Gases, chemicals and equipment supplier BOC opened a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing plant in southern Queensland, Australia, on Dec. 2. It will serve the local manufacturing, mining and long-haul trucking markets.

The gas will also be available for use in the stationary energy sector and for cleaner power generation in remote communities, BOC said.

The company, a member of The Linde Group, has entered into a long-term supply agreement with natural gas supplier QGC. The new plant, located near the Queensland township of Chinchilla, will use natural gas fed into the Roma-Brisbane pipeline by QGC. It is the same gas Queenslanders use every day for a variety of industrial purposes and to cook meals and heat their homes, the company explained.

BOC will invest more than A$200 million ($168 million) in the natural gas feedstock, micro-LNG plant and supply chain infrastructure over a period of 15 years. The facility will liquefy the natural gas in a refrigeration process and the resulting LNG will be transported in specially designed vacuum tankers to customers and a network of refuelling stations from Queensland to Victoria.

The plant will have a daily output of up to 50 tons of LNG, which is the equivalent of 70,000 liters of conventional diesel per day.

BOC South Pacific managing director Colin Isaac said this marks the start of a new era in Queensland, giving local and interstate manufacturing, off-grid electricity generation and heavy transport users the opportunity to switch to an environmentally cleaner fuel than current alternatives.

LNG produces less greenhouse gases, sulphur, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter than diesel. "It is also ideal for marine vessels and is Great Barrier Reef friendly because unlike diesel and marine oil it evaporates if spilled with no toxic effects," Isaac added.