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Santos and AGL switch on the solar

04 Jul 2019 3:25 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

SANTOS announced today an expansion to its money saving solar plans as its South Australian Port Bonython processing plant, which processes natural gas liquids and crude oil piped from the Moomba plant for export, switched on a 2.12 megawatt solar farm. 

AGL Energy performed the engineering, installation and connection.  

The project will generate three gigawatt hours of power a year, and save Santos 6% of its current electricity use.  

"This solar installation at Port Bonython is our biggest demonstration yet of how we can work with renewables to not only reduce our carbon emissions but to also free up more gas for the domestic markets," managing director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said.  

"As a large industrial user of electricity, we're also doing our bit to reduce the burden on the grid by generating new supply." 

This follows from the battery announcement Santos made with Darwin LNG joint venture partner ConocoPhillips, which is designed to reduce emissions by 20% from the plant as it cuts its fuel gas use.   

The company is still looking at converting its full fleet of Cooper Basin beam pumps to solar for around $50 million, and has also spent $10 million on a closer look at carbon capture and storage.  

"In the Cooper Basin alone we consume for fuel an equivalent of 5% of the east coast market, that's a lot of gas and we're very focussed on freeing that up," he said during a panel discussion on the third day of the conference.  

"It's not just the Cooper, the fuel consumption of our LNG plant is not that dissimilar," he said. 

Rystad Energy's Gero Farrugio presentation at APPEA suggested oil majors in Australia are jumping on the ‘solar coaster', hoping to replace the 15% of gas currently used for infield power with renewables.  

Farrugio put a $70 million figure on possible savings.  

"In Western Australia, we're replacing existing power generation turbines at our Devil Creek plant with more fuel-efficient ones - not only reducing emissions by more than 25% but also generating Australian Carbon Credit Units as a registered project with the Emissions Reduction Fund," Gallagher said today.  

"These initiatives are steps along the way to achieving our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050." 

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