Gas deal puts fer­tiliser plant closer

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Milne

A $4.5 bil­lion fer­tiliser plant in the Pil­bara that could cre­ate more than 2000 construction jobs moved closer to re­al­ity last week when Per­daman Chem­i­cal and Fer­tilis­ers signed up 20 years of gas from Wood­side.

Per­daman chair­man Vikas Ram­bal said he looked for­ward to start­ing work on the project in the near fu­ture.

“This is a land­mark gas con­tract be­tween two Western Aus­tralian com­pa­nies, Per­daman and Wood­side, and im­por­tantly kick­starts a new wave of lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in the State, cre­at­ing lo­cal jobs and sup­port­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity on the Bur­rup,” he said.

Per­daman, a pri­vate Perth-based multi­na­tional with in­ter­ests in en­ergy, com­mer­cial prop­erty, chem­i­cals and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, has al­ready spent $US175 mil­lion ($240 mil­lion) on the urea project.

For the project to go ahead, Per­daman must fi­nalise agree­ments with cus­tomers for two mil­lion tonnes of urea to be pro­duced a year. It must also bring part­ners into the project, fin­ish fi­nanc­ing ar­range­ments, and gain gov­ern­ment ap­provals. The plant would be the first to ex­port the fer­tiliser from Aus­tralia.

Mr Ram­bal said in May that sub­ject to ap­provals, construction of the plant would start in the first quar­ter of 2020.

The project would cre­ate more than 2000 jobs dur­ing a three-year construction pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to a Per­daman state­ment. A per­ma­nent 200-strong Kar­ratha-based work­force would op­er­ate the plant.

About 125 ter­a­joules a day of gas will mainly come from Wood­side’s pro­posed Scar­bor­ough LNG project, which is also sched­uled to go ahead in 2020.

The gas, equiv­a­lent to about 12 per cent of WA’s cur­rent de­mand, is com­bined with nitro­gen from the air to form urea. Wood­side chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Cole­man said the deal was an­other step to­wards the com­pany’s plan to have a gas hub on the Bur­rup Penin­sula.

Two weeks ago, a methanol plant pro­posed for the Bur­rup Penin­sula by a Wes­farm­ers-led con­sor­tium and Per­daman’s urea plant were re­ferred to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity.

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