Australia’s Norwest buys stake in LNG bunkering terminal developer

Australian oil and gas firm Norwest said it has signed a deal to buy a 20 percent stake in Pilbara Clean Fuels, which is developing an LNG bunkering plant at Port Hedland in Western Australia.

PCF is planning to build a mid-scale electric LNG plant in Port Hedland, one of the world’s largest iron ore export ports.

The plant would liquefy pipeline natural gas on a tolling basis, and supply it as marine bunker fuel for bulk iron ore carriers operating out of Port Hedland, according to a statement by Norwest.

Port of Port Hedland, operated by Pilbara Ports Authority, welcomed its first-ever LNG powered vessel in January last year.

Norwest said the proposed LNG plant would get power supply from predominantly renewable sources and have an initial capacity of 0.5 mtpa, with potential future expansion up to 1.5 mtpa.

To acquire the 20 percent equity interest in PCF, Norwest said it would invest A$300,000 ($201,000) to fund an initial six-month assess stage work program.

This program will progress the project towards the select stage, at which point the
technical and commercial options for the project can be defined to attract further investment, according to the firm.

Technip Energies, Air Products

PCF has entered into an exclusive development partnership with Technip Energies in relation to the LNG project, and has selected Air Products as the preferred liquefaction technology licensor and core equipment supplier, Norwest said.

In addition, PCF is engaging Technip Energies and other specialist consulting groups to implement the initial studies and assessment work program.

Norwest noted in the statement that a similar eLNG plant had been producing 0.5 mtpa of LNG since 2015 in Yangling, China.

Technip Energies built this facility using Air Products technology and equipment for the Shaanxi LNG Investment Development.

Norwest said that the firm does not plan to become a significant owner of the proposed Port Hedland LNG facility.

The firm has no obligation to provide further funding, but instead would hold preferential rights to utilize a portion of the LNG plant’s capacity on a tolling basis under pre-agreed commercial principles.

This provides a possible market for some of Norwest’s equity share of gas from its Lockyer project in the Perth Basin, with a linkage to international LNG pricing, it said.

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