Australia plays dodge in the climate fight

• & three LNG projects strike emissions problems •

Good afternoon,

Three stories this week on LNG projects with big carbon emissions problems and good news about offshore decommissioning.

Shell is going to find it harder to keep a low profile for the appalling amount of gas flared at Prelude with flares across the world now identified and measured using satellite data.

READ the full story: Eye in the sky spies Shell's Prelude floating flare machine

Inpex plans to increase emissions from Ichthys by 30% while cutting total corporate emissions by 30%. Another empty corporate climate promise it seems.

READ the full story: Ichthys gas supply plans to destroy Inpex emissions pledge

Chevron has to tell the WA Environmental Protection Authority how Wheatstone can contribute to net-zero emissions in WA by 2050. That will be tough.

READ the full story: Environment watchdog wants Chevron plan for net-zero Wheatstone LNG emissions by 2050

And NOPSEMA has finally decided to take action against the constant delay of offshore decommissioning work. Good news for offshore jobs later this decade.

READ the full story: Regulator calls time on delays to $52B offshore oil and gas decommissioning

Yesterday's man refuses to disappear with Woodside ex-chief executive Peter Coleman chasing plenty of publicity instead of giving his successor Meg O'Neill some clear air to establish her public profile.

Coleman told the AFR that the time has passed for big new greenfield LNG projects, and towards the end of the decade, the window will close for smaller projects.

Boiling Cold readers knew Browse LNG was dead almost a year ago, but Coleman should have allowed the actual chief executive of Woodside to make the official announcement.

Coleman plans to "do something in technology around new energy and carbon."

Before that, however, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia will host a lunch on May 27 where Coleman will share "insights and perspectives." Yours for $180.

Meanwhile, the real boss of Woodside, Meg O'Neill, has let the plebs into the hallowed executive floors in a widely leaked staff memo.

Woodside's first-quarter results had some interesting titbits. Woodside will finalise a new cost for a second LNG train at Pluto this quarter.

With all the noise from the mining sector about staff shortages, Bechtel will want more dollars and possibly more time. Not what Woodside needs to hear.

After a redesign, Pluto Train 1 will now be able to take three million tonnes of Scarborough gas, meaning capacity from the North West Shelf is not needed. A helpful announcement if you want negotiation leverage with recalcitrant NWS partners.

West of the Nullarbor

Putting Woodside to one side, plenty else happened in WA this week.

The EcoGraf battery anode materials facility that aims to be the first graphite processing plant outside of China won major project status from the Federal Government.

Queensland company Orocobre mined lithium in Argentina and WA's Galaxy Resources sealed a $4 billion merger on Monday to become the fifth-largest producer of the vital battery ingredient.

French oil and gas giant (but wants less of it) Total has signed an MOU with Province Resources to investigate zero-carbon hydrogen projects near Carnarvon.

NOPSEMA accepted plans from Kato Energy to develop the old Amulet and Corawa oil fields near Dampier with a system that moves location every few years.

Carnarvon Petroleum farmed out half of the Buffalo oil field in Timor Leste waters to Advance Energy to finance drilling.

Triangle Energy again announced a last-minute reprieve, this time a one-year agreement with BP to export its crude from the now-shuttered Kwinana oil refinery.

Other Perth Basin producers are in on the deal, and their product will be blended and possibly sold by BP Singapore.

The West Australian told us that Kerry Stokes' BCI Minerals is looking to expand its Mardie salt project. However, there was no mention of a bunfight with Santos over the foundation project targeted for sanction this quarter.

Santos told the WA Environmental Protection Authority that BCI had made "inaccurate statements," including that the two companies had agreed on terms for the salt project encroaching on the onshore gas pipeline that connects Varanus Island to the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline.

BCI made similarly snide comments back in a document posted on the EPA website this week.

The dispute has also gone to court, as Boiling Cold covered in November. Not a great situation just before project sanction.

LNG minnow Western Gas' retention lease over WA-70-R expired at the end of March, and NOPTA lists it as a "pending application." The last five-year extension required a commitment to spend $8.9 million and progress to commercialise the Equus resource.

Perhaps Western Gas teaming up with APA in February to look at a transcontinental pipeline was to demonstrate progress to NOPTA. I cannot think why else a company would spend money on such a flawed concept.

And in the rest of the world

Former Defence Force chief Chris Barrie and former deputy chief of the RAAF John Blackburn were part of a group of defence professional worried that Australia was not taking climate change seriously enough.

"Australia is ill-prepared for climate impacts, with climate-security risks not being fully assessed or understood in Australia," Barrie said.

Queensland's state-owned power generator Stanwell has made it clear that it wants to get out of coal gradually.

Santos plans to sanction its $210 million carbon capture and storage project at Moomba in the second half of the year.

The Clean Energy Regulator finished a $108 million Emission Reduction Fund auction at an average price of $16 a tonne of CO2 offset.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority that regulates banks wants the financial sector to better manage climate risk given its "irreversible" and "unprecedented" nature.

Ever-in-the-news Andrew Forrest has left WA to continue his global hunt for green energy investments.

Finally, there is a deluge of information from Biden's climate summit that I will not go through. In short, the world is finally stepping up to the climate fight, but not Australia.

Draft dodging in the climate war

As Energy News Bulletin put it: A mixed climate summit sees Morrison stay in his hydrogen valley. The summit to climb is real, unlike Slomo's mythical valley.

With Anzac Day on Sunday, I'll use a historical analogy.

It's 1939. German tanks have rolled into Poland, and democracy across the world is threatened.

Under Robert Menzies, we joined the fight.

Under Scott Morrison, we would have stayed on the sidelines saying Australia was too small to make a difference. A technology roadmap would appear to develop weapons of secondary importance that funnel funds to his mates. And it would all be done to appease donors, the Murdoch press, and some crazies from Queensland who might cross the floor.

Robert Menzies went on to found the Liberal Party.

Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have gutted the Party using the great challenge (and opportunity) of the 21st century for divisive short term political gain.

Scotty from marketing is no Bob Menzies.

Enjoy your three-day long weekend/lockdown.



PS: On the contention that Australia is too small to matter.

The Rats of Tobruk achieved the first defeat of the German Army when they kept them out of the vital port. The diggers on the Kokoda trail did the same to the Japanese Army marching towards Port Moresby.

In a big fight, everyone matters.

With the right leadership, I would still back Australia to make a bigger difference than most, but we would be starting from behind.