Construction kicks off on $6b Pilbara gas manufacturing project

An artist's impression of the Perdaman Urea Project in Western Australia. Image credit:

The Australian and Western Australian governments announced the commencement of work on Perdaman’s $6 billion Pilbara urea project, the region’s first gas manufacturing initiative in over a decade.

The Perdaman Urea Project, located 20 kilometres north-west of Karratha, is expected to provide 2,500 construction and 200 operational jobs, the government said in a media release. 

A projected 2.3 million tonnes of urea per year will be produced by the project using natural gas from Woodside’s Scarborough Gas Project in Western Australia.

Australia currently imports 2.4 million tonnes of urea, a widely used form of fertiliser for food production, annually.

The WA government said it has signed contracts to provide more than $300 million in support for the project’s and the area’s development.

This includes the landmark $255 million loans obtained for the Pilbara Ports Authority and Water Corporation through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

WA Premier Mark McGowan expressed his delight to support ventures like the Perdaman Urea Project that will offer decades of economic benefits for WA, creating local jobs and diversifying the Pilbara economy.

“This important project represents a significant investment in the Pilbara and WA, underlining the region’s role as the engine room of Australia’s economy,” the premier noted.

He added, “It is estimated the project will create thousands of jobs within the state and generate a total revenue of $77 billion over its life.”

Meanwhile, Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King stated the $6 billion urea initiative will have major, strategic local, national, and international benefits that will improve regional and global food security and give fertiliser to Australian farmers.

Member of the Pilbara legislative assembly Kevin Michel also welcomed the significant milestone for the region.

“The project will deliver hundreds of locally-based, high-quality jobs – strengthening our regional economy and supporting our local community,” Michel remarked.

Export Finance Australia (EFA), along with NAIF and 12 other commercial lenders, will contribute $269 million to the project. 

The EFA loan will help Perdaman’s export goals by supplying crucial fertiliser exports to Australia’s trading partners.

Premier McGowan and WA State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook congratulated Perdaman on reaching the project milestone at a ground-breaking ceremony held Wednesday.