Ports Minister David Michael says ‘no firm timeline’ available on Oakajee progress, but studies making headway

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Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
Lara Dalton MLA, Hydrogen Minister Roger and Derek Councillor at the Oakajee site.
Camera IconLara Dalton MLA, Hydrogen Minister Roger and Derek Councillor at the Oakajee site. Credit: Supplied/RegionalHUB

WA Ports Minister David Michael admits there is “no firm timeline” for development at Oakajee, but has revealed a study has found a single-point mooring capable of exporting ammonia from the site is “feasible”.

The State Government is waiting for two studies to be completed towards the end of the year before making any decisions on the future of the site 23km north of Geraldton.

Mr Michael told Budget estimates in State Parliament last week that there were promising early signs out of a study between the Mid West Ports Authority, Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.

For the past 12 months, they have been investigating the feasibility and undertaking a technical assessment for a fast-track solution to export green hydrogen from Oakajee to Germany via Rotterdam.

“Early indications demonstrated a single-point mooring capable of exporting ammonia at Oakajee as feasible,” Mr Michael said.

“The study is expected to conclude at the end of this year.”

MWPA is also working with Development WA and consultants on “spatial planning of the port of Oakajee site to incorporate emerging industries such as the export of hydrogen alongside traditional resources exported from the Mid West region”. That study is anticipated to be finished towards this year.

“I do not think there is any firm timeline . . . those things (how Oakajee is developed) will be a decision of government. Again, we are expecting those two bits of planning work towards the end of the year and then a decision by government will have to be made,” he said.

As part of the 2024-25 State Budget, the Cook Government announced a $500 million fund to unlock WA’s 13 strategic industrial areas (SIA) — one of which is Oakajee — in order to fast-track clean energy and major industrial projects.

It has not been confirmed how big a slice of the $500m pie Oakajee can expect. “It would be possible for that to be used for a project like this if it stacked up,” the minister said.

Mr Michael conceded that even if approved, a facility at Oakajee would take a while to set up.

“With some of the approvals it could not be built overnight. A lot probably depends on key initial players that might want to use the port and their work,” he said.

In 2022, the State Government allocated land at Oakajee to six proponents pending negotiations and agreements, including BP, Fortescue Future Industries, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Green LOHC, Kinara Power and Blue Diamond Australia.

Last year, Kinara Power and Blue Diamond Australia were the first two proponents to agree to key terms on options to lease land in the Oakajee SIA.

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