Australian operator QEM has commenced studies into green hydrogen opportunities at its Julia Creek oil shale project onshore Queensland, Australia.

QEM on Monday said its strategic progression comes amid a buoyant market, supportive government policy and optimal project location. The hydrogen strategy would underpin the continued development of its Julia Creek oil shale and vanadium project.


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The company’s advancement of its green hydrogen production strategy comes amid growing investment and interest in such renewable energy ventures from both the private and public sectors.

“The commissioning of these studies will lay the groundwork to advance our green hydrogen strategy at Julia Creek, amid increasingly buoyant market conditions and the project’s optimal location and resource profile to produce hydrogen on-site,” said QEM managing director Gavin Loyden.

The studies will investigate the financial and regulatory requirements of producing hydrogen on location at Julia Creek using a “green” solar-powered electrolyser.

The operator has appointed E2C Advisory to assess the capital and operating expenditure required for the proposed green hydrogen project. Consultant E2C earlier assisted QEM to review processing technology utilising a hydrocarbon solution for oil shale extraction.

Hydrogen minister

Meanwhile, QEM will soon embark on discussions with Queensland’s recently appointed Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, on progressing the approval process to access water resources for the potential hydrogen development.

It is envisaged the hydrogen would initially be used as a support to the energy needs of other resources projects located in the so-called ‘North West Minerals Province’ of Queensland, but ultimately for the hydrogeneration of QEM’s raw oil into transportation fuels.

“Crucially, the hydrogen strategy aligns with the broader strategic direction of Julia Creek, as QEM looks to target both the liquid fuels and renewable energy sectors," added Loyden.

Julia Creek has 3C (proven, probable and possible) contingent resources of 783 million barrels of oil.

Hydrogen is a critical element for the hydrogeneration of oil, and last July QEM announced that test work utilising a hydrocarbon solution for oil shale extraction at Julia Creek resulted in oil yields of up to 181 kilograms per tonne, which is 218% on those reported under Modified Fischer Assay (MFA).

The MFA is the industry accepted method for evaluating the potential liquid fuel yield of an oil shale deposit.

QEM’s 100%-held Julia Creek tenements that cover 250 square kilometres form part of the vast Toolebuc formation, which the company claimed is recognised as one of the largest deposits of vanadium and oil shale in the world.

The Queensland state government last November established a ministry for hydrogen, as it seeks to encourage investment into the bourgeoning market.