Western Australia plans Pilbara LNG hub

Thursday, 18 June 2020
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Authorities in Western Australia have launched an initiative to create an international LNG fuelling hub in the Pilbara region.

The Western Australia government is leading a push to establish the hub with a primary focus on refuelling infrastructure for bulk vessels in the Pilbara.

"The Pilbara is already globally renowned as an LNG production powerhouse, and my Government is taking steps to turn the Pilbara into an international LNG fuelling hub,” Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia commented.

LNG Bunkering discount

The McGowan Government has called for the establishment of the Pilbara LNG Bunkering Hub to capitalise on growing shipping traffic around the Burrup Peninsula.

"Major resources companies have already tendered for LNG-fuelled bulk vessels to carry iron ore from the Pilbara, and are beginning negotiations about where to bunker those ships. We've moved quickly to capitalise on this opportunity before our competitors in South East Asia claim the mantle,” Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said.

To boost development, the government will offer a 50% discount on port dues to bulk vessels bunkering with LNG at Pilbara ports, effective July 1, 2020. The discount scheme is estimated to be worth as much as U$5.3 million by 2025.

The initiative aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to six million tonnes per annum by displacing heavy fuel oil with LNG for export vessels carrying iron ore shipped from the Pilbara.

Hydrogen infrastructure

The proposed hub is also expected to spur development of renewable hydrogen infrastructure, with government plans to create a new hydrogen-based industry in the Pilbara.

“The McGowan Government is …driving opportunities in green hydrogen in the Pilbara through the WA Renewable Hydrogen Strategy, creating future opportunities for carbon-free fuel in the region,” a government spokesperson said.

The new hub is expected to create up to 125 local jobs, including skilled mariners and support administration, supporting global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

"Importantly, a Pilbara LNG Bunkering Hub provides the platform for Western Australia to become the region's major renewable hydrogen producer and fuelling stop - driving down carbon emissions from shipping and creating a whole new industry for the Pilbara,” the ministry states. 

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