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Australia: McGowan Government advancing to establish LNG bunkering hub in Pilbara

11 May 2020

The Australian McGowan Government on Saturday (9 May) stated it is leading a push to establish a liquid natural gas (LNG) fuelling hub for bulk vessels in the Pilbara, potentially creating more than 100 local jobs and supporting global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. 

International Maritime Organisation regulations require trading vessels to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and the international shipping industry is turning to LNG as a transition fuel as it works towards clean hydrogen and other carbon-free fuels, it said in an official release. 

Building on the Pilbara’s strength as a global LNG production hub, the McGowan Government will offer a 50 % discount in port dues to bulk vessels bunkering with LNG at Pilbara ports – saving each vessel around AUD 20,000 (USD 13,108).

The discount comes into effect on 1 July, 2020 and will remain in place for five years. If taken up, the discounts could be worth up to AUD 5.3 million (USD 3.5 million) by 2025.

 The Pilbara LNG Bunkering Hub could create up to 125 jobs in the Pilbara, including skilled mariners and support administration, it added.

Transitioning iron ore exports shipped from the Pilbara from heavy fuel oil vessels to LNG fuelled vessels could reduce carbon emissions by up to six million tonnes per annum. 

To help kick-start the shift to LNG fuelling in the Pilbara, the Pilbara Ports Authority has executed Australia’s first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering services licenses to Woodside Energy at Port Hedland and Dampier. 

The McGowan Government said it is also driving opportunities in green hydrogen in the Pilbara through the WA Renewable Hydrogen Strategy, creating future opportunities for carbon-free fuel in the region. 

“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,” said Premier Mark McGowan

“A Pilbara LNG Bunkering Hub could create more than 100 long-term jobs in the Pilbara, while supporting global efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the shipping industry.”

“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,” added Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

“We’ve moved quickly to capitalise on this opportunity before our competitors in South East Asia claim the mantle.

“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 McGowan Government is taking innovative and bold steps to create new, long-term local jobs in the Pilbara,” commented Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel.

“An LNG bunkering hub in the Pilbara will help to bring down greenhouse gas emissions on the Burrup and make the Pilbara a world-leader in clean fuel for the shipping industry.”


Photo credit: Pilbara Ports Authority
Published: 11 May, 2020

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