Pure delight for new venture at Longford

Member for Gippsland South Danny O'Brien, Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, ExxonMobil Australia chair Dylan Pugh, BHP Petroleum Australian general manager Shiva McMahon, Air Liquide Australia managing director Tim Kehoe and Wellington Shire Councillor John Tatterson turn sods during Friday's announcement at Longford.Photo: Tom Parry

Construction has officially commenced on a new CO2 Purification Plant at Longford.

The structure will be built within the grounds of the existing Gas Conditioning Plant to capture and store excess carbon-dioxide.

The announcement was made at a sod-turning ceremony last Friday morning at the same site by representatives from ExxonMobil and Air Liquide, who will jointly be constructing the new plant.

ExxonMobil Australia chair Dylan Pugh spoke at the event, underlining the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions.

“When we look at decarbonising our footprint, we are looking at a range of different opportunities,” Mr Pugh said.

“We want to play a part in the energy transition, and so we have quite a few things that we’re looking into, and this (plant) is just one of them.”

Air Liquide Australia managing director Tim Kehoe also spoke at the event, explaining the purification process.

“We take the raw CO2 from the gas plant, run it through our industrial process, and at the end of that process, that CO2 has been purified to the point that it can be used for (the) carbonisation of beverages, for food processing, for medical use, for water treatment – many, many industrial uses,” Mr Kehoe said.

“What would otherwise be a waste product turns into a beneficial product that – and particularly in the context of the Victorian economy – goes to a lot of the local production and manufacturing industries in Victoria.”

Neither Mr Pugh nor Mr Kehoe could provide an exact figure as to how much CO2 would be purified by the Plant, but Mr Kehoe said what the Plant will produce “will cover the entire Victorian market.”

Among the dignitaries in attendance was Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, who expressed his support for the resource industry and its role in the community.

“The growth in the Gippsland region, and Sale in particular, would not have occurred without the joint venture partners (Esso and BHP) in Bass Strait,” Mr Chester said.

“The social, economic and cultural benefits it’s delivered to the Gippsland region has been quite extraordinary

“And as an industry, they’ve seen the need to decarbonise, to get the balance right between the reliable, affordable energy that comes from the production here in Bass Strait and Longford, but also recognising their commitment, and the desire of the whole world, to move to more renewable forms in the longer term.

“So it’s getting the balance right, and I congratulate the companies for the work they’re doing.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony were BHP Petroleum General Manager Australia, Shiva McMahon; Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien; and Wellington Shire Councillor John Tatterson.

It is expected that 60 to 80 jobs will be created as part of the construction phase, with the CO2 Processing Plant set to be operational by next year.