Woodside Energy Ltd. has signed an agreement with global digital industrial company GE to work together in support of the use of LNG as a fuel throughout Western Australia.
The agreement aims to provide seamless access to reliable LNG fuel supply and gas-fuelled transport and power solutions.
The joint venture wants to lead the transition to LNG fueling using the LNG facilities in the Pilbara of Western Australia and their close proximity to mining and heavy industry operations in the state at a time when businesses are under pressure to reduce their emissions footprint and keep costs down.
Woodside has been working on the concept for some months having identified a potential outlet for domestic LNG as a replacement for the mining industry’s heavy reliance on diesel fuel. The Pilbara alone uses 3 billion l./year of diesel fuel.
Woodside has begun design work for a facility to load trucks with LNG at the company’s Pluto LNG plant on the Burrup Peninsula near Karrartha.
Managing director Peter Coleman said in early February that this is part of a staged development of new markets designed to give Woodside greater control over the market for its fuels.
The company has looked beyond the traditional transport of LNG in ships delivering to tanks and then into major pipelines. Coleman says that there are alternative markets with latent demand driven in part by the need and desire to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The first demonstration of the capability and efficiency of LNG as a transport fuel took place in mid-February with the arrival of a new LNG-powered marine-support vessel to join Woodside’s offshore fleet. It is the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Coleman said Woodside plans to change its entire fleet of 16 marine-support vessels to LNG over the next 5 years.
The company also plans to supply LNG fuel to iron ore carriers in the longer-term and has announced a joint industry project with major miners including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
The agreement with GE will work on small-scale LNG-fueled power stations that can be mobilized to remote mine sites. The LNG solution could also be applicable to remote communities and hospitals.
Coleman says that once the markets have been established supply can be as straightforward as bringing in replacement LNG-filled containers when required just as now occurs with replacement LPG gas bottles.