The Fin’s Laura Tingle reports today that Treasurer Peter Costello has
“put his stamp on one of the big global issues of this decade,” by
proposing that Australia leads a push at this year’s G20 world leaders’
summit for nations to share the world’s scarce energy resources via a
market-driven “energy freeway.” “My vision is the creation of an energy
freeway linking suppliers and consumers across the Asia-Pacific region
for the benefit of all,” Mr Costello told an international energy
conference in Los Angeles yesterday. His comments, coming after the
recent international crisis when Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine,
mark another intervention in policy matters beyond his direct Treasury
portfolio interests.

And there’s more on Toll Holdings from the Fin’s Anthony Hughes, who
writes that if Paul Little and his advisers want to salvage their bid
for Patrick, then they need to get serious about divesting assets. But
with its shares having dropped close to $3 from top to bottom, Toll has
now lost nearly $1 billion in shareholder value and the company is in a
worse position than when it made its bid on 22 August.

At The Oz, Matthew Stevens writes that “any Australian
company trying to tap the riches of emerging economies would
do well to reflect actively on the public self-immolation of Andrew
Lindberg’s executive career.” The AWB boss’s performance before the
Cole Commission looks as ruinous to his corporate credibility as the
AWB management of grain contracts with Saddam’s Iraq is objectionable to mainstream
Australia. Meanwhile, the paper reports that liquefied natural gas
was yesterday on track to become the nation’s second-largest commodity
export behind coal – thanks to a series of sales and production
developments that would lift annual sales beyond $15 billion by the
middle of next decade.

The Age
reports on Woodside Petroleum’s plans to export gas to California – as
well as the company’s strategy to win over wary citizens who have been
resisting similar plans from other companies. The Perth-based Woodside
also reported
a massive 29% leap in annual revenue to $2.75 billion on the back of
surging oil and gas prices and a 5% increase in sales volumes. And the
Macquarie-controlled Sydney Airport reckons Jetstar International won’t
be the only international low-cost carrier
flying into Sydney within the next two years, reports The SMH. The chief executive of Sydney Airport, Max Moore-Wilton, said
yesterday he was confident several budget Asian carriers could soon
turn their attention to the east coast of Australia.

On Wall Street, US stocks closed higher overnight, with the Dow
Jones Industrial Average ending a four-session losing streak on better
than expected results from Pfizer and upbeat earnings from
chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices. The Dow Jones closed up 25 points
at 10,880, but was off a session high of 10,915 – MarketWatch has a
full report here.