to truck gas at Pluto plant

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Milne

Wood­side Petroleum is poised to truck liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas to cus­tomers in the Pil­bara in a bid to break the re­gion’s 3 bil­lion litre-a-year ad­dic­tion to diesel.

Wood­side chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Cole­man said de­sign work had started on a fa­cil­ity to load trucks with LNG at the com­pany’s Pluto plant near Kar­ratha.

It is part of a staged de­vel­op­ment of new mar­kets de­signed to give Wood­side greater con­trol over the mar­ket for its fu­els.

Mr Cole­man said LNG was tra­di­tion­ally de­liv­ered in a big ship, into big tanks and then into big pipe­lines.

He said Wood­side had looked at al­ter­na­tive mar­kets and found la­tent de­mand for LNG, partly driven by the de­sire to re­duce pol­lu­tion and green­house gas emis­sions. “The prod­uct was highly sought-af­ter but not ac­ces­si­ble,” Mr Cole­man said.

For new mar­kets, the in­dus­try needed to “break bulk” and de­liver LNG in the quan­ti­ties cus­tomers wanted, he said

“It is no use ... telling them what they should do,” he said

“What you’ve got to do is ac­tu­ally demon­strate it.”

The first tan­gi­ble demon­stra­tion of the mar­ket shift ar­rives in Aus­tralia soon — an LNG-pow­ered marine sup­port ves­sel to join Wood­side’s fleet.

Mr Cole­man said Wood­side planned to change its en­tire fleet of 16 marine sup­port ves­sels to LNG over the next five years.

The ves­sel will get its LNG from other sup­pli­ers for a few months un­til Wood­side’s LNG truck-load­ing fa­cil­ity at Pluto is ready.

The fa­cil­ity will al­low trucks to de­liver LNG not only to the ves­sel’s jetty, but also to the iron ore in­dus­try’s diesel-pow­ered trucks, lo­co­mo­tives and elec­tric­ity sta­tions.

Mr Cole­man also sees re­mote com­mu­ni­ties and hospi­tals as po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

“I can put it on the back of a flatbed truck with an ISO con­tainer and go on and just re­place it like you do with your gas bot­tle,” he said. Mr Cole­man sees fu­elling the iron ore car­ri­ers as “the big prize”, hence the joint in­dus­try project with BHP Bil­li­ton, Rio Tinto and oth­ers an­nounced last week.

LNG-filled barges moored off Dampier and Port Hed­land would al­low the iron car­ri­ers to load their fuel. A small coastal tanker could sup­ply the Port Hed­land barge, he said.

Mr Cole­man said small coastal tankers could ser­vice In­done­sia’s diesel-de­pen­dent is­lands.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Wood­side Petroleum's Pluto LNG plant, near Kar­ratha.

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