Woodside to delay Browse LNG decision amid low oil price

ENERGY giant Woodside Petroleum is expected to delay a long-awaited decision on its multi-billion dollar Browse project until oil prices recover.

The Perth-based company and its joint venture partners are scheduled to make a final investment decision on the key offshore floating LNG growth project in Western Australia in the second half of 2016.

Woodside's CEO Peter Coleman

Woodside’s CEO Peter ColemanSource:Supplied

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman last month hinted at further delays to the Browse project, saying the company had not made firm sales of gas which are important to fund the project.

He said the Browse joint venture partners will have to form a “collective view” about pricing forecasts after cost reductions had been offset by lower forward price estimates.

Woodside shelved its plans for a costly $45 billion onshore gas plant development near Broome almost three years ago in favour of pursuing a more economical floating LNG option.

But pricing and costs have changed dramatically since then, opening up the possibility that piping gas onshore could again become viable.

Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox said the company’s proposed floating LNG project was probably at a break-even point at current prices, but now was not a good time to negotiate gas sales following steep oil price falls.

“It’s become a long-running saga,” Mr Lennox said.

He expects Woodside to delay a final investment decision on Browse until oil prices recover and added that the company still had flexibility in how it extracts gas from the remote offshore gas field.

“Now, perhaps with piping becoming cheaper than it was four or five years ago, potentially they could switch,” Mr Lennox said.

“The company will continue to move the project along one step at a time until it can see a brighter horizon with commodity prices.”

Brent futures were trading at $US35.97 a barrel, up 2.48 per cent, from their previous close after Saudi Arabia said it would work with other oil producers to limit oil market volatility.

Meanwhile, former Shell Australia executive Ann Pickard has been appointed as a non-executive director of Woodside, fuelling speculation she could replace chairman Michael Chaney when he is expected to retire next year.

Shares in the company, which recently booked a $US26 million full year profit and slashed dividends, were 37 cents, or 1.5 per cent, higher at $25.72 at 1415 AEDT.

[Source:- Newsau]

There are always bacteria lurking in dental equipment, suggests research

Bacteria lurking in the water lines at the dentist’s office are tougher than we thought, according to a new paper published in Water Research. The study reveals that the disinfectants recommended by companies that manufacture the water lines don’t actually shift all the bacteria in the lines, which means they’re never completely clean.

Dental equipment is particularly prone to contamination with bacteria, yeasts and other microbes because it comes into contact with people’s mouths. Dentists use dental unit water lines to keep their electrical equipment cool.

In the new study, researchers from Université de Poitiers in France analyzed three disinfectants used by some European dentists to control biofilms in dental water lines: Calbenium®, Oxygenal 6® and Sterispray®. The team tested how well the disinfectants removed biofilms from dental water lines and found that none of them were completely effective on a polymicrobial biofilm.

“During dental procedures, patients and dentists can be exposed to microorganisms present in the water circulating inside dental units,” said Dr. Damien Costa, lead author of the study from Université de Poitiers. “Infections may occur if this potentially microbiologically contaminated water is inhaled or splashed. We wanted to determine the best way to keep dental lines clean and avoid infection.”

There has long been concern about how clean dental lines are, and there have been some — albeit rare — documented cases of them causing infections in people. In 2011, an 82-year-old woman was admitted to hospital with trouble breathing and was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease, which she had contracted via a contaminated dental water line. She died two days later.

One challenge associated with keeping dental water lines clean is that bacteria can grow in communities with protective layers over themselves, called biofilms. Biofilms can be particularly difficult to prevent and remove even using disinfectants.

Dr. Costa and his colleagues grew biofilms in the laboratory in conditions similar to dental water lines. The biofilms contained several different microbes, to mimic the complex biofilms that form in real lines: the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause pneumonia and septic shock, the fungus Candida albicans, which can also cause superficial and severe infections, and free living amoebae Vermamoeba vermiformis. These amoebae can be dangerous — they’re known as “Trojan horses” because they carry some bacteria that can infect humans, like Legionella pneumophila, which causes Legionnaire’s disease.

All three disinfectants were especially active against the fungus, but none of them were completely effective at clearing the entire biofilm. Calbenium® was most effective at clearing biofilms and stopping new ones from forming, even at concentrations below what the manufacturers recommend. However, it did not kill the free living amoebae.

“Unfortunately, our results showed that none of the three disinfectants commonly used are completely effective,” said Dr. Costa. “What is most worrying is that none of the disinfectants could kill the amoebae, which means they are still dangerous to patients and dentists even after water lines have been sterilized.”

The researchers say preventing the formation of biofilms as long as possible is key to keeping the lines clean, as once they have formed, they can’t be killed using disinfectant. It’s difficult to stop biofilms from forming, since microbes naturally cling on to surfaces. However, the research highlighted three approaches to prevention: use good quality water that isn’t contaminated with microbes, use a disinfectant for prevention, rather than to remove biofilms that have already formed, and avoid letting water stagnate.

 [Source:- Sciencedaily]