Best of our wild blogs: 14 Sep 12

M.A.D. (Make A Difference) for Wild Pigs
from Cicada Tree Eco Place

In living your passion, you will find your purpose – a talk by Prof Leo Tan (17 October 2012) from Raffles Museum News

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Malaysia: Plans for RM4.08b LNG terminal at Pengerang

Dialog, Vopak plans RM4.08b terminal
Business Times (Malaysia) 14 Sep 12;

A consortium, comprising Dialog Group Bhd, Royal Vopak and the Johor state government, will invest RM4.08 billion to build the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Pengerang, Johor.

The LNG terminal is one of the seven projects announced today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Dialog executive chairman, Ngau Boon Keat, said the project was at the planning stage and a final investment decision would be made next June.

"After all the partners have agreed, we will start the project," he told reporters after the progress update of the ETP here today.

It is an LNG storage, loading and regasification terminal to import LNG for trading purposes and for domestic use.

The LNG terminal, the first independent terminal in Asia, will allow multiple LNG users to store and trade in the product.

"This will spur the growth of the industry and help establish Malaysia as Asia’s LNG trading hub.

"The terminal can accommodate the biggest oil tankers in the world and there is no other port in South-East Asia with the longest shipping lane," he said.

Dialog has previously built a RM5 billion Pengerang deepwater petroleum terminal, and with the LNG terminal in the pipeline, it will bring its total investment in Pengerang up to RM10 billion over the next 10 years.

He said the Johor government would have 10 per cent stake, Dialog (51 per cent) and Royal Vopak (49 per cent).

On compensation, Ngau said, it would be handled by the state government.

"When we acquired the land, the state determined the price for the land according to the market value.

"For the fishermen, before we go into (the project), we engaged with the state Fishery Department, and from there, we pay some RM30,000 to the licensed fishermen while those unlicensed fishermen we pay RM15,000.

"We pay everybody based on the state's decisions and valuation," he said. -- Bernama

RM10b for LNG project
New Straits Times 14 Sep 12;

JOINT DEVELOPMENT: Independent trading terminal in Johor to spur industry's growth

PUTRAJAYA: DIALOG Group Bhd, an integrated oil and gas service provider, expects to invest up to RM10 billion to develop an independent oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Pengerang, Johor.

Its executive chairman, Ngau Boon Keat, said the terminal and storage facilities would be built on an 200ha site in Pengerang.

"We are proposing the project in this area as we feel that it is strategically located and the proposed site is near Singapore," he said after the unveiling of seven more entry point projects (EPPs) by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here yesterday.

Dialog Group's RM4.08 billion LNG terminal is one of the seven EPPs to be developed under the government's Economic Transformation Programme.

Under the proposed project, a consortium, comprising Dialog Group, the Johor government and Royal Vopak, will jointly develop an LNG storage, loading and regasification terminal to import LNG for trading purposes as well as for domestic consumption.

Ngau said the terminal would be the first independent LNG trading terminal in Asia, which would allow multiple LNG users to store and trade the product to spur the industry's growth and establish Malaysia as an LNG trading hub in the region.

He also said the terminal would consist of two phases -- Phase 1 would be built between next year and 2016, and Phase 2 between next year and 2018.

He said the project was expected to contribute RM557 million to the country's gross national income and create some 100 new jobs up to 2020.

On protests by villagers and non-governmental organisations towards the project in Pengerang, Ngau said they should ask themselves why there were already such facilities, including refineries, in other places and parts of the world.

"Why was there no protest when we built refineries in Port Dickson or petrochemical plants in Kerteh? In fact, some of these facilities have been running since the 1960s.

"Why the fuss now? We are investing to help the economy grow and provide jobs for the locals."

Malaysia building LNG terminal in Johor
$1.6b facility, seen as future rival to Jurong Island, among 7 projects unveiled
Teo Cheng Wee Straits Times 14 Sep 12;

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia is adding a RM4 billion (S$1.6 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in south-east Johor, bolstering the capacity of an oil and gas hub that has been touted as a potential competitor to Singapore's Jurong Island.

The LNG terminal in Pengerang comes on top of a RM5 billion petroleum storage terminal already under construction, the first phase of which is expected to be completed by 2014.

The Johor state government and oil and gas companies, Dialog Group from Malaysia and Royal Vopak from the Netherlands, are partners in the project.

They form part of the larger Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex, which includes a refinery by national oil company Petronas.

Malaysia envisions Pengerang as a top regional oil and gas hub, to drive growth in what it has singled out as a key sector for the country.

Analysts have noted that Pengerang - once a sleepy fishing village about 90 minutes from Johor Baru - has real potential because of its strategic location, deepwater jetty facilities and abundant land. It is, however, likely to be years away from posing real competition to Singapore.

The LNG project was one of seven announced yesterday by Prime Minister Najib Razak under his Economic Transformation Programme, with investments totalling RM5.6 billion.

He said they would boost Malaysia's gross national income by RM2.36 billion and create more than 18,000 jobs by 2020.

Pengerang's terminal will be used for the storage, loading and regasification of LNG, both for trading and for domestic use.

Said Datuk Seri Najib: "This will be the first independent LNG trading terminal in Asia, allowing multiple LNG users to store and trade the product. It will spur the growth of the industry and help establish Malaysia as Asia's LNG trading hub."

Dialog Group executive chairman Ngau Boon Keat said the terminal, which will be built on 60ha of land, could also be used as reserve storage for the country's energy supply. Construction could begin as early as next year, pending final agreement on funding and returns among the partners.

The terminals will be built in two phases up till 2018. It will eventually have 720,000 cubic m of storage capacity, with regasification facilities.

Another project announced by Mr Najib was a pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant by Ranbaxy Laboratories, a major Indian pharmaceutical company. Ranbaxy, in a joint venture with local partners, will invest RM125 million in a new plant at an as-yet-undisclosed site in Malaysia, which will become one of the company's eight global manufacturing hubs for generic drugs.

The project, which will commence this month, is expected to triple Malaysia's output of generic drugs from one billion to three billion units.

Mr Najib's economic reforms are targeted at helping Malaysia become a high-income nation by 2020. But yesterday, he singled out data from the World Economic Forum last week that showed that Malaysia had dropped four places in the Global Competitiveness Index, and urged his countrymen to do better.

"If other countries improve, we need to work harder. If they walk, we have to run. If they run, we have to accelerate," he said. "There is no place for us to be complacent."

Dialog-led consortium expands its investment to include the LNG facility in Pengerang
Daniel Khoo The Star 15 Sep 12;

PUTRAJAYA: A consortium of companies led by Dialog Group Bhd, the Netherlands-based Royal Vopak and the Johor Government will expand it investment in Pengerang to include the Pengerang Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal project costing RM4.08bil.

The terminal is an LNG storage, loading and regasification facility to import LNG for trading purposes and for domestic use.

A press handout by Dialog said the terminal, which would allow multiple LNG users to store and trade their products, would be developed in two phases over 10 years.

Phase 1 consists of an independent terminal with two tanks and Phase 2 is a dedicated terminal with two tanks. All tanks will have a 360,000 cu m storage capacity with regasification facilities.

Dialog executive chairman Ngau Boon Keat said the ownership structure of the Pengerang LNG Terminal would be the same as announced previously for the consortium's independent deepwater petroleum terminal in Pengerang.

The Dialog-Royal Vopak joint venture holds 90% stake in the independent deepwater petroleum terminal while the balance 10% is held by the Johor Government.

Speaking at a briefing organised by the government's Performance Management and Delivery Unit, Ngau said the LNG terminal would be located right next to the deepwater petroleum terminal.

“The earlier one is oil while this one is LNG. Both will be located on land size of 500 acres.”

He said funding details for the project would be announced by the consortium later as the focus now was to prepare for the foundation works.

“Reclaimation for the LNG terminal site has started but for the physical works (to start), we will have to wait for the co-findings of an environmental decision, which will be made by the middle of next year.

“The (first part) has started but for the second part such as financing details and securing customers will be completed by the middle of next year as well,” he added.

Pemandu chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said the Government was expected to announce more National Key Economic Area projects in November.

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Australia: More bad news for dugongs

The Observer 14 Sep 12;

THE bad news just keeps coming for Gladstone's dugongs.

A survey in 2011 found no dugong calves in the southern Great Barrier Reef area, which includes Gladstone.

James Cook University Professor Helene Marsh said the results show a reduction in fertility in response to the floods and cyclone of early 2011.

Professor Marsh painted a dire picture for the endangered mammals, especially in Gladstone. She said dugong deaths recorded in Queensland by StrandNet in 2011 were the highest ever recorded.

"The data indicates that Townsville and Gladstone were the dugong mortality 'hotspots'," she said. "In both these places seagrass was in poor condition."

The survey said the extreme weather had exasperated a decline in seagrass over several years.

The number of dugongs spotted in the southern Great Barrier Reef were the lowest since the mid-1980s, which indicates a dramatic decline in the endangered mammal's population in the region.

"The latest aerial survey by researchers from JCU of dugong distribution and abundance indicates a significant decline in the dugong population of the southern Great Barrier Reef," Prof Marsh said.

"Although aerial survey estimates of dugong are underestimates, they track trends in the population.

"The recent survey report, estimates a total number of about 3000 dugongs in south-east Queensland's Moreton and Hervey Bays, similar to the previous aerial survey figure in 2005.

"However it was a different story in the southern Great Barrier Reef region where the estimated size of the dugong population - about 500 to 600 - was the lowest since surveys began in 1986.

"Similarly, while the proportion of dugong calves in Hervey and Morton Bays was within the range expected for normal conditions, no calves were seen in the southern Great Barrier Reef during the 2011 survey, indicating a reduction in fertility in response to the extreme weather in 2011 which exacerbated a decline in their seagrass feeding grounds over several years."

Proposals for 'mega-ports'

Whether or not the survey is intended to become part of a controversy, it is sure to play a part in arguments over the impact of dredging in Gladstone Harbour. Some people remain convinced the dredging has caused dugong deaths, but Prof Marsh did not blame industrial activity for the spate of deaths. While the survey does not blame industry.
However, she did say management of port development would need to be carefully managed to protect the dugongs. She called on Governments to develop policies that favour the establishment of several well managed "mega-ports" along the Great barrier Reef coast, which she said would pose fewer risks to dugongs and their habitats than a larger number of smaller ports.

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Bolivian Park Declared One of Most Diverse Places on Earth Yahoo News 12 Sep 12;

Madidi National Park, in northwest Bolivia, may be the most biologically diverse place on earth, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

A list of species living there was released this week in a presentation at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. The report follows yesterday's release of the 100 most threatened species, some of which live in Madidi National Park.

According to a WCS release, a full 11 percent of the world's bird species live in the park. Madidi's diverse life also includes more than 200 species of mammals, almost 300 types of fish and 12,000 plant species.

The report, compiled by more than 50 scientists from around the world, counts a total of 1,868 vertebrates, including 1,088 species of birds. Only eleven countries have more bird species than Madidi, and the entire United States contains less than 900 types of birds.

Animals in the park range in size from the 660-pound (300 kilograms) lowland tapir, an Amazonian herbivore, down to the tiny insectivorous Spix's disk-winged bat, which weighs just 0.14 ounces (4 grams). Record numbers of leopards also make their home in the park.

Bird species include large predators like the harpy eagle, which dines on sloths and monkeys. There are also 60 species of hummingbird in the park, including the tiny festive coquette.

Life thrives in the park's many habitats, ranging from lowland tropical forests of the Amazon to snow-capped peaks of the High Andes.

"With Madidi's almost 6,000-meter (19,685 feet) altitudinal range, no other protected area captures the diversity of South American habitats that pushes these numbers through the ceiling," said Robert Wallace, Madidi landscape program director for the WCS.

Data on animals and plants have been collected for decades in the 7,335-square-mile (19,000 square kilometers) park, which is almost as large as New Jersey. Research was done in collaboration with the Bolivian Park Service (SERNAP).

Even with all this research, much is unknown about the park, particularly in the tropical montane or cloud forests. Despite significant efforts from the scientific team, about two-thirds of the park's total biodiversity has yet to be observed or reported by scientists, the WCS said in its release, highlighting the need for further research in the region.

Madidi National Park is a top tourist attraction in Bolivia and part of a larger protected region known as the Madidi-Tambopata Landscape, one of the largest such complexes in the world. Despite existing protections, some life in the area is threatened by development such as road construction, logging and agricultural expansion.

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Trillion-dollar nature needs boardroom seat, says U.N. economist

David Fogarty and Alister Doyle PlanetArk 14 Sep 12;

Nature lacks a seat in the boardrooms of most big companies even though it provides valuable resources that should have a price tag, one of world's most influential green economists said.

Ignoring nature's value risks "mayhem" for corporations and mankind in the rush for profits and finite resources, Pavan Sukhdev, formerly of Deutsche Bank and a United Nations goodwill ambassador told Reuters.

Sukhdev said water, clean air, coral reefs, forests and rivers provide natural services worth trillions of dollars, yet these are made use of for free.

Putting a price on nature's services would change how firms think about the planet and their quest for profits.

"There is going to be mayhem if they don't get this right," said Sukhdev, founder and author of Corporation2020, a new program and book on changing corporations.

So far, only companies whose turnover makes up less than 5 percent of the world economy have put in place ways to calculate the damage to nature by assessing the effects of waste, energy, water or greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

"This is still too little. We are talking about a small fraction of the total economy," he said.

Sukhdev leads a global push involving governments and the U.N. to put nature on balance sheets. The idea is to treat the planet like a company, which would "charge" big corporations trillions of dollars a year for using its resources and for the pollution they cause. Environmental benefits such as cutting emissions or restoring forests would also be taken into account.

All companies should have an environmental profit and loss account -- even though initially this would only show the damage to and use of nature's services, rather than oblige them to pay compensation.

"Today, no one would not disclose the directors' bonuses ... or your accountants, your auditors would take you apart," he said in a phone interview from an environment conference in Jeju, South Korea.

Nature needed a bigger say at every level, from the factory floor to the boardroom, he said.

He praised groups such as German sportswear maker Puma, Indian software services provider Infosys or Brazil's cosmetics group Natura as pioneers.

Some countries also impose charges, for instance, for carbon dioxide emissions. But he said little had been done to remove $1 trillion in annual subsidies for fossil fuel use, agriculture and fisheries, cash that locked in unsustainable practices.

Scientists have long said that the planet's resources are being used up faster than they can recover. The International Union for Conservation of Nature says about 40 percent of amphibians, a third of reef-building corals, a quarter of mammals and 13 percent of birds are threatened with extinction.

But there are some hopeful signs.

At the Rio+20 environment summit in June, companies with total turnover of between $2 trillion and $3 trillion supported greener accounting. Although that is less than 5 percent of the $65 trillion global economy.

Puma has created an annual environmental profit and loss account that costed its impacts at 145 million euros in 2010, or more than half total 2011 net earnings. Last November, the firm said 51 million euros came from land use, air pollution and waste and 94 million from greenhouse gases and water.

Sukhdev said companies were key to saving the planet, with 75 percent of the U.S. economy in the private sector.

"Today's corporations are determining what governments do. At the end of the day they are the drivers of jobs, of employment, they are the driver of GDP growth. And their taxes bridge fiscal deficits."

(Editing by Jane Merriman)

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