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Fortescue Future Industries and Firstgas Group to investigate green hydrogen distribution in New Zealand

Media Release 02 May 2022
New Zealand landscape

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Firstgas Group (Firstgas) have embarked on a new collaboration to investigate developing green hydrogen projects, with the aim of continuing to decarbonise New Zealand’s energy system, and to help improve energy security.

FFI and Firstgas have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to identify opportunities to produce and distribute green hydrogen to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in New Zealand.

Firstgas is New Zealand’s largest gas network with over 2,500km of high-pressure transmission pipelines and 4,800km of distribution pipelines in the North Island, connecting over 300,000 homes and businesses to gas. In March 2021, Firstgas announced a plan to decarbonise New Zealand’s pipeline network by transitioning from natural gas to hydrogen. From 2030, hydrogen will be blended into the North Island’s natural gas network, with conversion to a 100 percent hydrogen grid by 2050.

FFI and Firstgas will undertake feasibility studies to assess the technical, commercial and operational parameters of opportunities, enabling the potential development of projects. This will include assessing the use of existing energy assets.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth AM said, “Green hydrogen production and its use in New Zealand will provide energy security, create local jobs, and enable the decarbonisation of local heavy industry – all while reducing emissions for New Zealand.”

FFI Director of Australia East and New Zealand, Felicity Underhill said, “Partnering with companies like Firstgas enables us to combine FFI’s global experience and expertise in green hydrogen, with strong local knowledge and existing infrastructure. We’re particularly inspired by the strong alignment of purpose between FFI and Firstgas to help decarbonise New Zealand.

“I look forward to working with Firstgas to investigate the development of projects that include the distribution of green hydrogen and assist New Zealand with its decarbonisation plans,” Ms Underhill said.

Paul Goodeve, Firstgas Group Chief Executive said, ”Working with Fortescue marks an important step in Firstgas’ development and scale-up of renewable fuels and we are excited about the opportunities this relationship presents.

“Integrating green hydrogen into NZ’s current energy mix gives our country the best available balance of energy security, energy equity, system resilience and environmental sustainability,” added Goodeve.

This exciting new collaboration is in addition to the agreement signed last year between FFI and Channel Infrastructure to investigate the feasibility of production, storage and distribution of industrial-scale green hydrogen from the Marsden Point fuel terminal.