The Bullroarer - Friday 31st October 2008

TV NZ - Carparks see return of bus users

With the cost of oil down, the price of parking has fallen - a move which may persuade motorists to ditch public transport and get back into their cars.

However hard Aucklanders try to use the alternatives, it is estimated that 80% still drive to work.

Many say that is mainly because they find public transport inconvenient or because the buses do not cover their area.

SMH - Households shielded from rising energy costs

The rise in the cost of petrol will be masked for the initial years of the trading scheme because the Federal Government has promised to drop the fuel excise as a way of softening the blow for consumers.

The Australian - Methane emissions on the rise

Scientists have warned climbing methane levels may speed up global warming.

Levels of methane, the second-worst greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, had plateaued but recently started to rise again.

Dr Paul Fraser from the CSIRO said increasing methane levels appeared to be caused by the melting of Arctic ice, which was opening up more wetlands to the sky.

ABC - Green group happy with shale oil ban

"In our view the Government should also be banning other technologies that will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

"So things like under the ground coal gasification and processes such as turning coal into fuel should also be banned because they will be adding extra greenhouse gas emissions to our profile." - NZ Refining sees profit of up to $125m

The New Zealand Refining Company says it expects annual net profit of between $115 million and $125 million for the 2008 year.

National Business Review NZ - Aquaflow signs up to use US biofuel technology

Algae biofuel company Aquaflow Bionomic has joined forces with a division of US conglomerate Honeywell to work on converting algae into fuel products.

Processes developed by Honeywell refining company UOP will be used to convert algae into fuel products that meet international standards.

Aquaflow has already succeeded in producing its first batch of green crude oil.

SMH - Green-collar army recruits for the solar boom

LEAH CALLON-BUTLER gave up a career in fashion last year to become a solar panel saleswoman, joining a surge towards green jobs predicted by the Federal Government.

The Australian - Construction costs set to soar, builders warn

MAJOR infrastructure projects across the country are facing a dramatic spike in costs as leading builders warn they will be forced to pass on big increases in the price of materials and fuel.

ABC - Govt to crack down on mine water disposal

"I'm a firm believer that using modern technology such as reverse osmosis treatment plants to clean the CSG [coal seam gas] water will allow for more environmentally friendly disposal and provide a valuable new source of water."

The Australian - BG edges closer as QGC chiefs sell

BG Group edged closer to gaining control of Queensland Gas Co in its $5.2 billion bid yesterday as chief executive Richard Cottee and chairman Robert Bryan sold some shares into the deal.

The British gas giant now has about 44 per cent of coal seam gas producer QGC and will move to 66 per cent if AGL Energy sells its stake.

National Business REview NZ - Bad weather hampers Tui oil production

New Zealand Oil and Gas has reported a decrease in production from the Tui oilfield in its latest quarterly report, while announcing an investment in an offshore drilling project in the Canterbury Basin.

Radio NZ - Nauru, Tuvalu and Cook Islands commit to bulk fuel buying plan

Three Pacific Islands Forum countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the bulk procurement of fuel.
The Ministers say there’s much more potential for Pacific countries to expand their domestic food production to counter the high cost of imports.

The Age - Origin seals $9.6bn LNG joint venture

ORIGIN Energy has completed its liquefied natural gas joint venture with ConocoPhillips to form Australia Pacific LNG, having received $US5 billion ($A7.3 billion) in advance from the US energy giant.

The $9.6 billion, 50-50 joint venture, announced last month, will create Australia's largest producer of liquefied natural gas from coal seam gas.

And one I missed. From the ABC:
Brisbane Council urges residents to grow their own food
Environment Committee chairman Peter Matic says it will help the city reduce carbon emissions

On the other hand, Rees scraps North-West Metro.

The state is short of cash in part due to the high cost of fossil fuels, so scrap rail... Hmmm.

That particular rail link always seemed destined to be scrapped - it was both slow and expensive and seemed to have a lot of technical challenges ahead of it.

The first thing NSW needs is to finish the Chatswood - Parramatta link (all of it) - then start looking at how to link the north west into the network (new rail line to Epping would seem to be a good idea, plus the other light rail out to the inner west that they are now talking about...

More than a decade ago, decisions were made to fund toll-ways with private capital assistance, instead of mass-transit.
This cannot be reversed, its going to take decades to expand mass-transit rail to the NW and SW of Sydney. In the mean-time we need road based options(more buses, with priority lanes, trams? and much more fuel efficient vehicles or EV's). These can have significant reductions in fuel use in a few years not decades. As traffic on toll-ways slows buses on priority lanes start to look attractive.

One from the SMH - Origin fires up production

Energy producer and distributor Origin Energy has reported record production, sales revenues and sales volumes for the September quarter.

Total production for the three months to September 30 was 33.9 petajoules equivalent (PJe), up 13% on the previous quarter and up 42 per cent on the same period in 2007/08.

"The result reflected good production levels in the offshore (Victoria) Otway Gas and BassGas projects, a full quarter's production from the onshore Taranaki Basin (New Zealand) assets and continued growth in coal seam gas (CSG) production,'' Origin said.

Sales volumes rose 17% on the June quarter to 35.2 PJe while sales revenues increased 38% to $198.1 million, reflecting continued strength in liquid product prices, the company said.

And one from WA Today - Holden pulls power plug on new Commodore. I guess this is a positive trend of sorts...

In response to the dramatic shift to smaller, more efficient cars that's seen sales of the Commodore and rival Ford Falcon large cars nosedive, Holden has revised the locally-made V6 engine that's fitted to most Commodores to improve its environmental performance and reduce fuel bills.

As part of the mild engine update, all entry-level Commodore V6s built from November will get 5kW less power, representing a 2.8 per cent reduction. The 175kW power output of the new Commodore for 2009 is identical to that of the 2004 Commodore - and 20kW less than the rival Falcon.

Fuel consumption has also been reduced by 2.8 per cent, according to the Government-supplied fuel figures that will be quoted by Holden and displayed on the mandatory fuel label on

Courier Mail - Chinchilla rides coal seam gas boom

HUSBAND-and-wife team Leo and Kaye Maguire are among lucky local businesses riding the resources boom in Chinchilla, on the western Downs.
Kaye laughs now to recall the early days when their bus-run service almost hit the skids, at one point yielding a meagre $100 profit. But activity in the Surat Basin is creating "lots of opportunity for us" and a large Maguire fleet ferries crews to power stations and mine projects.

Chinchilla, Dalby, Wandoan and Roma are now at the hub of energy company efforts to harness coal seam gas. Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce president Marion Loveday says local business views on the expansion of mining in the CSG-rich Surat Basin are mixed.

The farming industry fears harmful land and water impacts from the CSG mining process. Other businesses fear fallout of a different kind. Some rushed to secure contracts from the energy companies but found themselves waiting many months for payment. They were left covering costs from projects far larger than they were geared for normally.