Australian Future Energy CEO Kerry Parker at the 2019 GEA Conference held at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre.
Australian Future Energy CEO Kerry Parker at the 2019 GEA Conference held at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre.

$1b plant on track: Ammonia project start date within sight

CONSTRUCTION on the Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project remains on track to begin construction in the back end of 2021 according to the company behind the $1 billion project.

Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker provided an update on the project's timeline at last week's Gladstone Engineering Alliance Conference.

The project proposes to convert low-quality coal into ammonia and gas for the domestic market.

"Things are still tracking to the same schedule," Mr Parker said.

"We're looking to get to a final investment decision towards the back end of next year and spend 2021/22 in construction, getting into operations in the early part of 2023."

Further advances have happened behind the scenes since Mr Parker was joined by Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher and mayor Matt Burnett last September at Gladstone State Development Area land near Yarwun.

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett, Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker and Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher pictured in 2018 at the site of a proposed $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project located in the Gladstone State Development Area at Yarwun.
Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett, Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker and Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher pictured in 2018 at the site of a proposed $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project located in the Gladstone State Development Area at Yarwun.

"At that time we announced this as having significant project status," Mr Parker said.

"The draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement went out prior to Christmas and were finalised in March. The environmental impact statement process and review is underway now and will be complete next September."

Mr Parker said agreements were already in place with local industry.

"We've also signed up long-term 100 per cent offtake arrangements out of the plant with two main product streams - 250,000 tonnes per annum of ammonia and about 14 petajoules of gas - sold under long-term offtake arrangements to local industrial users," Mr Parker said.

He also spoke of the job creation prospects that would result from the project.

"During the two-year construction period there will be about 1000 jobs and then once we get into operations there will be about 250 direct operating jobs.

"So we are going to be a significant local employer on an ongoing basis in the region.

"Our focus is making sure we have as much local content into those roles as we can."

Having been involved in the energy, mining and resource sectors for nearly 30 years, Mr Parker said keeping work close to home was a major factor for him. "The best (projects) I've been involved with are the ones where people are able to go home to their families at the end of their shift," he said.

"I've done some FIFO and long commutes myself and it's not easy on yourself or your family."

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett, Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker and Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher pictured in September 2018 at the site of the $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project located in the Gladstone State Development Area at Yarwun.
Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett, Australian Future Energy chief executive officer Kerry Parker and Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher pictured in September 2018 at the site of the $1 billion Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project located in the Gladstone State Development Area at Yarwun.

Mr Parker said continued support for the project from all levels of government and the Gladstone community was encouraging.

"In terms of the community, that was one of the reasons we came here," he said.

"You have a community accepting of projects of this size, scale and nature and a great skilled workforce who we can draw from."

The proposed site off Landing Rd at Yarwun is about 120ha. "It's already substantially cleared, which has been another great thing for us," Mr Parker said.

"It's got great access and we've got the Queensland gas pipeline running at the boundary, main water pipeline and power at the boundary of the property so location-wise plus road access is terrific."

Mr Parker said the project hadn't experienced any major hurdles at this stage.

"It's a large project where you're talking about $1 billion of capital expenditure so things can often take a bit longer than you hope they would," he said.

"You've got to make sure you're doing things right, but we're still relatively on schedule to where we were 12 months ago."