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Shell pushes floating technology as James Price Point alternative

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WHILE Woodside Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman declined to publicly debate the prospects of the three stated alternatives to a $45 billion Browse LNG development at James Price Point because it is a joint venture decision, Royal Dutch Shell, his biggest shareholder and the biggest indirect shareholder in the Browse project, was not so circumspect.

Shell, which owns 27 per cent of the Browse project and 23 per cent of Woodside, was quick to declare its preference for development of the project’s big offshore gasfields was through a floating LNG project using Shell technology.

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I wonder if the WA State Premier Colin Barnett is feeling a little chagrined as we speak?

It could be said that Woodside and Shell have a preference for offshore drilling and processing and that they are standing their ground.

I wonder now if he feels that he and the Aboriginal Community at James Point might have been a little too strident.

And the question might remain….can Woodside and Shell be left to develop the Browse project with a guarantee from Mr Barnett that the WA Government will support the project as an offshore facility?

That might require some massaging to ensure that the Aboriginal Community is sated with guarantees of jobs and perhaps a way can be worked out whereby the whole James Point community receive a royalty for future services rendered. Those services could be viewed as ongoing agreements such that the royalties received are only payable if the Community agrees to work with the JV partners in good faith and ongoing. If they fail to meet their work load, then any such agreement might have to be renegotiated.

I would like to think that WPL and Shell can see the benefits of such guarantees, and that the Aboriginal community sees itself as a Contractor of work to the JV partners. That to me is a fair arrangement.

There is a need for Government not to over-play their hand in these matters. I think Julia Gillard has been quite open and fair about Super Taxes so as not to scare Mining and Oil and Gas groups away.

Of course she does not have to tweak arrangements in the way that Mr Barnett has on a State basis.

The key to these things is the Spirit of Co-operation. If any one of the 4 parties becomes overbearing, too strident, too niggly….then confidence goes out the door.

I see the door as open….I wonder if the 4 parties have it in them to create a win-win 4 times over??

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