Deutsche Bank Withdraws from Abbot Point Coal Terminal Expansion

Deutsche Bank has withdrawn from any involvement in the Abbott Point coal terminal expansion, citing concerns regarding its social licence to operate according to an ABC report.

Reuters reported last week that the financial institution pulled out of the controversial expansion project on the grounds that UNESCO and the Australian government have come to different conclusions regarding the reef’s safety. According to the news outlet, Deutsche Bank Co-chief Executive Juergen Fitschen said, “[a]s we have seen, there is currently no consensus between UNESCO and the Australian government regarding the expansion of Abbot Point in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef. Our policy requires such a consensus at the least … [w]e therefore would not consider applications for the financing of an expansion any further.”

The Australian government approved a plan to facilitate the coal port’s construction by dumping 3 million cubic meters of dredged material near the reef in January that has catalyzed vocal opposition by a number of groups.

SAMOG 2014 Exposure Draft

An exposure draft of SAMOG 2014, the latest revision of the South African Code for the Reporting of Oil and Gas Resources has been released for public consultation.  

The revised version of SAMOG has been drafted by the South African Oil and Gas Committee (SAMOG) Working Group.  The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has been involved in the development of the South African Code for reporting of Oil and Gas, which is based on the Canadian National Instrument 51-101 in respect of general disclosures and the Petroleum Resources Management System (as developed by the Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and the World Petroleum Council) in respect of the classification of resources and reserves.

The JSE proposes to adopt the South African Code for reporting of Oil and Gas, and amend Section 12 of the JSE Listings Requirements (the “Requirements”) to include a separate section for oil and gas companies.

The amendments to the Requirements have been marked-up for review. The South African Code for reporting of Oil and Gas and the amendments will be available on the JSE’s website: (Route: Companies & Issuer Regulation/Issuer Regulation).

We invite comments on the amendments by close of business, Monday 23 June 2014, and comments can be sent directly to

Follow this link to view the consultation draft: SAMOG Code May 2014

Intellectual Property in the Mining Industry

An article by Robynne Sanders in the May 2014 issue of “Explore”, global law firm DLA Piper’s mining industry newsletter, provides an interesting discussion of  measures being taken by companies to protect their intellectual property.  

For the past decade the mining boom has enabled those companies lucky enough to work in the industry to grow and prosper. With the resources sector tightening the focus has shifted to protecting that growth to ensure the continued profitability of mining companies and suppliers alike.

One mechanism by which companies are looking to protect their position is intellectual property rights, most notably patents and confidential information (know how).  Both are effective tools to ensure exclusive rights to technology and processes. For the owner, they enjoy market advantage as the sole provider of certain products or services or improved profitability as the result of their exclusive use of the best processes. This is clearly a huge advantage.

For these reasons many resources companies and suppliers consider intellectual property the new frontier of the mining sector. While it works for the owner, for those around them intellectual property can be, at best, a significant inconvenience, and at worst a serious threat to their business.

To find out more, download the May 2014 edition of Explore here.

Exploration Development Incentive

The government’s proposed Exploration Development Incentive was confirmed in the 2014 Budget.

The Federal government proposes to provide $100 million over the next three years ($25, $35, $40 million) to further stimulate investor and exploration company activity by enabling investors to deduct the expense of minerals and energy exploration against their taxable income.

The Exploration Development Incentive was described in a discussion paper released by Treasury in March 2014 that provided an opportunity for interested groups to provide feedback to government regarding the proposal, where AIG supported the proposal made by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) who have strongly advocated the introduction of the incentive for a number of years.  The proposal was also supported by a number of exploration and mining industry groups including SACOME and the Minerals Council of Australia.

The Challenges of Methane Hydrates

Abundant but difficult to exploit, are gas hydrates the next major energy source?

Darren Spalding and Laura Fox, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, London

The energy of the future could lie buried deep beneath the world’s oceans and the Arctic permafrost. Methane hydrates, also known as “flammable ice,” are vast reservoirs of natural gas trapped in ice-like crystals and hold the potential to alter trade flows and reshape the geopolitics of energy.

As the name suggests, methane hydrates consist of a methane molecule surrounded by a cage of interlocking water molecules. Hydrates store large amounts of gas in a relatively small area; one cubic meter of hydrate can hold around 160 cubic meters of methane and 0.8 cubic meters of water. Methane hydrates are similar to ice in their composition and occur naturally in subsurface deposits in freezing temperature and high pressure conditions.

The sea floor is thus an ideal location for their formation: the deep seabed is uniformly cold, with temperatures from zero to four degrees Celsius, and below a water depth of about 350 meters, the pressure is sufficient to stabilize the hydrates. When melted or exposed to pressures and temperatures outside those where the ice is stable, the solid crystalline lattice turns into liquid water, and the enclosed methane molecules are released as gas.

Until recently, methane hydrates had never been tapped as a source of energy to meet increasing global demands. It has generally been considered that other sources of fossil fuels, notably conventional oil and gas (and more recently shale oil and gas), have been easier and cheaper to access. But in March 2013, Japan became the first country to successfully flow gas from methane hydrate deposits under the Pacific Ocean.

Read more in the May 7 2014 issue of Oil and Gas Financial Journal

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