Black clouds gathering on CSG horizon – no longer such a gas!

Australia’s controversial coal seam gas industry faces a deeply uncertain future.

Darling Downs Arrow Infrastructure (4) 2010_0523CSG0200CSG field, Qld.

RISING GAS PRICES, the pitched battle over CSG between farmers and miners, the US threat to LNG’s $13.2 billion export bonanza – are all set to spill over into the Federal election campaign. The Greens and Bob Katter are looking to capitalise.

The CSG industry’s hope of rivalling Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter of LNG could be snookered on a couple of fronts — the twin threat to Australia’s competitiveness in the face of a glut of natural gas from the US and the failure to overcome bitter resistance from farmers in key CSG tenements.

Thanks to world-leading extraction technology, oil and gas from the US’s massive shale reserves may see it regain its former “energy super power” title according to the Annual Energy Outlook for 2013.

After weighing up the economic impact on the domestic market, the US Department of Energy gave the green light on LNG exports to boost the flagging US economy.

Having warned that US shale production could be a game-changer two years ago, Deloittes now predicts U.S. LNG projects could displace Australian exports due to a surge in costs of constructing local LNG plants, The Australian reports. Continue reading

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Getting down and dirty in New South Wales’ CSG politics

The revolving door culture of self-interest on both sides of NSW politics, means it is difficult to distinguish between government, lobbyists and the CSG industry.

ObeidHartcherEddie Obeid and Chris Hartcher: separated at birth?

I DON’T KNOW about Denmark, but there’s certainly something rotten in the state of New South Wales.

With NSW Labor reeling from corruption charges leveled at former Labor king-maker, Eddie Obeid, today, the O’Farrell government copped similar accusations by Canberra king-maker, Independent MP for New England, Tony Windsor.

Windsor told ABC AM this morning he’d “had enough” of governments seen by the public to be in the pockets of miners who trampled over community sensibilities. He wants to put an end to the game-playing and “Mickey Mouse protocols” that fail to protect water resources from CSG mining.

He’s calling in his half of the bargain for supporting Labor’s mining tax — a new trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to protect water quality. Environment minister Tony Burke and the Greens have lined beside him on what is looking like another rancorous debate the CSG industry could do without.

It’s time to get down and dirty to check out the underbelly of the culture of self-interest driving NSW politics. Continue reading