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BP to lead one of the world’s largest renewables and green hydrogen energy hubs


Wind turbines in Australia Photo: BP
Over multiple phases, AREH aims to develop 26 GW of total generating capacity from wind and solar power

Photo: BP

BP is to acquire a 40.5% equity stake in and become operator of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) in Australia, reported to have the potential to be one of the largest renewables and green hydrogen hubs in the world.

Located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the hub will supply renewable power to local customers in what is the largest mining region in the world, and also produce green hydrogen and green ammonia for the domestic Australian market and export to major international users.


AREH has plans to develop onshore wind and solar power generation in multiple phases to a total generating capacity of up to 26 GW – the equivalent of producing over 90 TWh/y, which is around a third of all electricity generated in Australia in 2020.


At full capacity, AREH is expected to be capable of producing around 1.6mn t/y of green hydrogen, or 9mn t/y of green ammonia, says BP.


The Pilbara mining region has substantial energy demand and carbon emissions. At full capacity, AREH is expected to abate around 17mn tonnes of carbon in domestic and export markets annually, which would equate to roughly 0.5 Gt of carbon savings over the lifetime of the project, according to BP.


When fully developed, AREH will make a material contribution to BP’s strategic aim to capture a 10% share in core hydrogen markets globally.


First proposed in 2014, the AREH project has been developed to date by partners that currently comprise InterContinental Energy, CWP Global and Macquarie Capital and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group.


BP exits Canadian oil sands project
In other news, BP has unveiled plans to reshape its Canadian portfolio, selling its 50% interest in the Sunrise oil sands project in Alberta to Calgary-based Cenovus Energy in a deal that could be worth as much as $926mn (C$1,200mn) in cash.


As part of the deal, BP is acquiring Cenovus’ 35% interest in the Bay du Nord project in eastern Canada, adding to its sizeable acreage position offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.


The announcement means BP will no longer have interests in oil sands production, instead shifting its focus to future potential offshore growth. The company currently holds an interest in six exploration licences in the offshore eastern Newfoundland region.


For more on mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas sector, see Dirty business: M&A activity may raise climate risk.