North Australia Digest – 12/10/12

We’d love to know what you think about today’s major stories that impact North Australia:
The Australian
Treasurer Wayne Swan says Australia can’t avoid the slowdown in the global economy but the national economic outlook remains strong.
Shares in mineral sands producer Iluka have been hit hard after price-cutting by arch competitor Rio Tinto and Iluka’s own strategy of maintaining supply “discipline” in an effort to bolster prices saw its sales revenue slashed by more than half in the September quarter.
Australian Financial Review
ExxonMobil’s most senior executive in Australia has warned that multibillion-dollar investments in liquefied natural gas projects are under threat because of government policy and labour laws that combine to make Australia a “very, very expensive place to do business”.
The Age
BHP Billiton and Exxon Mobil could be less than a year away from deciding how best to develop a major new gas field in Western Australia, highlighting the growing importance of oil and gas within BHP’s portfolio.
West Australian
The creation of Australia’s first national oil and gas regulator, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, at the start of this year, has coincided with a marked increase in exploration expenditure in WA.
Investors in Macmahon Holdings were concerned  last month upon learning the contractor would likely take a $40 million hit from another disastrous rail project. The controversy around who is to blame continues.
Iluka Resources, the world’s biggest zircon producer, said mineral sands sales plunged 58 per cent in the third quarter as it cut output on weaker demand.
Herald Sun
Energy companies have made mistakes in the rush to exploit shale and coal seam gas but the debate is now being hijacked by “emotional opinions”, the local head of US oil giant ExxonMobil says.
NT News
People queued for ages for a chance to buy a property and live in Darwin’s newest suburb. The lots – land only – were priced between $270,000 to $340,000.
Feel free to leave us a comment on any of the above stories.