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Green methanol agreement could see Townsville join global green shipping network
Green methanol agreement could see Townsville join global green shipping network

Townsville stands to become a global leader in the production, export and supply of green methanol, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ABEL Energy and Port of Townsville. The MoU underpins ABEL Energy’s plans to produce and export green methanol from a new $1.7 billion manufacturing facility in Townsville. The partnership will also explore opportunities for establishing marine bunkering facilities at the Townsville Port, making Townsville a critical pitstop in the emerging green shipping network. ABEL Energy CEO Michael van Baarle said the Townsville project would seek to replicate the company’s flagship project, Bell Bay Powerfuels in Tasmania —and would produce 300,000 tonnes per annum of green methanol for the shipping and aviation sectors. “ABEL’s green methanol production process uses 100 per cent renewable power, fresh water and biomass residues. Our production site in Bell Bay – and the one planned for Townsville – is clean in operation with virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions, water emissions or waste discharge,” Mr van Baarle said. “Townsville poses an ideal location for our second green methanol production facility due to the availability of wind and solar energy, along with the large amount of readily available biomass in the forms of sugar cane waste, invasive pest species, prickly acacia and woodchip.” Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the proposed project presents benefits for the region that expand beyond ABEL’s direct investment, trade and employment opportunities. “This initiative aligns with Port of Townsville’s commitment to supporting sustainable energy projects and reinforces our position as a key facilitator of trade and economic growth,” Ms Crosby said. “The world’s shipping industry is facing enormous change as it seeks to decarbonise fleets globally to meet IMO’s long-term GHG reduction ambitions. “ABEL Energy’s project presents an exciting opportunity to provide green methanol marine bunkering facilities at the Port of Townsville, as well as exporting renewable energy to global markets.” The MoU outlines a collaborative effort between the Port of Townsville and ABEL Energy to undertake comprehensive investigations to assess the feasibility of the proposed project. Early investigation will include market assessment and analysis, identifying infrastructure and logistic requirements and working cooperatively to advance the project. ABEL Energy joins a growing list of proponents seeking to export renewable energy through the Port of Townsville, including Edify Energy, Origin Energy and Ark Energy Corporation.

Bumper cruise week to pour almost $1 million into Townsville business

Townsville’s cruise industry will notch up another major achievement this week, welcoming a record four cruise ships in eight days. The bumper week at the Port of Townsville will see more than 4,000 visiting passengers and crew directly inject $932,000 into local businesses during their days ashore. Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said the arrival of four cruise ships within such a short timeframe underscores Townsville's growing popularity as a port of call on cruise itineraries.   “This cruise season has been our biggest yet and they’re only growing from here with new record booking numbers expected each year for the next two years,” said Ms Crosby. “The significant passenger and crew presence over the next week will be a good taste of what’s to come, while bolstering local businesses and injecting a welcome dose of energy into the city's vibrant tourism sector.” “This will be a warm-up as we prepare to welcome Large Class cruise ships next Summer, following completion of our Channel Upgrade project. These larger vessels will hold up to 3,000 passengers and crew, demonstrating the upgrade’s role in significantly growing Townsville’s tourism sector.” Townsville Enterprise, Director of Visitor Economy and Marketing, Lisa Woolfe, said it was exciting to welcome four cruise ships into our port over eight days. “Cruises play a crucial role in our visitor economy, allowing us to diversify the tourism season and providing a welcome boost over the summer period for our tourism operators right across Townsville North Queensland.” “Welcoming more than 4,000 passengers presents a fantastic opportunity to inject almost $1 million into our local economy while showcasing our region to many first-time visitors. We know that cruise passengers have a high propensity to return to places they enjoy – so we always make sure that the welcome they receive is second to none and the experiences they participate in are the best on offer,” Mrs Woolfe said.  Passengers will include some Australians, as well as international visitors from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and more.   VESSELS VISITING IN TOWNSVILLE’S BUMPER CRUISE WEEK Viking Orion, 4 March 2023: 8am – 6pm Returning a second time this cruise season, this 228-metre Viking cruise vessel was built in Ancona, Italy in 2018. She will be sailing from Sydney to Benoa (Bali), Indonesia, carrying a maximum of 930 passengers and 465 crew. Seven Seas Mariner, 5 March 2023: 11am – 8pm Stopping in Townsville on its 38-night voyage from Sydney, the Seven Seas Mariner will sail through to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India, Oman and disembark in the United Arab Emirates. The 216-metre vessel will carry a total of 700 passengers and 465 crew. Silver Muse, 9 March 2023: 12:30am – 6:30pm Visting Townsville twice this cruise season, the Silversea Cruises vessel will host 596 guests and 411 crew on a 14-day voyage from Sydney to Benoa (Bali), Indonesia. Seven Seas Navigator, 12 March 2023: 8am – 6pm Hailed the “most luxurious ship at sea”, this ship features an acre of marble, and a $9 million dollar art collection featuring pieces by Picasso and Chagall. After embarking in Auckland, its 496 guests and 365 crew will complete their 18-night journey in Bali (Benoa), Indonesia.