Gold Hydrogen gets go-ahead on drilling for natural hydrogen in SA
ASX-LISTED Gold Hydrogen has today begun drilling its first exploration well on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, aiming to prove a large natural hydrogen field exists in the area.
The South Australian Government Department for Energy and Mining has given final approvals to commence drilling, meaning Gold Hydrogen will become the first Australian company to try to show near carbon-free hydrogen exists naturally in the Earth’s sub-surface in commercial quantities.
Gold Hydrogen was formed after geologists uncovered century-old records from oil and gas drilling tests on the Yorke Peninsula. The tests found hydrogen at about 90 percent purity, but hydrogen was of no commercial value back in the early 1900s.
Armed with the historic data – and with hydrogen becoming a key component in Australia’s drive to reach net zero emissions – Gold Hydrogen has moved quickly in its bid to be the first company to prove low-cost natural hydrogen exists in Australia.
The company listed on the ASX this year. It won final drilling approvals from the SA Government today and, with support of the landowner, is now preparing to start drilling.
Internationally recognised SLB (formerly Schlumberger) and Savanna Energy are leading the drill program for Gold Hydrogen.
The first well to be drilled, Ramsay 1, is adjacent to the historic well, where the tests more than 90 years ago showed hydrogen. A second site in the PEL 687 tenement area will be ready for drilling next month.
Strong support for ‘natural hydrogen’ quest
Gold Hydrogen managing director Neil McDonald said the company was grateful for the support it has received from stakeholders and the pace at which the SA Government had moved to enable exploration.
“The South Australians have moved faster on hydrogen than anyone,” Mr McDonald said. “As you can imagine, there is huge excitement in our team as we try to be the first in this country to discover natural hydrogen.”
The natural hydrogen phenomenon is relatively new, with a small town in Mali already powered by natural hydrogen, and major exploration plays underway in Europe, North and South America and in other areas in Africa.
The Gold Hydrogen’s leadership group believes hydrogen is continuously produced from the interaction underground of certain rock formations and water. Independent estimates have shown that the South Australian field could hold enough gas to power the city of Adelaide for 40 years.
Getting natural hydrogen from the sub-surface could come at a major cost discount to man-made hydrogen, such as green hydrogen made with renewable energy or blue hydrogen from natural gas.
Mr McDonald said Australia needed projects such as this to succeed to achieve its net zero goals.
“We hope to be part of the solution, and we’ll know in weeks how big an opportunity this is for us, and the country,” he said.