Shell pulls back from Port Kembla hydrogen hub


Oil major Shell will now become a “supporting” rather than lead partner in transitioning BlueScope’s Port Kembla steelworks to using hydrogen for green steel production in the Illawarra, Bluescope’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Michael Reay, confirmed to pv magazine Australia. 

The company noted the news in a footnote of its ASX investor report yesterday, saying: “BlueScope is continuing to work with a range of industry and research organisations on out [Illawarra hydrogen hub] plans, noting that Shell will now pursue its involvement as a supporting partner rather than lead partner.”

Raey said he understood Shell’s shift was so the oil major could redirect its investments to other projects.

Last December, Shell signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BlueScope to collaborate on two green hydrogen projects, including the development of a 10 MW renewable hydrogen electrolyser plant and, more broadly, the establishment of a hydrogen hub in the Illawarra as part of the NSW government’s $3 billion state-funded investment plan.

BlueScope said despite the changes it will nonetheless continue to investigate hydrogen production, including using it as a potential feedstock for a pilot direct reduced iron plant and for its blast furnaces at Port Kembla.

Another giant, Rio Tinto, will also continue to work with BlueScope on the vision.

BlueScope however believes the realisation of green steel production on the New South Wales south coast is still decades away.

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