two of the largest visitor groups to Australia.

SA ponders a Spencer Gulf port

A DEEP sea port in South Australia's Spencer Gulf is being discussed behind closed doors by the mining industry and senior state government figures, including Premier Mike Rann and Treasurer Kevin Foley.

The port is needed to fully cash in on the state's impending mining boom, spearheaded by the multi-billion-dollar expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium, copper and gold mine near Roxby Downs.

Port Bonython, near Whyalla, is believed to be a leading contender for the port, but other options are on the negotiating table.

Woodside praises floating LNG platform

THE Greater Sunrise gas development has come full circle with Woodside CEO Don Voelte saying yesterday that floating LNG was now the cheapest and most effective development option.

Putting a gas liquefaction plant on a floating platform would be a world first, and might overcome some of the political factors that have delayed the project.

Mr Voelte conceded a decision favouring floating LNG, or FLNG, could overcome political risk involved a greenfields plant in East Timor.

Shipping, supply hit Macarthur profits

AUSTRALIA'S Macarthur Coal has warned that its first-half profit will be lower on the year, due to capacity constraints and bottlenecks at export ports, sending its shares lower.

In a statement yesterday, the company said it expected its profit for the six months to December 31 to fall to $12-18million, from $42.2 million reported a year earlier.

$A has helped save petrol bill: Woolies

Australia's largest retailer Woolworths Ltd says a recent surge in the Australian dollar exchange rate has helped take some of the heat out of its petrol bills.

NZ: Ship begins hunt for oil

This weekend marks the start of a big new push in New Zealand's search for oil and gas.

A seismic exploration ship, the Discoverer 2, will begin work in the Great Southern Basin, taking acoustic soundings to gauge whether drilling should go ahead in the area.

Woodside Petroleum cuts output forecast

SYDNEY: Woodside Petroleum, the second-largest oil and gas producer in Australia, cut its forecast output for next year by as much as 20 percent because of delays to new projects and the sale of fields in Africa.

Woolies head pushes for [petrol] price inquiry

Australia's biggest retailer Woolworths has told its shareholders it would welcome another inquiry into supermarket prices as a chance to set the record straight.

Greens can't rain on nuclear parade

BAD weather and green activism combined this week to curb electricity output from two of the nation's coal-fired power stations.

CNOOC may take stake in Shell's oil business in Australia

Nov. 16, 2007 (China Knowledge) – China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC)<883> has been offered stake in Australia's North West Shelf oil business currently owned by Royal Dutch Shell, according to The Australian. The deal, which is expected to be worth up to US$450 million, mainly involved with Shell's 16.67% stake in the Cossack Wanaea project run by Australia's largest public.. [login required]

Expect problems with the Port Bonython site
in the form of 'save the Giant Cuttlefish'
My response would be 'Giant Calamari'. Actually I'm sure the warm or hypersaline water could be ducted away, or perhaps the squid will mutate and become the world dominant species.

Other issues are coke and limestone arrivals
for the Whyalla steel mills, a new iron ore
discovery nearby, logistics of the Olympic Dam expansion, the adjoining Stony Point LNG train from the depleting Cooper Basin gas pipeline. If I recall Ron Walker and his mates want to put a Westinghouse AP1600 pressurised light water reactor at Port Bonython.

I'm sure nukes and squids can co-exist.

How do congestion charges work anyway? What is it, basically like a road toll but only during peak hour?

Has it been shown to have any effect beyond revenue raising?

Congestion charging in London has been mostly a fantastic success. There were lots of skeptics beforehand, now you'll be fairly hard-pressed to find anyone with a word to say against what's been implemented.

Plans to extend the zone have whipped up a bit of controversy though.
Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)