Clayton Utz plays role in Australia-Japan collaboration on world-first liquefied hydrogen pilot project in Victoria

12 Apr 2018

Sydney, 12 April 2018: Clayton Utz client Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) is celebrating the launch today of a world-first pilot project in Victoria's LaTrobe Valley that has the potential to unlock a viable new energy source to support countries in transitioning to being  low-carbon economies. 

The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project marks a major collaborative effort between Australia and Japan, which are both facing challenges in how they adapt to a new global energy future.  

KHI's wholly-owned subsidiary, Hydrogen Engineering Australia (HEA), is co-ordinating the HESC project. Clayton Utz has acted for KHI since 2013.  

The HESC project will see the development of a pilot plant, where liquefied hydrogen will be created from brown coal.  The aim is to develop a supply chain for low-emissions hydrogen, which has been identified as having enormous potential as a low-carbon energy source in the future global energy economy. 

A Clayton Utz team led by partners Steve O'Reilly and Hiroyuki Kano has been assisting the industry participants through KHI and HEA on almost all the legal aspects of the project, including advising on regulatory approvals strategy, consortium structuring and documentation, contract documentation, amongst others.  Clayton Utz will continue to act for KHI and HEA in relation to the implementation of the pilot project for the next few years. 

Commenting on the project, Steve and Hiro said: "This is a landmark project for Japan and Australia.  Japan has a national energy security issue, whereas for Australia, the concern is finding a better way to use high-emission brown coal. The HESC project is historic in that it brings together the two countries in finding a solution that will help both in addressing their respective energy issues.  If successful, the pilot project has the potential to ease the way for low-emission hydrogen to become a viable new energy source not just in Australia and Japan, but globally, and help reduce carbon emissions.  We're proud to be a part of it." 

Steve and Hiro, together with Clayton Utz Chief Executive Partner Rob Cutler, attended the project's formal launch event to celebrate the funding milestone.  Among other attendees were Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: the Federal Minister for Environment and Energy, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP; Federal Minister for Jobs and Innovation, The Hon Michaelia Cash MP; Victoria's Minister for Regional Development, The Hon Jaala Pulford MLC; Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr Daisuke Hiraki, and; Japan's Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Sumio Kusaka. 

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