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Haber awarded Major Project Status

STRIKE Energy’s Project Haber urea project has been awarded Major Project Status by the federal government.

Helen Clark and Mark Tilly
A previsualisation image of Strike's Haber urea plant

A previsualisation image of Strike's Haber urea plant

The company is developing a 1.4 million tonne per annum urea manufacturing project in the Perth Basin, Western Australia, with the company hoping to underpin development with feedstock from its 100% owned South Erregulla field where its first well South Erregulla-1 is currently drilling to 3500 metres.  

The original plan had been to use its 50% of the proximate West Erregulla field, but a much lower than expected maiden reserves report delivered by Netheland Sewell and Associates Incorporated in mid-October forced a change in direction. 

Strike is preparing to enter front-end engineering design work for the Haber, with the government's awardal of Major Project Status to streamline the project's approval processes. 

"Strike Energy's project has enormous potential for job creation and emissions reduction through embracing new technologies and onshore manufacturing," energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor said.

The government expects the project to support 1135 jobs during the three years it will take to build the plant and 300 full time jobs over the 30-year life of the project. 

"I think the national impetus to get domestic urea manufacturing back into the country driving strong levels of federal and state and also the good thing about urea is that it's a good job multiplier as we need 300 people to run the facility," managing director Stuart Nicholls told Energy News today. 

He noted peripheral jobs such as catering and people needed to pick up the bins. 

"The project is well timed for the economic recovery," he said. 

The Morrison government has been a strong backer of the project, in December it was awarded A$2 million from the federal government's Supply Chain Resilience Initiative. 

Last quarter Strike established a Major Project Sub Committee to govern and guide the delivery of Project Haber. 

The committee is being spearheaded by Strike non executive director and former head of the federal government's National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, Nev Power. 

Power distanced himself from Strike during his time as head of NCCC to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, deciding not to attend company board meetings.  

Nicholls said there is no issue now. 

"Our board is very well familiar with members of the federal and state governments," he said.  

Haber has also been awarded Lead Agency Status by the Western Australian government.

Should South Erregulla not come off, Nicholls still sees "considerable upside" across his company's Perth Basin position, with a strong result at the Walyering-5 well it drilled recently. 

The well, shared with Talon Energy, is in the legacy field, targeting shallower depths than usual in the Jurassic-level Cattamarra coal measures, not the deep and prolific Kingia and High Cliff sandstones that have yielded Strike's success until now. 

If brought online, possibly this year, it will give the company cash to pursue further work at West or South Erregulla. 

Strike said the project aligns with the government's National Hydrogen Strategy has the potential to reduce the carbon intensity of the urea used in Australia by 60%, thanks to it not having to be imported from overseas.

Strike shares are up 9% at 24c.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.

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