The Bullroarer - Tuesday 17th March 2009

The Australian - Oil rises to a two-month high

OIL ended at a two-month high as US equities continued to rally, offering hope that an economic recovery could bolster oil demand.

SMH - Wall Street set for another big dive

A predicted slowdown in Atlantic Ocean currents will cause sea levels along the US north-east coast to rise twice as fast as the global average, exposing New York and other big cities to violent and frequent storm surges, according to a new study.

Manhattan's Wall Street, barely a metre above sea level, for example, will find itself underwater more often as the 21st century unfolds, said the study, published online on Sunday in Nature Geoscience.

Sea levels vary across regions by up to 24 centimetres, influenced in part by powerful currents that course around the globe in a pattern called the thermohaline circulation.

The Australian - Plunging gas prices threaten coal pits. While I'd hate to provide any comfort to coal miners, if the Japanese economy ever recovers, Asian gas demand should jump quickly again, and US gas prices seem destined to bounce in the not-too-distant future given the rapid depletion of shale-gas plays and the cessation of drilling that has resulted from the price plunge.

A PRICE war between liquefied natural gas and coal could lead to the temporary closure of coalmines, according to leading energy consultants, because of a surge in shipments of the gas from the Middle East into Europe and North America.
Plunging gas prices threaten coal pits

Gas prices, already tumbling as a result of the recession, are suffering a triple whammy, according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates (Cera): from recession in the Far East; a long-awaited build-up in new supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG); and unexpected discoveries of new gas reserves in the United States.

The emerging gas glut could even displace coal in the supply of fuel to power stations in Europe, Michael Stoppard, managing director of Cera, said.

STCWA - Newsletter - 17 March 2009

Senate Public Transport Inquiry

Inquiry into the investment of Commonwealth and State funds in public passenger transport infrastructure and services
and submissions here:

ASPO submission to national Aviation Policy
See (2.5MB)

Carbon Trading Summit - 19 March

Gladstone Observer - LNG plans pushing ahead on schedule

RUMOURS that an $8 billion liquefied natural gas plant to be built on Curtis Island by Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) may be delayed have been denied. A report in the international financial press that expansion of LNG production by global majors Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell in Western Australia and a drop in demand for LNG in North Asia said that the proposed construction of plants in the Gladstone region could be delayed.

However a spokesman for the Santos/Petronas consortium which owns GLNG and which plans a multi-billion dollar operation capable of exporting up to 10 million tonnes per year from its Curtis Island plant said yesterday everything was on target.

The Australian - Arrow lets gas explorer Pure takeover bid lapse

ARROW Energy has let its offer for coal seam gas explorer Pure Energy lapse but is giving no clues as to whether it will sell its existing shares into BG Group's competing $1 billion cash offer.

The Australian - Arrow Energy in China coal-seam methane deal

ARROW ENERGY said today its 90 per cent-owned subsidiary Arrow Energy International has agreed to a farm-in agreement with Far East Energy that will give Arrow majority ownership of a coal-seam methane project in China.

SMH - Uranium output may jump 20% by 2012

Australia's uranium industry could lift output by about 20% in three years, government and industry officials said today, as the nation gears up for its first major expansion of uranium mining in a decade. Australia's uranium industry has been hamstrung since the early 1980s by political hostility to the nuclear fuel, but long-standing bans on new mines by various state governments are gradually being lifted in the face of economic crisis.

A state-government minister and an industry executive told a conference that Australia could boost annual output of uranium oxide to 12,460 tonnes by 2012 from new mines in South Australia and Western Australia and from expansion of existing mines.

Australia produced 10,101 tonnes last year from its three existing mines, two of which are in South Australia and the other in the Northern Territory. Western Australia lifted its ban on new mines last year and Queensland may also lift its ban soon.

The Australian - ERA to boost uranium production at Kakadu

RIO Tinto subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia plans to boost annual uranium production by more than a third by heap-leaching low-grade ore at the country's biggest uranium mine.

ERA submitted referral documents yesterday to the federal Environment Department for a project that would leach 1875 to 2000 tonnes of uranium from stockpiles and unmined ore at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu from 2012. A spokeswoman for ERA said the production would be in addition to the mine's current rate, which is about 5200 tonnes a year. According to ERA, the ranger mine currently provides 11 per cent of the world's uranium needs.

The heap-leach process, which involves treating five-metre high piles of mined ore with sulphuric acid, is also planned for Rio's Rossing uranium mine in Namibia.

ABC - Uranium mining expansion facing delay, warns analyst. So - who is right - is uranium mining stalled or expanding ?

A resource analyst is warning the global financial crisis could force BHP Billiton to delay a planned expansion of the Olympic Dam mine in outback South Australia by at least two years. He has told a conference in Adelaide that the uranium industry is enduring a major shake-out thanks to the downturn, but will survive. Among an array of resources, Olympic Dam near Roxby Downs has the world's largest known uranium deposit.

The Australian - Nuclear reaction

Paul Barratt, previously head of the Department of Defence, among other roles, has responded with an article posted overnight and linked here. Firstly, there is the question of nuclear proliferation in response to the desire by many nations to reduce greenhouse emissions, or just the rising price of oil.

“It is hard to construct a scenario in which the world produces enough low-emissions electricity without a massive expansion of the world’s fleet of nuclear power stations.” Once there are many more nuclear-power plants, there will be “many additional nuclear-capable states”. Many of these will be in our region, and “the only sure counter to the potential for a military nuclear capability to emerge in our region is to have the technological capability to match such an eventuality”.

SMH - Water tank maker sinks into administration

A MAKER of water tanks that has 90 staff across four states is the latest small to medium-sized manufacturer to fall into the hands of administrators after it failed to pay a creditor. The economic downturn has taken a heavy toll on manufacturers, which were already battling lower-cost production in Asia and emerging economies.

The Australian - The profit angle

The problem, says Amory Lovins, the chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, is a simple one: energy inefficiency. If the US could use existing energy more efficiently, he figures, the country could eliminate the need for about one-third of its existing electricity supply.

SMH - Uni's solar panel captures more light

NEW technology that was developed in Sydney and allows solar panels to capture more sunshine is expected to influence panel production around the world. The technology is about to be demonstrated at the University of NSW. A world-first silicon solar cell production line will be built at the university, using funds from a German energy corporation and the Federal Government. It is expected to help revitalise the local solar industry, which has been badly affected by the closure last year of its largest factory, run by BP Solar in Homebush, and from a perceived lack of incentive for people who want to install solar power at home.

SMH - Banned hyperlinks could cost you $11,000 a day. Hopefully Cryptome has (or soon will) publish the full list so the world can have a good laugh at these guys. When the next election comes around remember I'm recommending you vote against the government.

The Australian communications regulator says it will fine people who hyperlink to sites on its blacklist, which has been further expanded to include several pages on the anonymous whistleblower site Wikileaks. Wikileaks was added to the blacklist for publishing a leaked document containing Denmark's list of banned websites.

The move by the Australian Communications and Media Authority comes after it threatened the host of online broadband discussion forum Whirlpool last week with a $11,000-a-day fine over a link published in its forum to another page blacklisted by ACMA - an anti-abortion website.

ACMA's blacklist does not have a significant impact on web browsing by Australians today but sites contained on it will be blocked for everyone if the Federal Government implements its mandatory internet filtering censorship scheme. But even without the mandatory censorship scheme, as is evident in the Whirlpool case, ACMA can force sites hosted in Australia to remove "prohibited" pages and even links to prohibited pages.

Peak Energy - Locavolts or Super Grids ?

Peak Energy - Chinese strategic oil reserve full ?

Peak Energy - A CSP Tower With Air Energy Storage

Peak Energy - Solar Panels at Costco

Peak Energy - Mountains Of Concrete

Peak Energy - Paris' Twin Green Towers

Peak Energy - A micro-hydropower revolution in the UK ?

Peak Energy - An Environmental Plan From The Aviation Industry

Re: Banned hyperlinks could cost you $11,000 a day.
This is why I vote for Independents. Clearly, the Big Two can't be trusted. The Libs wanted to censor the Net (and through ACMA, sort of got their way). The Labs mocked it. Now the Labs are in, they have gone one step further, and the Libs are standing off to one side. Neither party has the best interests of the Public at heart, they just want to be seen 'doing something'.

WRT Child Pornography, no sane person would argue that it's not a blight on society, and the perpertrators deserve the harshest punishments we allow. But wrt CP online, these poor kids have already been abused! Simply banning the 'website' (honestly, does online CP actually use URLs?!) won't prevent a single child from getting assaulted! The resources being spent on this invasion of personal and political freedom (via banning of 'controversial' - pleased define that for me, Mr Conroy - and politically-motivated websites) would be much better spent on actual policing actions, to hunt down the perpetrators of these horrible crimes.

Thank FSM for The Greens.

RE: Chinese strategic oil reserve full ?
Once again, the Chinese take the longer view, something our politicians seem to have trouble with. If China is buying Oil for no reason other than storage, then Demand is even lower than thought... :o

The ABC reports that Conroy says that the Wikileaks list is inaccuarte - but any Australian who helped publish it is at risk of prosecution - go figure how that works - you can be prosecuted for leaking a fake list of banned web sites ?????

Leaked blacklist irresponsible, inaccurate: Conroy

Broadband and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says a list claiming to be the communication regulator's blacklist for a proposed internet filtering system is not the real blacklist. He has condemned Wikileaks, the website that published the list, as "grossly irresponsible".

This morning Wikileaks published what it says is the Australian Communication and Media Authority's (ACMA) blacklist of banned websites that is being used in trials of a proposed mandatory internet filtering system. ...

"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said. ... "I am aware of reports that a list of URLs has been placed on a website. This is not the ACMA blacklist." ...

"There are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist. However, ACMA advises that there are URLs on the published list that have never been the subject of a complaint or ACMA investigation, and have never been included on the ACMA blacklist," he said. "ACMA is investigating this matter and is considering a range of possible actions it may take including referral to the Australian Federal Police. Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution."

One from Bloomberg on further coal seam gas exploration - BG Expands Gas Drilling in Australia Through WestSide Venture .

BG Group Plc, the U.K. natural gas company bidding for Australia’s Pure Energy Resources Ltd., is set to expand its search for reserves in Queensland state, with drilling due to start next month in a venture with WestSide Corp.

An A$8 million ($5.4 million) drilling program between BG’s QGC unit and WestSide will seek to confirm coal-seam gas reserves at the Tilbrook project, which could hold almost 3 trillion cubic feet of gas, Brisbane-based WestSide said today in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. The partners will also explore areas to the north of Tilbrook, it said.

BG is seeking reserves in northeastern Australia to supply a proposed liquefied natural gas export project in Gladstone on the central Queensland coast. It entered two joint ventures with WestSide through the friendly takeover of Queensland Gas Co., which it renamed QGC.

Energy Bulletin has a review of David Holmgren's new book - Review: Future Scenarios by David Holmgren

Update for the QLD election: Climate Change Minister Andrew McNamara has lost his seat. :( One of the sensible MP's, and a Peak Oiler to boot.

On the bright side, Daylight Savings for Queensland Party scored 1% of the total vote, earning them exactly no seats. They should take the hint, but I doubt they will. They never do.

That's a real shame - he seemed like a nice guy as well as being a peak oil spokesman.