Out-Law News 1 min. read

Australian government to invest A$300 million in new hydrogen hub

The Australian government has announced that it will invest A$300 million (US$217m) in a new hydrogen hub and several carbon capture storage (CCS) sites in Northern Territory (NT).

It announced this during the Australian federal election campaign. The government has decided to do so because it wants to strengthen the region’s energy capability.

Included in the package, the government will spend A$100m to support Darwin LNG and Santos’ CCS hub; A$96m for future clean energy projects in the region; A$70m to develop a hydrogen hub at Darwin in partnership with the region’s government; A$30m for Inpex Browse E&P’s CCS project in the Petrel sub-basin; A$3m to fund for CSIRO’s “low emissions CO2 utilisation industrial hub” business case and associated technical studies; and A$1m to support Inpex Operations Australia’s early-stage Darwin Clean Hydrogen Hub.

Hydrogen expert George Varma of Pinsent Masons said: “Decarbonising the oil and gas sector is a must for Australia. While the conjecture around whether CCS is the most effective way of achieving this remains, deploying a range of technology solutions to decarbonise is clearly the way forward. Incentivising the majors in the oil and gas sector will expedite the adoption of low carbon technology and the energy transition pivot.”

The committed projects potentially will reduce emissions by 10 million tonnes each year from 2025 and 30 million tonnes each year by the end of the decade.

The prime minister Scott Morrison said the projects would deliver an estimated A$1.9 billion of total investment into the NT region.

“It is important that we take advantage of the vast investment in the NT region and utilise those assets most effectively to drive the energy transition we want to see. The NT has great potential as a hydrogen hub to unlock the international export market for both blue and green hydrogen,” Varma said.

The Australian federal election is scheduled for 21 May.

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