Hydrogen front and centre for major Australian oil and gas players

Both federal and state governments have jumped on Australia’s growing push into producing hydrogen as a primary source of energy in the last few months.

We’ve seen the Queensland government invest $19 million into the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy to build a renewable hydrogen plant and add hydrogen powered vehicles to their government fleet.

In South Australia, Premier Stephen Marshall released the states Hydrogen Action Plan, an initiative that will see the export of hydrogen both interstate and overseas, while Western Australia has also formed its own Renewable Hydrogen Council.

The federal government are also doing their part to promote hydrogen, with federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Resources Minister Matt Canavan travelling to Asia to hold talks with Korean and Japan delegates about Australia becoming a destination for hydrogen production and exporting.

“There are more than 200,000 square kilometres of land rated as having great prospects for supporting renewable hydrogen production,” said Canavan.

“[Australia] has the resources, know-how, infrastructure and research base to produce and supply clean hydrogen to the world.”

And now it appears that the big players in Australia’s oil and gas industry are getting ready to jump on board the growing trend, according to a spokesperson for the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

“A number of our member companies are looking closely at hydrogen, including Woodside, in a high-profile manner,” said the spokesperson.

“Through our expertise and infrastructure [our industry] has the capacity to collaborate and support in the use of hydrogen as fuel.”

The interest shown by the APPEA suggests that despite both the South Australian and federal governments exploring Asia as a potential export partner recently, many in the industry view hydrogen as a source of renewable fuel in Australia.

Both the ACT and Queensland have revealed plans to build hydrogen fuelling stations, while Chinese car manufacturer Grove has announced its intentions to bring hydrogen-powered vehicles to Australia by 2021, suggesting a hydrogen powered fuel source is being considered carefully.

However, numerous issues still stand in the way of hydrogen becoming a mass sourced product in Australia.

Building the infrastructure required to source, produce and transport hydrogen will come at a cost, especially due to the fact that much of the resource is located in-land where limited water resources are available.

Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel also warned the Australian public of safety concerns that exist with hydrogen.

“To maintain the trust of the Australian people, every effort must be made to protect public health and safety and to provide straightforward answers to any legitimate concerns about producing hydrogen at scale.”

“We must also ensure the process of determining the safety and environmental standards of hydrogen is more extensive and more accessible to the public than for any comparable enterprise.”

26 Sep 2019

Original source: Stockhead | Major oil and gas players want to help Australia with aggressive hydrogen push