A final investment decision will follow the development stage.

The proposed project aims to produce 500,000 tonnes per year of ammonia utilising electrolysis from renewable power. Technical work on the facility is continuing in parallel with the design of the commercial structure for the project.

Options for the supply of hydrogen and ammonia to the domestic market, as well as for the potential to export ammonia to Asia and Europe, will be assessed.

Woodside was selected after an extensive competitive bidding process based on its capability and experience in operations, process safety, and liquids marketing.

Neal Barclay, Meridian Chief Executive, said Woodside is focussed on progressing a leading hydrogen and ammonia facility in Southland, New Zealand, that will provide significant benefits to the local community, and highlighted its operational and marketing expertise.

He said, “We believe a large-scale hydrogen and ammonia facility in Southland, focused on the export market, will accelerate the development of a domestic hydrogen economy and strengthen New Zealand’s platform to contributing to decarbonising our transport and industrial sectors.”

Mitsui & Co. (Mitsui) is also in discussions to join the project and develop the potential market for ammonia offtake, with the aim of creating a world-class collaboration that covers the full hydrogen and ammonia supply chain. Mitsui has 50 years’ experience in the ammonia business, including the largest share of ammonia imports into Japan.

Subject to finalising commercial arrangements, Meridian, Woodside, and Mitsui will work towards commencing front-end engineering design for the project.

Meg O’Neill, Woodside CEO, said it brings the technical skill and operations experience to develop this project at pace to meet customer demand for hydrogen, which we expect to grow in the energy transition.

The selection of Woodside followed a competitive process, during which Murihiku Regeneration, representing both Ngāi Tahu and the local rūnanga of Murihiku, were closely involved. Meridian, Woodside, and Mitsui will actively work with Ngāi Tahu and the local Rūnanga to ensure the project aligns with their energy vision for the region and supports their principles under mana whenua.

Terry Nicholas, Murihiku Upoko and Murihiku Regeneration Director, said it is an opportunity for Murihiku and the wider Southland region to develop a new, highly skilled energy economy.

SGH originally consisted of Meridian and Contact. Contact has made the decision to no longer continue into the next phase of the project as a development partner, but has indicated an interest in continuing to support the project as a potential electricity supplier.