Australia's QPM to focus on gas, cut Tech battery spend

  • Market: Battery materials, Electricity, Metals, Natural gas
  • 22/04/24

Australian battery metals refiner Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) will focus on energy markets via its Moranbah gas project (MGP) and limit further expenditure on its Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (Tech) project.

The firm will switch its prioritisation to its wholly-owned QPM Energy (QPME) business, with QPME's chief executive David Wrench to be appointed as QPM chief executive, the company said on 22 April.

MGP's coal mine waste gas output from nearby the coal mining hub of Moranbah in Queensland's Bowen basin will be increased to 35 TJ/d (935,000 m³/d) by late 2024, up from October-December 2023's 28 TJ/d, with QPME to accelerate production and reserves to provide required peaking power for the national electricity market (NEM) via Thai-controlled energy firm Ratch Australia's 242MW Townsville Power Station.

QPME aims to drill a further seven wells by the year's end, increase workovers and increase production from third-party supply of waste mine gas from regional coal mines.

The company is also seeking to develop a portfolio of plants to supply up to 300MW of gas-fired power to the NEM, while compressed natural gas and micro-LNG facilities will also be developed in Townsville and Moranbah, QPME said.

A surge in government support for renewable power generation in order to meet Australia's 2030 emissions target by retiring coal-fired power means more gas-peaking plants will likely be needed in the coming years to support variable generators. But Australia's domestic gas supply is forecast to experience shortfalls this decade, with predictions of a 76 PJ/yr gap in 2028.

The Tech project which aims to produce 16,000 t/yr of nickel and 1,750 t/yr of cobalt sulphates from imported laterite ore saw its funding significantly reduced in February because of what QPM described as a "challenging investment environment" resulting from depressed nickel prices.


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27/05/24

US against EU push to censure Iran for nuclear activity

US against EU push to censure Iran for nuclear activity

Dubai, 27 May (Argus) — US president Joe Biden's administration is opposing a European push — spearheaded by France — to rebuke Iran for advances in its nuclear program at the UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA's board of governors meeting in June, a diplomatic source with knowledge of the matter told Argus . "The US isn't enthused about the European effort to censure Iran at the IAEA's member state board meeting in early June," the diplomat said. "But there is a general European atmosphere that is exploring options and measures regarding Iran's nuclear program." The Biden administration is concerned about the need to manage tensions with Tehran, particularly at what is a highly sensitive moment, the source said. "Bear in mind, this board of governors meeting is happening around 10 days after the helicopter crash killed (Iran's president Ebrahim) Raisi and (foreign minister Hossein) Amir-Abdollahian" both of whom were primary interlocutors with IAEA director General Rafael Grossi on the nuclear file, the source said. "There is currently a vacuum in Tehran. Timing is bad," the source said, explaining the US position. A US State Department spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment. Concerns among western officials have grown over Iran's nuclear activity in recent years. Former US president Donald Trump in 2018 pulled the US out of a 2015 nuclear deal, resulting in an erosion of strict limits that the agreement had placed on Iran's nuclear program. Iran, in 2019, began breaching the restrictions and then pushed far beyond them. Tehran has enough highly enriched fissile material for three nuclear weapons, according to the IAEA. Iran is enriching uranium to up to 60pc purity, close to the near 90pc considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA. Grossi in March said inspections in Iran were not what they should have been and called for additional monitoring capabilities, given the depth and breadth of the program. "On Iran, recent negative developments haven't gone unnoticed. Nuclear threats by Iranian officials, and Grossi's recent interview all sent negative signals," the source said. The Biden administration has always maintained that it is seeking a diplomatic solution for Iran's nuclear program. And since the conflict between the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas, backed by Iran, and Israel broke out, the US has attempted to stop the spillover of the conflict into the wider region. US and Iranian officials have met at least twice for indirect talks in Oman this year. What are the options? "There is real concern nowadays within the international community that no one exactly knows where Iran is at the moment when it comes to nuclear enrichment," the source says. The IAEA has lost its "continuity of knowledge" in relation to the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water and uranium ore concentrate. "But the options are limited," the source said. The most the IAEA can do if a state is out of compliance with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement is to report its concerns to the UN Security Council. Since June 2020, The IAEA's board of governors has adopted three resolutions regarding Iran's cooperation regarding the non-proliferation agreement. "Two reports are to be published ahead of the meeting in June. Their outcome will set the scene on whether another resolution will adopted or not," the source said. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Tata Steel signs deal to build Dutch green steel units


27/05/24
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27/05/24

Tata Steel signs deal to build Dutch green steel units

Mumbai, 27 May (Argus) — Tata Steel Netherlands has signed agreements with Italian steelmaking equipment suppliers Danieli and Tenova to set up green steel production units at its plant in Ijmuiden city. The company has selected the two Italy-based firms to provide engineering services for a direct-reduced iron plant and a 3mn t/yr electric arc furnace (EAF) at Tata Steel's Ijmuiden operations. Tenova will provide engineering, supply and advisory services for the EAF. The move is part of Tata Steel Netherland's plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. The first phase of the plan is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 40pc or a 5 megatonne cut by 2030. This involves replacing the No.7 blast furnace and a coke-making plant with the direct-reduced iron plant and the EAF. Tata Steel will apply for the necessary permits to implement the first phase of the plan before the end of 2024. The firm's overall carbon emissions intensity totalled 2.21/t of crude steel, according to its 2022-23 financial report. By Amruta Khandekar Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Chinese EV producers step up solid-state battery plans


27/05/24
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27/05/24

Chinese EV producers step up solid-state battery plans

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Q&A: Oman Shell to balance upstream with renewables


24/05/24
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24/05/24

Q&A: Oman Shell to balance upstream with renewables

Dubai, 24 May (Argus) — Shell has been in Oman for decades now and had a front row seat to its energy evolution from primarily an oil producing nation to now a very gas-rich and gas-leaning hydrocarbons producer. Argus spoke to Oman Shell's country chairman Walid Hadi about the company's energy strategy in the sultanate. Edited highlights follow: How would you characterize Oman's energy sector today, and where do new energies fit into that? Oman is one of the countries where there is quite a bit of overlap between how we see the energy transition and how the country sees it. Oman is clear that hydrocarbons will continue to play a role in its energy system for a long period of time. But it is also looking to decrease the carbon intensity to the most extent which is viable. We need to work on creating new energy systems or new components of energy system like hydrogen and EV charging to facilitate that. It is what we would like to call a 'just transition' because you think about it from macroeconomic perspective of the country and its economic health. Shell is involved across the energy spectrum in Oman – from upstream gas to alternative, clean energies. What is Shell's overall strategy for the country? In Oman, our strategic foundation has three main pillars. The first is around oil and liquids and our ambition is to sustain oil and liquids production. At the same time, we aim to significantly reduce carbon intensity from the oil production coming from PDO. The second strategic pillar is gas, and our ambition here is to grow the amount of gas we are producing in Oman and also to help Oman grow its LNG export capabilities. The more committed we are in unlocking the gas reserves in the country, the more we can support Oman's growth, diversification, and the resilience of its economy through investments and LNG revenue. 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We have been historically and predominantly focused on east and we continue to see east as core LNG market with focus on Japan, Korea, and China. Europe has also emerged on the back of the Ukraine-Russia crisis as growing demand center for LNG. Over time we might focus on different markets to a certain extent. It will be driven on maximising value for the country. By Rithika Krishna Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Indonesia plans 15mn electric vehicles on roads by 2030


24/05/24
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24/05/24

Indonesia plans 15mn electric vehicles on roads by 2030

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