Keppel Corporation has joined an international consortium led by Japanese conglomerates to develop a multi-billion-dollar green ammonia production facility in northeastern Australia

The consortium for the Central Queensland hydrogen project (CQ-H2) aims to produce renewable hydrogen, scalable to around 2.5GW equivalent for both domestic use and export to Japan and Singapore.

A feasibility study on the project by Australian federal research agency CSIRO indicated the estimated total capital cost at A$14.8bn (€9bn) – A$3.9bn for the first phase and around A$10.9bn for the second phase.

CQ-H2 has secured seed funding for front-end engineering design from all consortium members. Government agencies have contributed a further A$35m.

Other consortium members include Stanwell Corporation, a Queensland state agency, and three Japanese industrial groups – Iwatani Corporation, Kansai Electric Power Company and Marubeni Corporation.

A final decision on commencement of the project will be taken in late 2024, with commercial operations expected in 2028.

Separately, Keppel has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ASX-listed Incitec Pivot (IPL) to explore development of a green ammonia production facility in Queensland.

IPL is a technology supplier to the resources and agricultural sectors, with fertiliser manufacturing assets capable of blue/green conversion of ammonia.

Cameron Dick, Queensland’s treasurer and minister for trade and investment, said: “After a number of discussions with Keppel, we are delighted the company and Incitec Pivot have chosen Gladstone for their green ammonia production facility. This will open exciting and significant export possibilities.”

Keppel, IPL and Temasek conducted a feasibility study on green ammonia production in Australia in 2021.

Cindy Lim, CEO of Keppel’s Infrastructure division, said: “This MOU advances the next phase, which involves development of up to around 850,000 tonnes per annum of green ammonia production, as well as related export facilities at Gladstone in Queensland.”

Jeanne Johns, managing director and CEO of IPL, said: “The innovative international partnership with Keppel is one of several decarbonisation projects we are progressing as part of our Ambition to be Net Zero by 2050.”

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