BOC LNG Plant Tasmania, Australia
Construction of BOC's first micro-liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Westbury in Tasmania, Australia, started on 6 August 2009. It was preceded by Meander Valley Council's approval of the company's development application on 14 July 2009 and approval by Tasmania's Environmental Protection Agency in June 2009.
Natural gas for the plant is indigenously sourced from the Australian resources and is converted to a liquefied form using micro LNG production technology.
The new plant produces 50t of LNG per day, which is equal to 70,000l of diesel. BOC built the plant to supply LNG for Tasmania's heavy transport sector.
The entire production output from the plant for 15 years will be supplied to LNG Refuellers, which comprises seven transport operators in Tasmania. The project required an investment of $A150m.
BOC is part of the Linde Group, a pioneer in LNG production for transportation. BOC anticipates that the plant will showcase the company's capability to implement similar projects in the region. The plant, which began operations in February 2011, generated approximately 40 jobs in Tasmania during construction.
BOC project finance
Financing for the project was arranged by BOC. In addition, the project received a A$5.05m grant from the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement Industry Development Program. The development programme is a joint initiative undertaken by the Australian and Tasmanian governments.
Construction of the BOC LNG plant
The BOC LNG plant is built over an area of 15,400m² (140m x 110m) and is close to existing gas pipelines. The Tasmanian Resource Planning and Development Commission granted reclamation of 127ha of rural land in Westbury. The land was allotted a new industrial subdivision to facilitate the new plant.
In July 2009, BOC contracted Gas Liquid Processing Plant (GLP) to design, build and commission the plant. The GLP Group is an Australian company specialising in building plants for gas generation, gas treatment and the petrochemical industry.
GLP and BOC together adopted a design based on detailed hazard and risk assessment to construct the plant, using a robust quality system.
GLP also built the required gas supply pipeline infrastructure, which includes LNG road tankers and six refuelling stations.
BOC supplies LNG to LNG Refuellers, a consortium of seven Tasmanian transport operators. The consortium consists of Chas Kelly Transport, KJ Padgett, Aprin Transport, Les Walkden Enterprises, Exeter Sawmill, Country Roadways and Kevin Morgan. Together, they operate 125 natural gas powered heavy duty trucks in Tasmania.
Any fleet operator in Tasmania will also have access to the LNG fuel. LNG Refuellers plans to issue briefings to prospective customers in the Tasmanian transport industry about LNG fuel.
BOC supplied six of its cryostar LNG fuelling stations in Tasmania to establish a pipeline-to-truck fuel supply. The fuelling stations feature state-of-the-art filling system enabling vehicle filling with minimal gas losses.
BOC also established a refuelling company that owns and operates the refuelling stations. It handles the fuel logistics demands of many of the Tasmanian fleets that operate on key freight routes. The main hurdle with the adoption of LNG as a transport fuel in Australia is the absence of a nation-wide distribution network. BOC's LNG plant and its six refuelling plants are expected to solve this problem.
The facilities at the BOC LNG plant include a purification division, a liquefaction system and a natural gas let-down station. It also houses LNG storage tanks and tanker filling facilities.
The plant also includes a gas offtake pipe from the Tasmania Gas Pipeline to process the gas and store LNG. The offtake pipe is about 30m long.
Processing of the gas at the plant includes taking natural gas from the pipeline, which is purified by a process called Amine Absorption process. The process removes carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide after which the gas is dried using a molecular sieve bed. The gas is then liquefied using a mixed refrigerant system and stored in tanks, and transported to road tankers for distribution around Tasmania.
Depending on the increase in the demand for LNG in the future, BOC plans to develop another module, which will double the plant's output. The company also plans to construct similar plants across Australia.
History of the BOC LNG plant
The LNG plant materialised when BOC, regional transport companies and South West Sustainability Partnership came together to serve mutual interests. The transport companies needed an alternative solution to diesel to insulate themselves from rising and volatile diesel prices. The South West Sustainability Partnership, which consists of the local government and other members, on the other hand, needed an environmentally friendly fuel alternative.
Greenhouse gas emissions from LNG driven vehicles are 25% lower compared with diesel. With its price stability and lower greenhouse emissions, LNG emerged as an effective solution from a commercial, economic and environmental perspective for all the parties involved.