The Australian government has backed Perth basin gas player Strike Energy’s planned A$3 billion (US$2.14 billion) urea manufacturing facility in Western Australia, awarding it major project status.

The award of major project status formally recognises the significance of a project to the Australian economy and provides it with the services of the Major Project Facilitation Agency to streamline approvals processes.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.

Strike said the government awarded its planned Project Haber development major project status as it had the potential to advance Australia’s downstream manufacturing industry and support the integration of low carbon technologies and renewable hydrogen.

It added the project also strongly aligned with the Australian government’s National Hydrogen Strategy, while noting the project had the potential to reduce the carbon intensity of the urea used in Australia by 60%.

The emissions reduction will be achieved through the domestication of supply chains, using "the best and most current" ammonia technology and integrating green hydrogen supplies.

.Strike Energy chief executive Stuart Nicholls Photo: APPEA

“By re-domesticating urea manufacturing in WA’s Mid West, Strike’s Project Haber will create regional jobs, incubate WA’s hydrogen economy whilst making our agriculture sector more competitive and carbon efficient,” said Strike managing director Stuart Nicholls.

Supporting jobs

Australia’s Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the project was estimated to support 1135 full-time jobs each year during the three-year construction phase and 300 full-time jobs per year over its 30-year life.

“Strike Energy’s project has enormous potential for job creation and emissions reduction through embracing new technologies and onshore manufacturing,” he said.

“The facility has the potential to deliver significant emissions reduction to Australia’s urea manufacturing sector through the use of advanced ammonia and gas processing technology, as well as dedicated clean hydrogen.”

Taylor added the project also aimed to enhance the nation’s food security by reducing reliance by Australian farmers on international supply chains, noting that more than 90% of Australia’s urea is imported.

Strike's West Erregulla field in the Perth basin will provide gas to the Project Haber urea facility Photo: STRIKE ENERGY

Project Haber will produce up to 1.4 million tonnes per annum of urea from clean hydrogen and natural gas.

Strike has previously stated it will initially supply green hydrogen to the project via its own dedicated on-site 10-megawatt electrolyser, producing about 1825 tpa of green hydrogen, or roughly 2% of the total hydrogen feedstock required for the plant.

Strike claims this hydrogen, combined with natural gas from its Greater Erregulla development in the Perth basin, will help produce what it projects will be some of the lowest carbon urea fertiliser available in the market.

The company intends to increase the green hydrogen supply to the urea facility over time, further reducing its carbon footprint.

Strike is aiming to complete engineering studies on the project this year as it targets the start of construction in 2023.