Australia is a step closer to establishing its oil shale in-dustry. The federal and Queensland governments this month gave initial approval to a $145 million (Australian) pilot plant at Gladstone on Central Queensland's east coast, to produce 4,400 b/d of shale oil. Sponsors Southern Pacific Petroleum NL, Sydney, and Central Pacific Minerals NL can proceed with plans for financing and engineering for the project. The federal government also is extending an exemption of federal taxes on

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