Bechtel National Inc. and AECOM today announced the formation of the Waste Treatment Completion Company LLC (WTCC) – a company that will complete construction and lead the startup and commissioning of more than 20 facilities to safely treat low-activity nuclear waste at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. The plant is located at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Washington state.
“This new company is the next step toward starting up and commissioning facilities that will safely and efficiently vitrify millions of gallons of nuclear waste,” said Barbara Rusinko, president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security and Environmental business. “We are now within the timeframe where nuclear facilities typically begin transitioning from construction to startup activities, so the time is now to implement these organizational changes.”
WTCC will be subcontracted to Bechtel, which will continue to provide project leadership, engineering, procurement, and other key functions. The new structure represents no new costs to the taxpayer and will deliver the facilities, management systems, and trained workforce to demonstrate turning waste to glass by hot commissioning the Low Activity Waste facility as early as 2022, as required under the WTP contract. The initial workforce will be composed of employees already on the project.
During commissioning, the Low-Activity Waste Facility and its support facilities will be handling radioactive waste in close proximity to construction occurring on WTP’s Pretreatment and High-Level Waste facilities, in a sequenced approach to startup that requires extra care.
Scott Oxenford, a veteran WTP leader named president and general manager of WTCC, said “Having an active nuclear facility within a construction site creates additional environmental and safety challenges. WTCC provides a single integrated team with line of sight to both startup and commissioning and construction and enables consolidated decision-making.”
Peggy McCullough will continue as the overall WTP project director. The new project structure takes effect March 27, 2017. Bechtel retains full accountability for all project deliverables.
By Stuart Smith – CEO, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA)
In Australia, areas beyond three nautical miles of the shoreline of a state or territory fall under Commonwealth (federal) jurisdiction, which is also where the vast majority of Australia’s conventional oil and gas resources are located. The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is the independent regulator for safety, well integrity and environmental management for oil and gas operations in Commonwealth waters. Offshore projects regulated by NOPSEMA include Esso’s operations in the Bass Strait, the Northwest Shelf Project operated by Woodside, and the Gorgon project operated by Chevron, together with an extensive range of other exploration and production operations, and large scale projects under development.
NOPSEMA recognises the economic importance of the oil and gas industry to Australia, but our independent risk based regulatory functions are entirely separate from the resource promotion and economic elements of the regime. This separation of responsibilities avoids the potential conflicts of interest that may otherwise arise. As an independent statutory authority, we are also free of political influence which enables us to consistently make merit-based regulatory decisions. This is supported by independent reviews undertaken during 2015 which found NOPSEMA to be a robust, rigorous and competent regulator.
NOPSEMA regulates under an objective-based regime which I consider is the best way to achieve strong safety and environmental outcomes. Objective-based regulation is an alternative model to prescriptive-based regulation and has been proven internationally to be particularly effective in managing high hazard and technically complex industries. It was introduced to the oil and gas industry following the Piper Alpha incident in the North Sea in 1988 which saw 167 people lose their lives.
While the current lower oil and gas prices have resulted in a reduction in activity levels, there remains a core body of regulatory effort required to maintain effective oversight of the offshore oil and gas industry. As with all stages of oil and gas operations, there is also a need to ensure that as projects move from the development phase into production that risks are managed appropriately. Across industry in the current climate, it is crucial that any job losses or cost cutting do not lead to a reduction in safety and environmental performance or outcomes. We have not found this to be the case in Australia which is a credit to the industry. Nevertheless, we are continuing to monitor this issue through our rigorous compliance monitoring program. The number of annual inspections has increased since NOPSEMA’s establishment in 2012. A total of 195 inspections were conducted across our safety, integrity and environmental management functions during 2015.
There is still more work that needs to be done by industry to ensure that consultation practices are providing the right information, to the right person, at the right time. During preparation of an environment plan, consultation must be undertaken with relevant persons who may be affected by an activity. Companies must demonstrate to NOPSEMA how these views have been, and will be, taken into account. Effective consultation is not only a regulatory requirement, but also an essential part of companies obtaining and maintaining their social licence to operate.
As a regulator, we also need to demonstrate to our stakeholders why we should have a social licence to regulate. This requires community confidence in our abilities as a regulator to be robust, fair, and consistent. We also need to be open to engaging directly with stakeholders and to continue to take steps to increase transparency surrounding our decisions and processes. This has been a focus of NOPSEMA in recent years and will continue throughout 2016 and beyond.
For further details visit: www.nopsema.gov.au
About Stuart Smith
Stuart Smith was appointed CEO of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) in September 2014. NOPSEMA is the independent oil and gas regulator responsible for safety, well integrity and environmental management in Commonwealth offshore waters. Prior to this appointment, he spent 11 years with the Western Australian Public Service as Director General for the Department of Fisheries (2008-14) and Acting Director General and Deputy Director General for the Department of Industry and Resources (2003-2008). Stuart has also worked previously in the Australian Public Service (1989-2003) where he held industry development and regulatory roles in Canberra, Melbourne and Perth.
Diploma in Economics from the Australian National University.
A partnership between Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) and Western Australian-owned and operated transport, freight and logistics company, Centurion, has created a significant opportunity for an Aboriginal-owned business in the Pilbara.
The award of a sub-contract to Red Dirt Transport Services by Centurion for fuel delivery to Fortescue’s Pilbara-based operational sites is part of Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program and the result of the companies’ shared vision and commitment to building sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal people.
Guided by this vision and commitment, Centurion included local, Aboriginal-owned company, Red Dirt Transport Services, as part of its tender for Fortescue’s 36-month fuel delivery contract and helped the local business overcome common barriers by offering vendor finance on a new vehicle to service the contract. This paved the way for a mutually beneficial partnership that sets an outstanding example of building capacity through collaboration.
In a nod to their Aboriginal heritage, Red Dirt Transport Services commissioned esteemed Yindjibarndi artist, Allery Sandy, to design the new vehicle’s livery.
Director of Red Dirt Transport Services, Steven Dhu, said the contract will provide significant growth opportunities for the business and allow the team to implement its strategies for Aboriginal employment and participation.
“We are very proud that we are able to provide meaningful socioeconomic development in the Pilbara with the support of companies like Fortescue and Centurion. We pay due respect to Centurion whose assistance and support can only be described as a credit to a large transport company,” Mr. Dhu said.
Speaking of the partnership between Centurion and Red Dirt Transport Services, Centurion Executive General Manager, Justin Cardaci, said the company was committed to providing Aboriginal people and businesses opportunities to thrive as part of its ongoing operations and service to the resources industry.
“Fortescue has an outstanding reputation for building capacity in local Aboriginal communities and our partnership with Red Dirt, we believe, will truly make a difference, creating opportunities for these communities while helping the Red Dirt business to grow,” Mr Cardaci said.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Nev Power, further commended the partnership.
“We are tremendously proud to be partnering with companies that share our commitment to building stronger communities. This is a great example of one of our contracting partners going the extra mile to help build the capabilities of an Aboriginal business. It is these opportunities that are absolutely necessary to continue changing the economic landscape for Aboriginal people,” Mr Power said.
Since its inception, Billion Opportunities has awarded 238 contracts and sub-contracts worth more than A$1.8 billion to 102 Aboriginal-owned businesses and joint ventures, with a strong focus on traditional owner involvement.
Glencore plc (“Glencore”) and Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) (“Evolution”) have entered into a long term agreement, for delivery of gold and copper calculated by reference to production at the Ernest Henry Mine (EHM) in Australia.
Evolution will have a 30% economic stake in the mine and be entitled to 100% of EHM gold production, subject to an agreed life of mine and block model.
Evolution will pay AUD880 million to Glencore upon closing of the transaction as well as ongoing monthly cash contributions equal to 30% of production and capital costs associated with copper concentrates. This transaction forms part of Glencore’s debt reduction plans initially announced on 7 September 2015. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of Q4 2016.
Evolution will receive the equivalent of 30% of copper and silver payable and 100% of gold payable production from EHM. Glencore will purchase the copper and silver payable (in concentrate) delivered to Evolution for cash at market value.
This agreement recognises EHM as a world class copper-gold-silver mining operation with significant potential going forward. Glencore owns 100% of Ernest Henry Mining Pty Ltd, which owns and operates the Ernest Henry mine. Glencore will continue to manage the day to day operations at EHM.
AGL Energy Limited (AGL) has announced the launch of what will be the world’s largest virtual power plant (VPP), ultimately involving 1,000 connected batteries installed in homes and businesses in South Australia, providing 5 MW of peaking capacity and offering customers the opportunity to save on their energy bills.
Partnering with AGL in the demonstration project is the Federal Government via its renewables funding agency, The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and leading US-based energy storage and management company, Sunverge.
Joining AGL Managing Director & CEO, Andy Vesey, at an event in Adelaide to announce the initiative was South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis and ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.
“This project is the world’s largest, the first of its kind and an innovative solution to both help customers manage their energy bills and at the same time contribute to grid stability,” said Mr Vesey.
“It offers consumers the opportunity to be part of the world’s largest virtual power plant, giving them greater ability to consume more of the energy generated from their own rooftop solar systems, lowering power bills, reducing emissions and purchasing a battery at a significant discount.
“The virtual power plant will be capable of storing 7 MWh of energy, with an output equivalent to a 5 MW solar peaking plant. We believe it will demonstrate alternative ways to manage peaks in energy demand, contributing to grid stability and supporting the higher penetration of intermittent, renewable generation on the grid,” he said.
The project will cost approximately $20 million, with ARENA providing conditional approval of $5 million.
“This project is core to AGL’s strategy of being a manager of distributed energy resources. It also leverages our investment in Sunverge and helps us to continue to improve the digital customer experience,” said Mr Vesey.
South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, said “The State Government congratulates AGL for looking at innovative ways to use batteries to increase the penetration of renewables.
“We encourage others in the private sector to also consider how dispatchable renewable energy technology can be used to deliver electricity around-the-clock.”
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht added the project could point to solutions to South Australia’s grid challenges and reduce the risk of power price shocks in the state.
“Australia is on the cusp of a battery storage revolution as technology costs continue to fall. ARENA is at the forefront of figuring out how batteries can best support renewable energy to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable power.
“ARENA expects virtual power plants to play a significant role in the future as more renewable energy is connected to our power networks. The approach can ease local network constraints in South Australia, displace gas power and complement the Victorian interconnector, especially during times of peak demand,” said Mr Frischknecht.
The project will be rolled out in three phases over about 18 months. Customers participating in the project will be able to purchase a heavily discounted 5kW/7.7 kWh energy storage system including hardware, software and install. In the first phase, running until April 2017, the first 150 customers based in metropolitan Adelaide will be able to purchase a Sunverge 5kW/7.7kWh energy storage system.
For customers with sufficient excess solar generation, this is expected to result in a seven year pay-back period. Consumers who don’t have solar already will be able to purchase an appropriately-sized solar system packaged with their battery.
Later phases will see an offering to narrower zones within metropolitan Adelaide where peak demand management and other network support services can be demonstrated.
It’s also hoped the project can demonstrate how relationships between electricity networks, retailers, consumers and the market operator can create new sources of value and stability in a renewable energy future.
Established in 2004 by three partners who identified an opportunity in the commercial recycling space for the sustainable recycling of plastics, Perth-based CLAW Environmental is still leading the way in offering a cheaper way of dealing with polystyrene and plastic than taking it to landfill.
The company’s business model focuses on the collection and processing of plastic materials of a reasonable quality. With their value increased through processing, the material is then sold on to manufacturers and further processors.
CLAW receives plastics from a wide range of industries, with a particular focus on those using crates and drums for storing and transporting material. The company is also involved in a number of large recycling programmes, be it through government initiatives or recycling projects with individual clients.
Doing the Right Thing
Owners John and Kate Cameron purchased the company in 2010, after several years working in their respective fields of computing and metallurgy, as well as running an oil recycling plant in Port Hedland, WA.
When an opportunity arose to move to Perth and work in other waste processing, they became involved in a project that looked at plastics as a diesel substitute for vehicles and generators.
“As part of this project,” John tells us, “CLAW Environmental was identified as a potential supplier of raw material. As can happen, the company decided that they did not want to pursue this project and offered CLAW to us to purchase.”
Today CLAW employs a small team of full-time staff and is based in Welshpool, Perth, with most of its client base made up of businesses. The company also serves some domestic clients with a passion for keeping plastics out of landfill, and is working to widen its current services with government and council bodies.
“We also provide services on behalf of other major waste management companies, who find our services can compliment their operations and help in providing their customers a complete recycling service. As landfill rates continue to increase, we see more enquiries for our services.”
“The balance of our business focuses primarily on the recycling of rigid plastics,” Kate explains, “pots, drums, pipes, crates. We are a primary processor, providing shredding and granulating options for plastics. We provide some materials back in to manufacture, but most will go to further processors in the east of Australia and Asia, for further processing into pellets for manufacture.”
The organisation has recently employed a full-time business development manager, in the hope of being able to identify new clients and investigate fresh ways of dealing with plastics that CLAW has not previously been involved with.
“We have been existing on work that has come to us and not having the time and the people power to chase up other similar businesses, or to look at expanding into other plastics.”
CLAW also recently ran trials of polystyrene collection at two government landfill sites, hoping to persuade the government that this plastic can be diverted from landfill, and that there are other ways of dealing with recycling polystyrene.
The company’s recycling plant offers both a collection service and drop-off point, making the recycling of polystyrene accessible to all. The polystyrene is first checked for contaminants such as labels or tape, before it is granulated and stored in a hopper. It is then compressed into a high density log for shipping to overseas markets.
“As the price of landfill continues to rise,” John adds, “this issue will become more urgent.”
Government landfill costs were increased as of January 2015, and Kate believes this increase will only have a positive impact on CLAW’s business.
“We offer a cheaper way of dealing with polystyrene and plastic than taking it to landfill. The problem is sorting it into ‘like’ plastics. If this is done at the source there is no problem for recycling.”
“Education within the workforce as to the different sorts of plastics and sorting at the source will go a long way to helping. As a domestic recycling bin user we all learnt what to put in and not to put into our yellow recycling bins. It’s not hard, it just takes a bit of effort to do the right thing by the environment.”
WA represents approximately 10% of the recycling volume of Australia. The PACIA (Plastic & Chemical Industries Association) annually survey recycling in Australia and provide a comprehensive overview of the recycling processes in the country.
Considering the large distances and lower population of the state, WA struggles somewhat in terms of recycling, but in general manages to maintain a reasonable level compared to the rest of Australia.
CLAW’s role in the state’s recycling needs is significant, as they provide recycling options for a variety of plastics, and are currently the only company recognised by EPSA (Expanded Polystyrene Association of Australia) for the commercial recycling of polystyrene in WA.
CLAW Environmental is also the only company in WA currently servicing drumMUSTER, an industry-funded program aimed at providing rural and metropolitan recycling of used chemical containers.
This federal government initiative ensures a few cents of every pesticide and herbicide sold to farmers is put into a kitty in Canberra, where the program is coordinated.
The farmers then return their empty rinsed containers to shire and council depots all around Australia, where drumMUSTER processors like CLAW use mobile shredders to shred the drums, before shipping them both nationally and internationally.
“At present we are the only drumMUSTER processors operating in WA,” John says. “We liaise with the DM inspectors and shires as to how full their compounds are, and when and if they’re having a collection day, so we can empty the compound before then.”
The program is dependent upon the farming season and whether it’s been a good or bad year. With drumMUSTER recently celebrating its 25-millionth processed drum in Australia, CLAW is delighted to be in on the act.
“We are proud to have been processing since pretty much the beginning and we have a good reputation with both drumMUSTER in Canberra and the shires scattered around the state of WA.”
When the company first started working with the program, it found many ‘rats nests’ of drums on private farms, but has since cleaned a lot of them up and now primarily attends just the shire compounds and some farm sites.
“Knowledge of the program is widespread in the farming community and has been well received as a way for farmers to deal with the problem of disposing non-biodegradable containers. They are constantly looking at ways to deal with problems like this in farming communities. We hope to be around for the 50-millionth drum!”
CLAW specialises in the processing of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP) and expanded polystyrene (EPS)—a range of plastics stretching from pressure and agricultural pipe to standard shipping packaging found in any household.
Other plastics the company deals with include low-density polyethylene (LDPE) such as shopping bags and bubble wrap, and rigid polystyrene (PS), found in coat hangers, picture frames, imitation timber flooring and toys.
Both EPS use and rigid plastic recycling have seen an increase in recent years. With the advent of new technologies in the building industry, EPS is used quite extensively in the second stories of houses that have been added retrospectively, as well as for general construction and extension work.
The bottom layer of the house has not necessarily been built to hold the weight of an original constructed second floor, but the use of polystyrene makes it light and viable. The advance in making patterns in concrete walls is also made easier by using polystyrene as the forms for concrete core walls.
Rigid plastics have seen a boost in recycling for a few reasons, mostly because of the increase in population and as a result an increase in consumption generally. In addition, plastics have been, and will continue to be, developed for new uses.
“An example is the barrier layer plastic drum,” John explains, “which has almost seen the complete demise of the steel drum for certain chemical and hydrocarbons.”
On top of this, the recent increase in costs for landfill disposal options has made the recycling of rigid plastics more attractive, and a growing awareness of recycling and the options that are available has likewise been a factor.
Kate is adamant that if everybody in the country gets on board with the problem, then the efforts of Australia in recycling plastic could easily be doubled, and it is CLAW’s intention to help push forward this increase.
“When I traveled to Japan, I saw households put their different types of recycling into different bins. A milk bottle was split into two bins, the bottle in one and the lid and ring in another.”
The secret to harnessing the potential of this increase is to make sure the population is well educated in the benefits of recycling. This education must come from the government, within the schools, the media, and anywhere else it can be effectively dispersed.
“If the information is out there,” Kate concludes, “then I’m sure there are many, many people who wish to do the right thing, if they only knew how.”
A milestone first gas shipment heralding thousands of jobs and a stronger Queensland economy has begun loading off Gladstone.
Acting Premier Tim Nicholls visited the Port of Gladstone today as the first tanker, the Methane Rita Andrea, was being loaded at BG Group’s Queensland Curtis LNG facility.
“This vitally important first shipment signifies the start of the production phase for Queensland’s new LNG industry,” Mr Nicholls said.
“It will have huge benefits for the state’s economy; boosting export income, creating ongoing jobs and at peak capacity approximately $500 million a year in royalties for Queensland.
“Our Government has worked tirelessly to enable the LNG export industry to invest and develop its infrastructure as quickly as possible, while also meeting rigorous environmental and safety standards.
“With total investment to date of about $60 billion in gas infrastructure, the LNG industry is set to become Queensland’s second largest export industry, following coal.”
Mr Nicholls said protecting the Great Barrier Reef was the Government’s highest priority, and the new LNG shipments would be strictly regulated and monitored as they tracked outside the reef.
“In addition, vessels will travel another 110 nautical miles south of standard shipping routes to pass south of Lady Musgrave Island when entering and leaving Gladstone Harbour,” he said.
“The LNG sector will underpin Queensland’s projected economic growth of 5.75 per cent in 2015-16.”
When the three major LNG export projects are completed and fully operational, which is expected to occur by 2017, the Port of Gladstone will have a production capacity of 25.3 million tonnes of LNG a year.
Hundreds of regional jobs could be created after Queensland’s independent Coordinator General approved the $900 million New Acland Coal Mine expansion near Oakey.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Coordinator General’s approval is subject to 137 strict conditions to manage the project’s impact.
“Today’s decision from the Coordinator General is a significant step towards construction of this mine and great economic news for the Darling Downs and south-east Queensland,” Mr Seeney said.
“This mine expansion is set to create over 250 jobs during construction and another 435 operational jobs, as well as providing business opportunities in the nearby towns of Dalby, Oakey, Pittsworth and others.
“The reduced scope of this project in response to local concerns is a good example of a resource company working hard to achieve community confidence.”
Mr Seeney said the Newman Government had not supported New Acland Coal’s original 2007 expansion plan due to its effect on high quality agricultural land and proximity to local townships.
“However since 2012, the proponent has reduced the project’s footprint by around 60 per cent and has relinquished 1,401 hectares or 28% of the mining lease area, including the town of Acland,” he said.
Other significant changes include:
Preserving the course of Lagoon Creek
Moving the Jondaryan rail load-out facility eight kilometres from the town
Moving mining activity 10 kilometres from Oakey
No relocation ofthe heritage-listed New Acland colliery
Reducing the impact on Strategic Cropping Land by around 2300 hectares
Reducing throughput from up to 10 million tonnes a year to a maximum of 7.5 million tonnes a year
reducing of the proposed mine life from 2042 to 2029.
The Coordinator General has imposed strict conditions to protect land and groundwater, including baseline studies and ongoing monitoring of water bores.
Other key conditions in the Coordinator-General’s report include:
The new rail load-out facility, located 8km away from the town of Jondaryan must transport all product from day one of operating the Stage 3 project – thereby replacing the existing Jondaryan rail load-out facility which is just 1km from the town.
Stringent noise and dust limits that require best practice, adaptive real-time dust and noise monitoring and management systems which alarms to notify if limits are close to being met, allowing for an immediate change in mine activities.
A new sealed road from Acland to Jondaryan.
Establishment of a flora and fauna conservation zone along the section of Lagoon Creek in the mining lease area, with a particular focus on improving koala habitat
Independent verification of the design and construction of the rail spur infrastructure to minimise any potential flooding impacts.
The New Acland mine expansion will now be considered by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for approval under the EPBC Act. If approved, the proponents would then need to seek State Government approval for a mining lease under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and an Environmental Authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
To view the Coordinator-General’s report or to find out more about the project visit www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/newacland
A review into waste management legislation in Western Australia has proposed reforms to the collection and processing of waste, governance of waste groups and infrastructure planning.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said public consultation for the review of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 was an important opportunity for stakeholders to have a say on waste management and potential amendments to the Act.
“Much has changed in the waste sector in the last 10 years,” Mr Jacob said.
“The Government has identified areas where further co-ordination, planning and certainty can drive improved efficiency and innovation, especially through the private sector, and support improved outcomes in recycling.
“WA is experiencing a period of sustained growth. Our population of 1.93 million in the Perth and Peel regions is forecast to grow to around 3.5 million by 2050.
“Waste generation for 2012-13 in these regions was around five million tonnes. This is projected to increase to six million tonnes by 2019-20 and to 9.5 million tonnes when the population reaches 3.5 million.
“Our State’s waste management is heading in the right direction but more can be done. For example, waste collection and processing arrangements vary considerably across the Perth metropolitan area and this is leading to inefficiencies.”
Reforms suggested in the review discussion paper include:
Creating statutory waste groups in the Perth and Peel regions with compulsory local government membership
Giving waste groups the authority to co-ordinate procurement of waste processing services to achieve least cost and to maximise competition
Waste infrastructure planning that requires regional and local plans to align to a State waste plan, much as already occurs for other planning under the Planning and Development Act 2005.
The review discussion paper is available at http://www.der.wa.gov.au. Public submissions are invited from December 1, 2014 to February 23, 2015 by email to email@example.com.
The Giles Government has granted Major Project Status to the proposed gas pipeline linking the Territory and East Coast gas grids and will now begin a formal search for investors.
“The construction of this gas pipeline is an infrastructure project of national significance. It’s also a matter of urgency for the eastern states which are fast approaching an energy security crisis,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.
“We have the gas and they have the demand but there is currently no economically viable way to get the gas from Northern Australia to the eastern market.”
At COAG on Friday, national leaders backed the Territory’s work developing a gas pipeline which has the potential to create a more competitive domestic gas market.
Today the Territory Government is announcing the next steps in that process.
“I am pleased to announce that the Territory Government is about to start a formal process for potential investors to express their interest in building and operating the pipeline,” Mr Giles said.
“With an East Coast gas crisis shortage looming, we need the pipeline to be operational by 2018. There is no time to waste and the granting of Major Project Status to the pipeline will help speed up this process.”
There will be an industry briefing held in Alice Springs on 31 October to explain the project to potential investors.
“In Alice Springs later this month, I have asked our consultants, Port Jackson Partners, to run a briefing for gas and infrastructure companies, as well as other industry figures interested in being part of this nationally important project,” Mr Giles said.
“In a sign of the national significance of this project, Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has agreed to join this industry briefing.
“I am excited about the jobs and exploration the pipeline could stimulate in the Northern Territory.
“I will do everything I can to bring the pipeline to reality in partnership with the gas industry, Federal and state governments.
“I know this is a project of particular interest to New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia and I look forward to working with them on this development.”
Two routes have been proposed for the gas pipeline – one from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa in Queensland and the other from Alice Springs to Moomba in South Australia.
Proposals will be accepted for both these routes or any other route that industry would like to propose linking the two gas grids.
Formal Expressions of Interest will open at the end of November.
National, state and territory leaders have thrown their support behind a new gas pipeline linking the Northern Territory with the East Coast gas grid.
Chief Minister Adam Giles discussed the project at today’s Council Of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra and won unanimous backing.
“Australia is getting behind this truly nation-building pipeline project which has the potential to secure the country’s energy supply for years to come.
“The eastern states are fast approaching a gas supply crisis and the Territory has the solution. We have the gas and they have the demand but there is currently no economically viable way to get the gas from Northern Australia to the eastern market.
“A pipeline is a win-win that would connect natural gas companies with potential buyers in the eastern states, while also creating economic opportunities for the Northern Territory. It’s exciting to see this project is really gaining momentum.
“Today my fellow leaders expressed their support for the work the Territory is doing to establish a competitive process for the private sector to build and operate a pipeline.
“COAG agreed that connecting the Northern Territory and East Coast gas markets is the next step towards developing a national gas grid and will contribute to the development of a more competitive domestic gas market.”
The Territory is now working with the Federal Government to secure private investment in the pipeline and has received keen interest from a number of key national and international industry players.
“I will be meeting with the Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane over the weekend and I hope to have more to say on this issue next week,” Mr Giles said.
COAG also noted that the Commonwealth, the Northern Territory and Queensland will urgently investigate Indigenous land administration and land use to enable traditional owners to attract private sector investment and finance for development.
“I firmly believe that the protracted and complicated processes for approving development projects on Aboriginal land are prohibiting Indigenous Territorians from pulling themselves out of poverty through economic development,” Mr Giles said
“I am pleased that the Prime Minister has agreed to work with the Northern Territory on ways to remove those barriers to the development of Aboriginal land.”
Aurecon has appointed Colby Hauser as Client Relationship Executive, Oil and Gas. Based in Aurecon’s Perth office, Colby will focus on growing Aurecon’s Oil and Gas business in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Papua New Guinea.
Industry Director for Oil and Gas, John Wood said, Its exciting to welcome Colby to our rapidly expanding Oil and Gas team. His appointment is a natural progression as we continue to build our portfolio within the upstream, downstream and advisory sectors. With his wealth of experience, both in Australia and internationally, Colby will be in great company; our extensive and diverse range of industry experience sets Aurecon apart.
Colby has many years of experience working in the oil and gas industry, primarily in business development and project, as well as contracts and
procurement roles. He has established a highly developed network across Australia/Oceania with executives and senior personnel from major oil and gas operators as well as EPCs across the region. His experience has provided him with deep knowledge of the LNG and oil and gas opportunities pipeline, with an excellent understanding of contracting/commercial requirements on the operator, EPC/contractor, and consultancy sides of the oil and gas industry.
Colby was previously employed with Industry Capability Network (ICN) in the role of National Sector Manager -Oil and Gas; in this role he was responsible for shaping the strategy and direction of ICNs engagement in the oil and gas sector, while working closely with LNG operators and major contractors in Australia, to define and contribute to their local content and supply chain objectives on various major projects.
Colby holds a Bachelors Degree in International Business and Supply Chain Management and is a Certified Procurement Professional, with international certifications in purchasing management and supply chain management. Colby is also a full MCIPS member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Australia.
Colby said, It is a wonderful opportunity for me to join Aurecon at this exciting stage of building its Oil and Gas portfolio. I am looking forward to working with the existing team of Aurecon specialists to ensure we continue to meet our clients requirements by proving flexible delivery models, with world class expertise and experience around oil and gas infrastructure.
Minister for Water Peter Walsh today launched Ballarat and region’s water future, the first whole-of-water-cycle management framework for a Victorian regional city.
“A whole-of-water-cycle approach is about being smarter, more efficient and more responsible with all of our water sources – including rainwater, stormwater, groundwater and recycled water – to take the pressure off precious drinking water supplies and ensure we have green, liveable urban communities,” Mr Walsh said.
“Ballarat was chosen as the pilot regional city for a whole-of-water cycle management framework after we saw how badly the drought affected the city’s livability.
“I congratulate the local project control board, chaired by Dr Mark Harris, for leading the development of the Ballarat and region’s water future framework and using a collaborative approach to ensure the community’s vision for the region was captured and acted upon.”
Mr Walsh also announced four new innovative water projects around the Ballarat region.
“Under round two of the Living Victoria Fund, more than 60 projects across the state will share in $15 million to help embed whole-of-water-cycle management into our cities, towns and regions,” Mr Walsh said.
“I am pleased to announce $1.8 million for four projects around Ballarat that will help make the framework’s vision a reality.”
$967,120 to connect Ballarat Grammar and Wendouree Primary Schools to non-drinking water supplies for irrigating playing fields and gardens, in a partnership with Central Highlands Water and City of Ballarat.
$503,900 to connect Central Highlands Agribusiness Forum and Ballarat Grammar’s 50ha agricultural research and education precinct in Mt Rowan to Central Highland Water’s recycled water supplies.
$191,900 to allow Pinarc Disability Support to refurbish its office building to capture and reuse rainwater and increase tree canopy.
$132,000 for a stormwater harvest and reuse system at Hepburn Springs Golf Club.
“By choosing the right water for the job with innovative projects like these, we are building a more liveable and resilient Ballarat,” Mr Walsh said.
Millennium Minerals has announced that Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Brian Rear wishes to step down from his executive role following a highly successful 6 year period leading the Company. Mr Rear has indicated his decision to step down at this juncture is to allow him to take on another, as yet unidentified full time role, in developing a new resources project.
The Board has invited Mr Rear to remain on the Board as a Non‐Executive Director to ensure the Company continues to have the benefit of his significant experience and operational skills and to ensure a seamless transition of the senior leadership of the Company.
The Company will engage an executive search firm to identify suitably qualified candidates to take over the role of CEO. Mr Rear will remain in the CEO and Managing Director role until a leadership transition can take place.
Mr Richard Procter, Chairman of Millennium, said: “Having successfully established Millennium as a stable, profitable producing gold company, Brian has achieved what he was appointed to do. We understand that the time is now right for him to move on to another opportunity and for a CEO with a different skill set to take the Company through the next phase of its growth.
“During Brian’s six year tenure as CEO and Managing Director he has delivered the Nullagine facility on time and on budget; developed an excellent management team and skilled staff; and overseen a significant and highly successful exploration program”.
“The Board completely understands Brian’s desire to seek a new project challenge and is pleased he has agreed to remain on the Board in a non‐executive capacity”.
“The Board is committed to achieving an orderly transition to the CEO role, and we have a robust process in place to seek Brian’s replacement,” Mr Procter said.
The State Government will sell Market City in Canning Vale and port handling facilities in Port Hedland and Kwinana in the first round of asset sales to reduce the State’s debt levels.
Announcing the first three projects listed for disposal, Premier Colin Barnett said the State’s priority was to reduce debt and regain the triple-A credit rating.
“These are the first assets we will open up to the market. They have been identified as priority assets for sale,” Mr Barnett said.
“The three assets are expected to generate between $1billion and $2billion.”
The Premier said the sale process would balance risk and return and would assess how the assets could be managed, while providing benefits to stakeholders and the Western Australian community.
“These assets are better placed in the private sector. They are likely to be better run by the private sector,” he said.
Port Hedland’s Utah Point Bulk Handling facility is one of four berths owned by the Pilbara Ports Authority. It includes a shiploader, two stockyard product storage facilities and supporting infrastructure. In 2012 13, it earned $86.5million in revenue, with $44.1million in expenditure.
“The port assets are likely to be sold as a long-term lease,” Mr Barnett said.
Owned and operated by the Fremantle Port Authority, the Kwinana Bulk Terminal exports and imports bulk products including coal, iron ore, liquefied petroleum gas, cement clinker, gypsum, nut coke and slag. With a total throughput of 5.2 million tonnes, in 2012-13, total revenue was $61.6million, with total operating costs of $36million.
With 155 tenants, the Perth Market Authority operates Market City in Canning Vale, which undertakes the marketing and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables in WA. A condition of the sale would be the ongoing operation of the markets.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said this was the start of an ordered asset sales program.
“We continue to review our balance sheet, and the port facilities and Market City are the most market-ready. Now we start the process of due diligence,” Dr Nahan said.
In coming weeks, details of the first round of land sales will also be announced.
The Premier will chair the process of assets and land sales. Detailed work will be undertaken by Treasury through an asset sales taskforce. Treasurer Mike Nahan, Finance Minister Dean Nalder and Lands Minister Terry Redman will play major roles in the ongoing process.
About $100 million will be invested in South Australia by companies wanting to unlock the State’s oil and gas potential in the Cooper Basin.
The State Government today announced Senex Energy Limited, Bridgeport Energy Pty Ltd and Strike Energy Cooper Pty Ltd had successfully bid for petroleum exploration licences (PELS) in the Cooper Basin.
It comes as the State Government received a record-breaking royalty for petroleum for the month of June.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the release of four petroleum exploration blocks had attracted significant interest from international and national petroleum explorers.
“The winning four bids total a combined investment of up $103.2 million – with a guaranteed spend of $88.9 million. This investment in South Australia translates into jobs for South Australians in our cities, towns and regional communities,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“In fact, employment last year in the resources sector totaled more than 15,300 people – a record high and more than double what it was ten years ago.
“We also saw a record petroleum royalty return for June of $16.4 million. This is the largest monthly royalty receipt we have seen and is a reflection of the growth, investment and importance of the oil and gas sector to our State.
“The world’s petroleum explorers want to come to South Australia and be part of the nation’s largest onshore oil and gas province in the State’s far north, which is estimated to have 400 years’ worth of domestic supply.
“We welcome these explorers and the billons of dollars in investment that they can bring to our economy.”
The CO2013 blocks, as they’re known, cover an area of more than 9000 square kilometres and possibly contain conventional and unconventional gas plays, while one block is on trend with the highly productive western flank oil play.
Glencore’s Mick Buffier presents The Global Outlook for Coal with insights into how Glencore tackles sustainability in mining practices.
This month one of the world’s biggest commodity houses comes to town. Even describing Glencore as a ‘Big Miner’ underplays its amazing reach. It explores and originates commodities, produces them, processes and refines them, markets and blends them, and ultimately handles, stores and transports them to customers around the world. And unbeknownst to many miners, with a big footprint in agriculture too. And since the May 2013 merger with Xstrata on an even greater scale.
Mick Buffier is Glencore’s Group Executive Sustainable Development and Industry Relations, Coal Assets and in this special Sydney Mining Club (SMC) address will tackle ‘The global outlook for coal and Glencore’s commitment to sustainable mining practices’. Keeping coal centre stage, or at least reminding its detractors why coal must remain centre stage, is a massive task with a well-funded opposition. Meet the man who is involved in keeping Glencore’s message on track.
Glencore produced 80Mt of (alt. thermal and coking) coal alone across 12 mining complexes in 2013, employing 8,600 people contributing $9billlion to the Australia economy. Its six biggest in its portfolio are household names Bulga, Rolleston, Ravensworth, Mount Owen, Mangoola, Oaky Creek and Ulan. The company is quite a force particularly adding in a powerful portfolio in Australia’s agriculture, zinc, copper and nickel sectors.
With 200,000 people in 50 countries, and 150 mining and metallurgical sites Australia is a flagship nation for Glencore, particularly when it comes to sustainability stewardship. Mick Buffier will also present on Glencore’s strong commitment in this area and field questions on broader issues as time permits. Not to be missed!
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion says Western Australia should build on its world-leading resources technology to take a major role in the global uranium industry.
“We have seen competitor nations expand their energy mining sectors and now, with Australia home to one-third of the world’s known reserves, it’s time we embraced a leadership role as well,” Mr Marmion said.
Addressing the 10th annual Australian Uranium and Rare Earths Conference in Perth today, the Minister said Australia was well-placed to supply new and expanding markets.
“An increasing number of rational people across the world are seeing nuclear energy, with its low carbon emissions and base-load power capacity, as a fundamental part of the response to climate change,” he said.
“Our biggest trading partner, China, is set to lead the charge for a cleaner, lower-carbon emission future – and we are in the box seat to ride the rising market for uranium.”
China already has 20 reactors on line, with 29 more under construction, and plans to triple its nuclear power generation by 2020, then triple it again by 2030.
Australia recently signed a supply agreement with the United Arab Emirates and negotiations continue with India, which has 21 reactors in operation, six under construction and 35 planned.
Mr Marmion acknowledged recent challenges faced by the industry but urged conference participants to take advantage of opportunities.
“Now is the time for consolidation,” he said. “Over the next 18 months get all of your Commonwealth and State approvals in place so that you are best placed to capitalise on the next phase of market expansion.”
“No State dominates gas energy exports like WA, and our Government certainly shares the vision for a dominant role in uranium, too.”
– Western Australia ideally located to supply emerging energy markets
– 73 reactors under construction worldwide, 172 on order or planned
– Nuclear generation is planned to supply 25% of India’s electricity by 2050
– The Liberal National Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme has just funded two new uranium drilling programs and the recent Theseus and Yalgoo discoveries
Small to medium sized developers are being urged to pass on the savings from a cut in developer charges to South Australians looking to buy a new home.
SA Water has cut the cost for developers wanting to subdivide a block and establish a new water and sewerage connection, with property owners able to save $3,000 on average per allotment.
“We want to make it easier and more affordable for South Australians to own their own home, and this is a significant saving that should be passed on to new homeowners,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning John Rau said.
“In total, developers across the State could save up to $5 million a year as a result of these changes, which should provide a significant incentive to both developers and people looking to buy a new home.
“We’re calling on those developers who will benefit from these changes to pass on this saving to new home buyers, and encouraging those in the market for new homes to ask developers about the cost reduction.”
Minister for Water Ian Hunter said the revised charging model was aimed at supporting the housing and construction sector.
“Previously, a Standard Capital Contribution Charge has been required upfront to cover the cost of infrastructure to service the allotment,” he said.
“This charge has now been removed, with SA Water now also contributing half of the material costs for all network extensions where that development benefits other customers.
“These changes will cut costs for new home buyers while providing a transparent and consistent charge for all developers seeking new connections.”
Minister Hunter said the new charges will come into effect from the beginning of July.
“SA Water will also be consulting with developers on other charges and agreements, in a bid to streamline services and charges,” he said.
“As part of this consultation, SA Water will work with the industry to review other elements of developer charges including individual developer agreements, upsizing agreements and augmentation charges.
“SA Water will also seek the views of industry on how they interact with SA Water, what their future requirements may be and how development application processes can be improved.
“It’s important we review these policies and hear the views of the industry to improve the services that SA Water delivers.”
The review will begin this month and be conducted over the next 12-18 months.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) has delivered a vote of confidence in Australia’s ongoing management of the iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR).
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said all Australians would welcome the committee’s decision in Doha (Qatar) to reject activist calls to place the reef on the World Heritage ‘in-danger’ list.
‘We are pleased the committee is as focused on the future management of the Great Barrier Reef as we are here,’ Mr Roche said.
‘The decision is global acknowledgement that Australia is on track to deliver a long-term plan for conservation of the Great Barrier Reef’s outstanding universal value (OUV).
‘The federal and state governments’ progress on improving the reef’s management and health is evident from the recently released Queensland Ports Strategy and Reef Water Quality Report Card.’
Mr Roche said the report card confirmed science-based programs were improving reef water quality, which in turn, would play a role in reducing Crown-of-Thorn starfish outbreaks.
Storm damage, starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching were identified by the Australian Institute of Marine Science in 2012 as the major threats to reef health.
‘In relation to future port management, the Cumulative Impact Assessment prepared for the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion has created a new standard for informing government decision-makers.
‘The cumulative approach to environmental impacts gave the federal government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority the scientific confidence they needed to approve the project subject to 142 conditions.
‘Maintaining the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef was the centrepiece of the assessment process, which has set a world class benchmark for marine precinct management.’
Port-related activities along the 2,300 kilometre-long Great Barrier Reef occupy less than one percent of the coastline and the areas set aside for sediment relocation represent less than 0.02 percent of the world heritage property area.
Origin Energy Limited (Origin), together with Sasol Limited (Sasol), today announced the signing of a conditional farm-in agreement with Falcon Oil & Gas Australia Limited (Falcon) for three onshore exploration permits in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.