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Quickie CEO: Resignation of Sydney Gas chief executive, Bob Neil, after only two weeks

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

According to Scott Rochfort in The Sydney Morning Herald (22/9/2007), Sydney Gas impressed the market during the week after announcing the resignation of its chief execu­tive, Bob Neil.

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Stricken US credit markets shut down; six year war in Iraq could cost US taxpayers $US1 – $US2 trillion

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The Iraq war will cost US taxpayers dearly for some time to come while the cash reserves of high-growth Asia are rising. According to Glenda Korporaal, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, (19/9/2007, p.48) China had emerged as a world capital exporter, a force that can be expected to becoming increasingly powerful as the country looks to spend its $US1.2 bil­lion in foreign exchange reserves and hold the lid on its appreciating currency. By the end of 2006, more than 5000 Chinese “investment entities” had estab­lished almost 10,000 companies abroad in 172 countries and regions offshore.

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19 September: Tapis rose $US1.18 a barrel to a record $US83.28 in trading, but with $A up – relative to $US – Australian prices should fall

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

International crude prices surged following the decision by the US Federal Reserve to cut the Federal funds rate by 50 basis points in a move to stimulate the US economy; but Australian price may fall as the $A rises and the $US falls. According to Nigel Wilson, writing in The Australian (20/9/2007, p. 20), Tapis — the benchmark against which most Australian crude oil exports are set — rose $US1.18 a barrel to a record $US83.38 in trading on 19 September. This compares to a record quote on electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Ex­change for West Texas Inter­mediate of $US82.33, after it reached an after-hours peak of $US82.38 a barrel, the highest since Nymex began quoting oil futures in 1983. Brent crude, which is the benchmark for most of the world’s traded oil, fell 1.28 per cent to $US78.24 after reaching $US78.38 a barrel on London’s ICE futures exchange.

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Aboriginal person moving from the CDEP scheme to work-for-the-dole will lose welfare payments when they earn extra money

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

Paul Conlon, the managing director of Titjikala’s Gunya tour­ism venture which provide luxury tent accommodation to well-heeled travellers – aided by millionare Macquairie Bank retiree, Bill Moss – looking for an authentic Aboriginal experience, said his workers would normally have:

• worked about 10 hours a week each for $15 an hour taxed at 30 per cent;

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Mo doubt about it: CEO-with-Mo Index (CWM) slumps in recent weeks: moustachioed chief executives dwindling away

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The slide in the CWM 100 Index began in earn­est when Macarthur Coal founder Ken Talbot, who has a Monash-style mo, departed as the com­pany’s chief executive in June. In late July, Downer EDI chief executive Stephen Gillies, who formerly sported a mo, resigned after the engineering con­cern unveiled yet another profit downgrade. It is unclear if Downer EDI’s troubles were in some way linked to Gillies shaving off his Burt Reynolds-style mo about five years ago. There has even been some instability in smaller companies with moustachioed chief executives, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, (22/9/2007, p.49).

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Posted in Unknowns, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Oil Search takeover speculation; CNPC Exploration considers a run

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

According to Rebecca LeMay, in The Canberra Times, (18/9/2007, p.13), Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said that in the past year a wide range of parties had shown considerable interest in taking part in the company’s PNG gas development. Oil Search shares have risen on unconfirmed takeover speculation.

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Posted in China, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Iraqi judge Abdul Sattar Ghafour Bairaqdar, from the Supreme Judiciary Council, says Blackwater mercenaries should face trial: US obfuscation, ahead

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

A top judge also said Blackwater could face trial over Sun­day’s incident in Baghdad, which left 10 people dead and was branded a “criminal” act by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (19/9/2007, p.11).

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A move of only 500m of Woodside Petroleum’s proposed Pluto LNG project on Western Australia’s Burrup Peninsula would save rock art

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

A move of only 500m of Woodside Petroleum’s proposed Pluto LNG project on Western Australia’s Burrup Peninsula would save the most significant rock art site in the world, Greens senator Rachel Siewert told The Canberra Times, (21/6/2007, p. 7). Senator Siewert joined Labor’s Carmen Lawrence, Independent Peter Andren and a group of activists in front of Parliament House to support the national heritage listing of indigenous rock art on the Burrup Peninsula. The peninsula, 267km west of Port Hedland, contains the largest concentration of rock art in the world, with some rock carvings dating back 30,000 years. The carvings include what may be the first representation of the human face in history. Some of the rock art is threatened by Woodside Petroleum’s $10 billion Pluto gas project.

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Phone call that cost British Airways all of £270 million ($643 million); criminal inquiries to come: Departments could by themselves co-ordinate the setting of fuel surcharges

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

On 9 August 2004, the airline’s then head of communications, Iain Burns, contacted his opposite numbers at Virgin Atlantic and said British Airwaves was minded to increase the levy it put on tickets to cover the rising costs of oil – its fuel surcharge, reported The Australian Financial Review (3/8/2007, p. 55).

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Posted in Price, Regulation, UK, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Mel Gibson forms Catholic Sect: follows antiquated ideology of Catholicism dating back to 16th century

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

Mel Gibson had poured a further $10 million into his controversial sect in the Malibu hills as he oversaw the construction of a 400-seat church to expand his flock of followers, reported The Daily Telegraph (5/9/2007, p. 3).

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Posted in Unknowns, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Shell deal: 1 million tonnes a year of LNG to China for 20 years; Western Australia’s Channar mine to expand, Yilgarn gears up

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Perth had turned up the heat on West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter to choose between major infrastructure proposals being pushed by the state’s two biggest export partners, China and Japan, reported The Australian Financial Review (5/9/2007, p. 10).

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Western Australia’s failed HBI plant had poor strategy, unproven technology and sudden changes of scope during construction

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The West Australian government has been spectacularly short-changed by Hot Briquetted Iron’s (HBI) failure, according to a letter to the editor from Peter Matters, Canterbury, Victoria, in The Australian Financial Review (5/9/2007, p. 59).

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Federal election a chance for biofuel industry: voters urged to quiz candidates on renewable fuels

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The 2007 election was shaping up as an opportunity for regional Australia to receive some clear direc­tion from the Federal Government on renewable fuel policy, said Western Australian biodiesel maker Bioworks Australia, reported Farm Weekly (30/8/2007, p.38).

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Posted in Deisel, Liquids, Regulation, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce pays a visit: investment, training, science and information all considered

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The Australian Government’s Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce visited Western Australia for the week 27-31 August 2007, reported a Taskforce comminique.

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Terrorist of the Week: Joseph Stalin; a combination of Tony Soprano and Osama bin Laden

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

Written as a prequel to Sebag Montefiore’s Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, the book “Young Stalin” begins on the fringes of the Russian empire in “the sing-song, wine-flavoured lushness of Georgia”, as un-Russian a world as you could imagine, wrote James Jeffrey in The Australian (22/9/2007, p.11). It is here, in conversation with Stalin’s contemporaries and relatives (the oldest is 109) and strip-mining the riches of the Georgian archives (hitherto overshadowed by the dam-burst of the Russian archives), that Sebag Montefiore has objectively turned back years of Leon Trotsky’s propaganda that painted his rival as a grey blur, a provincial nobody and base thug who inexplicably, almost magically, floated to the top of the Bolshevik ranks.

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Posted in Defense, Security, Unknowns, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Comedian Stephen Fry gets 20 plus “friend requests” an hour on Facebook; but no stable friendship without confidence, and confidence comes with time

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

According to Heather Brooke, news that the comedian, Stephen Fry has been forced to hire an assistant to manage his online social networking makes one wonder what Aristotle would make of Facebook. The great thinker had a lot to say about friendship that is relevant with the rise of such networking sites. The founding father of the scientific method, Western philosophy and logic would probably have hundreds clamouring to join his Facebook friends list. Perhaps he might even rival Fry’s reported 20-plus friend requests an hour, wrote Brookes in The Australian Financial Review, (22/9/2007, p.35).

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Delegates question $170 million APEC security, including rooftop snipers, 2.8m concrete fence and $600,000 water cannnon

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The APEC summit’s intense security had raised a few eyebrows among international delegates, reported The Australian (8/9/2007, p. 11).

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Posted in Defense, NSW, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Nine threatened species may occur in MEO NT/P68 Timor Sea drill, off NT coast

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

Nine threatened species and a number of migratory species, listed marine species and cetaceans may potentially occur in the region, but no threatened communities were known or likely to occur, according to a statement by the permit holders of NT/P68, TSP Arafura Petroleum Pty Ltd and Oz-Exoil Pty Ltd (6/8/2007).
Before or after?
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Posted in Cartoon, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Forget the coalition of the willing, it’s the coalition of the billing; Blackwater mercenaries earned $US500 million in US government contracts

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

According to witness Hassan Jabit, the Blackwater guards – stuck in a traffic their black-tinted 4WDs betraying their high-value human cargo – panicked and opened fire. “After 20 minutes, the Americans told us to turn back,” the Iraqi lawyer told Associated Press from his Baghdad hospital bed on Thursday. “They shouted ‘go, go, go’ … When we started turning back, the Americans be­gan shooting heavily at us.” Bedlam ensued, says Jabir, who was hit by two bullets, one piercing his left lung, the other lodging in his intestines. “I saw a 10-year-old boy jump in fear from one of the minibuses. He was shot in his head. His mother jumped after him and was also killed, reported The Sydney Morning Herald, (22/9/2007, p. 31).

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Posted in Defense, Iraq, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

YouTube and MySpace used by socialist group Resistance to encourage Brisbane students to walk out of their classrooms to protest against George Bush

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

YouTube and MySpace were used by socialist-alliance group Resistance to encourage Brisbane high school students to walk out of their classrooms on 5 September to protest George W. Bush’s visit to Australia, according to The Courier Mail (4/9/2007, p. 5).

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Posted in Defense, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Google commits itself to “anonymising” search logs; Privacy International labels Google’s attitude to privacy as hostile

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

As Google compiles more information about individuals, it faces numerous trade-offs, reported The Australian Financial Review (5/9/2007, p. 61).

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Arabian Gulf and Red Sea desalination model using subsidised natural gas distorts choices, encourages inefficient technologies, says World Bank

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

More than 50 per cent of the world’s total desalination capacity was located around the Arabian Gulf and a large proportion of the remainder took water from the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean, wrote the WWF’s Phil Dickie.

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Posted in Middle East, natural gas, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Israel declares energy-war: Israel cuts fuel and power supplies to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, an “enemy entity”

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

Israel has declared the Gaza Strip an “enemy entity” and said it would reduce its fuel and power supplies to the Hamas-­run territory in response to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. Hamas described the move, which coincides with a visit to the region by the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to promote a US-proposed Middle East peace conference, as a de­claration of war, reported
The Sydney Morning Herald, (20/9/2007, p. 10). By formally defining the Gaza Strip an enemy entity Israel could argue that it cannot be bound by international law, which requires it to supply utilities to the popu­lation of 1.5 million.

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Burma fuel insurgency: Monks swear to refuse alms from military officers; dooms soldiers to underworld:”Without Buddhist merits, you are going to hell”

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

More than 300 monks took to the streets of Rangoon on 19 September, drawing hundreds of people, reported The Australian (20/9/2007, p.9). Police did nothing to break up the protest, but security officials earlier used tear gas and fired warning shots in the air to disperse 1000 monks protesting in Sittwe, west of Rangoon. The Rangoon rally was signifi­cant because the monks took an oath to refuse alms from military officers — a powerful sign of dissent in the Buddhist country. The trigger was a fuel price-rise.

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PM’s wild policy spree: PM takes the “renewables” out of MRET: makes nuclear and CO2 dumps mandatory; and implies forced merger of state energy-mix targets

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

In a pre-election move the Prime Minister – designed to look “green”; but in fact far from that – had re-invented the mandatory energy requirement but removed the renewables; he added CO2 dumps and nuclear power to mandatory requirements. According to John Breusch, of The Australian Financial Review (25/9/2007, p.4) John Howard announced on the weekend a target to provide 30,000 gigawatt hours a year of electricity from low-emissions sources by 2020 — an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of the country’s power supply.
The Australian Financial Review, 25/9/2007, p. 4
Buzzy the Nuke
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Posted in Cartoon, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Busted: Jail for bribery and corruption for Han Guoshang, former vice-president of electric power generator maker, Shanghai Electric

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

Han Guozhang, a former vice-president of electric power gener­ator maker Shanghai Electric was jailed for corruption reported Colleen Ryan in Shanghai, writing for The Australian Financial Review, (25/9/2007).

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Water wars: 13pc of Israel’s water made for $US 0.52 a m3/year, at Ashkelon, largest seawater desal in the world, powered with gas, within rocket-range of Gaza Strip

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

Thirteen per cent of Israel’s water was made at Ashkelon. Ashkelon was only 11 KM from Gaza, in the range of rocket and artillery fire. Ashkelon, was the largest seawater RO (Reverse Osmosis) plant in the world with a capacity of 320,000 m3/day (100 million m3 a year. Phil Dickie, WWF in the paper ‘Making Water – Desalination option or distraction for a thirsty world?’, said Israel planned large scale desalination to resolve a water crisis of reductions in both the quality and quantity of water – and over-extractions and low flows in the Jordan River, and contamination and depletion of natural water sources and successive droughts in the early part of the century. Recurrent droughts, fears of the future impact of climate change and water related provisions in international agreements between Israel and other states in this highly volatile area also complicated the position”.

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Gas price-spikes, or gas-blackouts the key risk for GridX: and, if GridX goes bust – then customers face monster bills of uneconomic grid connection

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

While GridX argued in its NSW retailer supplier licence application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal while the chances of its distributed generation system becoming uneconomic the key risk was the price of gas. GridX told IPART “the price of gas would need to escalate by a factor which is not reflected in the costs of electricity. GridX believes that this is unlikely since gas fired generation currently sets the wholesale price of electricity during peak supply”.

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Energy Ombudsman and internal dispute resolution to apply to NSW small retail customers, supplied by non-NEM islanded networks

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

GridX’s small retail customers would have access to the energy ombudsman scheme to deal with retail issues/complaints. However, the same customers will not have access to an energy ombudsman on network issues unless specified in the regulations. This is a consequence of GridX not being required to hold a DNSP licence. Additionally, statutory provisions relating to internal customer dispute resolution of network “.

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IPART plan: small off-grid monopoly generators obliged to supply at standard rates, on a continious basis

Posted by gasweek on 25 September, 2007

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, response to the precedents set by the GridX Power Pty Ltd retailer supplier licence application argued that GridX could not withdraw supply once a customer was connected. Prevention of misuse of market power: GridX’s customers can not receive supply under standard form customer contracts nor do they have the ability to choose an alternative supplier and receive the benefits of competition. These customers will be supplied by a bundled monopoly supplier and, as a consequence, may be vulnerable to the misuse of market power.

Wholesale competition, not retail:IPART said “While islanded networks such as GridX proposes will provide competition at both the generation and network levels, they will not provide customer choice at the retail level where the network operators will effectively operate as monopoly energy suppliers. This raised two key issues:

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