Energy, resources and environment – Quarterly update
Peter Kupniewski, Chris Floreani, Nicole Mead and Mario Pegoli outline some key developments in the energy, resources, and environmental sectors, including important updates coming out of the Federal budget.
1. Federal budget
The Federal budget contained initiatives relevant to the energy, natural resources, and environment sectors, including the following of note.
- Critical Minerals Strategy will receive $250 million to help early-stage companies reach market readiness. This includes $200 million to the Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative to provide grants to assist Australian critical minerals producers advance projects through the planning, design, pilot, and demonstration phases. The Commonwealth announced the following proponents will receive financing support:
- EcoGraf Limited to expand the Australian Battery Anode Material Facility in Western Australia; and
- Renascor Resources for the development of the Siviour Graphite concentrate and Sperical Graphite projects in South Australia.
- The Commonwealth has also commenced negotiations on financing an additional project.
- Low emissions technologies, including hydrogen and biodiversity activities, will receive $247.1 million in funding to support an increase in investment.
- $139.65 million over four years relating to the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act to progress reform, maintain timely assessments and approvals, and modernise cultural Indigenous heritage protections.
- The Northern Water Project received $5 million in Commonwealth funding combined with the $10 million in South Australian Government funding to complete the business case to provide a sustainable water resource to the Gawler Craton.
- Australia’s plastics recycling capabilities will be boosted with a $60.4 million investment, over four years, in state-of-the-art technologies and solutions for problematic plastics under the Recycling Modernisation Fund.
- Funding was provided to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef with an investment of $579.9 million over nine years, which will include working with land managers to reduce nutrient and pesticide run-off and remediate eroding gullies and streambanks.
- Funding of $252.9 million will be provided over nine years from 2021-2022 to target sustainable management and protection of reef ecosystems.
- Water infrastructure projects, including water dam and pipeline projects, will receive $6.9 billion in funding.
- The Murray-Darling will receive $139 million over three years to improve river health, enhance water outcomes and stimulate economic activity in Basin communities. Funding includes:
- $97 million over two years to promote agricultural productivity and support adaption to changing water demands;
- $35.1 million to better deliver water to high value ecosystems in the Edward-Wakool region;
- $3.2 million to improve water compliance through the Office of the Inspector General for Water Compliance field officers’ network; and
- $2.1 million to deliver the water market reform roadmap to improve governance and integrity of Basin water markets, and market information, in response to the ACCC’s Murray-Darling Basin Water Markets inquiry.
2. Bass Oil Limited
DMAW Lawyers is proud to act for and congratulates Bass Oil on its announcement on the ASX on 2 March 2022, seeking to acquire a portfolio of Cooper Basin assets from Beach Energy Limited. The transaction will significantly expand Bass’ footprint in the Cooper Basin, and will make the company the newest owner-operator in the region. The announcement of the conditional sale and purchase agreement includes:
- interests in eight Cooper Basin tenements;
- the producing accretive Worrior and Padulla oil fields;
- 2P reserves of approximately 200,000 barrels of oil and 2C contingent resources of approximately 540,000 barrels of oil.
On 8 March 2022, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) opened the first funding round for the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (known as HyGATE), which closes on 3 May 2022. By way of background:
- HyGATE will support real-world pilot, trial, and demonstration projects along the hydrogen supply chain.
- Australia and Germany have committed up to A$50 million and €50 million, respectively. The initiative will seek to strengthen Australian-German cooperation to reduce the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources and stimulate the innovation process in both regions.
- Eligible Australian organisations can apply for funding through ARENA.
The authors would like to thank corporate adviser and associate Mario Pegoli for his assistance with this article
This article provides general commentary only. It is not legal advice. Before acting on the basis of any material contained in this article, seek professional advice.