Friday, December 23

Santos is coming to town in 2012

IT may have taken a few months to finalise, but Australian energy company Santos hasn’t wasted any time raising its Narrabri profile since acquiring Eastern Star Gas’ (ESG) coal seam gas acreage in mid-November.

An information evening has already been held for suppliers at the Crossing Theatre and was followed up with an Open Day for Narrabri district people.
 
A number of Santos’ technical experts were on hand at the event to answer enquiries about geology, water issues, drilling and land access.
 
Santos has also just announced it will partner with Cycling NSW to bring a major road cycling event to Narrabri in June next year.
 
The four day Santos North Western Tour will kick off in Narrabri with men’s and women’s races through the town centre, before moving on to Coonabarabran, Gunnedah and Tamworth.
 
The company will also take over from ESG as principal sponsor of next year’s Nosh on the Namoi, when the food and wine fair celebrates its tenth anniversary on March 31.
 
 
The Courier

APA widens gas pipeline but Hastings resists takeover bid

APA Group will expand the capacity of a gas pipeline in Western Australia to meet demand in the Pilbara mining region.   
The company, Australia's largest natural gas infrastructure business, said the expansion was underpinned by a new 20-year gas transport agreement with Rio Tinto.

It comes as the board of Hastings Funds Management has urged security-holders of Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (HDF) not to accept a $1.8 billion takeover bid by APA Group.

Hastings said in a letter to security-holders the bid did not account for HDF's significant cashflow growth that was both contracted and prospective.

Hastings also said APA's offer did not take into account that HDF security-holders who accepted the offer would not be entitled to APA's interim distribution of 17c per APA security.

Adjusting for this reduces the stated headline value of APA's offer by 5.5c per HDF security, the letter says. Hastings directors unanimously rejected the APA bid last week.

The Australian

As shale fracking booms, environmental protection lags

America's race for cheap natural gas and energy independence has been outpacing the flow of state rules aimed at assuring people that gas production won't harm their health.

Today 24 states have wells that use hydraulic fracturing: pumping water, sand and chemicals into deep layers of rock at high pressure to release oil and gas. Because the nation's major environmental laws exempt the oil and gas industry, regulating hydraulic fracturing - also known as fracking - is largely up to state environment departments. States have been issuing new rules and guidelines, but often years after the boom began.

The biggest environmental issue, especially in Pennsylvania, the heart of Marcellus Shale formation fracking, is what happens to the wastewater that gushes up from deep in the Earth when a well is fracked. The water is full of salt and contains naturally occurring radioactive elements and metals from deep layers, as well as the fracking chemicals.

Kansas City Star

No action against toxic fume mine

A southern Queensland mine was acting within health and safety regulations when it blasted toxic fumes beyond the limits of a safety zone, a state government investigation has found.

New Hope Coal's New Acland mine, northwest of Toowoomba, was ordered to suspend blasting on October 6.

The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) was investigating a toxic fume that was released from the mine on September 5.


brisbanetimes.com.au

Thursday, December 22

Queenslanders: 2012 The Year of the State Election



Mining fight shapes up

If you weren’t aware of the mining angst within the Southern Downs region, you will definitely know about it in the New Year.

The Southern Downs Protection Group are planning a number of events for the first quarter of next year to inform residents of the potential negative impacts mining could have in the region and how people needed to join the fight to stop mining in inappropriate areas on the Southern Downs.
The group held their final meeting of 2011 with little room left in meeting room two at the Warwick Library last week.
With a number of new residents joining in the group’s protests against mining in the region, attendees discussed ways of getting the message out to all local residents.

Read More

Southern Free Times

Farmers wants CSG water saved

An advisory group will tell the Queensland Government that water produced in coal seam gas (CSG) mining should be injected back into the ground.

The Surat Basin CSG Engagement Group is made up of council, business and industry members.
It has had to report back to the Government this week on what should be done with the salty water that is a by-product of the gas extraction process.

Group chairman John Cotter says farmers want the water preserved.

"So you put it back into the aquifers where it's not necessarily used immediately but it's there for the long-term use in times to come," he said.

"The other issue is the temporary use again for food production or commercial industry or urban development is certainly up there with those other ideas as well."

ABC News

Advocates continue to hold hope they can stop fracking in New Brunswick


This fall marked one year since the Conservation Council of New Brunswick announced its concerns about shale gas exploration in the province. The government of New Brunswick says the province has the "thickest shale gas reservoir" in North America, and wants to explore the process of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - to extract the resource from the ground.
When CCNB heard about the province's plans, they travelled to states where fracking had taken place, said executive director David Coon.
"We concluded this could not go forward safely, whatever the regulations were."
CCNB, along with about 30 local groups, has taken a firm stance against shale gas development.

Read More

Brunswick News Inc

Gloucester Coal set to announce takeover

 GLOUCESTER Coal is expected to make an announcement today about a potential takeover.   
Gloucester shares have been in a trading halt since Tuesday, and today were suspended at the request of the company.

The request was made "in connection with the potential merger proposal", the company said.

There has been speculation Gloucester has been in talks with Yancoal Australia, owned by China's Yanzhou Coal Mining, about an $8 billion merger that would create Australia's largest independent coal producer.

Gloucester is a coking and thermal coal producer with operations in NSW and Queensland.

It produced five million tonnes last year and a combined entity would have production capacity of 15 million tonnes next year.

Herald Sun

As shale oil fracking booms, environmental protection lags

WASHINGTON — America's race for cheap natural gas and energy independence has been outpacing the flow of state rules aimed at assuring people that gas production won't harm their health. Today 24 states have wells that use hydraulic fracturing: pumping water, sand and chemicals into deep layers of rock at high pressure to release oil and gas.

Because the nation's major environmental laws exempt the oil and gas industry, regulating hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — is largely up to state environment departments. States have been issuing new rules and guidelines, but often years after the boom began.

The biggest environmental issue, especially in Pennsylvania, the heart of Marcellus Shale formation fracking, is what happens to the wastewater that gushes up from deep in the Earth when a well is fracked. The water is full of salt and contains naturally occurring radioactive elements and metals from deep layers, as well as the fracking chemicals.    


newsobserver.com

Dimock in the Limelight

The lit­tle town of Dimock has become the sym­bolic front line for the bat­tle over nat­ural gas drilling.

 It’s known far and wide as the place where peo­ple can set their tap water on fire. State reg­u­la­tors say that’s because drilling caused methane to leak into water wells. No mat­ter which side of the drilling debate they’re on, res­i­dents find their lit­tle ham­let can now be a tough place to live.

Before frack­ing became a national story, Dimock never got vis­ited by big crowds rid­ing in from New York City.


State Impact

New practice code to unlock Coal Seam Gas

A new Code of Practice has been developed to ensure environmental and safety standards in Queensland’s coal seam gas wells.

 Minister for Mining, Stirling Hinchliffe said the new Code of Practice would apply to all CSG wells drilled from January 2012.

 Mr Hinchliffe said the Code set out the acceptable standards required to ensure long-term well integrity, containment of gas and protection of groundwater resources.

"The Code provides more detailed requirements and guidance for well construction and well management, and safety requirements for workers,” Mr Hinchliffe said.


psnews.com.au
 

Fracking is a Variety of Environmental Rape Abetted by the Law:

A must see video




Wendy Lynne Lee ~

"Many many thanks to my friend Bob Rush for doing pretty much all the heavy lifting on this YouTube version of my piece: Fracking is a Variety of Environmental Rape abetted by the Law, and thanks to my fractivist friends--especially Dean Marshall--for their sharing of pictures, especially pictures of the Williams Production Appalachia frack site in Benton, Pennsylvania. I live in North East Central Pennsylvania--a region as absolutely beautiful as anywhere in the world, and as vulnerable to the corporatized state's fascism that profiteers from this environmental nightmare. These are OUR pictures. This is OUR story. This is OUR moment to resist."
 
 
Editor's Note:  Many thanks Wendy for the great video... be it  Australia or America, the issues are the same.    We are learning here in Australia that many voices joined together become an unstoppable force - and with the power of the social media - the people will be unstoppable!  SQUAWK!!  SQUAWK!!

Political parties woo coal seam gas opponent

Environmental activist Jess Moore has become a wanted woman, with approaches by two major political parties hoping to capitalise on her status as an anti-coal seam gas campaigner.

Ms Moore, 29, (pictured) has been the voice of the Stop Coal Seam Gas Illawarra movement, raising eyebrows in political circles after her success in galvanising community action.

She helped collect more then 10,000 signatures, and was among those who led a 3000-strong march across Sea Cliff bridge in October, despite joining the movement only about 12 months ago.

In a sign of how politically sensitive the CSG issue has become, Ms Moore said she spurned approaches from both the Australian Labor Party and the Greens, who said they wanted her to join their ranks.


Illawarra Mercury

Kyogle locks gateway to rainforest

Kyogle Council has joined a growing number of local councils that is opposing the NSW Government and voting for a complete moratorium on all CSG operations on council-owned land.

Kyogle voted unanimously on Monday for the ban, which includes road reserves on the Lions Road where Metgasco has plans to build a pipeline in order to pump gas from Casino to Ipswich.
They follow several other NSW councils that have imposed a similar moratorium including Lismore, Moree Plains, Gloucester, Greater Taree and Warrumbungle.


Northern Rivers Echo

Metgasco says lets give gas a go

Peter Henderson is the CEO of Metgasco. The Echo asked him to write a piece on why the coal seam gas industry would be good for the North Coast.
This week the federal government released its Energy White Paper which forecasts that gas will account for 44% of Australia's electricity supply by 2050 or about triple the amount produced in 2010. The coal seam gas (CSG) industry already plays an important role in Australia's gas needs and is expected to be more significant in meeting Australia's future energy needs.

This report followed the release of the World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency which said that natural gas and renewables are forecast to meet almost two thirds of new energy demand.


Northern Rivers Echo

The year of living dangerously

I can remember quite clearly the first time I wrote about coal seam gas in the pages of The Echo. It was November last year and a woman from Keerrong by the name of Judi Emmett came to see me. Arrow Energy had recently put a test well on a property not far from hers which had sparked a group of residents to get together and start informing themselves about the industry and together they formed the Keerrong Gas Squad.

My meeting with Judi coincided with a screening of the documentary Gasland, which Norpa was showing as part of their Summer Popcorn series. Judi was encouraging everyone to get along and see what had happened in America's gas rush.

The film was a game changer. Until then coal seam gas had flown under the radar in Australia and media coverage was all fairly positive; it was a 'transition fuel', a new source of energy with lower emissions than coal.


Northern Rivers Echo

Crunching CSG numbers

While councils and governments wait for parliamentary inquiries and independent scientific reports on the effects of CSG mining, local Kyogle landowner Richard Deem has been making his own investigations into the effects of Metgasco's Richmond Valley Power Station.

Mr Deem has been trawling through Metgasco's reports on the power station and gave a presentation of his findings to the Casino Group Against Gas last Thursday evening, December 15.
"Each drill hole will need 50,000 litres of water, so for the 45 wells, that would amount to 2.25 million litres of water sourced from either from previous drilling or from the town water supply," Mr Deems said.
He said according to the figures in Metgasco's 2008 environmental assessment, the amount of produced water (water that comes back up from the wells and contains salt and chemicals) would be 214,000 litres per day "for the initial wells" which would be put into 30 acres of evaporation ponds.


Northern Rivers Echo

Cavan must follow Roscommon's lead on fracking

Dear editor,

It was with growing alarm that I read Damian McCarney's article about 'fracking' on page 2 of last week's edition.

In the opening paragraph Damian writes: 'Under the latest plans by Tamboran Resources - one of the two companies with licensing options for gas extraction in the northwest'. My understanding was that the companies concerned had a licence to explore for potential gas reserves, but did not yet have a licence to extract the gas. Could you please clarify this issue for me?

If they do not yet have a licence to extract, then is Tamboran Resources not a little premature in looking for sites to commence drilling? Or have they been promised extraction rights already?


The Anglo Celt News

Arrow Welcomes Bow Approval



Australia’s Arrow Energy Holdings Pty Ltd today welcomed the outcome of a shareholder meeting of Bow Energy Ltd, at which shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of Bow Energy by Arrow Energy.

Over 95 per cent of shares voted in favour of the Scheme of Arrangement, representing over 85 per cent of shareholders by number.

It is anticipated the acquisition agreement with Bow Energy will be implemented on 11 January 2012, subject to Australian court approval at a final hearing scheduled for 22 December 2011. Australian and Chinese regulators have already granted all the regulatory approvals required by Arrow Energy to complete the transaction.

Bow’s coal seam gas assets are strategically located in close proximity to Arrow’s own acreages. The acquisition is expected to allow Arrow to expand the two currently planned 4.0 mtpa LNG trains, while leveraging the synergies available through Arrow’s pipelines and infrastructure.


LNG World News

Council rejects CSG moratorium

RICHMOND Valley Council has rejected a move to place a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) operations on land it controls.

Councillors voted 6-2 at Tuesday's meeting to reject a proposal by councillor Donella Kinnish similar to those approved recently by the Lismore City and Kyogle councils.
However councillors backed a motion requiring the council to be told of any CSG exploration licence applications affecting land it controls or Crown land.


The Northern Star

Wednesday, December 21

Bandanna Energy Limited (ASX:BND) Significant Increase in Indicated Resources for Springsure Creek Project

Brisbane, Dec 21, 2011 (ABN Newswire)  Press Release:

 Bandanna Energy Limited, through its wholly owned subsidiary Springsure Creek Coal Pty Ltd, is pleased to announce that Xenith Consulting has certified resources in the Springton domain totalling 255.9 million tonnes. This Resource comprises Inferred Resources of 109.7 million tonnes and Indicated Resources of 146.1 million tonnes. The new Resource Statement follows the completion of boreholes of the targeted Aries 2 seam since July 2011.

The Springton domain was the focus of drilling from July 2011 and has recently been curtailed due to inclement weather. No drilling occurred in the Turkey Creek, Moorooloo and Arcturus domains and previous resource certifications by Resolve Geo remain for those sections of the deposit.


abnnewswire.net
 

Santos acts on CSG threat in NSW: report

Facing the prospect of a moratorium on the coal seam gas industry in NSW, Santos Ltd has warned the move would cost the region billions in investment and several thousand jobs if the move halted the company's plans for a project in the Gunnedah Basin, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.
“(Gunnedah is) really is a fantastic opportunity for NSW,” Santos's vice-president for eastern Australia, James Baulderstone said, according to the AFR. “It will convert this state into a growth state from a resource point of view.”
NSW has seen a growing movement against CSG, largely due to concerns about the long-term impact on water supplies and potential surface and groundwater contamination.


Business Spectator

Questions over waste salt from coal seam gas plant

TIM PALMER: Coal seam gas could help spawn another industry in rural Queensland and New South Wales - salt manufacturing.

When gas is extracted from the coal seam, an enormous amount of salty water comes with it and gas companies have to invest billions of dollars treating this salty water and putting it to use.

Peter McCutcheon reports.

Click Here to Go To Audio

PM With Mark Colvin

Foreign farm buyers on hold

Foreign investors have spent a record $12 billion buying up Australian farmland and agricultural businesses over the past year, but have put off investing a further $14 billion until the outcome of a Senate inquiry in March 2012, a new report by Ferrier Hodgson says.

The purpose of the Senate inquiry is to determine whether the current foreign investment threshold of $231 million, the benchmark where transactions require the approval of Foreign Investment Review Board, should be adjusted since the vast majority of agribusiness transactions fall below this mark.


Business Spectator

New report on sick fish due in weeks

An independent scientific report on sick fish in Gladstone Harbour is expected to the handed to the Queensland government in the next two weeks.

A spokeswoman for Fisheries Minister Craig Wallace said the Gladstone Fish Health Scientific Advisory Panel's report was due soon.

The advisory panel is chaired by Australian Institute of Marine Science chief executive Dr Ian Poiner and includes marine scientists, environmental health experts and a Fisheries Queensland expert.


Brisbane Times

Yancoal knocks on a back door deal

The Chinese approach to Gloucester Coal, proposing a merger with Yancoal Australia, is driven by an interesting mix of necessity and opportunity.

In 2009, Yancoal’s parent, the Chinese state-owned enterprise Yanzhou Coal Mining, acquired Felix Resources and its coal mines in NSW and Queensland for more than $3 billion, the biggest acquisition of an Australian company by China at that time.

The problem for Yanzhou is that to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board approval it committed to offering 30 per cent of Yancoal to public investors before the end of 2012. With the clock ticking and market conditions deteriorating the prospect of a forced selldown against a deadline and into a potentially difficult market next year will have been the focus of significant attention within Yanzhou


Business Spectator.


Taree council outlines its position on coal seam gas

GREATER Taree City Council has acknowledged a lack of confidence that coal seam gas developments can be undertaken without causing unacceptable impacts on the local community and the environment.

This was part of a position statement adopted by the council at its December ordinary meeting.

The statement says current and future coal seam gas approvals should not be allowed to proceed in the area until the environmental risks, as well as social and economic impacts, have been rigorously assessed and publicly reported at a local and regional level.

"Under the current system each coal seam gas development is considered separately. There is a need to introduce measures to address the cumulative impacts of coal seam gas projects at regional scales," the statement says.


Manning River Times

Gas Rush Australia - The Ecocide of Country



Multi-national companies are slicing and dicing our country with no regard or respect for our natural environment, our food security or our people.

The CSIRO says it could take 300 years or more to repair the damage done to aquifers in some regions.

We're told there will be just 3.5 million tons of salt produced out of 700 coal seam gas wells. The pile of salt will be 11km long 30m wide 10m high. There is currently no known solution of what to do with the salt.

- They have 40,000 wells planned for QLD alone, they are underway in most states and territorys.

Farmers are being dispossessed of their land, their rights stripped away.
Huge tracts of prime agricultural land is being sold to mining companies, never to be used for farming again.

Entire farming towns are being bought and demolished, the war memorial moved away..

Our nations food security is at risk.

BTEX in Queensland, Farms lost, gas leaks in NSW, destruction of environmental and cultural treasures in WA, NSW, QLD

Aboriginal rock art in WA, 30,000 years+ old, destroyed, moved with bulldozers, making way for the Pluto gas processsing plant.

People are being set upon by riot police while peacefully protesting the rape of sacred land at James Price Point in WA.

Australians are standing up across the country and saying NO GAS!

So where the bloody hell are you?

The cost of coal seam gas and the mining boom in Queensland

With 80% of the Scenic Rim and much of Queensland’s, and Australia’s, food bowl region under exploration leases for coal and coal seam gas mining, the Queensland Government’s plan to divert water into northern Queensland areas that are dry for much of the year does not address the dangers of food scarcity in Queensland and Australia.

Premier Bligh is talking about spending millions of dollars diverting water from the Flinders and Gilbert rivers so that highly water-intensive crops such as cotton and corn can be grown there (“Strategy heads north to new food bowl”).

Does this mean that the water that would normally come further south to the existing food bowls will be reduced, contributing to the wasteland it may become with coal seam gas wells everywhere?

Can we eat cotton? Do we really need more corn to turn into high fructose corn syrup? Besides being completely unnatural, high fructose corn syrup inhibits leptin, a hormone that tells us we are full and to stop eating. And I’m sure the same Queensland government would tell us that they are worried about obesity rates in our society!


Mother Food Issues

Moderator shares his thoughts on Coal Seam Gas Q&A forum

“The task we took on at the forum was to ‘close the gap’, between the lack of factual information, and the claims being made by the anti-coal seam gas groups,” said David Shepard, Moderator of the recent Coal Seam Gas Q&A Forum at the Johns River Hall.

“W’e’ve just finished going over the complete and lengthy transcript, and it bears striking witness to our initial impressions on the day.”

“When you go through it - and I invite anyone with an interest to do so — you can see there was a great deal of oratory from Mr. Peter Epov of the Manning Alliance and other speakers against coal seam gas, but not alot of substance, particularly in responding to the policies and practices of CSG operations in our area.

“There seems to be no thought about a cohesive energy plan at all amongst the anti-coal seam gas activists, just a ‘not-in-my-backyard mentality’, closed off to the scientific, regulatory and operational facts concluded Mr. Shepard about the anti-coal seam gas opposition on offer.


Camden Haven Courier

Kyogle Council says no to CSG



Anti-coal seam gas protesters greet the NSW State Government inquiry into the industry in Kyogle earlier this year. The council has slapped a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration on council-owned land. Scott Harlum


THE Kyogle Council has joined a growing chorus of local governments to impose a moratorium on coal seam gas operations on land they control.

The council voted unanimously on Monday to impose a moratorium "on any seismic testing, exploration drilling or other road reserve disturbance by the CSG industry on council-owned infrastructure or infrastructure under Kyogle Council control".
But importantly, the council also specifically ruled out any "disturbance" by coal seam gas operators of the Lions Rd, north of Kyogle.


Northern Star

Marmion backs EPA decision on proposed mid-west coal mine

The Greens and conservationists have hailed a decision to reject a coal mine in Western Australia's mid-west on grounds it could endanger wildlife and contaminate ground water.

WA Environment Minister Bill Marmion announced on Tuesday he would back the Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) earlier recommendation to reject the proposed Central West Coal mine south of Eneabba.

The decision is not binding, and Mr Marmion still needs to consult with other authorities on whether the mine will go ahead or not.


Sydney Morning Herald

Empire settles native title agreements

Australia-listed Empire Oil & Gas is set to be granted two permits in Western Australia’s onshore southern Perth basin following the settlement of native title agreements.     

Empire originally made the two permit applications, 7/08-9 and 6/08-9, in September 2008 to explore the potential for natural gas accumulations.

On Tuesday the company said the native title agreements would allow the formal grant process by the West Australian Department of Mines & Petroleum to take place.

The permit area applied for under application 7/08-9 includes the northern extension of the Leschenault prospect which lies in Empire’s EP 416 permit area.


empireonline.com

Santos hopes to make case for benefits of coal seam gas

SANTOS has stepped up its campaign to win public support for coal-seam gas projects in NSW by emphasising the economic benefits of the developments.

The oil and gas producer is trying to overcome concerns about the environmental impact of unconventional gas drilling. It wants to speed up development work on the gas deposits it bought this year around Gunnedah, in the state's north-west, when it paid $900 million for Eastern Star Gas.

However, Santos is being held up by entrenched local opposition and, at the political level, the NSW government is reviewing controls as it seeks to head off opposition to such gas developments.


Sydney Morning Herald

Rare finch may not stop huge mine swallowing reserve

A central Queensland nature reserve may be swallowed by Australia’s biggest coalmine because an endangered species cannot be included on an environmental impact submission.

Paola Cassoni, owner of Bimblebox nature reserve near Alpha, says there have been two sightings of the endangered black-throated finch on her property.



However, the sightings have not been confirmed by federal authorities and can’t be included in a submission by Ms Cassoni, who is desperate to save the reserve from Waratah Coal’s planned China First mine.


Eco New

Bush Telegraph -Tuesday December 20th

On today's programe hear about the concept of ecocide - a new category of crime covering large-scale destruction of the environment by a person or corporation.

Polly Higgins is a lawyer from the United Kingdom campaigning for a new classificiation of crime against the natural environment, and she wants to call this crime "ecocide".

One of her big concerns is the controversial practice of fracking, often used in coal-seam gas mining.


ABC Rural

Millionaire takes on mining sector

THE anti-mining lobby in Ipswich has received a massive boost with high profile multi-millionaire Graham "Skroo" Turner joining the fray.

Mr Turner, tourism executive, Flight Centre managing director and one of Australia's richest people with a fortune listed at about $365 million, is heading the campaign against coal projects.

He stands to be personally affected, with his Spicers Hidden Vale resort at Grandchester in the mining firing line.

But he said hundreds more landholders, businesses and conservationists feared the impact of proposed coal mine projects in the region between Ipswich and Toowoomba.


Queensland Times

Farm, mine agreement

A LAND access agreement for farmers involved with mining and exploration companies will be presented tomorrow night at Yallunda Flat.

Saving Our Sustainability member and farmer Emie Borthwick said the agreement was a response to the demands that mining companies are presenting for access to private land.

It is an agreement inclusive of PIRSA recommendations and the experiences of both Eyre and Yorke Peninsula landholders as it provides for the interests of landholders, lessees and sharefarmers.


Port Lincoln Times

Fracking splits Wyoming town at center of debate



Louis Meeks, a farmer near Pavillion, Wyoming, fills a trough with contaminated water from his well on September 17, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Jon Hurdle


Reuters) - Before the energy companies came to town, talk at Pavillion's sole watering hole centered on the introduction of $3 Guinness beer on tap.

But when a U.S. natural gas boom hit this village of 150 people, the focus of discussion at Possum Pete's bar and across the once tight-knit community shifted.
As the gas well count swells to outnumber the residents, Pavillion, in west-central Wyoming, has found itself at the epicenter of a national debate over the potential threat that drilling fluids pose to drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency on December 8 offered evidence that chemicals applied in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process that has led to a record surge in U.S. gas production this year, have likely tainted Pavillion's aquifer.


Reuters

Eagle Ford Fracking Rush May Boost Texas Tax Revenue 15-Fold as Jobs Boom

While the Eagle Ford shale boom in Texas isn’t the first that Daryl Fowler has seen, the DeWitt County judge is working to ensure that his community will be left with new roads and housing when the oil and gas are gone.

Fowler, whose non-judicial post gives him administrative control over the county 70 miles (112 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio, has negotiated an $8,000-per-well fee from drilling companies to pay for roads. The county was able to reduce its property-tax rate by 18 percent this year while total assessed value jumped 27 percent as producers, including BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), and Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD), sought permits to drill more than 340 wells.

“It takes 270 loads of gravel just to build a pad used for drilling a well, which means a lot of truck traffic on a lot of roads that nobody except Grandpa Schultz and some deer hunters may have used in the past,” Fowler, 55, said in a telephone interview.


Bloomberg

Tuesday, December 20

We Don't Want Coal For Christmas!

Flanked by his trusty team of reindeer and elves, Santa visited Melbourne with a simple question – do Victorians all want coal for Christmas? ‘I’m confused’, he told onlookers. ‘If you don't want coal for Christmas, why would Victoria have plans for a new coal fired power station HRL?’

Luckily, the people of Melbourne set Santa straight, signing up in droves to support a joint petition by Quit Coal and other environmental groups calling for No New Coal!           


Quit Coal

Letter to the Editor: Toowoombale Chronicle 12.12.11





Editor's Note:  Letter to the Editor transcribed:


Like a football match, the Coal Seam Gas battle is a game  in two halves.

During the exploration phase, the companies must negotiation so called "land agreements" in order to sink wells on land they do not own.

In the Surat Basin, most landholders have simply said no, and that's why companies have bought properties in recent years and have plans to buy more.

Its going to get ugly when companies move from coal seam gas exploration to production.  Once these reserves are firmed up the production phase begins, and here the legislation is weighted firmly in favour of the Gas Companies.  But it is also here that the process has the potential to get very ugly for all concerned - the Gas Companies, the Government, the landowners.

A period of mass civil disobedience in parts of the Surat Basin is fast approaching.  At this point the Company needs to decide if it wants to ask Police to forcibly remove demonstrators and endure all the publicity that it will involve.

The TV pictures will not be pretty and allegations of high-handed behaviour will be difficult to deflect.

From Roma to Toowoomba, that is the new reality.

Cr. Peter Marks,
Toowoomba Regional Council

Environment statements released on Qld gas projects

Arrow Energy has lodged draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for three of its major gas projects in Queensland.

Arrow Energy is ramping up its involvement in the coal seam gas (CSG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) industries.

It already provides 20 per cent of Queensland's gas needs from about a thousand CSG wells in the Bowen and Surat Basins.

The company has now lodged draft documents to assess potential environmental, social and economic impacts of the Surat Gas Project near Dalby, a LNG plant at Curtis Island, and a 600 kilometre gas pipeline from the Bowen Basin to Gladstone.

They will be released for community review if the State Government decides if they meet the terms of reference.

ABC News

Draft Energy White Paper Gets Renewables Cost Wrong - Bloomberg

It's a good thing the Australian Government's recent Energy White Paper was a draft, because it appears they will be busy rewriting it.

According to an article on The Australian, analysis by Bloomberg reveals figures in the Draft Energy White Paper overestimated the cost of solar power threefold and wind power by 50 per cent. Bloomberg says the paper has also underestimated the price of geothermal energy.

Bloomberg points out, as others have done, that some analysts fail to understand just how fast the cost of renewables is dropping. While calculations may be based on figures just a few years old, such data is ancient history given the evolutionary pace in the renewables sector.

Read More

Energy Matters

Afghanistan paves way for mining

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Afghanistan has indicated it is seeking Australia's involvement in tapping into the Asian country's massive mining potential.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Afghanistan's ambassador to Australia Nasir Andisha said he's planning exploratory meetings to check "if there is a possibility of getting major companies interested," mentioning Australian mining giants BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and "others."

That follows advertising placed by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in major Australian newspapers earlier this month for "expressions of interest" as Kabul formerly opened a tender process for four large copper and gold concessions.

UPI.com

China's Yancoal in talks to buy Australia's Gloucester-sources

MELBOURNE, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Chinese-controlled Yancoal Australia is in talks to buy Gloucester Coal to create Australia's top independent coal miner, three sources said on Tuesday, as strong Asian demand drives a boom in coal deals.
Gloucester, which has a market value of $1.4 billion, confirmed it was in talks with an unnamed suitor on a potential takeover and requested a two-day trading halt on its shares pending an announcement on a deal.


Reuters UK

Fracking linked to tainted water

 DRAFT report by the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which linked coal seam gas operations to groundwater contamination is proof the industry presents a real risk to groundwater systems, according to Kyogle Group Against Gas spokeswoman Boudicca Cerese.

The draft document reports the EPA's findings following an investigation of groundwater quality at Pavillion in the US state of Wyoming where Canadian-based gas company Encana operates.
The report is the first reputable scientific study to link hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking) to groundwater contamination.


Northern Star
 

Kyogle Council seeks CSG moratorium

Kyogle is the latest council looking to impose a moratorium on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

At a meeting yesterday, councillors voted to pass a motion calling for a temporary ban on seismic testing or exploratory drilling on council owned infrastructure.

That would include the Lions Road, which is a vital link in Metgasco's plans for a gas pipeline linking the region to south-east Queensland.

The Lismore City Council passed a similar motion last week, even though legal advice indicated it was the New South Wales Government that had approval authority.

ABC News

Green groups claim victory as gas project delayed

One of the nation's biggest resources projects has had a major setback, with gas giant Woodside to delay its $30 billion Kimberley gas project.

Woodside says the decision to shelve the project at James Price Point, north of Broome, has nothing to do with protests that have dogged the development.

But environmentalists are nevertheless claiming a minor victory, saying the project should be shelved for good.

Just six months ago, in an emotional ceremony at Western Australia's Parliament House, Indigenous landowners sat down in front of the cameras to finally sign off on a deal that would see them receive more than $1.5 billion in benefits.


ABC News

Arrow Submits Draft Environmental Impact Statements for LNG Project

Arrow Energy’s multibillion dollar coal seam gas (CSG) – liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has taken a major step forward following last Friday’s lodging of three draft Environmental Impact Statements with the Queensland Government.

These draft Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) assess the potential environmental, social and economic impacts and benefits of three key components within the Arrow LNG project:


LNG World News

Woodside delays Browse LNG FID to 2013

Woodside Petroleum’s announcement on Monday that it would postpone making a final investment decision on its Western Australian Browse LNG development came as little surprise following an unfavourable court ruling earlier this month and concerns about escalating costs.

The Perth-based LNG developer and its joint venture partners, BHP Billiton, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, will ask the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore for permission to amend its retention leases for the offshore Browse Basin, said Woodside, which operates the Browse project with a 50% share. The companies had been aiming to make a final investment decision in mid-2012.

“Woodside believes an extension into the first half of 2013 may be required,” it said in a statement on Monday. “While the joint venture has to date met the schedule imposed by the retention lease conditions, the variation would allow time to better evaluate the outcomes of front-end engineering and design work and the results of the tender processes for the development’s major contracts.”


Interfax Energy

Monday, December 19

Religious Sisters Break Silence to Protest Sydney Coal Seam Gas Project



Coal seam gas exploration in productive rural NSW


The Most Reverend Peter Ingham, Bishop of Wollongong has given his full support to Varroville's religious community of Discalced Carmelite nuns in their battle to prevent coal seam gas (CSG) drilling in south western Sydney's environmentally-protected Scenic Hills.

The community has also received emails, telephone calls and letters of encouragement from Sydneysiders as well as people from across NSW and interstate, expressing their shared concern about the rapid expansion of the coal seam gas industry.

"After my radio interview with the ABC last week, Bishop Ingham rang to offer his support and told me how he greatly valued the presence of our community of Discalced Carmelites in the Wollongong Diocese, as well as those of the Carmelite friars and Carmelite missionaries, all of whom could be affected if the coal seam gas project goes ahead," Discalced Carmelite, Sister Jocelyn Kramer told Catholic Communications this morning.



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Coal Seam Gas by The Chooks




A protest song about a serious topic that has everything going for it : catchy melody, clever lyrics, competent musicians, a compelling message and HUMOUR!

Visit the extensive website at www.aqob.com.au for interviews and stories about coal seam gas exploration in NSW.

CSG issues raised in symposium

REGIONAL situations and future perspectives were brought up by Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC) Mayor Ray Brown last week at the Queensland Government's International Gas Symposium.

Held in Brisbane, the two day event attracted 540 delegates from across the world including professionals from America, Canada and the UK.

Industry leaders discussed opportunities and challenges for Australia as it enters a 'golden age' of gas development.

The delegates and guest speakers exchanged ideas on developing the industry in a safe and sustainable manner while also forging new working relationships.

Cr Brown said it was a worthwhile experience and the first to be held of its kind.
"Many subjects particularly related to coal seam gas took place and particularly with a person from Schlumberger about fracking which was very interesting and obviously about gas throughout the world and where we're heading for the next 20 years and how important it will be," he said.

"Australia has one of the largest developments in the world going on right now."

Read More

The Toowoomba Chronicle

Landowners turn against leasing for 'fracking'


In findings that will intensify opposition to the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, some 47 per cent of respondents in the "new shale" states of Pennsylvania and New York, who have rented out their land, said they wouldn't repeat the experience.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent said they would advise family and friends against leasing their land for "fracking", a process which blasts sand, chemicals and water into shale rocks to release the oil and gasthey contain.

Fracking has become increasingly controversial in recent months, as the process was found to have caused earthquakes in Oklahoma in the US and near Blackpool inthe UK.

Nearly half of the landowners who have leased their ground to shale gas developers in the north-east of America regret doing it, despite the money, according to a new report by Deloitte.

Read More

The Independent

The EPA's Fracking Scare


Breaking down the facts in that Wyoming drinking water study.

The shale gas boom has been a rare bright spot in the U.S. economy, so much of the country let out a shudder two weeks ago when the Environmental Protection Agency issued a "draft" report that the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing may have contaminated ground water in Pavillion, Wyoming. The good news is that the study is neither definitive nor applicable to the rest of the country.

"When considered together with other lines of evidence, the data indicates likely impact to ground water that can be explained by hydraulic fracking," said the EPA report, referring to the drilling process that blasts water and chemicals into shale rock to release oil and natural gas. The news caused elation among environmentalists and many in the media who want to shut down fracking.

More than one-third of all natural gas drilling now uses fracking, and that percentage is rising. If the EPA Wyoming study holds up under scrutiny, an industry that employs tens of thousands could be in peril.

But does it stand up?


The Wall Street Journal