The Government of Western Australia is pushing to establish an 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.
The WA Government will offer a 50 per cent discount in port dues to bulk vessels bunkering with LNG at Pilbara ports – saving each vessel around $20,000. 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 $5.3 million by 2025.
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said these innovative and bold steps will create new, long-term local jobs in the Pilbara. It has been estimated that the Pilbara LNG Bunkering Hub could create up to 125 jobs in the Pilbara, including skilled mariners and support administration.
Furthermore, 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.
The WA Government 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.
“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,” Mr Michel said.
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.
Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said 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.
“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.”