Thursday, August 02, 2007

Woodside Marshalling Allies For LNG Fight.

The offshore LNG project proposed by Australian Energy Company, Woodside, has a new strategic wrinkle—union support.

The Woodside project, called OceanWay, bills itself as more environmentally friendly than the Cabrillo Port project which earlier this year died an ugly death at the hands of environmentalists and Hollywood movie stars. Also, Woodside has proposed a system of buoys in lieu of the massive, potentially-view-impairing platform that was the hallmark of Cabrillo Port. And now, by announcing that it will only use US-flagged ships and American crews, Woodside has the support of the unions.

This is significant because the unions and the environmentalists tend to have a lot of the same politicians and regulators in their rolodexes and have the potential to neutralize each other’s effectiveness, a scenario that clearly benefits Woodside.

If Woodside can fight this public policy battle to a tie, there’s a good chance that the jobs and energy supply arguments will carry the day. It gives regulators and politicians an easy out because they can say, “We torpedoed Cabrillo Port and held out for a much more ecologically friendly project that will create jobs and lower energy prices for all Californians…”—the sound bite practically writes itself.

Public hearings are due to start in September and if you’ve never seen a labor union hijack a public hearing before (with legions of color-coordinated T-shirt wearing, sign-waving members), then you’re in for a show!

Woodside sweetens LA LNG deal [The Australian]