Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has entered the front-end engineering and design phase for the first time on a hydrogen project.

Woodside confirmed Tuesday it had entered FEED on the H2OK project in the US state of Oklahoma following the award of a contract to Houston-based Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) to provide FEED engineering services.

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The entry into FEED triggers a series of activities that further mature the project scope, cost and schedule to the level required to make a final investment decision, which Woodside expects to take in the second half of the year as it targets first production in 2025.

The initial phase of Woodside’s proposed H2OK project involves the construction of a 290-megawatt facility, producing 90 tonnes of hydrogen per day through electrolysis, while the 94-acre site in the Westport Industrial Park offers the capacity to expand the project to a 550MW facility, producing 180 tpd of hydrogen.

Woodside anticipates demand for hydrogen produced by the H2OK development will come from heavy-duty trucks, warehouse forklifts, heavy-duty equipment, ground handling equipment and fuel cell microgrids for warehouses and data centres.

Net zero project

Woodside claims H2OK will be a net zero project, with the electrolysers to be powered from Oklahoma’s existing network, which it notes contains a large portion of wind energy, while it intends to use Renewable Energy Certificates to abate any remaining emissions.

A Woodside spokesperson has previously confirmed to Upstream the company intends to work with local power providers during the FEED phase to understand power sourcing breakdown and emissions traceability.

The company also intends to engage renewable power developers to understand opportunities to build out additional solar and wind capacity in Oklahoma's Ardmore region, while also evaluating "a range of power sourcing options, up to, and including 100% renewable power" in the future.

“We are excited about the H2OK opportunity, given H2OK’s strategic location close to national highways and the supply chain infrastructure of major companies already looking for reliable, affordable and lower carbon sources of energy,” Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill said Tuesday.

“Coupled with our recently announced target to invest US$5 billion in new energy products and lower carbon services by 2030, this FEED entry supports Woodside’s strategy to thrive through the energy transition.”

Woodside chief executive Meg O'Neill Photo: WOODSIDE

Woodside has been ramping up its energy transition initiatives in the past year, with the company targeting the start-up of new energy projects, the export of ammonia from Australia, scale up its carbon offset projects and to have developed carbon capture and storage opportunities by the mid-2020s.

From 2030 and beyond, Woodside is expecting to become an exporter of liquid hydrogen and to scale up its CCS activities.

In addition to H2OK, the company also recently announced it had secured land for its proposed H2TAS green hydrogen development in the Australian state of Tasmania, with the site having the potential to eventually support up to 1.7GW of electrolysis for hydrogen and ammonia production.

Woodside also revealed plans last year to establish a “world-class” hydrogen and ammonia production facility near Perth, Western Australia, which followed an announcement it was teaming up with Bill Gates-backed Heliogen to build a commercial-scale demonstration facility in California using the latter’s “breakthrough” solar technology.

It also recently submitted its proposal with Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency for an up to 500MW solar farm near its liquefied natural gas operations in the state’s Pilbara region.

The drive towards lower carbon projects comes as Woodside is targeting a 15% reduction in its net Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025, a 30% reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.