PNG has potential to become ‘huge’ producer of green products

by PNG Business News - December 08, 2021

Photo: PM Marape and Fortescue Future Industries CEO Julie Suttleworth after their meeting

Prime Minister James Marape has been told that Papua New Guinea has "the potential to become a large supplier of green products for the globe," with 19 gigawatts of electricity already estimated from the Purari, Kikori, and Strickland hydro potentials, as well as the West New Britain geothermal projects.

Julie Suttleworth, the CEO of green energy producer Fortescue Future Industries, told the Prime Minister this while on her route to tour project sites in Gulf and West New Britain in her briefing to the PM.

She also rated West New Britain's geothermal locations as "one of the top three regions in the world" for Fortescue projects.

The CEO was replying to the Prime Minister's question on whether PNG's green energy potential will fulfill the projections made by FFI owner and environmentalist Dr Andrew Forrest, who claimed that PNG's renewable energy sources could generate up to 25 gigawatts of power.

Suttleworth said: “We have currently indicated that there were about 15 gigawatts of hydropower that is in the Master Development Agreement that we could access. So we are starting at 15 gigawatts of hydropower; there is approximately 4.3 gigawatts of geothermal also that we have identified at this stage.

“This is early days; there may be more. So that totals to about 19 gigawatts that our study team has already identified. Not quite 25 gigawatts yet, but we hope that over time, we will get to that number. But around now, we know that there is 19 gigawatts of potential.

“If all these projects of about 19 gigawatts of power are developed, they can make over 10 million tonnes per year of green hydrogen, or about 13 million tonnes of green ammonia, or a combination of both, because ammonia is heavier than hydrogen.

“So there is the potential to be a huge producer of green products for the world.

“It is a very important part of our portfolio. We have made a commitment globally to make 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year, much of that will come from Australia, but over 2 million tonnes of this will come from PNG which is a huge percentage of our target.

“So the overall vision is to make over 2 million tonnes of green hydrogen from PNG, develop over 19 gigawatts of geothermal and hydropower across the various projects, as well as decarbonise PNG, and have excess for export which is a huge amount to export because PNG won’t need all. 

“We will be doing the studies on the hydropower system to optimise the design of the hydropower dams phase process. So the first Purari sites will be 3 gigawatts. And then there will be stage by stage development – upper Purari, Strickland and others to get to the total of 15 gigawatts. So that does not all happen at once. Start off lower Purari and then others up to 15 gigawatts.

“And at the same time, we need to do more investigative work on the geothermal potential. Geothermal exploration is very expensive. So you need to do a lot of fieldwork first to determine where is the drill bit is going to go down to determine the geothermal potential. This is not done in many places around the world because it is so expensive. Tens of millions of dollars per one hole. It is very expensive drilling. We think there are at least 4 gigawatts of geothermal potential that needs to be explored and determined to the best way to develop.

“So part of studies is working out the best way to develop the hydropower resource and the geothermal resource. Once we got that renewable power, we need to put the transmission lines to the industrial hub. So of course, in the hydropower, you are linking Strickland, Upper Purari, Lower Purari altogether, so then take the transmission line to the coast where there is a port location.

“We are optimising, right now, the best location for the port. We got two or three options.

“And then we need to optimise the hydrogen production facility. How many electrolysis do we need to make the best use of power, and that electrolyser will take the renewable power, electrolysis of water – so we need to determine where we getting the water from. Is it going to be seawater, or from the river. And then we have to clean that water up to use for electrolysis.

“Electrolysis will make hydrogen with zero emissions. That hydrogen can be used or exported or made into ammonia. This first project that we do, we’ll probably make ammonia because it is easy to transport ammonia.”

Because of the lack of information and comprehension of how the process operated, Prime Minister Marape asked Suttleworth to describe the method of producing green hydrogen and green ammonia.

These projects are comparable in size to big LNG projects in terms of exploration, building, operation, and revenue creation for the country, and they have received the government's full backing to move forward.


Reference: PM James Marape News Page (5 December 2021). “PNG has potential to become ‘huge’ producer of green products”. 

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Photo Credit: PNG Buzz / Papua New Guinea's State Enterprises Minister, Sasindran Muthuvel (left), Prime Minister James Marape (centre) and the chairman of Fortescue Metals Group of Australia, Andrew Forrest, sign an agreement in Port Moresby back in September 2020. PRIME Minister Hon. James Marape, MP says Papua New Guinea’s partnership with Dr. Andrew Forrest and his company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) is bigger than just hydro in Purari River and will encompass a huge set of projects worth billions of kina that must be appreciated and guarded by Papua New Guineans. He says the Fortescue Metals Group – through its subsidiary FFI – is seriously moving into futuristic clean energy and its scope is broader than just the Purari River systems but covering also Kikori and Strickland systems, and the geothermal sites throughout Papua New Guinea beginning in West New Britain Province. “I have met Dr. Forrest on a number of occasions and his interest in green clean energy in PNG is sincere and serious. Through his futuristic green energy subsidiary company, FFI is looking at harvesting up to 25 gigawatts of power for clean energy to sell to the world from our country, including migrating some of FMG industries into PNG. These are huge projects worth billions of kina. “I am utterly disappointed in Post-Courier’s misreporting and misrepresentation today. This is a newspaper company with nearly 30 percent of Papua New Guinean shareholding interest who continue to misreport, belittle and tarnish the work the Papua New Guinea government is doing no matter how big or small. For the journalist to always find negativity in innovation shows a shallow mind when the world is at this point moving into clean energy and new frontiers of technology. “I am a prime minister who is very excited about taking our country into new frontiers and breaking barriers that others think we as a country cannot do. This includes clean green energy, Information & Communication Technology, digital and cyberspace, the downstream of our raw resources in gold, gas, timber, fisheries, agriculture and so forth. “This direction is new and might seem impossible to some. This direction will affect the comfort many are used to and may have enjoyed during the status quo, but I will not be deterred from this course. The world will move in this direction in as far as energy is concerned, and Papua New Guinea is partnering FFI to pioneer this very source as part of our global response to climate change.  “If we do not join, we will be left behind when countries of the world move away from carbon-based energy solutions and into green energy. “All or any company with proposals to do business in PNG are welcomed and can come in with their proposals. We can agree but due processes on compliance to all our laws on investments, regulations and national interests must first of all take place.  "We will process all submissions, like the one from Botswa from Botswana, whom we are awaiting to return to us to advance their business interest in PNG. “The natural resources in PNG are plentiful, including those in the green energy space. Hydro and water resources abound in this country; we can fit any investor in any part of the country who wants to use our rivers and springs so and there is no clash or collision as alluded to by the Post-Courier. “The government has the interest of its people first and foremost and will do everything it sees fit to make sure these large-scale investments are done properly and fully,” said Prime Minister Marape.   Article courtesy of Department of PM&NEC


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Fortescue Future Industries Wants to Fast Track Green Energy projects in PNG

According to Julie Shuttleworth, chief executive officer of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), the company is working with the government to accelerate the energy transition before 2050. “The FFI is partnering with PNG, one of the most renewable energy-rich countries in the world, to develop multiple large-scale green energy and green hydrogen projects,” Shuttleworth said. “This new partnership marks the beginning of the green industry development in PNG and will enable FFI to undertake feasibility studies to develop up to seven hydropower projects and 11 major geothermal energy projects in PNG. “If the projects proceed, it will generate renewable electricity for the purpose of producing green hydrogen and green ammonia, creating a significant new domestic energy and export industry for Papua New Guinea, which currently heavily relies on imported oil. PNG’s intent is to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 and we are delighted to be working with PNG to support this ambition.” She stated that the FFI was dedicated to assisting PNG in lowering its dependency on fossil fuels and leveraging its renewable energy potential. “Our green energy vision for PNG would lead to more jobs, a stronger economy, thriving communities and importantly, lower emissions for PNG,” Shuttleworth added.   Reference: The National (12 November 2021). “Partners aim to fast track green energy”.

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