Australian exploration and production company Woodside has opened a liquefied natural gas (LNG) truck loading facility at its Pluto LNG project in Western Australia (WA).

The Pluto LNG project is located 190km north-west of Karratha in WA, in the Northern Carnarvon Basin. It processes LNG from the Pluto and Xena gas fields, which have total dry gas recoverable reserve volumes of 4.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and 0.6tcf respectively.

Woodside is the operator of the Pluto project, with an operating interest of 90%. Partners in the project include Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric, which both hold 5% operating interest.

When commissioning activities are completed, the facility is initially expected to deliver seven LNG truck loadings per day, with each truck transporting the equivalent of more than 80,000 litres of diesel. This capacity can be doubled by a shift to 24-hour operations, with further expansions also possible if needed.

Woodside estimates that using the equivalent amount of LNG instead of diesel would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 120,000 tonnes per year.

The company’s initial focus for the facility is communities and mining operations in regions in WA including Pilbara and Kimberley, as well as coastal marine vessels. Eventually, it plans to support the transition to cleaner fuels in WA’s transport sector.

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Woodside also plans to supply LNG for the international shipping industry, in particular carriers shipping iron ore from Pilbara to Asia.

Woodside chief operations officer Meg O’Neill said: “The Pluto LNG Truck Loading Facility is a further demonstration of our commitment to supplying domestic gas, and highlights Woodside’s drive to find new markets for our cleaner LNG.

“Around three billion litres of diesel are imported into the Pilbara every year, mainly for the mining industry. In addition, the ships exporting iron ore to international markets from the Pilbara consume approximately five billion litres of heavy fuel oil annually.

“Woodside believes that LNG produced here in Western Australia can replace those higher-emissions fuels, delivering environmental benefits while supporting the growth of local industries and creating new markets for locally produced LNG.”