Woodside to invest $7b in emerging energy as Kwinana hydrogen project date set

Hannah CrossSound Telegraph
Woodside chief executive officer and managing director Meg O'Neill says Woodside wants to be a mover in the renewable energy market.
Camera IconWoodside chief executive officer and managing director Meg O'Neill says Woodside wants to be a mover in the renewable energy market. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

Gas giant Woodside has revealed plans at its annual investors update to invest $7 billion in emerging energy markets.

Chief executive Meg O’Neill told investors last Wednesday that Woodside wants to be an “early mover” in the evolving market of renewable energy, with particular focus on ammonia and liquid hydrogen.

Woodside’s main export, liquefied natural gas, is gas which must be cooled to take liquid form. Liquid hydrogen also requires cooling.

The company has recently announced plans for several clean energy projects, including a hydrogen and ammonia plant in the Kwinana Strategic Industrial Area and Rockingham Industry Zone and a hydrogen and ammonia plant in northern Tasmania.

Woodside's H2Perth project
Camera IconWoodside's H2Perth project. Credit: Daniel Newell

Both plants will produce hydrogen but the Kwinana plant’s hydrogen product will not be 100 per cent renewable. Instead, LNG will be burnt to produce hydrogen and its carbon emissions will be 100 per cent offset.

The Conservation Council WA has labelled the Kwinana project “greenwashing”.

“In short, this is yet more fossil fuels dressed up in green clothing in order to distract attention from Woodside’s real plans in fossil gas expansion,” CCWA policy and legal director Piers Verstegen said.

But at its investor update, Ms O’Neill said Woodside was committed to reducing its emissions, with an emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2030 and a “net zero aspiration” for 2050.

A spokesperson for Woodside said the first stage of H2Perth was set to kick off in 2022, with a focus on community consultation.

“Woodside envisages community engagement continuing for the life of the project. We are planning now to start our initial phase of consultation in the first half of next year,” the spokesperson said.

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