Breaking news - Woodside just announced Meg O'Neill will be its permanent chief executive. Read the announcement.
And now here is the newsletter I'd prepared earlier:
A very late newsletter this time as new stories kept popping up. The Woodside BHP deal had to be covered yesterday, and this morning there is an exclusive story that Andrew Forrest is pulling out of plans to frack the Kimberley.
Here are the Boiling Cold stories since the last newsletter:
· You could say yesterday's big news was confirmation that Woodside wants to absorb BHP's petroleum division in return for a lot of new shares to BHP shareholders. However, an announcement was expected today, so the real news is that negotiations are still happening.
· The deal is in many ways similar to when BHP disposed of its unwanted mining assets into South32. The big difference is that Woodside is an existing entity, and the negotiation about how much of the new Woodside-Plus goes to BHP shareholders will be tough.
· Decommissioning will loom large in assessing any deal, but with legislation before Parliament, it seems there is a good chance taxpayers will not shoulder the burden. The story has a bonus exclusive picture of the current dilapidated condition of the Northern Endeavour, the vessel we can thank for getting better decommissioning laws.
BHP is having a media conference later this afternoon to discuss its full-year results. I'm sure the Woodside deal will feature, and I'll bring you an update.
Some stories unrelated to BHP and Woodside:
· BP released a public version of their study into producing green hydrogen near Geraldton. Plenty of interesting stuff, but answers to some meaty questions were missing: cost, schedule and will BP invest in the demonstration plant?
READ: BP's Geraldton green hydrogen dream needs help
· Andrew Forrest's Squadron Energy is pulling out of plans to frack the Kimberley for gas, citing climate concerns, but minor partner Goshawk Energy may continue the work.
And two great stories from The Conversation:
· It has rightly been covered everywhere, but the IPCC update on climate science had one clear message that is worth repeating: "Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters."
· Sadly, like vaccine procurement, building quarantine camps, fighting bushfires and rescuing Afghans who helped us in wartime, our Federal Government's approach to climate change is to do as little as possible until forced to. They might continue on that spineless path at the Glasgow climate change conference starting in late October it seems.
An interesting perspective on the Woodside-BHP deal is that many BHP shareholders may not want their shiny new fossil-fuelled Woodside shares, and their attempts to dispose of them could depress the Woodside share price for some time after a deal is done.
Crikey described the new Woodside-plus entity as "a massive fossil fuel giant with even greater power to dictate climate policy to both sides of politics." However, given that Woodside seems already to have an effective veto on WA climate policy, we may not notice a difference.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has made a micro shift on climate policy by considering legislating the current "aspiration" of net-zero emissions by 2050." Absolutely useless. Action is needed now. What is the State's 2030 target Mark?
What was interesting though, was an opinion piece in The West Australian from state political editor Peter Law on "the environmental and political imperative to offer a credible road map for how WA plans to slash emissions remains." Clearly, the newsroom vibe on this issue is now more fact-based than when I was there two years ago.
A good place for WA Labor to start is the South West power supplier. As the owner of the grid and the major generator and retailer, there can be no 'waiting for Canberra excuse' on this one.
Renewables are flooding in. Synergy new energy manager James Giblin pointed out that at one stage on Sunday, renewables supplied 70 per cent power to the South West. The solar surge needs to be managed, but new investment needs certainty, which means clarity on the phase-out of Collie coal. It's bite the bullet time Bill.
In July, Boiling Cold raised concerns that a much-publicised TotalEnergies carbon-neutral LNG cargo from Inpex's Ichthys project did not allow for significant flaring emissions. Well, Bloomberg took a fascinating deep dive into that transaction: "How to Sell 'Carbon Neutral' Fossil Fuel That Doesn't Exist." The tiotla says it all.
NSW energy and environment minister Matt Kean has said that "complaining that it is too hard is not a solution" for climate change, and "the community expects our leaders to get on with it, or get out of the way." It is hard to believe Kean and Morrison are both NSW Liberals.
Resources Minister Keith Pitt told a Guardian podcast released on Saturday that a hybrid (i.e. not exclusively fossil-fuel) energy solution would be no good for an aluminium smelter. Unfortunately for Pitt, he must have missed the announcement a few days before that Tomago, Australia's biggest aluminium smelter, would switch to predominantly renewable energy by 2030. Time to hand back the engineering degree Keith.
Woodside's most recent permanent chief executive Peter Coleman will chair Infinite Blue Energy, a private company with a myriad of green hydrogen ideas that plans to float on the ASX. Coleman's other post-Woodside gig so far is a seat on the board of Schlumberger.
Beach Energy is close to concluding its first LNG sale using gas from Waitsia in the Perth Basin.
Beach's neighbour Strike Energy is planning three months of seismic work southeast of Eneabba, covering 28,000 hectares.
According to its latest corporate presentation, Buru Energy, which featured heavily in the list of failed exploration in today's Andrew Forrest story, is apparently no longer a micro-scale Kimberley oil producer.
Oh no, of course not. It is now has a "strong core business and the agility to capture energy transition value."
Buru says its core Canning Basin business is "underexplored and highly prospective," ignoring all the failed exploration to date.
But it gets better. This $71 million market capitalisation outfit is "driving participation in the high growth Integrated Energy Economy" with three "Energy Transition Assets."
Apparently, if you capitalise meaningless words they are more credible
What are these wonderful assets? Three ridiculous brands, each with their own logo:
- 2H Resources is "a leading explorer for Natural Hydrogen and associated Helium."
- Project Geovault "aims to be a pre-eminent operator in the identification and operation of CCUS projects;" and
- Project Battmin is based on "PB/Zn/Ag MVT style deposits …encountered in numerous petroleum wells."
And yes, the logo for Project Battmin is….a bat with a battery logo on its chest.
Of course, Buru is not alone amongst small ASX-listed oil and gas outfits adding claims to expertise in clean energy now it has realised its core business is anathema to most investors.
I've left them alone to date as there is too much to cover, but clearly Buru pushed a button today. The eject button of course, not a buy button.
Enjoy what is left of the week.