• 50 mins UK On Track To Approve Construction of “Mini” Nuclear Reactors
  • 5 hours LNG Glut To Continue Into 2020s, IEA Says
  • 7 hours Oil Nears $52 With Record OPEC Deal Compliance
  • 10 hours Saudi Aramco CEO Affirms IPO On Track For H2 2018
  • 12 hours Canadia Ltd. Returns To Sudan For First Time Since Oil Price Crash
  • 13 hours Syrian Rebel Group Takes Over Oil Field From IS
  • 3 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 3 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 3 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 3 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 3 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 3 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 3 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 3 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 4 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 4 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 4 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 4 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 4 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 4 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 4 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 4 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 4 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 5 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 5 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 5 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 5 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 5 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 6 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 6 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 6 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 6 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 6 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 6 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 6 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 6 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 6 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 7 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 7 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
Alt Text

Oil Prices Rise Amid Falling U.S. Rig Count

Oil prices inched higher on…

Alt Text

A New Oil Crisis Is Developing In The Middle East

As Iraqi-Kurds prepare to fight…

Alt Text

The U.S. Shale Play To Watch In 2018

The original U.S. shale gas…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is a freelance writer on oil and gas, renewable energy, climate change, energy policy and geopolitics. He is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

More Info

Australian PM Abbot Rolls Out Welcome Mat For Mining Industry

Australian PM Abbot Rolls Out Welcome Mat For Mining Industry

One year into his term, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pulled out all stops to make life easier for extractive industries, effectively turning Australia into a paradise for fossil fuel development.

The conservative leader made scrapping a controversial carbon tax a central pillar of his administration’s agenda and savored the victory when the levy was repealed. Global reaction wasn’t as enthusiastic. Although previous governments had made Australia a leader on climate change, under Abbot, it became the first country to remove a price on greenhouse gases.

The move was slammed by environmentalists around the world, who said it would not only make it more difficult for Australia to meet its own climate targets, but would also undermine an effort to reach an international agreement to limit carbon emissions. Australia is expected to suffer from an increase in wildfires, floods, and drought in the coming years as a result of climate change.

Abbot’s pro-mining agenda has also included the recent repeal of a tax on the profits of mining companies. The 22.5 percent tax only affected large mining companies, but Abbott blamed it for starving Australia of jobs and investment, calling it “possibly the most stupid tax ever devised” in a speech to lawmakers.

Australia’s economic growth hasn’t been as brisk as in years past, but that’s more because of a slowing Chinese economy rather than stiff taxes on extractive industries. Australia sends more than 25 percent of its exports to China. Moreover, about half of its total exports are minerals and other fossil fuels. So its commodity-driven economy benefitted enormously from insatiable Chinese demand for things such as iron ore, coal, copper, steel and natural gas.

But such dependence on commodities leaves Australia vulnerable to periods of weak demand, and like all commodity cycles, booms are followed by busts as new supplies come online and demand cools. “Evidence is mounting that the ‘super cycle’ in commodity prices has ended,” investment bank UBS said in a report earlier this year. Australia rode the wave of the commodity boom, but now that the tide is rolling out, its economy is feeling the pain.

In response, Abbott has doubled down. Instead of negotiating a pivot away from an economy heavily dependent on commodities, his major initiatives continue to focus on supporting the mining industry.

His success in repealing the carbon tax and mining tax was a message to international companies looking to develop Australia’s natural gas, coal, and iron ore that the country is “open for business,” which is what Abbott declared in his victory speech on election night last September.

Although Abbott’s government has racked up victories in clearing the way for business, he has taken his lumps in the court of public opinion. In the name of balancing the books, he has had to slash popular social spending. After only 10 months in office, his approval rating dropped to just 34 percent in July, 10 points lower than the opposition leader’s approval rating.

Australians are unhappy about Abbot initiatives like a plan to dump dredged mud in the waters around the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on the planet.

To clear the way for a coal export terminal, the government approved a proposal to dredge up an estimated 3 million cubic meters of mud that would then be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef. But the public outcry forced Abbott to work behind the scenes to get the company involved in the project, the Adani Group, to submit a revised plan that avoids damaging the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was a rare defeat for the man determined to buck the global trend toward greater concern for the environment, and turn Australia into a fossil fuel utopia.

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News