Port Kembla was the “hands down” winner when it came to the location for a new multi-million dollar gas terminal.
Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) – an international consortium including mining billionaire Andrew Forrest – wants to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Port Kembla.
Called the Port Kembla Gas Terminal, it would cost as much as $300 million to build and could supply more than 70 per cent of NSW’s gas needs.
James Baulderstone, the AIE CEO, said they were looking for a port that could fulfill a range of requirements, including the ability to handle a 300-metre vessel, proximity to industry and easy access to the pipeline network for domestic delivery.
“There were three ports in contention – Newcastle, Botany and Kembla,” Mr Baulderstone said.
“They’ve all got their pros and cons. Kembla won hands down on the suite of things that we needed.
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“It’s a fantastic port, it’s a fantastic location, it’s a fantastic community.”
The consortium is made up of Mr Forrest’s Squadron Energy, global infrastructure investor Marubeni Corporaton and LNG buyer Jera.
Mr Baulderstone said Jera would buy the gas from wherever it was cheapest and ship it to Port Kembla, where it would be stored for use.
The terminal will sell the gas direct to industry or to a retail energy company who would then on-sell it to residential customers for home heating or cooking.
Trade and Industry Minister Niall Blair called the terminal a “game changer” both for the Illawarra and the state.
“From 2020, AIE plans to ship up to 1.8 million tonnes of LNG into Port Kembla,” Mr Blair said.
“NSW currently relies on various interstate sources for 95 per cent of its gas needs, which can be less reliable and more expensive. This proposal has the potential to provide long-term security of gas supply at competitive prices.”
Locating the terminal at Port Kembla could attract new “intensive manufacturing industries” to the area because of the proximity to the much-needed gas for power, Mr Baulderstone said.
It could also lead to AIE building an electricity generating plant at Port Kembla.
“What gas import does is it brings in the required energy for a whole range of industry, whether it’s steel-making, whether it’s plastics making, whether it’s power generation,” Mr Baulderstone said.
“What this does is it creates a platform for a whole wave of industry to come forward. We are investigating the power station – we’re very hopeful but it’s one of many opportunities we’ve got before us.”