Toro, Toro, Toro  

Posted by Big Gav

Uranium prospector Toro Energy continues to get plenty of press attention - I guess sustaining a half billion dollar market cap takes a bit of energy if you are a company that has yet to even complete drilling a single hole, let alone actually produce some uranium...

TORO Energy has begun its hunt for uranium with exploration drilling getting under way at its project in South Australia's far west.

The company said it had started a 7000-metre program of aircore drilling at its Yaninee Project, east of Streaky Bay, where it is following up on exploration work carried out in the 1980s.

The program has begun just two weeks after Toro's strong debut on the Australian Stock Exchange and managing director Greg Hall said the company intended to keep up the pace.

Japanese oil company Inpex has announced plans to build yet another LNG plant in north west WA, to process gas from the Ichthys field in the Browse basin. I wonder if their is a possibility of a joint venture with Woodside to process gas from their field at Browse as well ?
Shares of Inpex Holdings, Japan's largest oil explorer, rose 6 per cent after the company said it would spend as much as $US6 billion ($8.23 billion) building a liquefied natural gas project in Australia. Inpex will develop the Ichthys gas and condensate field in the Browse Basin off the coast of Western Australia.

The company, which is based in Tokyo, planned to fund development partly by selling stakes in the project to other companies, spokesman Kazuya Honda said in a phone interview. It had not yet decided which companies, he said.

Japan is the world's biggest market for LNG and is seeking new supplies at a time when demand is rising in China and the United States. Indonesia, the world's biggest LNG exporter, last month said it would not extend some contracts to sell the fuel after 2010 as the gas was needed within the country.

The SMH is reporting that Woodside has high hopes for the Enfield oil field.
The outlook for Woodside Petroleum's $1.5 billion Enfield oil project off Western Australia was bright, chief executive Don Voelte told shareholders at the group's annual meeting in Perth.

During his speech yesterday Mr Volte said Enfield could begin producing oil by the end of June rather than in the third quarter as previously expected. At full capacity the project would produce 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

Goldman Sachs JBWere energy analyst Anthony Bishop said Enfield's early start-up was significant, given the large size of the development.

Woodside plans to produce 76 million barrels of oil-equivalent this year but expects to update the forecast in August. The update will take into account the early production from Enfield and from the Chinguetti joint venture in Mauritania but will also include the impact of shutdowns from the five cyclones that have hit the West Australian coast this year.

The SMH also reports that Santos is looking at returning to PNG gas pipeline project as both an investor and major customer.
The ambitious $US2.5 billion ($3.4 billion) Papua New Guinea gas project is about to happen, with Santos' re-entry imminent. A deal that will result in Santos rejoining the project as a 9.5 per cent partner after earlier deciding to stand aside is expected to be announced shortly.

Santos is also expected to sign up to take 50 petajoules of gas through its Moomba gas processing hub in north-east South Australia, with the gas representing more than 20 per cent of the PNG project's baseload requirements and ensuring a key role for Moomba in the long-term eastern states gas market.

Crikey yesterday took a look at the role of the Murdoch media in propagating global warming denial myths - maybe Rupert would look good in the chain gang next to Jabba once the time comes to find some scapegoats over developing climate chaos ?
When six leading Australian CEOs went public last Thursday with their concerns about climate change – "there is broad consensus that climate change is real, the impacts may be significant and we need to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" said the bosses of BP, IAG, Origin Energy, Swiss Re, Visy and Westpac – they didn't get very far. Their calls for Australia to reduce its greenhouse emissions over coming decades were largely ignored by policy-makers, poo-pooed by the Business Council and ridiculed by Australia's climate guardians at the Murdoch press, who made these insightful comments.
"It is what happens to such emissions in the US, Europe, China and India that is going to determine the climate outcome. What we do is completely irrelevant. It's not like we can achieve a nice climate outcome just for Australia, somehow isolating our emissions and our, reduced, greenhouse gases above our land-space ... It's not based in either science, logic or even good – sorry, would you accept 'not completely dodgy'? – economics." - Terry McCrann

"Even if climate change is man-made, there is nothing Australia can do to change it in any way we could measure. Our emissions will be dwarfed by India's and China's for a start. So we're being sold snake oil that won't solve a problem that might well not be our fault ... It might not even be a problem. The House of Lords report even suggested we might not be worse off with warming, on the whole, given how much better plants will grow." – Andrew Bolt

Just why Rupert Murdoch allows or directs his attack-dogs to ridicule the idea that climate change is an unfolding global calamity – his flagship The Australian usually leads the charge, followed by several columnists – isn't hard to understand. It's about money and you get to kick the liberals in the process. But if he ever becomes convinced that the climate problem is real, or that it is crazy not to take precautions in case it's real, there will be some very sour attack-dogs wandering around without red meat.

Rex declares "It's Time" for the Labor party to go in hard on global warming (after first purging themselves of recalcitrant forestry workers), advising Kim "Bomber" Beazley to sound the 5 minute warning siren.
For those who missed it, there was a terrific development in the Australian business community last week when a group of high profile businesses finally came out and declared that they’re worried sick about global warming.

Origin Energy, Westpac, BP, Insurance Australia Group, Visy and insurers Swiss Re, have gone on the record to say that global warming is a problem and that we’ve got to do something.

This is it folks. Time for the ALP to go in hard on climate change. Time, as Jabba the Hutt [BG: not Lee Raymond - he's referring to the "Sphere of Influence", Laurie Oakes] acknowledges to promote Peter Garrett to the senior portfolio as he deserves.
New boy Peter Garrett, who has proved by now that he is a serious politician and not a show pony, should be given a prominent portfolio.

Time also to put the boot in good and proper to the traitors in our midst. Those self-serving shafters in the Forestry division of the CFMEU, Michael O'Connor and Scott McLean.

Time to put the coal boys on notice, and finally its time for Mr. Beazley to declare Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and Terry McCrann as the axis of evil, and that we will commence bombing in five minutes!

While the Murdoch press may be continuing a policy of spreading blatantly false information (which isn't all that unusual for them, given their track record on the Iraq war for example), some media outlets are starting to leave the low road of "false balance" and instead report objective facts rather than "he said / she said" opinion pieces.
We've commented before on the "false objectivity of balance", i.e. the tendency for many journalists to treat scientific issues--for which differing positions often do not have equal merit-- in the same "he said, she said" manner they might treat a story on policy or politics.

This approach can appear balanced, but it leaves it to the reader to figure out on their own which position is most likely correct. However, the reader is rarely as well equipped as the writer to determine the bottom line, and in practice this plays into the hands of those who might seek to confuse the public through clever disinformation campaigns.

Thankfully, some journalists "get it", and take the time (and effort) to assess where the balance of evidence really lies and report it accordingly. Two recent articles discuss what it takes, the first, an interview with Andy Revkin of the NY Times by Paul Thacker and the second a recent Ideas piece in the Boston Globe by Christopher Shea.

Hopefully this attitude is catching on!

The Rodent appeared before the oil-for-food scandal enquiry today, and, like Lord Downer of Baghdad and Mark Valie before him, adopted the Sergeant Shultz defence - "I know nothing !". Liars or incompetent - you decide...
For the leader of a government that had presided over four years of systematic bribery that helped arm an enemy state, John Howard's "please explain" at the Cole commission today was about as good as it could possibly have been.

The Prime Minister appeared before the inquiry in Sydney, as requested. He had practically begged to be asked - for weeks he had been telling reporters that, if asked, he would happily testify. He swore an oath to tell the whole truth "so help me God." He answered every question. He co-operated fully with the inquiry. He arrived and left through the front door, media scrum and all.

Indeed, John Howard created the inquiry. So why be embarrassed?

Howard can now say that he has done everything possible to convene a full and open and independent investigation of the wheat-for-weapons bribery scandal, and that he has done everything possible to cooperate with that investigation.

Except, of course, that he hasn't. The commission's terms of reference are to inquire into whether companies broke the law, not the government or its ministers. Howard's Government wrote the rules to put the heat onto AWB, and not on the Howard Government.

Crikey points out that Downer's defence took quite an interesting tack - the Iraqi's were no threat to anyone, so what did a few kickbacks (or $300 million of them) matter ?
It smirked out between the lines from Lord Downer yesterday – the federal opposition and media pack have been wrong all along in trying to whip up some outrage about AWB kickbacks because Saddam's Iraq was never really a problem for us.

That's why Downer could claim DFAT had acted professionally. That's why Downer could say “I don't recall being shocked” when he was told a year ago that Alia was part owned by the Iraq Government. That's why Downer could say he didn't think AWB “would necessarily be in great difficulties” in the UN's Volcker investigation. That's why Mark Vaile was happy doing whatever he could to help AWB sell grain to Iraq and why no-one in the Government gave a damn about the scores of suggestions kickbacks were being paid.

Quite simply, Downer, Vaile and co didn't care because Iraq was a good market paying good money and was no threat to anyone. That's what our spooks told them right up until the time they were asked to tell them something different – and even then no-one took it seriously beyond feigning a little outrage for the sake of currying favour with Washington.

DFAT's hands off attitude to AWB's Iraq trade – I think “post box” was the phrase – and the desperate government efforts to smooth things over with Baghdad when Downer first followed the Washington line with a bit of war talk testify that Canberra simply never took the Iraq sanctions seriously because Saddam's government was actually fine by us.

It turns out they were pretty much right at the time. No weapons of mass destruction, no ability to wage war, no Al-Qaeda connections. A rather brutal and corrupt dictatorship, yes, but no worse than many. And, like Tito's Yugoslavia, it kept a lid on nasty tribes just itching for bloody civil war and various cleansings.

All in all, DFAT, like most European Governments, realised Saddam was a lesser evil, so what was the point of anyone getting excited about enforcing some rather silly sanctions?

Henry Thornton gets stuck into Downer, DFAT and the AWB as well, in his reflcetion on Iran, Oil and the AWB
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, traveling with President Bush to Missouri today, told reporters that the news suggests Iran is "moving in the wrong direction." If it continues down that path, he said, the United States will consult with other allies about how to respond.

The price of oil touched US$ 70 overnight, Wall Street slumped and risks to continued global prosperity suddenly seem greater, notwithstanding President Bush's description of reported US plans to nuke Iran as "wild speculation".

All this puts the Cole Commission's light grilling of Alexander Downer in perspective. Apparently it is very difficult to read all the intelligence, even to read all the intelligence about a country we went to war with. One hopes the grinning foreign minister has at least moved to employ someone bright enough to join the dots and brave enough to get the minister's attention.

This is hope not expectation. One is forced to wonder what gobbets of important intelligence are still sitting unexamined in the DFAT post box.

And to close, an encouraging note for those worried about the food supply in a post peak world - experiments have shown that a leech , grasshopper and frog diet is quite maintainable (for a few months anyway).

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