The Bullroarer - Thursday 18th June 2009

Public Opinion - a national energy policy?

The sentiments in the cartoon [below] are understandable. The horizon of politics in liberal democracy is short term not long term. For instance, how often do we hear Canberra discussing the energy implications of peak oil (resource depletion) and the trend toward higher prices for Australia?

There is a culture of institutionalised denial in both government and the energy industry on this, in spite of the discourse of shifting to a low carbon economy around the emissions trading scheme. Peak oil is still ritually dismissed as being only a “theory” and not as something happening now. The assumption is that there is enough oil for the long term. Canberra believes in fairy tales.

Business Spectator - A green signal for Santos

The high-stakes scramble for advantage in the fast-emerging Queensland export LNG sector is reaching a definitive stage, with Santos doing an in-house deal with its partner, Petronas, that will underwrite the economics of the first train for their proposed export LNG plant at Gladstone.

In signing a binding heads of agreement to sell 2 million tonnes a year of LNG to Petronas, which has a 40 per cent stake in the project, Santos has joined BG Group is securing a foundation customer for its project. BG last month signed up China National Offshore Oil Corporation as its first customer, with CNOOC committing to buying 3.6 million tonnes a year for 20 years.

The Santos deal with Petronas is also a 20-year agreement. While smaller than the BG contract, Santos’ 'GLNG' project has the ability to supply an additional 1 million tonnes a year to Petronas if it so chooses. The LNG is destined for Petronas’ home market of Malaysia.

Queensland Country life - Farm family wrestles energy giant

Ms Skerman must somehow find that middle ground by taking into account how energy companies will contribute to ramping up the infrastructure of local townships against the likely impact on farm land stemming from Arrow Energy's burgeoning coal seam gas developments. ...

"We still don't know whether we will have eight, or 10 or 25 wells on our farm – even though Arrow keeps saying it is trying to communicate with landowners," Ms Skerman said. And a rescheduled Arrow Energy visit to discuss where pipelines should run – initially postponed due to harvest commitments – later eventuated with the bulldozers already lined up ready for work.

"But our main concern is the environmental impact because no matter what they (Arrow Energy) do, they are going to bring up water and the issue is the salt," Ms Skerman said.

The Age - Two favourites to merge with Shell on gas projects

EARLY bets on which of Queensland's coal seam gas (CSG) players will be the first to consolidate their projects equally favour Santos/Petronas and Origin Energy/ConocoPhillips to tie up operations with Shell.

Deutsche Bank analysts say Shell's announcement last week that it planned to produce 16 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a year — equal to four production lines or "trains" — from Curtis Island off Gladstone, could be a move to accelerate mergers in the crowded Queensland market.

Crikey - Wong’s cynical renewable energy play

Penny Wong’s pathetic stunt of linking the Renewable Energy Target legislation to the passage of its ETS bill has been rendered moot by Steve Fielding getting support from the Coalition and Nick Xenophon to refer the bills to a Senate inquiry even before they’ve been introduced into the Senate. ...

The Government is happy to sacrifice its Renewable Energy Target for political expediency.

Crikey - Who cooked up this ELF hobgoblin?

There ain’t nothing like a homegrown terror scare to get the juices flowing, and yesterday’s “Earth Liberation Front” extortion threat had everything you could ask for — shadowy groups, sinister warnings, police mobilisation. Even better it was locally produced and carbon neutral.

The only trouble was it was ninety per cent recyclable male cow gardening product.

SMH - Toxic metals threat

HEAVY metals and poisons such as arsenic, copper and boron are leaching out of a coal-fired power station near Lithgow, wiping out marine life in a river that feeds Sydney's drinking water supply.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change has known about the discharge from Wallerawang power station since last year, but has done nothing to stop it, although it said last night that it was reviewing the evidence.

Re the QCl and SMH articles on coal seam gas extraction and coal fired power station pollution - it is heartening to see farmers getting active about the effects of fossil fuel extraction on their prime land.Farmers on the Liverpool Plains in NSW are fighting open cut coal on their land.
Long wall mining South of Sydney is causing land subsidence in a water catchment.

I doubt if the spineless QLD and NSW governments will take any meaningful action against the coal industry. The only prospect for a solution is for a sufficient number of ordinary people to get off their butts and take active and public action against the despoilers and their government proxies.

The Age - We can't afford sprawl

DO WE really want Melbourne stretching from the You Yangs to the Bunyip River, way beyond Berwick, a distance of more than 120 kilometres? A close reading of the Brumby transport plan, the Melbourne@5 million document, and Planning Minister Justin Madden's just released Urban Growth Boundary Review shows that's where the State Government is going.

They envisage a city much larger in area than London or New York, with freeways from Pakenham to Greensborough to way beyond Werribee, and from Sorrento to Torquay, slicing through tens of thousands of hectares of prime land. Like it or not, that's what Madden and his cabinet masters have in store for us.

It's easy to plan when you don't know nuffin.